Razgrad is situated on the Ludogorsko Plateau, in the valley of the Beli Lom River, in northeastern Bulgaria, and the northeastern part of the Danube River Plain. Over many centuries, Razgrad has marked the natural crossroads, cross-crossed by important trading routes connecting Central Europe with the Black Sea and Asia. The Razgrad region has been inhabited since the ancient times, about what testify numerous evidences discovered in many prehistoric settlement mounds in the vicinity. About 1200 registered immovable monuments of culture in Razgrad area, together with the thousands of items and documents, illustrate the richness of material and spiritual culture of the tribes and people that have lived in the Ludogorie area for many millennia. Besides, the thirty burial mounds and the historic finds in the Hisarlaka locality, east of the town, are proof that there was busy life going on here during the time of the Thracians. On the antique remains of the Thracian town of Abritus occurred Bulgarian settlement called Hrasgrad Herazgrad in the 13th century whose successor is the current Razgrad.

The late Antiquity Abritus has been built on an unknown Thracian /Old Serb/ settlement of the 5th-4th century B.C. Abritus was once a key stronghold in the Balkans historical region known as Lower Moesia, bounded to the south by Stara Planina, to the west by the river Drina, in Serbia, to the east by the Black Sea and to the north by the Danube. The fortified plateau of Hissarlik containing the site of Abritus slopes down toward the Beli Lom River, a tributary of the Roussenski Lom River which, about 50 km to the north, joins the Danube at Rousse, site of the Roman fort Sexaginta Prista. This fertile alluvial region has, since the ancient times contained agricultural and cattle-breeding fields and vineyards, providing food for both civil and military populations. Several bronze coins of the Thracian king Seuthes III (330-300 BC) and pottery were found, as well as artifacts from other rulers and a sacrificial altar of Hercules. Centuries later the Romans built – upon the ruins of the Thracian settlement – the strategic fortified town of Abritus, a town whose name is connected with the bloody battle with the Goths in 251, in which Emperor Trajanus Decius himself was killed. In 251, the town was the site of the Battle of Abrittus, during which the Goths and Sarmathians defeated a Roman army under the emperors Trajan Decius and Herennius Etruscus. The Abritus Battle is notable for being the first occasion of a Roman emperor being killed in a battle with barbarians. Another reconstruction of the city was carried out at the beginning of the 4th century by Emperor Constantine the Great. In the 7th century on the ruins of the ancient city of Abritus occurs early-medieval Bulgarian fortress destroyed in the campaigns of Prince Svyatoslav of Kiev (968-981 years). The representative Episcopal Christian religious complex has been built at the edge of the Medieval village, to be destroyed at the end of the 10th and the beginning of the 11th century. Medieval settlement on the ruins of Abritus was destroyed completely in the middle of the 11th century in Pechenegs invasions. Subsequently destroyed by barbarian incursions, the medieval Bulgarian settlement of Hrazgrad (Hrisgrad) emerged on the site of this town in the 13th century. After Bulgaria was subdued by the Ottoman Empire, the invaders called it Hezargrad, Hezezgrad or Hrazgrad – but the Bulgarians called it Razgrad. The oriental town became an important centre for craftsmanship.

The suffix “grad” means ‘city’ in Bulgarian /and Serbian/ and in many Slavic languages. The origin and the meaning of the first part “raz” is obscure. During the Second Bulgarian Empire, around the present city of Razgrad there was a settlement, mentioned by the names of Hrasgrad, Hrazgrad and Hrizgrad. The first hypothesis is, that these names come from the name of the Proto-Bulgarian and Slavic God Hors. This deity is of Proto-Iranian (Persian) descent and means sun and sun light. The Bulgarian and the Slavic word for city “grad” is also sometimes described a word of Iranian origin, meaning “large settlement”. In the following periods Hrazgrad (Keresdavicha within Ivan Shishman rule) was mentioned with the names: Hezargad, Herazgrad, Hasgrad, Chetehezar, Krasgrad, Arangrad, Azargrad, Hrazgrad, Krozgrad, Hirazgrad. The word “hezar” is of Iranian (Persian) origin and means thousand (thousand tents of the army). It is possible, that the word “hezar” derives from “Hisar”, which is an Arabic word for fortress. The name Hezargrad may be also the Turkified form of the medieval Bulgarian Hrazgrad (Hrizgrad). According to another linguists etymology of the name Abritus comes from Latin origin and means “steep”.

The most notable part of Razgrad is the ancient town of Abritus, which is internationally renown. During its excavation a large residential building was discovered which had a commercial section along with part of a fortified wall, towers, gates, and a Roman stone sarcophagus from the 2nd century (with skeletons from an initial and a secondary burial). Large storage facilities for grain from the late Roman Empire have been discovered within the massive walls of the fort at Abritus. About ten meters south of the western gate was excavated an horreum, or grain warehouse, with thirteen bastions or counter-forts along both its east and west walls. The rectangular ground plan of the building, which was in use between the 4th and 6th centuries AD, is orientated from north to south, with outer dimensions of 56 by 20 meters. Many of the monuments are exhibited at the Abritus Archaeological reserve which spreads on 100 hectares. The most famous of the items is the golden treasure from Late Antiquity consisting of 835 perfectly preserved coins and the Golden Pegasus. Since December 2002, the Abritus Lapidarium comprising about 60 epigraph monuments, gravestones and architectural details has been set near the Abritus museum. With the identification of Abritus at Razgrad one of the most difficult problems of Roman topography in the southern part of Scythia Minor has been resolved.

Ethnicity and religion of a diverse ethnic composition of Razgrad is measured by numerous toponymes and open epigraph monuments. Abritus and later Razgrad population was quite diverse: Thracians, Greeks from Asia Minor-servicemen, Romans, veterans and civilians. From Abritus and its environs come many monuments related to the spiritual culture of people lived here: votive inscriptions, votive tiles, bronze tiles, molds and religious bronzes. They are evidence for the heterogeneous ethnic composition, and for religious tolerance among different ethnic groups and religious syncretism. The Bulgarian Alians Kazilbashi occupy nowadays the area near the towns of Kubrat and Isperih. They have interesting customs and traditions preserved even today.

Some of Razgrad’s landmarks include the Varosha architectural complex from the 19th century, the ethnographic museum and several other museums, the characteristic Clock tower in the center built in 1864, the Saint Nicholas the Miracle Worker Church from 1860, the Momina cheshma sculpture, the Mausoleum Ossuary of the Liberators (1879–1880) and the Ibrahim Pasha Mosque from 1530, which is said to be one of the largest in the Balkans. The Archeological reserve „Sboryanovo” – name came from “sbor” which means assembly – is situated near the town of Isperih,exactly between the villages Malak Porovetz and Sveshtari of Isperih municipality, in the canyon of Krapinetz river and on the hills around. Part of the Sboryanovo reserve is occupied by the Thracian tomb of the village of Sveshtari, which is UNESCO monument of culture. It is a three-camera ruler’s tomb dating back to the end of the 4th century B.C., unique for its specific architecture, the preserved colorful decoration and the frieze with the ten figures of women (caryatids); The sites are open to visitors year-round during daylight hours, and there is a paved road leading to the tombs. A developed walkway and stairway begin at the parking area for Sboryanova’s Ahinora Shelter. Visitors may explore on their own (there are informative markers), or they may hire a guide at the Visitor Center located near the Sveshtari Necropolis. Recently, at Sveshtari tomb near Razgrad, the team led by professor Diana Gergova has found the remains of a two-wheel chariot, buried with two horses still in their harness. Each horse was buried in its own sarcophagus. Gergova described the find as unique for Bulgaria, the first physical evidence confirming some of the historical theories about Thracian culture. A mural of a two-wheel chariot has been previously found in a burial mound near Kazanluk, but the two chariots previously found by Bulgarian archaeologists both had four wheels.

The Geti (a Thracian-ancient Serb tribe) had their capital Helis in what is now the Sboryanovo Reserve, 40 km away from Razgrad, and its remains are another of the complex’s important archaeological sites containing more than 140 archaeological monuments – prehistoric settlements, settlement and burial mounds, sanctuaries, a Thracian town, an early Byzantine castle, fortifications from the time of the First Bulgarian State and a late medieval Turbe (Turkish tomb) among others….

Helis is a fortified city built at the end of the 4th century BC that covers an area of more than 100 hectares. The site is accessible by a well-maintained paved road that connects the villages of Porovets and Sveshtari and traverses the reserve. Visitors may explore this site on their own following the information signs or they may hire guides at the Visitor Center near the Sveshtari Necropolis. The Kamen Rid (Rocky Heights) sanctuary dates to the early Stone Age, and was also built by the Thracian Geti /ancient Serbs/ to sacrifice to their sun god. The site may be reached via a wide hiking trail that begins at the parking area in front of Sboryanova’s Ahinora Shelter. Visitors may explore Kamen Rid on their own or they may engage guides at the Sveshtari Necropolis Visitor Center.

On 7 November 2012 rescue excavations at the Great Sveshtari Mound led to the discovery of a gold ‘treasure’. A cavity opened 8 meters below the top of the mound to reveal the impression of a 50x50cm wooden casket, containing a female jewellery set: a diadem with sculpted fantastic creatures with lion’s bodies and female heads and torsos, leading a procession of lions and panthers; four spiral bracelets and a gold ring depicting Eros in relief. The box also contained a set of over 200 appliques that would once have decorated a horse bits, a forehead piece with the shape of a horse, round appliques with Athena’s head, other female figures, plant motifs, etc. Fine appliques with filigree decoration or enamel, hundreds of small round and cylindrical beads, golden threads, surviving from a gold-woven fabric.

The casket was buried as part of the piling of the mound, probably as a gift accompanying the deceased. Excavations in 2013 will reveal more information about who was buried in the tomb. One possibility is the Getic ruler Kotela, who is known as an ally of Philip II of Macedon in the latter’s campaign against the Skythians in 339 BC.

The village near the small settlement of Byuven dates from the early Middle Ages. It is an ensemble of excavated and partly excavated dwellings, fields, and impressive structures. Researchers have also uncovered a small chapel in the area. Excavation at this site is still in progress. The tomb „Demir Baba Teke” is a religious monument, worshiped both by Christians and Muslims. Until 1927 on the dome of the tomb there were both Christian crucifix and Muslim crescent.

Hunting area of “Voden” embraces an area of 15000 hectares, predominantly deciduous forests (oak and beech trees). Red deer, fallow deer, musk ox, wild-boar as well as predatory animals, such as fox, jackal and wildcat are widely spread around here. The reserve is the only place, where European bison can be hunted.