MEDIEVAL FORTRESS RUSOKASTRON AND SANCTUARY "RUSINA DUPKA"
Municipality Kameno, Rusokastro village, locates on 20 km southwest from Burgas:
5 km along the republican road 79 direction Burgas-Lesovo border crossing to Turkey, from the junction in Konstantinovo /old name Novoseltsi/ drive further 15 km to Rusokastro.
Rusokastro fortress was built in the 5th century on a strategic height - a geological phenomenon, suited for monitoring the main roads of North-East Thracia coming from North and South, as well as all of the eastern passes of Stara Planina (the Balkan) and from North the Black Sea leading to the Bosporus and Constantinople. The earliest written evidence of the settlement existence here, comes from an epigraphic monument from the 6th century dedicated to the Byzantine commander Justin. According to the Bulgarian Professor in history Mr. Beshevliev, General Yustinian was a great-grandson of the byzantine emperor Yustinian the First (518-527), who fought the great wars against the avaren.
For the first time the name Rusokastro is used from the Arab geographer El Idrisi in his work “Geography of the world”. He describes the village of Rusokastro as a large and crowded city. With this name the town was included in the descriptions of Byzantine chroniclers, mostly related to historical events in the 14th century.
On July 18, 1332 Rusokastro became scene of a spectacular battle ended with the victory of the Bulgarian Tsar Ivan Alexander over the Byzantine army led by Emperor Andronicus.
The castle/fortress was destroyed during the Ottoman campaigns in 1443 and is one of the largest forts in South Bulgaria, which guarded the Bulgarian border ridge Erkesiya during 10th-11th century.
Inside the fortress existed a monastery named "St. George", whose creation dates back in the 5th-6th century. In 2007 the new church "St. George the Victorious" emerged over the ruins of the old monastery. The church restoration was financed with donations from Foundation Rusokastron.
The local Thracian settlers started to use the sanctuary Rusina already in the 2nd millennium BC. It was dedicated to the Mother Goddess.
The tradition in the village has retained old songs and legends associated with a horrific dragon who lived in the cave next to the sanctuary. One day he fell in love with a beautiful girl named Rusa /Rasalia and took her to the cave. Her tears were running down the rock and filled the small well, whose water even today is considered to have healing powers.
Imovable archaeological cultural heritage of national importance. Archaeological digs at the place have been conducted yearly from 2006 to now.
The total area of the fortress is about 300 decares (300 000 sq.m).
Visitors can see the excavated parts of the fortress wall, citadel / medieval castle, the western gate and the church St. George on the upper terrace of the hill.
A visitors pathway that starts from the church leads to the cave-sanctuary Rusina dupka.
An interesting feature here is the fort entrance through the extreme northern foot of the hill. This is now possible through the secret passage (discovered in 2010) used by defenders of the fort to supply water from the river and conduct surprise attacks against invaders.
The site needs restoration works, exhibition of the studied findings, construction of infrastructure for access, guides, lectures and other forms of information.
Possible various interactive forms, horse racing, martial arts presentation, tourist guidance, extreme climbing, caving and more.
Resurrection of the old tradition for celebrating St. George Day at the terrace in front of the church "St. George the Victorious" with a small fair etc.
The fortress and the sanctuary are situated on a hill, 3 km north of the village. Rusokastrenska River curls around the site on three places. The fortress locates on top of the hill and it can be reached by surrounding dirt road or through a cut into the rock path from the south side.
The sanctuary was established in a small karst cave opening at the north side of a steep hill. It can be reached from formed in the rock stairway and secure visitors path through the territory of the fortress.