Ovech Castle

Ovech Castle lies in Provadia town in the northeastern Bulgaria, in Varna Province, close to the Black Sea. The medieval Bulgarian name corresponds directly to ovca = sheep. Ovech was key center of the First Bulgarian Empire with an important monastery at the modern village of Ravna, of the church consecrated in 897, and a major scriptorium of the Preslav Literary School. The rebel leader and subsequently emperor of Bulgaria Ivaylo defeated in 1279 a 10,000-strong Byzantine army near the city. During the Second Bulgarian Empire in the 14th century Ovech was the seat of a metropolitan. Ottomans captured Ovech after a long siege in 1388. In the 17th and 18th century Provadia /Turkish name/ was a commercial center of the Ottoman Empire and inhabited by many Jewish and Ragusan /Dubrovnik/merchants. The 16th-17th-century Dubrovnik-style church still stands in the nearby village of Dobrina.