The administrative district of Stara Zagora is located in Central Bulgaria and occupies an area of 5,150 sq.km. The district includes parts of the Thracian Plane, parts of Sredna Gora Mountain, the Southern slopes of Stara Planina and the Kazanlak Valley. Once inhabited by Thracians, Ancient Greeks, Romans, Slavs, Ottomans, and Bulgarians, the area is totally unique.
It is described as the ‘city of lime trees’, famous for its US style parallel street design, parks, theatres, restaurants, opera, museums, shopping, poets, natural thermal hot springs, culture and contains the world famous Valley of the Roses that produces 80% of the worlds rose oil.
Stara Zagora is one of Bulgaria’s most modern contemporary towns and an important industrial, cultural and education center with successful private and secondary schools, technical schools and specialised language schools, research and cultural Institutes, and is the home of the Thracian University.
Stara Zagora is one of Bulgaria’s fastest growing Municipalities. Regional industries include metals, electronics, power generation, chemicals, manufacturing, food processing, wine, brewing and textiles.
Many of the world-famous tourist agencies present Bulgaria, and Stara Zagora Region in particular, as a tourist destination providing alternative tourism opportunities in combination with visits to historical and archaeological sites and monasteries. Bulgaria\\\'s territory has been part of ancient cultures and civilisations, namely the Thracian, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman empires.
The oldest city in Europe
One city, seven names and 8,000 years of history
Stara Zagora is a modern city with contemporary urban planning, developed economy and a rich cultural life. The city has an extremely favourable geographical location, situated in the central part of South Bulgaria, and is the crossing point of European Pan European Transport Corridors 4, 8 and 9. It is one of the biggest cities in the country, the climate is moderately continental with strong Mediterranean influences along the valley of the Maritsa river.
The first people of Stara Zagora were farming communities at the end of the 7th millennium BC. Their settlements, inhabited over three millennia, are now settlement mounds. Within the boundaries of the modern city there are five prehistoric settlings that reflect this period. Human settlement in Stara Zagora continued through the years of the Thracian Kings.
In the 4th millennium BC there was a significant Old Thracian settlement, known as Beroe and from the beginning of the 2nd Century until the middle of 3rd Century it used its own currency. A forum and necropolis, streets, public and private buildings, and colourful floor mosaics have been excavated from the ancient city.
After founding the Bulgarian state the city started to establish itself as a military strategic and administrative centre. Located in a border region it served the political interests of Bulgaria and Byzantium. The most significant medieval archeological monuments in the city date back to the 6th and 7th Century period. Among these are the five stone embossments of animals. Beroe kept its status of a national administrative centre within the borders of the Bulgarian state until the rule of tsar Ivan Assen.
During later Turkish rule, the city was renamed originally Eski Hissar, then Eski Zagresi Hissar and Eski Zagra. The last being the official name until 1871.
The city became an important economic and cultural centre and towards the end of the 1850’s the Bulgarian name of Stara Zagora was officially adopted and the Stara Zagora district was established.
During the Liberation War, on 31 July 1877, the first great clash between the two warring powers, Turkey and Russia, took place near Stara Zagora. As a result of that battle the city was set on fire and destroyed, a great part of its population was massacred.
On 5 October 1879 a symbolic foundation stone was laid and the reconstruction of Stara Zagora began. It was carried out according to a preliminary plan made by the Czech civil engineer Lubor Bayer, who turned Stara Zagora into the first Bulgarian Post-Liberation city with contemporary urban planning. In 1895, the foundations of the magnificent “Ayazmo” forestry park were laid, which until today is one of the finest parks in the city.
Economic growth and development of Stara Zagora began and it was nominated the district and county centre. The first provincial opera and radio station were opened here, organized music and theatre life was in full swing, and one of the first tourist societies in the country was inaugurated. It is known as the city of lime trees, artists and poets.
Today Stara Zagora is one of the most dynamically developing cities in Bulgaria. The city is an educational centre with many secondary schools, vocational and specialized high schools, numerous scientific and cultural institutions and the internationally renowned Trakia University.
Visitors to Stara Zagora are able to see numerous museums and specialised exhibitions; there is a permanent Art gallery making it possible to become familiar with all the important periods in the development of contemporary Bulgarian art. In its history the city has been resurrected many times and has survived many changes; always been a centre of economic, political and cultural life.
Stara Zagora is one of the most modern contemporary cities in Bulgaria offering a multitude of opportunities for tourism, modern spa treatments, sports and unforgettable encounters with the thousand-year-old development of the region. A city that had dealt with the challenges of time and confidently looks to the future