Silistra Danube Park
The Silistra Danube Park is located in the central part of Silistra, Silistra Municipality. It is located 429 km away from the capital Sofia. There is a bus three times a day leaving from the Sofia Central Bus Station to Silistra, as well as a train three times a day from the Sofia Central Railway Station.
For the first time the park was mentioned in the newspaper “Turkey” in 1870. The charm of the park lies in the remains of ancient fortresses, which are located close. In the Danube Garden you can see some unique tree species that are protected and unique in their kind. They are marked with signs to distinguish them from other trees.
The Silistra Danube Park is the first public park in the country. It is a wonderful place for relaxation with a wonderful view of the Danube and numerous playgrounds for young children. Some unique and protected trees can also be seen there.
The Danube Park was founded in 1895. It originally served as a vegetable garden. On June 29, 2015, 145 years have passed since the creation of the beautiful Danube Park in Silistra. In December 2015, the Minister of Regional Development opened the renovated park under the project “Green and accessible urban environment – Silistra”, financed by the Operational Program “Regional Development” – 2007-2013. The project amounts to BGN 5.3 million. The aim of the reconstruction of the park is to increase the accessibility and safety of the environment and to improve the overall aesthetic appearance of the city.
In the period after the Liberation, the citizens of Silistra gained experience in park building. This enthusiasm is described in detail by Nicholas Marinopolsky in his “Silistra Almanac”, published in 1899, which is today kept in the State Archive – Silistra. It is mentioned that the Silistra Danube Garden is fenced and has an entrance as an arch, there is a place for the music and the old fountain that exists and is still active today. The “dressing” of the town began with the planting of 2000 trees.
From the Balkan War (1912) until 1940, the development of the Danube Garden faded, but was still preserved by destruction. Its expansion began only in the early 1960s. In 1954, it spans 68 acres and in the 1980s it reaches its current size – 200 acres. 26 of them, through a quay wall, were taken to the park by the Danube River.
The construction of the Danube Park started in 1870 with the “praise of the Silistra authorities to create a Danube park with a casino and other places for entertainment,” published in a Turkish newspaper. Over the years, three major stages in the development of the park have been identified.
First stage: 1870-1958 – in 1890 its borders were published, and in 1897 the park environment with two arbors, fountain and restaurant of the river was renewed. In 1908 the first park designer was hired to care and develop the park and its landscaping. From Timisoara, Romania, valuable varieties of roses have been brought, and two years later, the first oak in the park has been planted to frame the entrance.
Second Stage: 1958-1972 – the park grew and developed as a recreational park (1958 cadastral plan).
Stage Three: 1972 – to date – a stage characterized by the construction of the quay wall, a city collector and active archaeological excavations. In this third stage, in 1971, the borders of “Durostorum-Drustar-Silistra” were outlined, and in 1991 the historical core of the park was declared a monument of garden and park art.
After 2000, the historical core of the park was repaired and renovated in several stages, the theatrical playground “Old Town” was built, the cultural heritage was restored, preserved, adapted and socialized after a number of approved projects, partial irrigation the green system.
In the 70s of the last century, the old part of the park and almost all its coastline were included in the architectural and archaeological reserve “Durostorum-Drustar-Silistra”. Nowadays, the adaptation of the excavations and the green system is completed in the best way, and the whole old part of the park has been reconstructed according to all contemporary requirements of the park building with the help and efforts of the Municipality of Silistra, European programs, foundations and private donors.
In 2006, under Beautiful Bulgaria Program, a complete reconstruction of the central part of the park was made, an elegant approach to the Danube was provided at every level of the river.
At present under the project “Green and Affordable Urban Environment” reconstruction is carried out for the entire western part.
The park has separate fields for sports – a fitness field and a combined field, over 20 rest areas, 3 playgrounds and quiet games zones. The Silistra Municipality provides free internet on the territory of the park.
There are many benches on the main promenade, which starts from the entrance of the park and continues up to the Danube. There you can find a variety of tree species. An attraction is the so-called “Tunnel”, which is a cluster of chestnuts in a tunnel-like shape.
One of the most famous objects in the Danube Park is the centuries-old oak tree. It was planted in 1910 when the Silistra park was reformed. According to eco-experts, the largest group of centennial trees in the territory of RIOSV-Rousse is of 78 summer oaks, which is evidence that in the past these lands were covered with oak forests. It is believed that the centenarian oak has healing properties. Citizens of Silistra believe that if you stand on the bench beside it with your hands on it, it adjusts the blood pressure. The Oak occupies an important place in the daily life of locals. There are always people gathered around it believing it gives them energy and strength.1
In 2012 the oak received the status of a protected site within the meaning of the Biodiversity Act. The old oak is also recorded in the registers of centuries-old trees. The trunk’s circumference at 1.2 m from the ground is 4.6 m, the height is 14 m and the diameter of the crown is 24 m. The tree is in good condition, has healthy branches and a completely covered root system.
The centenarian, nominated by Neviana Marinova from Silistra, is the winner of the “Tree with Root 2015″ competition, organized by the Eco-Community Foundation. The old oak has also presented Bulgaria in the international competition “European Tree of the Year 2016” in Brussels.2
In 2017 the Municipality of Silistra held the initiative “Share a Smile”. On Silistra’s Municipality Facebook page, locals have posted photos of the Danube Park. Each of the photos is accompanied by brief information or a story.3
The Silistra Danube Park is the first public park in the country.
Parks and Reserves
1 Trakia-tours.com. <http://trakia-tours.com/wp/fortresses/%D0%B4%D1%80%D1%8A%D1%81%D1%82%D1%8A%D1%80/> (24.04.2018)
2 Opoznai.bg. <https://opoznai.bg/view/vekoven-dab-silistra> (24.04.2018)
3 24chasa.bg. <https://www.24chasa.bg/region/article/6401400> (24.04.2018)