Rousse Regional Museum of History
"All that I experienced afterwards had already been in Roustchouk". Elias Canetti
Architects and Constructions

MarianaDimitrova, Curator at the “Modern and Contemporary History” Department

The new urban development and architecture construction of Rousse is related with its determination for capital town of the newly-established Tuna Vilayet (Danube Region) and the assignment of Midhat Pasha for governor of the vilayet in 1864. Filled with enthusiasm and reforming ideas, he undertook the transformation of Rouschouk into a real, modern European town. One of the first public problems, undertaken by the new governor is the construction of street thoroughfares. For a start, in Rouschouk appeared the unseen to this moment, but very well known in civilized Europe, streets with sidewalks. In contrast to the existing narrow, dark and dusty oriental sokaks (small alleys), the new streets are wide, paved with cobblestone, and the major ones are even lighted up by street lamps after the model of Vienna. At the end of his four-year rule Midhat Pasha left in the region 3000 km of roads, as well as 1400 large and small bridges. One of the last ones is the bridge voer the river Yantra near the town of Byala. In Rouschouk 28 km of streets are paved with cobblestone. Synchronously, two major hotels were constructed “Gyul Shahin” and “Islyah Hane”, the latter one being the most modern for long years, until its transformation in a building for the Municipality of Rousse after the second decade of the 20th century.

The shaping of the contemporary image of Rousse, which started during the government of Midhat Pasha, reached its high point at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century. An important role for the implementation of the modern construction as played by the foreigners, which arrived in town – architects and construction engineers. The names of Edward Winter (chief architect of Rousse for around two decades), Nino Rosetti, Georg Lang, Negohos Bedrosyan, Udo Ribau, Edwin Petrycki, Ivan Mayor, Michail Pernigoni, as well as these of Todor Tonev, Nikola Lazarov, Todor Petrov, etc. will remain inextricably bound up with with the architectural history of the town. A large number of residential and public buildings, constructed in Neoclassical style, which ruled among the whole of Europe during the second half of the 19th century, and combining elements of Baroque, Gothic, Renaissance, Empire, etc. distinguished Rousse from the rest of the towns in Bulgaria. The most remarkable in this relation are the buildings of the brothers Simeonovi, Georgi Martinov, Ivan Stoyanov the Salt-dealer, Sarkis Kouyoumdjian. In the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century entire streets were shaped with such buildings. Such are the streets “Alexandrovska” and “Knyazheska”, as well as “Pirotska” and “Targovska” (“Slavianska”), “Nikolaevska”. 
In 1889 the Municipality of Rousse delivered granite stones, produced in the San Rafael quarry near Marseille, France. The Rousse factory “Trud” on the other hand produced ceramic pavement and sidewalk slabs, thus bringing the formation of the streets to an end.
The Greek stonemason A. Kargarota supplied with face tiling stone from its quarries “Kargarota & Malchev” not only the constructions in Rousse, but even the marble products factory of George Petrescu in Bucharest. The stone tiling and decoration could also be ordered in Vienna, Pecs, and in 1897 the “P. Gavals-L. Miritis & Co First Sculpture Atelier” company was opened. 

Beyond doubt, the most beautiful building in Rousse is the Profitable House (Dohodno zdanie). It is constructed after the project of the Austrian architect Peter Paul Brang. The idea for the construction of such a building dates since 1896, when the Municipal Council decided its purpose – to bring profits for the maintenance of the schools in Rousse. On February 20th, 1897, the following jury: the Rousse regional governor A. Kanazirski, the mayor G. Mihaylov, two school trustees, the regional engineer G. Ganev, the urban engineer V. Malchev and three architects from the Ministry of Public Buildings, Roads and Communications: Architect Hr. Kovachevski, Architect Vernaca and Architect Dimitrievich, discussed the presented fifteen projects. The unanimously chose the project named “Voila une idee” (Here is an idea) of Architect Brang, who one 1st price of 1500 golden leva. On January 26th, 1898, was held the contest for ceding the construction to a contractor. The contest was won be Gatyu Tsonev and master workman Petar Atanasov. The direction of the construction on behalf of the Municipality was given to engineer Georg Lang, and on behalf of the contractor – to architect Frank Scholtz.

The oldest building in Rousse from the period of Neoclassicism and the first administrative building to be constructed after the Liberation is the Regional Government (nowadays Museum of History), built in 1882 and designed by the Viennese architect Friedrich Grunanger. Prominent buildings, located on Battenberg Square, are also the Boys’ High School “Prince Boris” (nowadays “Hristo Botev” Secondary School), built in 1894-1898 and designed by Architect Petko Momchilov, as well as the building of the Trade and Commerce Chamber, designed by Architect Nikola Lazarov and opened in 1916. The latter nowadays houses the “Lyuben Karavelov” Regional Library. Again on this square, in 1895, was erected the Bank of the brothers Simeonov, designed by Negohos Bedrosyan, later the Rousse Popular Bank, and nowadays “DSK Bank”. 
There are tens of buildings of historical importance in Rousse. Among the most important of them are the houses of the brothers Simeonovi, “Burov” Bank, the buildings of the “Bulgaria” Insurance Company, “Girdap” Bank, “Teteven” Hotel, the Stefan Gadev Beer-house (nowadays “Potsdam” Restaurant), “Notre Dam de Cion” Catholic Boarding-school (nowadays the English Language School) and many others. 
An important role for the architecture richness of the town is also played the buildings of the churches of Rousse. In the 1884-1889, by a project of Edward Winter, the “All Saints” Orthodox Temple was constructed, demolished in 1975 to clear the place for the Pantheon of the National Revival Heroes. The Catholic temple “St. Paul of the Cross” is built in 1890 after the initiative of Polish officers and the first in Bulgaria church organ was placed inside.

The Profitable House, along with the Monument to Liberty, opened in 1909, a work of the notable Italian sculptor Arnoldo Zocchi, appear to be the visit card of Rousse and more often than the rest of the other sights of the town are finding place in all kinds of reference books, brochures, badges and souvenirs. Along with the Monument to Freedom, in Rousse there is a Monument to the fallen of the Serbian-Bulgarian War of 1885 on Battenberg Square, and “Tzar’s Stone” – a commemorative pillar, erected in honour of the visit of Sultan Mahmud II in 1836. Later during the years were placed monuments to Lyuben Karavelov, Father Paisius, the Sailor’s Monument, Captain Raicho Nikolov, Grandmother Tonka Obretenova, Stefan Karadzha.