SHUMLA (Bulgarian Shumen, Turkish Shumna), a fortified town of Bulgaria, 50 m. W. of Varna, on the railway from Trnovo to Shumla Road (a name given to a station on the Varna-Rustchuk railway by the English builders of the line). Pop. (1906) 22,290, about one-third being Moslems. The town is built within a cluster of hills, northern outliers of the eastern Balkans, which curve round it on the west and north in the shape of a horse-shoe. A rugged ravine intersects the ground longitudinally within the horse-shoe ridge. From Shumla roads radiate northwards to the Danubian fortresses of Rustchuk and Silistria and to the Dobrudja, southwards to the passes of the Balkans, and eastwards to Varna and Baltchik. Shumla has, therefore, been one of the most important military positions in the Balkan Peninsula. A broad street and rivulet divide the upper quarter, Gorni-Mahle, from the lower, Dolni-Mahle. In the upper quarter is the magnificent mausoleum of Jezairli Hassan Pasha, who in the 18th century enlarged the fortifications of Shumla. The principal mosque, with a cupola of very interesting architecture, forms the centre of the Moslem quarter. The town has an important trade in grain and wine, besides manufactures of silk, red and yellow slippers, ready-made clothes, richly embroidered dresses for women, and copper and tin wares.
In 811 Shumla was burned by the emperor Nicephorus, and in 1087 it was besieged by Alexius I. In 1388 the sultan Murad I. forced it to surrender to the Turks. In the 18th century it was enlarged and fortified. Three times, in 1774, 1810 and 1828, it was unsuccessfully attacked by Russian armies. The Turks consequently gave it the name of Gazi (" Victorious "). In 1854 it was the headquarters of Omar Pasha and the point at which the Turkish army concentrated (see CRIMEAN WAR). On the 22nd of June 1878 Shumla capitulated to the Russians.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)