Ruse (also transliterated as Rousse or Russe; Bulgarian: Русе)  is a city on the south bank of the Danube river, in Central Northern Bulgaria.
Present-day Ruse is the fifth largest Bulgarian city and is an important economic, financial and cultural hub.
Ruse is located on the South bank of the Danube, across from the Romanian city of Giurgiu. By road, the city is about 200 km from Varna and 300 km from Sofia. From Romania, a bridge connects Ruse to Giurgiu, serving as the westernmost land connection between the two countries (although ferries operate between other cities, and a new bridge is under construction at Vidin). If you intend to cross the border, via the bridge, from Giurgiu a 13 Romanian Lei fee applies (for a car), and from Ruse it is 4 Bulgarian Leva. The bridge can get busy with heavy trucks, particularly from the Romanian side.
Ruse Airport (IATA: ROU, ICAO: LBRS) (Bulgarian: Летище Русе, Letishte Ruse), also known as Shtraklevo (Щръклево) was used by Balkan Bulgarian Airlines for its domestic flights to Sofia Airport, but was finally abandoned in 1999.
Here are the nearest airports you can use nowadays to reach Ruse:
- Bucharest Aurel Vlaicu Airport (IATA: BBU, ICAO: LRBS) (largely known as Băneasa Airport) , 84 km
- Bucharest Henri Coandă International Airport (IATA: OTP, ICAO: LROP) (largely known as Otopeni Airport), 93 km
- Varna Airport (IATA: VAR, ICAO: LBWN), 185 km
- Burgas Airport (IATA: BOJ, ICAO: LBBG), 269 km
- Sofia Airport (IATA: SOF, ICAO: LBSF), 306 km
- Plovdiv Airport (IATA: PDV, ICAO: LBPD), 319 km
To travel between the airport and the city, you'll need a ground transportation.
By ground transportation
Ruse is a border railway hub, with connections to Bucharest, Sofia, Varna and Veliko Tarnovo.
There are several railway stations in Ruse:
- Ruse Central Railway Station (Bulgarian: Русе централна), where also the Central Bus Station and 15 minutes walk from the city centre, recommended for most visitors.
- Ruse Razpredelitelna (Bulgarian: Русе разпределителна) near the industrial zone and Mall Rousse.
All long-distance trains are operated by Bulgarian State Railways and its subsidiaries. Tickets can be bought at stations.
There is also a website in Bulgarian with information about the buses called http://www.avtogararuse.org/.
From Hotel Horoskop near Piata Unirii, you can take a bus at 10:30h. Journey takes less than 2 hours.
From 16:00h, 19:30h there are buses leaving from Filaret bus station. Journey takes less than 2 hours.
At 12:50h in the afternoon, there is a direct train from Bucharest central station to Ruse that takes 3 hours, however it is expensive (25 EUR).
There are also cheap (20-25 EUR) taxi transfers, call +359895695202 (Transfer) or +359888868070 (To4nite) in advance to arrange it.
There are regular buses roughly every hour during the day (00:30, 07:00, 08:00, 09:00, 10:00, 10:30, 12:30, 14:30, 15:30, 16:00, 17:30, 18:30, 22:00), the journey takes 4h 30m. Check http://www.centralnaavtogara.bg/
You can also travel by train (about 6 trains per day) but the travelling time is considerably longer (6 to 7h), there are occasional delays, so it's not recommended as the price is almost the same as the bus.
There is no direct bus from Plovdiv, so the fastest way is to go via Sofia, reaching Ruse for 6-7h.
Alternatively you can go via [[Stara Zagora], reaching Ruse for 6-7h again.
If 12 hours and 3 train changes don't bother you, you can also travel by Train.
There are regular daily buses to Ruse leaving Varna every day at 7:30, 10:30, 16:00 and 18:00h
You can also travel by train (about 6 trains per day) but the travelling time is considerably longer (4 to 7h), there are occasional delays, so it's not recommended as the price is almost the same as the bus.
There are regular buses from and to Burgas:
- Every morning at 7:00 from Ruse to Burgas
- Every morning at 7:30 from Burgas to Ruse
The journey takes 4h 30m.
Danube cruises generally stop at Ruse harbour.
Unfortunately there isn't any public water transportation at the moment.
If you come from Romania, the only feasible way is to use Danube bridge. There is a toll tax for the bridge.
There are first-class roads that connect Ruse to Sofia, Plovdiv, Varna, Veliko Tarnovo and Silistra.
By bicycle or walk
It is also possible to cross the border without paying the tax by walking the crossing. The border patrol will check passports and ID on both sides and it takes approx. 15 minutes to walk.
However, the bridge itself is far from both the town of Ruse and Giurgiu and this can either require a taxi or hitching.
All main roads that connect Ruse to the rest of Bulgaria are not recommended for biking or walking due to heavy traffic and high speed of the cars.
If your accommodation is in the city center, you probably wouldn't need any city transportation as everything in the city is 15 minutes walking.
Ruse public transport consists of buses and trolleybuses. Website [] has information for the timetables of the buses.
From/To City Centre
To reach the Central railway station, use bus 3, 11, 32 or trolleybus 25.
To reach the TV tower, use any of the following trolleybus lines: 13, 24, 25, 27 (there is 1 km walk after that)
To reach the Pantheon or Youth park, use bus 4, 5, 11, 16 or trolleybus 20, 25, 25, 27, 29.
To reach the Razpredelitelna railway station, use bus 7 or trolleybus 13, 20, 21.
To reach the Mall of Rousse, use trolleybus 2, 13, 20, 21.
To reach the Bulstrad arena concert hall and Oborishte square, use bus 6, 11, 16, 32 or trolleybus 2, 9, 13, 20, 21, 29, 24, 27, 29.
All tickets cost 1 BGN (0,52 EUR) per direction.
To reach the Rock monastery of Basarbovo, it is recommended to use a taxi.
There is a regular bus with cyrillic note "Басарбово" on it that can be catched from Lipnik and Skobelev Boulevards (near Bulstrad Arena), as well as Iztok bus station located next to Razpredelitelna railway station.
- Freedom Square (Bulgarian: Площад Свобода), Freedom Sq.. The central square of Ruse is the place where all major city events are hosted and all feasts celebrated. It is hard to miss as two of the biggest shopping streets (Alexandrovska Str. and Borisova Str.) cross, and has a variety of small cafe bars, restaurants and shopping places around it. There you can see the Statue of Liberty, the Fountains, the Municipality of Ruse, the Court House, the Drama Theater, the Opera House and the St. Trinity Church (43.848767,25.953317)
- National Transport Museum. The Ruse Regional Historical Museum is one of the 11 regional museums of Bulgaria. It acts within the Ruse, Razgrad, and Silistra regions. The museum occuipies the building of the former Battenberg Palace, previously a local court, built 1879–1882 by Friedrich Grünanger. The Ruse Regional Historical Museum was established in 1904. Its basis are the archeological collections of Karel and Hermenguild Shkorpil, as well as of the naturalist Vasil Kovachev, which were gathered in the "Knyaz Boris" men's high school of Ruse. The museum holds approximately 140,000 items, including: * prehistoric pottery and idol plastic arts * the Borovo treasure of the 4th century BC (a ritual wine set, gold-plated silver) * the finds of excavations of the antique Danube castles Yatrus and Sexaginta Prista, and of the medieval Bulgarian city Cherven * a collection of medieval frescoes * a collection of exhibits of traditional lifestyle * a collection of urban clothing, china, glass, and silver from the end of the 19th — beginning of the 20th century * personal belongings of notable figures from the struggle for national liberation * a numismatic collection * a collection of bones from prehistoric mammals, including a unique lower jaw of a Mammuthus rumanus * a bronze helmet from 4th–3rd century BC, suggestedly belonging to one of the soldiers of Alexander the Great. The helmet was contributed in August 2006 by the Bobokovi brothers, major shareholders of the Prista Oil company. The time and place where the helmet was found was not publicly revealed. The museum features seven full-time exhibitions, three of them being open-air: * the Rock-hewn Churches of Ivanovo * the Medieval city of Cherven * the Roman castle of Sexaginta Prista
- Ruse Regional Historical Museum. The Ruse Regional Historical Museum is one of the 11 regional museums of Bulgaria. It acts within the Ruse, Razgrad, and Silistra regions. The museum occuipies the building of the former Battenberg Palace, previously a local court, built 1879–1882 by Friedrich Grünanger. The Ruse Regional Historical Museum was established in 1904. Its basis are the archeological collections of Karel and Hermenguild Shkorpil, as well as of the naturalist Vasil Kovachev, which were gathered in the "Knyaz Boris" men's high school of Ruse. The museum holds approximately 140,000 items, including: * prehistoric pottery and idol plastic arts * the Borovo treasure of the 4th century BC (a ritual wine set, gold-plated silver) * the finds of excavations of the antique Danube castles Yatrus and Sexaginta Prista, and of the medieval Bulgarian city Cherven * a collection of medieval frescoes * a collection of exhibits of traditional lifestyle * a collection of urban clothing, china, glass, and silver from the end of the 19th — beginning of the 20th century * personal belongings of notable figures from the struggle for national liberation * a numismatic collection * a collection of bones from prehistoric mammals, including a unique lower jaw of a Mammuthus rumanus * a bronze helmet from 4th–3rd century BC, suggestedly belonging to one of the soldiers of Alexander the Great. The helmet was contributed in August 2006 by the Bobokovi brothers, major shareholders of the Prista Oil company. The time and place where the helmet was found was not publicly revealed. The museum features seven full-time exhibitions, three of them being open-air: * the Rock-hewn Churches of Ivanovo * the Medieval city of Cherven * the Roman castle of Sexaginta Prista
- Pantheon of National Revival Heroes. The Pantheon of National Revival Heroes (Bulgarian: Пантеон на възрожденците) is a Bulgarian national monument and an ossuary, located in the city of Ruse. 39 famous Bulgarians are buried in it, including Lyuben Karavelov, Zahari Stoyanov, Stefan Karadzha, Panayot Hitov, Tonka Obretenova, Nikola Obretenov, Panayot Volov, Angel Kanchev, etc.; 453 more people—participants in Botev's detachment, the Chervena Voda detachment, in the April uprising, and other revolutionaries have been honoured by writing their names in the interior. An eternal fire burns in the middle under the gold-plated dome. The Pantheon is one of the 100 Tourist Sites of Bulgaria. In order to build the Pantheon in 1977, the "All Saints" church in the old Ruse cemetery was demolished. The new building was open for visitors on 28 February 1978. After a public discussion in 2001, the Patheon was "Christianised" by placing a cross on top of its dome. The "St Paisius of Hilendar" chapel, as well as a museum exposition, were founded then.
- Kaliopa House, 39 Tzar Ferdinand St.. The Kaliopa House (Bulgarian: Къщата на Калиопа), a popular name for the Bulgarian "Urban lifestyle of Ruse" museum (Bulgarian: Къща-музей „Градския бит на Русе“), was built in 1864. According to a legend, the house was bestowed upon the beautiful Kaliopa (born Maria Kalish), the wife of the Prussian consul Kalish, by the governor of the Danubian Vilayet, Midhat Pasha, who was in love with her. The facade's design resembles the style of houses in Plovdiv. The frescoes at the upper floor were crafted in 1896. The exposition represents the role of Ruse as a gateway towards Europe, and the influx of European urban culture into Bulgaria at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century. Sample interior layouts are shown, of a drawing-room, a living-room, a music hall and a bedroom, with furniture from Vienna, as well as collections of urban clothing, of jewelry and other accessories, of silverware (cutlery) and china, which mark the changes present in the daily life of Ruse citizens. The first grand piano, imported into Bulgaria from Vienna, can be seen here.
There are many places in the city centre where you can buy a sandwich for less than 2 BGN (1 EUR).
- Vyara, Borisova Str. 92, Ruse, Bulgaria. Non-stop. Great burgers with many sauces. 1-2 EUR.
- Katmite, Petko D. Petkov Str. 1, Ruse, Bulgaria. Non-stop. Tasty pancakes with variety of sweet or salty fillings. 1-2 EUR.
- Tirol, 23-29 Yantra Str., Ruse, Bulgaria. Sandwiches and wraps 1-2 EUR.
- Chiflika. Traditional restaurant with Bulgarian national cuisine
- Pontona. This is actually a ship inside the Danube river. Great fishes variety.
- Terasa. Irish pub on terrace near the Danube river shore. Good view at sunset and a big variety of dishes.
- Pizza Roma. The first pizza restaurant in Ruse with original Italian pizza
- Vienna. Expensive high end restaurant on the Danube shore
- Happy Bar & Grill, Svoboda Square, Ruse, Bulgaria (On the central city square, in the theater building). Happy restaurants are widely known in whole Bulgaria.
- The Godfather. Good and unpretentious restaurant with affordable lunch menu
- Royal Club. On the highest floor of Royal City Center shopping mall, this restaurant offers a great variety of dishes - traditional food, continental cuisine; it has kids corner and serves as a cafe bar as well
- PublixCafe, Dondukov-Korsakov 19 Str., . Well known cafe in Ruse. Starbucks style drinks served.
- Balkan Hostel, 6a ulitsa Balkan (on exiting the bus/train station,go left and take the second right onto Nikolaevska street continue down here for 1 km then after crossing an intersection Ulitsa Balkan is on the left.Balkan Hostel is Half way down the street on the right.1.2 km from bus/train station), ☎ 00359892048846. checkin: 1pm; checkout: 12 noon. Small English run hostel in Ruse center.Minutes walk from town center. Price includes breakfast,internet,towels,bed linen,and bike and luggage storage. email [email protected] 20 lev.
- Hotel Cosmos, 122 Borisova Str., ☎ +35982871871.
- Vega Hotel, Alexandrovska Str. 48, Ruse, Bulgaria (just 20m from the central city square, following the main shopping street), ☎ +359 882 949 000, . checkin: 1pm; checkout: 12 noon. A 3-star boutique hotel with great location and furniture, 24-hour front desk, free accomodation for children under the age of 10, free Wi-Fi access, free parking and even free PC with internet to use in each rooms 65-235 BGN. (43.850069,25.954632)
- The Rock-hewn Churches of Ivanovo (Bulgarian: Ивановски скални църкви, Ivanovski skalni tsarkvi) are a group of monolithic churches, chapels and monasteries hewn out of solid rock and completely different from other monastery complexes in Bulgaria, located near the village of Ivanovo, 20 km south of Ruse, on the high rocky banks of the Rusenski Lom, 32 m above the river. The complex is noted for its beautiful and well-preserved medieval frescoes.
Ivanovo rocks near the church complex.
The caves in the region had been inhabited by monks from the 1220s, when it was founded by the future Patriarch of Bulgaria Joachim, to the 17th century, where they hewed cells, churches and chapels out of solid rock. At the peak of the monastery complex, the number of churches was about 40, while the other premises were around 300, most of which are not preserved today.
Second Bulgarian Empire rulers such as Ivan Alexander and Ivan Asen II frequently made donations to the complex, as evidenced by donor portraits in some of the churches. Other patrons included nobles from the capital Tarnovo and nearest big medieval town Cherven, with which the monastery complex had strong ties in the 13-th and 14-th century. It was a centre of hesychasm in the Bulgarian lands in the 14th century and continued to exist in the early centuries of the Ottoman rule of Bulgaria, but gradually decayed.
The monastery complex owes much of its fame to 13th- and 14th-century frescoes, preserved in 5 of the churches, which are thought of as wonderful examples of Bulgarian mediaeval art. The rock premises used by the monks include the St Archangel Michael Chapel ("The Buried Church"), the Baptistery, the Gospodev Dol Chapel, the St Theodore Church ("The Demolished Church") and the main Church, with the 14th-century murals in the latter one being arguably the most famous of all in Ivanovo and noted as some of the most representative examples of Palaeologan art. Many century-old inscriptions have also been preserved in the monastical premises, including the famous indented inscription of the monk Ivo Gramatik from 1308–1309.
The Rock-hewn Churches of Ivanovo were included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1979.
- In order to get there you can take a train to Ivanovo(2 lev each way) from the main train station in Ruse, it will take 25min, then walk to the north part of the town and turn right when you see the sign about the Ivanovo Cave Monasteries. There is a 6km walk but you can hitchike any of the continous cars that goes on purpose to see the caves on that road. Normally is 4lev to enter the Cave-Church but you can pretend to be student and just pay 1 lev.