RULERS → Its monogram is supposed to be connected with Michael Shishman of Bulgaria’s name…
HOLDERS → Its possession is mainly related to Bulgaria and the Roman Empire…
PERIODS → It has outlived two defined periods and the present remains date back to the Middle Ages…
BIBLIOGRAPHY → Read more of it in my selection here…
- This page is still improving – new information is on to be added.
(administrative map of the region)
The castle is located in south Bulgaria, Haskovo Province, Svilengrad municipality, just next to the north-eastern part of the village of Matochina at the border area with Turkey. The distance to the frontier is about 150 m.
The castle is situated on a neck in the southern end of a plateau that is part of the southern flanks of Sakar Mountain to the right side of the river Tundzha, where it leaves Bulgaria.
There is one way to reach the castle.
(plan map of the castle)
There are only evidences for two defined stages in the building of the structure until so far.
- LATE ANTIQUITY
At first here stood an ancient fortress which is assumed to be Bukelon, famous from the seige under Edrine in 378.
There are no evidences for the founding and very rare for the existence of the fortified settlement (due to the destruction and the non-observed plateau). The high plateau is isolated from all sides but a narrow strip connecting it with the adjoining land, and therefore is naturally fortified. It was crowned with a wall, assumed to have been destroyed during the uprising of Goths in 378. Its remains stretch beyond the castle reaching the neck about the point it is intersected by a slot in the narrowest part and a falling bridge is supposed to have existed there. Structure of the wall is hardly observed; its masonry is a mixture of crumbled/shattered stone and brick layers of four rows to what is visible from the destruction. Therefore it is assumed to have been built in the late antiquity. Whether the stronghold was destroyed or survived the uprising of Goths, or was ruined during the following attacks of Avars, Slavs or other invaders cannot be ascertained.
- MIDDLE AGES
The present remains are of a later medieval fortress which is assumed to date back to the beginning of the XIV c. It was built as a self-defending tower over the ruins of the previous.
The castle guarded the approach to Edirne. The present structure even resembles a peculiar barrier.
Vukelon | Vukil
The castle was identified with Bukelon (by Konstantin Jireček and Hermann and Karel Škorpil) and therefore its name. During the Ottoman period it was known after the name of the adjoining village of Fikla/Fikel (present Matochina).
Valens of the Roman Empire (364-378)
Michael Shishman of Bulgaria (1323-1330)
Mehmed IV of the Ottoman Empire (1648-1687)
Romans, Middle Ages
- LATE ANTIQUITY
- SECOND BULGARIAN KINGDOM
The information on this page is gathered, observed and systematized by the author with the kind collaboration of Simeon Nikolov. For the used material and more sources of the castle see in the author’s Bibliography selection.