Lom is a town in northwestern Bulgaria, part of Montana Province, situated on the right bank of the Danube, close to the estuary of the Lom River. It is 162 km north of Sofia, 56 km southeast of Vidin, 49 km north of Montana and 42 km west of Kozloduy. It is the second most important Bulgarian port on the Danube after Rousse.
Antiquity and Middle Ages
Lom was founded by the Thracians under the name of Artanes in Antiquity. After them the Romans called the fortress and the town Almus, from where the name of the today's town and of the Lom River comes.
There are no reports proving that there existed a big settlement in the Middle Ages. It was not until Ottoman rule that it enlarged but for a long time it was under the shadow of the dominant towns of Vidin, Nikopol and Silistra. It is assumed that the Ottoman village was founded in 1695 by Kara Mustafa and Murad Bey, who were defeated at Vienna in 1683 and who came here sailing rafts along the Danube.
Ottoman rule and Bulgarian National Revival
The name Lom Palanka was mentioned for a first time in 1704. The settlement then called "palanka" was something between a village and a town in size and importance. In 1798 Lom suffered from brigand raids. With the development of shipping along the Danube after 1830, the importance of the town grew. The road to Sofia contributed to its progress and turned it into a main export port to Vienna (Austria). By 1869 there were 120 shops, 148 trade offices, 175 food shops, 34 coffee bars, 6 hotels and 2 mills. The town was centred around the old Kale (fortress), which was entered through three kapii (gates) — Vidinska, Belogradchishka, Sofiyska. The tradesmen from Lom offered goods at the biggest fairs in the region and beyond. In 1880 there were 7 500 inhabitants in the town.
Lom is proud of its traditions from the period of the Bulgarian National Revival. In 1856 the first community centre in Bulgaria was founded in the town, the first women's society in the country was elso established in 1858 and one of the first theatre performances took place in the town. Krastyu Pishurka, a noted educator, also worked in Lom.
Lom, as many other Bulgarian towns, has had a poor infrastructure since the fall of communism. Most of the streets and houses are in a poor condition. Despite this, little has been done by the local government to solve the problem. Other major issues include poverty, which is extremely high mainly due to the very low rate of unemployment. An increase in the population of the elderly and the Roma minority only contributes to the decrease of job opportunities as young people seek to leave the town in search of better education and life prospects.
Among the remarkable landmarks are: Plazha (The Beach) - the 500 m. long pebbled beach at the bank of the Danube River, 3 km. from the centre of the town; Town Museum of History, housed in the building of the old town-hall; Preserved foundations of the antique fortress Almus; Postoyanstvo, the oldest community centre in Bulgaria; Building of the former School of Pedagogy; Borunska Church; Monument of Tseko Voivoda (1807-1881), a participant in the battles for liberation of Serbia and proclaimed by the Serbian government to be a voyvoda (revolutionary leader).