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Osikovo's fortress near Milanovo

The fortress is described from Felix Kanitz in his book "Danube Bulgaria and the Balkan". He visited the area in 1871. He retells a local legend, which says that the fortress was impregnable and was besieged for a long time by enemies. A girl, however, fell in love with one of the enemies and decided to help them. She suggested to the enemies to divert the water from the Iskar River (very deep at that time) by a wall.

According to other local legends, at this place were found bows, spearheads and arrows. During the Turkish invasion the fortress withheld long time after the fall of Vidin Kingdom. The fortress was captured 50 years later!

According to Krasto Peshev Balkanski (History of the village of Lakatnik) under the rock of the fort were discovered graves, as well as battle-axes, lead weights for fishing nets, coins, etc. Concerning these finds, however, currently no data where they are kept, what kind are they or to which period they belong.

The fortress is situated on a mountain hill at an altitude 600 meters. Felix Kanitz notes that at this place Iskar River abruptly changes its direction and turns east. At the same place is the estuary of Proboinitsa River which flows into the Iskar at the foot of the fortress.

South of the hill where the castle is situated, passes the route of European tourist route Kom - Emine.From the deviation that leads to the fortress, began another tourist route leading to the cave “Svinskata dupka”. The area is part of the natural park "Vratsa Balkans", subarea "Lakatnik". On the eastern side of fortress also is paved route, climbing the famous Lakatnik rocks. It could say that the fortress is part of a well-developed tourist area, managed by the Nature Park "Vratsa Balkans". However, the fortress is not included into the traced routes, although the path to it starts from a place for recreation with park place and fountain where is placed a detailed information table.

The access to the fortress is easy and follows a well traced and maintained trail. The access is ensured both from the east (from the path Kom-Emina and the route to the cave “Svinskata dupka”) and from the west (panoramic path to the Lakatnik rocks).

In ancient times the fortress was accessible only from the north. From the east, west and south the rock edge was crowned by the sheer high cliffs, which were used as natural protection. Currently on the terrain are visible ruins scattered on the highest part of the hill. At the places where the construction is preserved in the foundations of the walls can be seen that the walls were built by stones without mortar. The dry masonry is the reason for the poor preservation of the stone structures. Currently it is very difficult to say what was the structure of the building and the size of the fortified area as the debris are slumped on the steep slopes of the hill and cover almost the entire visible surface.

The manner of construction of the preserved stone structures shows that the fortress was not built in the Roman period. The dry masonry (or masonry without mortar) can be connected with the Thracian period or with the Bulgarian Middle Ages. Taking into account the local legends it is strongly possible to date the fortress in the medieval period. Still, without further researches this date is preliminary and has yet to be clarified.

In its southern part the fort ends at a rock platform from which is open a panoramic views to the Iskar Gorge and railway station Lakatnik. The fortress is an attractive place to visit, but the ledge is very dangerous and without additional restraint should not be visited. The same goes for the path that crosses the southern slope of the hill - in some places it passes over abysses that are not secured and are extremely dangerous for visitors.

The Osikovo’s fortress is one of the few archaeological sites that are at once easy accessible, situated next to an existing tourist routes and attractive for visiting. Excepting the places that should be secured this castle could easily to be turn into interesting and attractive place to visit.

Osikovo's fortress near Milanovo

DD 43.0857278 23.374519444444445

DMS N 43° 5' 8.62'' E 23° 22' 28.27'

GPS track: train station Lakatnik - Osikovo's fortress

See the hiking trails train station Lakatnik - rest house "Trastena" - rest house "Leskova" и Gubislav - train station Lakatnik

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