ARTICLES 
Shumen Coaxes Three Million Tourists
Standart News, 23rd November 2005
Tour agencies from Italy, France and Belgium are now offering tours to the some of the most famous ancient towns of Bulgaria. Pliska was the first Capital (after 681-893) of the First Bulgarian Kingdom. Its ruins lie 3 km north of today's village of Pliska (prev. name Aboba). Madara was the principal sacred place of the First Bulgarian Empire before Bulgaria's conversion to Christianity in the 9th century. Veliki Preslav (The Great Preslav) was the second Capital of the First Bulgarian Kingdom. Tzar Simeon (893-927) erected the new capital, which became a powerful cultural, political and administrative centre of the young Christian state. The town had area of about 5 km2 surrounded by fortress walls up to 3 m thick. Since it was founded until the 15th century, the northeastern town of Shumen was situated in the region of the Shumen fortress, which explains the well-made complex of public and culture buildings. Pliska, Madara, Veliki Preslav and the Shumen Fortress form the so-called Historical Rectangular.
Scientists, archeologists and restorers work at the historical monuments almost around the clock.
"This has been the largest campaign for restoration of historic monuments for fifteen years now," local people say.
The tourists are amazed by the new monuments, uncovered every day," says Christina Stoyanova, curator at the Pliska Museum of History.
"The weather conditions cannot stop them from coming to the historical complexes," she added.
A team of almost one hundred experts and workers are toiling endlessly to restore more than twenty historical sites in the reserves.
The initiative for restoration of Bulgaria's ancient capitals is carried out under the auspices of President Georgi Parvanov. The Ministry of Culture and Tourism has allotted 3.5 million levs for restoration and conservation of the ancient Bulgarian capitals.

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