||This article needs additional citations for verification. (April 2013)|
|• Mayor||Daniel Panov|
|• Total||30.379 km2 (11.729 sq mi)|
|Elevation||220 m (720 ft)|
|Population (Census February 2011).|
|Time zone||EET (UTC+2)|
|• Summer (DST)||EEST (UTC+3)|
Veliko Tarnovo (Bulgarian: Велико Търново) Bulgarian pronunciation: [vɛˈliko ˈtɤ̞rnovo] is a city in north central Bulgaria and the administrative centre of Veliko Tarnovo Province. Often referred to as the "City of the Tsars", Veliko Tarnovo is located on the Yantra River and is famous as the historical capital of the Second Bulgarian Empire, attracting many tourists with its unique architecture. The old part of the city is situated on the three hills Tsarevets, Trapezitsa, and Sveta Gora rising amidst the meanders of the Yantra. On Tsarevets are the palaces of the Bulgarian emperors and the Patriarchate, the Patriarchal Cathedral, as well as a number of administrative and residential edifices surrounded by thick walls. Trapezitsa is known for its many churches and as the former main residence of the nobility. In the Middle Ages, the city was among the main European centres of culture and gave its name to the architecture of the Tarnovo Artistic School, painting of the Tarnovo Artistic School and literature. Veliko Tarnovo is an important administrative, economic, educational, and cultural centre of Northern Bulgaria.
The most widespread theory for the name's origin claims, that the original names Tarnovgrad and Tarnovo come from the Old Bulgarian тръневъ (tranev) or тръновъ (tranov), meaning "thorny". The suffix "grad" means "city" in Bulgarian and in many Slavic languages. In 1965, in addition to the original name was added the word велико (veliko), meaning "great", in honour of the city as an old capital of Bulgaria. But Tarnovo remains the most used name by the citizens.
Prehistory and antiquity 
Veliko Tarnovo is one of the oldest settlements in Bulgaria, having a history of more than five millennia, as the first traces of human presence dating from the 3rd millennium BC are on Trapezitsa Hill.
Medieval Bulgarian rule 
Veliko Tarnovo, originally Tarnovgrad (Търновград), grew quickly to become the strongest Bulgarian fortification of the Middle Ages between the 12th and 14th century and the most important political, economic, cultural and religious centre of the empire. The city was described by Bulgarian cleric Gregory Tsamblak in the 14th century as "a very large city, handsome and surrounded by walls with 12,000 to 15,000 inhabitants".
As the capital of the Second Bulgarian Empire, Tarnovo was a quasi-cosmopolitan city, with many foreign merchants and envoys. It is known that Tarnovo had Armenian, Jewish and Roman Catholic ("Frankish") merchant quarters besides a dominant Bulgarian population. The discovery of three Gothic statuette heads indicates there may have also been a Catholic church.
Ottoman rule 
The city flourished and grew for 200 years. Тhe political upsurge and spiritual development were discontinued on 17 July 1393. After vigorous resistance to a three-month siege, Veliko Tarnovo was seized and the whole Bulgarian Empire was destroyed by the Ottoman Empire. Many medieval Bulgarian towns and villages, monasteries and churches, were burnt to ashes.
Veliko Tarnovo, during the Ottoman rule known as Tırnova, was the location of two uprisings against Ottoman rule, in 1598 (the First Tarnovo Uprising) and 1686 (the Second Tarnovo Uprising), both of which failed to liberate Bulgaria. Tarnovo was a district (sanjak) centre at first in Rumelia Eyalet, after that in Silistria Eyalet and finally in Danube Vilayet before becoming part of the Principality of Bulgaria.
Tarnovgrad, along with the rest of present-day Bulgaria, remained under Ottoman rule until the 19th century, when national identity and culture reasserted themselves as a strengthening resistance movement. The idea of the establishment of an independent Bulgarian church and nation motivated the 1875 and 1876 uprisings in town. On 23 April 1876, the April Uprising marked the beginning of the end of the Ottoman occupation. It was soon followed by the Russo-Turkish War (1877–1878).
Modern Bulgaria 
On 7 July 1877, Russian general Joseph Vladimirovich Gourko liberated Veliko Tarnovo, ending the 480-year-rule of the Ottoman Empire. In 1878, the Treaty of Berlin created a Principality of Bulgaria between the Danube and the Stara Planina range, with its seat at the old Bulgarian capital of Veliko Tarnovo.
On 17 April 1879, the first National Assembly convened in Veliko Turnovo to ratify the state's first constitution, known as the Tarnovo Constitution, the key result of which resulted in the transfer of Parliament from Tarnovgrad to Sofia, which today remains the Bulgarian capital.
In 1965, the city, then officially known as Tarnovo, was renamed to Veliko Tarnovo (Great Tarnovo) to commemorate its rich history and importance.
According to Census 2011, Veliko Tarnovo has a population of 68,783 inhabitants as of February 2011, while the Veliko Tarnovo Municipality with the villages has 88,670. The number of the residents of the city reached its peak in the period 1986–1991 when exceeded 70,000. The following table presents the change of the population after 1887.
|Highest number 69,173 in 1985|
|Sources: National Statistical Institute, „citypopulation.de“, „pop-stat.mashke.org“, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences|
Ethnic, linguistic and religious composition 
- Bulgarians: 59,649 (95.5%)
- Turks: 2,225 (3.6%)
- Gypsies: 123 (0.2%)
- Others: 258 (0.4%)
- Indefinable: 198 (0.3%)
- Undeclared: 6,330 (9.2%)
The ethnic composition of Veliko Tarnovo Municipality is 75570 Bulgarians, 3681 Turks and 595 Gypsies among others.
In 1967, a factory for electronics, engines, and components for cranes was built.
Veliko Tarnovo had factories for plastic bags and other wares.
The biggest factory in the town was "Mavrikov," and today has some small factories for clothes and other wares.
Veliko Tarnovo exports bread, wine,beer and meat, and has many factories for sweets.
Twin cities 
Ivaylo Stadium is the biggest soccer stadium in the town. The stadium is the home of all sports team in Veliko Tarnovo which are called Etar. Ground was broken for the stadium in 1957 and it was completed 1958. In the 21st century is was reconstructed and now had seats for 18,000. Veliko Tarnovo has teams in the soccer, basketball, volleyball, handball, athletics and other sports.
- FC Etar 1924 Veliko Tarnovo – soccer team
The Palace of Culture and Sports "Vasil Levski" is the biggest sports hall in Veliko Tarnovo. The hall was completed 15 November 1985. The hall has 1600 seats and courts for basketball and volleyball.
- NSI, 2011 Population census in the Republic Of Bulgaria, p. 16 (Final data)
- Bojidar Dimitrov. "The Church "The Forty Holy Martyrs"". National Museum of History – Sofia, Bulgaria. Retrieved 2011-03-09.
- Jean W. Sedlar (31 March 1994). East Central Europe in the Middle Ages, 1000–1500. University of Washington Press. pp. 113. ISBN 978-0-295-97290-9.
- "Търново се перчело с европейски квартали Арменци превземат католическата църква в старопрестолния град". Bulgarian Newspaper "Стандарт". 2008-06-21. Retrieved 2011-03-09.
- (Bulgarian)National Statistical Institute – Towns population 1956–1992
- (English) Bulgarian National Statistical Institute – towns in 2009
- (English) „WorldCityPopulation“
- (Bulgarian) Bulgarian Academy of Sciences
- (Bulgarian) Population on 01.02.2011 by provinces, municipalities, settlements and age; National Statistical Institute
- Population by province, municipality, settlement and ethnic identification, by 01.02.2011; Bulgarian National Statistical Institute (Bulgarian)
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Veliko Tarnovo|