Ivan Shishman (Bulgarian: Иван Шишман) ruled as emperor (tsar) of Bulgaria in Tarnovo from 1371 to 3 June 1395. The authority of Ivan Shishman was limited to the central parts of the Bulgarian Empire. His indecisive and inconsistent policy did little to prevent the fall of his country under Ottoman rule. In 1393 the Ottoman Turks seized the capital Tarnovo. Two years later, they captured Ivan Shishman's last strongholds and executed him.
Despite the military and political weakness, during his rule Bulgaria remained a major cultural center and the ideas of Hesychasm dominated the Bulgarian Orthodox Church. Patriarch Evtimiy of Tarnovo became the most prominent cultural figure of the country. A number of texts were written or translated and an orthographic reform of the Bulgarian language was issued with synchronised rules. After the fall of Bulgaria, a number of scholars found refuge in the other Orthodox countries and brought the achievements of the Bulgarian culture to them.
His reign was inextricably connected to the fall of Bulgaria under Ottoman domination. Although there exist no historical sources which prove that he took active role in the defence of the country, in Bulgarian folklore Ivan Shishman is portrayed as a legendary and heroic ruler who desperately fought against the overwhelming Ottoman forces. There are numerous sites, geographical features and fortresses named after him throughout Bulgaria.