Coordinates: 42°56′14″N 26°56′22″E / 42.93722°N 26.93944°E / 42.93722; 26.93944

Battle of the Rishki Pass
Part of the Byzantine-Bulgarian Wars
Rishki pass.jpg

Rishki pass
Result Bulgarian victory
Bulgarian Empire Byzantine Empire
Commanders and leaders
Vinekh Constantine V[1]
12,000 30,000
Casualties and losses
500-700 10-15,000

The Battle of the Rishki Pass (Bulgarian: Битката при Ришкия проход) or Battle of Veregava took place in the pass of the same name, in Stara Planina, Bulgaria in 759. It was fought between the Bulgarian Empire and the Byzantine Empire. The result was a Bulgarian victory.[1][2]

Origins of the conflict

Between 755 and 775, the Byzantine emperor Constantine V organised nine campaigns to eliminate Bulgaria and although he managed to defeat the Bulgarians several times, he never achieved his goal.

The battle

In 759, the emperor led an army towards Bulgaria, but Khan Vinekh had enough time to bar several mountain passes. When the Byzantines reached the Rishki Pass (identification tentative, originally εἰς Βερεγάβαν, εἰς τήν κλεισȣ́ραν ‘to the klisura of Veregava’) they were ambushed and completely defeated. The Byzantine historian Theophanes the Confessor wrote that the Bulgarians killed the strategos of Thrace Leo, the commander of Drama, and many soldiers.


Khan Vinekh did not take the favourable opportunity to advance on enemy territory and sued for peace. This act was very unpopular among the nobles and the Khan was murdered in 761.


  1. ^ a b Rise and Fall of the First Bulgarian Empire - Zenith of Bulgaria and Serbia - Turkish Conquest. In: Cambridge Medieval History, vol. IV, chaps. VIII - XVII - XVIII.
  2. ^ Miller, William. The Rise and Fall of the First Bulgarian Empire.