Battle of the Rishki Pass

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Coordinates: 42°56′14″N 26°56′22″E / 42.93722°N 26.93944°E / 42.93722; 26.93944

Battle of the Rishki Pass
Part of the Byzantine-Bulgarian Wars
Date 759
Location Stara Planina
Result Bulgarian victory
Bulgarian Empire Byzantine Empire
Commanders and leaders
Vinekh Constantine V
Unknown Very large army
Casualties and losses
Light Heavy

The Battle of the Rishki Pass (Bulgarian: Битката при Ришкия проход) took place in the pass of the same name, in Stara Planina, Bulgaria in 759. It was fought between the Bulgarian Empire and the Byzantine Empire. The result was a Bulgarian victory.

Origins of the conflict[edit]

Between 755 and 775, the Byzantine emperor Constantine V organised nine campaigns to eliminate Bulgaria and although he managed to defeat the Bulgarians several times, he never achieved his goal.

The battle[edit]

In 759, the emperor led an enormous army towards Bulgaria but Khan Vinekh had enough time to bar several mountain passes. When the Byzantines reached the Rishki Pass they were ambushed and completely defeated. The Byzantine historian Theophanes the Confessor wrote that the Bulgarians killed the strategos of Thrace Leo, the commander of Drama and many soldiers.


Khan Vinekh did not take the favourable opportunity to advance on enemy territory and sued for peace. This act was very unpopular among the nobles and the Khan was murdered in 761.