Introduction and facts
In Northeastern Bulgaria, the hilly province Targovishte is home to several wineries. The average altitude is about 200 metres above sea level. The sunny hills are excellent for growing grapes. One of the best-known wineries is LVP Vinprom Targovishte. Many white wines come from this area, yet there's red wines as well. Likewise, there's the famous Targovishte rakia. Just 125 kilometres west of Varna, the city is close to the coast. It has a continental climate and a lot of sun. Summers are hot and dry. There are, however, cold winters with strong winds. Obviously, the city of Targovishte is the capital of the province Targovishte. The province has the third-lowest number of inhabitants in Bulgaria. These statistics are from 32.12.2016, I pulled them from the National Statistics Institute (NSI). Click the XLS file in the center of that page to get a nice report. The five provinces with the fewest habitants, ascending, are as follows:
Targovishte city, including adjacent villages, has 54428 inhabitants. This means Targovishte is a relatively small provincial city. It has a relaxed and cosy atmosphere, there's some nice markets where fruits and vegetables grown in the province are sold. Even the name refers to the city's past as a regional center - 'targ' from the slavic word for 'trade' and the suffix '-ishte', thus Targovishte stands for 'market town'. As you can see in the pictures below, the center of Targovishte is nice and leafy. There's a large pedestrian area to walk around. If you want a good first impression, check out this great video.
Old quarter 'Varosha'
The actual part with remaining traditional houses is located around the 'Temple Uspenie Pr. Bogoroditsa'. Just find this church in Google and walk around a bit, there's some Bulgarian restaurants as well! The old center is called 'Varosha'. There's some interesting museums; such as the Hadzhiangelova Kashta, a historical house now turned into an ethnographic museum.
Another interesting museum is the Slaveikovo Uchilishte (Slaveikovo School). Locals thought it to be important to work on their children's education and had two masters from Tryavna, Dimitar Sergyuv and Gencho Kanev, build the school. Initially, the school was named after St. Sedmochislenitsi. Then, Petko R. Slaveykov, a famous poet, publicist and public figure, helped design the interior. The school was then quickly referred to by his name. The building functioned as a school for a hundred years and was then turned into a museum. If you visit, you can get good impression on what an old school was like. You can sit in the wooden benches and observe some artefacts, you will definitely see something interesting.
Bulgaria's Historical Foundation
The Northeast of Bulgaria is a very historical region. The rolling plains and rocky plateaus have been home to several civilizations many centuries ago. In the area, there's the archaeological site Missionis, where excavations were still being done in 2016. It's a roman pagan temple. Here's a good Bulgarian article about it. A bit farther, you find Shumen, the Madara Horseman, the ancient site Abritus and the First Bulgarian Capital Pliska. In addition, the Second Bulgarian Capital Veliki Preslav should be visited. This means that you can easily do a good tour of ancient Bulgaria, for example with starting point Varna. You can combine it with a visit to the coast, for example Varna. In addition, coming from Sofia, you could choose to visit Yambol, Zheravna, Sliven and Shumen.
At the location of current Targovishte there were once Thracian and then Roman settlements. However, the place was already inhabited during the Copper Age (5th millenium BC). Then, during the era of the First Bulgarian Empire, it grew to be a Bulgarian town. Yet, because of the old capital Veliki Preslav nearby, the town didn't grow much. Only when the capital was changed to Veliko Tarnovo, Targovishte steadily grew. It was at that time already on a main road leading to Veliko Tarnovo, so it started developing into a center for trade.
Then, during the Ottoman Era, the city was still a regional center for trade (called Eski Cuma - Old Bazaar in Turkish). It grew to be quite an important city - even known outside the Ottoman Empire. Eventually, after the Second World War and during Communism, Industrialization impacted the city.
What else there is to do
You should have no problem finding accommodation in Targovishte and the surrounding area. One example is the modern Hotel Idol, right near the center. If you stay in the province for a while, you will find many surprisingly nice places to visit. To find a list, visit this great website.