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When Slavs populated the region, they gave the settlement its contemporary name (Pleven is derived either from the Slavic word "plevnya" ("barn") or from "plevel", meaning "weed", which share the same root).
The name was first mentioned in a charter by Hungarian king Stephen V in 1270 in connection to a military campaign in the Bulgarian lands.
Internationally known for the Siege of Plevna of 1877, it is today a major economic centre of the Bulgarian Northwest and Central North and the third largest city of Northern Bulgaria after Varna and Rousse.
The city has seen a number of major foreign investments in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
In 1825, the first secular school in the town was opened, followed by the first girls' school in Bulgaria in 1840, as well as the first boys' school a year later.
Pleven was the place where the Bulgarian national hero Vasil Levski established the first revolutionary committee in 1869, part of his national revolutionary network.
The city's central location in Northern Bulgaria defines its importance as a big administrative, economic, political, cultural and transport centre.
Pleven is located 170 km away from the capital city of Sofia, 320 km west of the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast and 50 km south of the Danube.
The river Vit flows near the town and the tiny Tuchenitsa river (commonly known in Pleven as Barata, literally "The Streamlet") crosses it.