The Shumen fortress is situated on a rocky hill about 3 km to the west of the modern town in the Hisarlaka area. It is surrounded by steep slopes and strong walls and its position is similar to that of the late medieval Bulgarian fortresses in Tarnovo, Cherven and Lovech. Its important strategic position determines its leading role amongst all the fortifications on the plateau during all historical ages. Regular archaeological researches began in 1957 under the direction of Vera Antonova and continued 30 years. They proved the existence of a large fortified settlement as early as the Thracian times (5th–2nd c. BC). Later, in the Roman age (2nd–4th c.) it turned into a dominating fortress on the road Visantium – Odessus, and during the reign of Justinian I (5th–6th) it was a stronghold guarding the passes of the Balkan Mountain.

The most significant period of the historical development of the Shumen fortress was the late middle ages (12th – 14th c.) when it became one of the most important town centers of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom. According to the last researches it had functions similar to those of the capital. This was the time when the fortifications were strengthened, including three defensive walls and an inner fortification – the citadel... [+]