The town of Stara Zagora is the centre of the district. It has a population of 142 000 inhabitants. The town lies at a distance of 233 km southeast of Sofia. Stara Zagora is a municipal centre with 50 component settlements. The town is situated at an altitude of 140 m on the southern slope of the Sarnena Sredna Gora by the Bedechka River. Stara Zagora is one of the ancient towns in Bulgaria.
Beroe is the first name of the town founded in V c. B.C. The town got its name from the Thracians. From this period there are preserved Neolithic settlements - the oldest and most well-preserved in the whole of Europe. The name of the town means "iron" because iron was obtained in the ore mines of Stara Zagora. The mine "Mechi kladenetz" dates from IV c. B.C. It is the oldest copper mine in Europe. Augusta Trayana is the Roman town founded by Emperor Mark Ulpius Trayan (98-117). The emperor liked the town so much that he wanted it to have his name. So the town was fortified with powerful defense facilities and became the second biggest in Thrace Province. Augusta Trayana was a centre of an administrative district and had the right to mint its own bronze coins. Today one can see the ruins of an amphitheatre, Roman thermal baths, part of the main trade street and the western gate of the town. In 684 the town was part of the Byzantine Empire. It was dedicated to empress Irina and was renamed into Irinopolis. Empress Irina restored its fortified walls. The town entered the limits of the Bulgarian state after its conquering by khan Krum in 812. The Bulgarians called the town Boruy, coming from the Thracian name of Beroe. In 969 the settlement was again conquered by the Byzantines. It was later returned to the limits of Bulgaria as a token of gratitude from the Byzantine emperor to the Bulgarian khan Tervel who helped the Byzantines to defeat the 30 000 Arab army, which laid siege to Constantinople. During the period of XI-XIV c. the town was a Bulgarian fortress and in XIII-XIV c. it was a district centre. In 1364 the town was captured by the Ottomans which renamed it to Eski Zara and made it an administrative centre. During the Revival Period the town was an important craftsman's centre. The Eski mosque, built in XV c. is preserved from this period. The town got its present-day name in 1871 at an Ecclesiastical Synod in Istanbul when the Stara Zagora eparchy was established. During the Russian-Turkish War from 1878 the town was burned down several times and lost one third of its population. After the Liberation the town was restored according to the city plan of an Austro-Hungarian architect.
The tourist sights of the town are: the churches "Saint Nikolay", "Saint Dimiter"(1743), "Saint Cyril and Methodius", "Sveta Bogoroditza"/Holy Virgin/, "Sveta Troitza"/Holy Trinity/, the remains of Augusta Trayana, the ancient forum, the late ancient times mosaics, the history museum, the art gallery.
15 km west of Stara Zagora is located the village of Ladzhite, known also as the Stara Zagora Mineral Baths. The village has a population of 300 inhabitants. It is a national spa resort. The mineral water is hydrocarbon-calcium-magnesium one with a capacity of 18 litres per second and a temperature of 51,5oC. The mineral water is suitable for healing diseases of the locomotory system, the peripheral nervous system, liver and other diseases. In the village there are also remains of a Roman bath from II c. built for the inhabitants of Augusta Trayana.
The spa resort by the village of Yagoda is located at a distance of 16 km from Stara Zagora. The mineral waters have a temperature of 35-40oC and are used for healing diseases of the locomotory system, nervous and gynecological diseases.
Other famous cultural-historic sights on the territory of the district are: the national park-museum Shipka, the temple-monument "Rozhdestvo Hristovo"/Jesus' birth/, the monastery in Kazanlak etc.
In the Stara Zagora District are located the following natural landmarks: the reserves "Sokolna" (Central Balkan), "Elenova gora", "Kamenitza", "Leshnitza" and part of the famous Rose Valley.
The district of Stara Zagora is famous for the production of wine as well. The most well-known wineries in the region are: Stara Zagora, Chirpan, Kazanlak, Oryahovitza and Svoboda.
The archaeological reserve "Augusta Trayana - Vereya" has preserved the remains of ancient settlements and is located in the central part of the town. There are remains of ancient streets, gates, towers, thermal baths and other buildings.
The ancient forum dates back to II-IV c. and is one of the most monumental facilities in the ancient town. There is a preserved original late Ancient Times mosaics from a rich housing building. It is determined by the specialists as one of the best examples of the Roman art.
The History museum of Stara Zagora has precious collections of prehistoric ceramics and plastics, ancient glass and bronze, Thracian chariots, medieval plastics etc.
The Bereketska mound is situated in the Kolyo Ganchev housing quarter. It is 17 m high with a diameter of the foundation 250 m.
The copper mines of Stara Zagora are the most ancient copper mines in Europe. They date from IV millennia B.C. The discovered galleries reach a depth of up to 18 meters. From the obtained copper were made copper objects which were afterwards exported. According to scientists from the mines were obtained over 1 000 tons of copper and examples of it were found in present-day Ukraine. From the copper obtained from the "Mechi kladenetz" mine were made the vessels of the famous Karbunovo treasure. The copper mines lie at a distance of 7 km from Stara Zagora.
The Geo Milev's House houses the works of the poet, artist and publisher Geo Milev (1890-1925). He is a famous Bulgarian poet, publicist and translator.
The town of Chirpan has a population of 17 000 inhabitants and is the municipal centre of 20 settlements. It lies at a distance of 200 km southeast of Sofia and 37 km southwest of the district town of Stara Zagora. The town is located at the southern foot of the Chirpan Elevations of the Upper Thracian Valley. Chirpan is the home town of the Bulgarian poet Peyo Yavorov, the artists Georgi Danchov - the Zograph and Nikola Manev, the actor Ivan Dimov and the violin player Emil Kamilarov.
The municipality has a rich ancient history obvious from the excavations in the Karasura site. Karasura is a unique archaeological site located in the northeastern part of the town with traces dating from the prehistoric times to the Middle Ages.
The town of Chirpan is considered as the successor of the Roman road station Sherampol located by the Roman town of Pizus (the village of Rupkite). Sherampol has lied at a distance of 7 km from the present-day town. The present day town originated by the spring Tekira under the name of Dzherpan. During the Revival Period the town was an agrarian centre. During XV-XVII c. it was mentioned in the Ottoman documents. The town was liberated in 1878. After the Liberation there was a boom in the vine-growing and the wine making industry. Many cotton factories, mills and oil factories were also built.
The tourist sights of the town are: the museum of Peyo Yavorov, the art gallery of Nikola Manеv, the house of Dancho - the Zograph, the churches "Sveta Bogoroditza"/Holy Virgin/ (1846), "Saint Cyril and Methodius", the remains from a Roman road station, the Chirpan Koriya, the "Yagach" hunting park, the "Petrified Wedding" phenomenon in the village of Medovo.
The house of Peyo Yavorov in Chirpan represents the lifestyle of the great Bulgarian poet and playwright. He is one of the greatest masters of the Bulgarian love lyrics. He took part in the national liberation fights in Macedonia. In the house of the poet there is a sculpture "Mother Macedonia" by the sculptor Ivan Lazarov.
The Yellow House in Chirpan is a donation of the artists Nikola Manev. He is a famous Bulgarian artist, who lived and worked in France. It houses the art gallery.
The house of Georgi Danchov - the Zograph in Chirpan is an example of the Revival Period architecture and is the home place of the great Revival-period artist. The Zograph is a Bulgarian painter, graphic artist, public figure and one of the first photographers in Bulgaria. Georgi Danchov was the chairman of the revolutionary committee in Chirpan organized by Vasil Levski. He was arrested and sent to exile in Diarbekir (a jail of the Ottoman Empire) from where he managed to escape to Russia in 1876.
The town of Kazanlak has a population of 53 000 inhabitants and is the municipal centre of 19 settlements. The town is situated in the Kazanlak field at the southern foot of Stara Planina. Kazanlak lies at a distance of 34 km northwest of the district centre. The town is a famous centre for the production of rose oil. The oil-bearing rose which was imported from India through Persia, Syria and Turkey has found favorable conditions for growing in this part of Bulgaria. In 1820 in Kazanlak was opened the first rose trade's house. The Kazanlak's rose oil won gold medals at exhibitions in Paris, London, Philadelphia, Antwerp, Liette and Milan. However, the world fame of the town is the Kazanlak's Thracian tomb. It is included in the UNESCO Cultural Heritage List. The tomb was built in IV-III c. B.C. It is supposed that here was buried a Thracian ruler. The murals are of the highest artistic value.
The Thracian town of Sevtopolis-centre of the Odrysi tribe, at the end of IV c. and the beginning of III c. B.C., is discovered in the period of 1948-1954. Sevtopolis has been built by Sevt III as a capital with a fortified wall, straight streets and a citadel at the southeastern part. Here were discovered coins with the image of Sevt III, ceramic objects, silver and bronze decorations. Today Sevtopolis is located at the bottom of the Koprinka dam-lake. The many tombs discovered in the recent years are the reason the region to be called the Valley of the Thracian Kings.
The present-day town originated at the beginning of XV c. In documents from 1430 the settlement is described with the name of Akche Kazanlak, meaning "the beautiful Kazanlak". During the Revival Period the town was a merchant, craftsman's and educational centre. Kazanlak was liberated in 1878.
Kazanlak is the home town of the composers Emanuil Manolov and Petko Staynov, the writer Chudomir, the artists Dechko Uzunov, Nenko Balkanski and Ivan Milev.
The tourist sights of the town are: the history museum, the ethnographical complex, the art gallery, the museum of the rose, the houses of Dechko Uzunov and Nenko Balkanski, the churches "Saint Joan the Forefather" (1844), "Sveta Troitza"/Holy Trinity/ (1834), the Nunnery (1828), the Kazanlak's Thracian Tomb.
Every year in Kazanlak is held the Rose Festival which is celebrated with choosing "The Queen of Roses", demonstrations of rose-picking and rose distilling rituals, performance of many Thracian songs and dances.
The Kazanlak mineral baths are located at a distance of 5 km southeast of Kazanlak.
The Thracian Tomb was discovered in 1944. The frame of the tomb consists of a brick burial chamber with a bell-shaped dome of 3,25 m height and 2,65 m diameter of the foundation and a diameter of the truncated top of 0,47 m. The entrance of the tomb is a rectangular door, formed of huge hewn stone blocks, which passes into a brick tunnel leading to the burial chamber. The corridor has a rectangular shape of 1,95 m length, 1,12 m width and a height of 2,24 m.
The whole brick frame of the tomb is covered with a stone lining of chiseled stones fixed with clay. The tomb is world famous for its murals. The walls of the corridor and the chamber are covered with white smooth plaster over which there is a picturesque decoration occupying an area of 40 m2. There are plant and architectural ornaments in the murals. The mural painting in the burial chamber is of extremely high artistic value. The Kazanlak's Thracian Tomb is included in the UNESCO Cultural Heritage List.
The history museum of Kazanlak has a collection of 70 000 exhibits. The museum has five sections. For many years the famous Bulgarian writer Dimiter Chorbadzhiyski - Chudomir has been the director of the museum.
The art gallery of Kazanlak is located in the same building as the history museum. In its collection there are icons, Revival-period engravings, paintings and works of the applied arts.
The ethnographic complex "Kulata"/The tower/ demonstrates some of the old crafts. The exhibits are displayed in two restored houses from XIX c.
The church "Saint Joan the Forefather" was built in 1844. During the Russian-Turkish War of 1877-1878 the murals of the church were destroyed. In 1936 the murals were painted again by the artists Stefan Ivanov, Nikola Marinov, Dechko Uzunov, Mara Chorbadzhiyska (wife of Chudomir).
The monastery "Sveta Bogoroditza"/Holy Virgin/ was established in the period of 1864-1866. The monastery survived the horrors of the Turkish violence during the Liberation War when the church and the housing buildings were used as warehouses. After the Liberation the monastery was restored and widened with new housing buildings.
The Ostrusha Mound in the region of the town of Shipka has the biggest cult tomb facility dating from IV c. It occupies an area of 100 m2. There are 6 chambers in two lines of three chambers oriented to the east-west. The central chamber has the form of a sarcophagus hewn from a monolithic stone block with a weight of 50 tons. The sarcophagus has a covering tile imitating the roof of a temple. There are murals of rare artistic value, a silver jug, a silver phial, an iron breast piece of gold coated silver cover and other objects. The tomb was most probably a tomb of Sabazius.
The Valley of the Thracian Kings is a region in the Kazanlak area. During the First millennia Before Christ here lived the Odrysi Thracian tribe. During archaeological research of the site were discovered 1 000 mounds of which only 100 are studied. In 1992-1997 were discovered 11 sub-mound facilities - Zapryanov's mound, the Little Mound, the Big Arsenal mound, the Ostrusha mound, the Helvetzia mound, the Shushmanetz mound, the Sarafov's mound, the Sasho's mound, the Slavcho's mound, the Gryphons mound and the Gabarevo mound.
The Sasho's mound on the territory of the village of Sheinovo dates from III c. B.C. The Thracian tomb consists of a corridor and two chambers along the main line. The tomb is built of huge blocks of white, red, green and black stone. The buried Thracian ruler is placed on a stone bed. The tomb is decorated with murals along the side walls from the entrance to the burial chamber. There have been discovered a knitted iron chain armor, a bronze helmet, an iron sword, a gold fibula and others.
The Little Mound on the territory of the village of Shipka consists of a corridor and a rectangular chamber. The tomb dates from the second half of the IV c. B.C. A Thracian ruler has been buried in the chamber. There have been discovered symbols of royal power, gold and silver jewelry, vessels and other objects.
The Big Arsenal Mound on the territory of the village of Sheinovo dates from the end of V c. and the beginning of IV c. B.C. It has a rectangular chamber of double-layer roof with a dome of stone slabs. On the floor there are three concentrating lines around a round stone symbolizing the sun, the sky, the earth and the underground life. In the tomb have been discovered horse's bones, gold and silver jewelry and other objects.
The "Svetitzata" mound dates from V c. B. C. It is a stone tomb-sarcophagus in which is buried a man (there are preserved fragments of a jaw and lower limbs). In the summer of 2004 there was discovered a unique gold mask of a man's face, a bronze chain armor, an iron curved sword and a knife, bronze arrows and other objects.
The Slavchov's mound in the village of Rozovo is a Thracian cult building dating from the beginning of IV c. B.C. It consists of a narthex and a burial chamber. The chamber has a semi-cylindrical vault. Here have been discovered armaments, jewellery and a scepter. The building was a mausoleum or a temple of a postmortem deified ruler.
The Griphons Mound on the territories of the villages of Shipka and Sheinovo is a similar cult building to the Big Arsenal mound. It dates from the end of V c. and the beginning of IV c. B.C. Many gold objects have been found in the mound.
The Shushmanetz Mound in the town of Shipka dates from V-IV c. B.C. It is built of stone blocks. It consists of a corridor, a narthex with a semi-cylindrical roof supported by a column and a round chamber with a dome.
The Zapryanov's Mound in the village of Dunavtzi imitates the cult tombs. The Thracian tomb dates from IV c. B.C. The corridor and the chamber are filled with stones. In the middle of the chamber there is an oval pit. In the Zapryanov's Mound was buried an armed warrior.
The Helvetzia Mound in the town of Shipka is a Thracian cult building dating from IV c. B.C. It consists of a wide corridor, a narthex and a rectangular chamber. The tomb is built of treated stone blocks. In the chamber there is a stone bed and benches by the walls. The facility was used as a temple.
The Sarafov's Mound in the village of Krun dates from IV -III c. B.C. It is a cult building with a stone corridor with a double-layer roof and two chambers built of bricks with a cover. The floors and the walls are painted in horizontal belts of red, pink, orange, black and purple.
The Gabarevo Mound in the village of Gabarevo is a Thracian tomb dating from V-IV c. B. C. It has a corridor and a rectangular chamber with a flat cover of 4 stone tiles.
The town of Shipka is part of the Kazanlak municipality. It lies at a distance of 12 km from the municipal centre on the southern slopes of Stara Planina. The town of Shipka has a population of 1 400 inhabitants. The region is specialized in the production of essential oil cultures and grains. During the Russian-Turkish Liberation War of 1877-1878 on the territory of the town were waged fierce fights.
Tourist sights are the temple-monument "Rozhdestvo Hristovo"/Jesus'Birth/ built to commemorate the killed Russian and Bulgarian soldiers, who took part in the Russian-Turkish Liberation war, the monument of liberty (in the village of Sheinovo), the remains of a Roman and medieval fortresses.
The Monument of Liberty is built on the top of the Shipka hill. It was built as a token of gratitude to the deceased Russian and Bulgarian soldiers who took part in the Liberation War. The monument was built in 1934 with money from the Bulgarian people. It is 31,5 m high. On the northern wall there is a bronze lion. On the other three walls are written the names of the settlements where the big battles were waged.
The Shipka Monastery "Rozhdestvo Hristovo"/Jesus Birth/ was built to commemorate the killed soldiers in the Russian-Turkish Liberation War. The architect of the church is Tomishenko. The money for its construction was gathered by donations from Russia under the initiative of Olga Skobeleva, the mother of the Russian general Skobelev. Active part in the donation campaign also took prince Ignatiev. The monastery was built in 1902 in the style of the Yaroslav clerical architecture. It is richly decorated and the domes are gold coated. There are 17 bells in the belfry. The church has a remarkable iconostasis and icons made by Russian masters. On the ground floor over 17 sarcophaguses one can read the names of the regiments which took part at the battles of Shipka and Sheinovo. Initially the monastery was Russian ownership but in 1934 it was given as a gift to Bulgaria.
The town of Pavel Banya has a population of about 3 000 inhabitants and is the municipal centre of 12 settlements. It lies at a distance of 55 km northwest of Stara Zagora. In the region of Pavel Banya are grown essential-oil cultures such as the oil-bearing rose, mint and lavender.
Near the town of Pavel Banya there are remains of an ancient settlement and Roman thermal baths. The town is a national spa centre. The mineral waters have a capacity of 15 litres per second and a temperature of 19-61,6oC. The mineral waters are suitable for healing plexitis, sciatica and radiculitis. In the region of the mineral springs were found remains of Roman thermal baths and an ancient Christian church. The present-day town originated after the Liberation (1878).
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The tourist sights of the town are: the church "Sveta Bogoroditza" /Holy Virgin/ and the fountain- monument of the perished soldiers. Pavel Banya is the home town of the opera singer Todor Mazarov.
The town of Radnevo has a population of 14 000 inhabitants. It is the municipal centre of 23 component settlements. It lies at a distance of 32 km southeast of the district town of Stara Zagora. On the territory of the Municipality of Radnevo were discovered 275 archaeological monuments of which 92 settlements, 5 settlement mounds, 114 burial mounds and 4 fortresses.
The first ethnic group which populated the region was the Thracian tribe of Pirogeri. On the territory of the municipality were also located the Roman road station of Arzus.
Until 1906 the settlement was known under the name of Radne Mahale. In 1964 it was proclaimed for a town.
The town of Maglizh has a population of about 4 000 inhabitants and is the municipal centre of 14 component settlements. It lies at a distance of 25 km north of Stara Zagora.
In the region of the municipality there are remains of Thracian settlements, a Roman tomb, a medieval fortress and over 30 burial mounds. The town has been known since XIII c. and is mentioned in the Ottoman documents from 1676. At a distance of 2,5 km from the town is located the Maglizh monastery.
The Maglizh Monastery "Saint Nikolay Chudotvoretz" was founded in the Middle Ages. The monastery was plundered and burned down several times during the period of the Ottoman yoke.
The town of Nikolaevo has a population of less than 3 000 inhabitants and is the municipal centre of 3 settlements. It lies at a distance of 39 km northeast of Stara Zagora. The municipality is specialized in the production of peaches, plums, sunflower, vines and fruits.
In the region of the municipality there are remains of Thracian settlements and a medieval fortress. The town is mentioned in an Ottoman document from 1472.
Tourist sight of the town is the church "St. St. Cyril and Methodius" built in 1897.
The town of Gurkovo has a population of 3 000 inhabitants and is the municipal centre of 10 settlements. It lies at a distance of 59 km from the district centre. In the region of the municipality are grown oil-bearing rose, lavender and fruits.
The town of Galabovo has a population of about 9 000 inhabitants. It is the municipal centre of 10 settlements. It lies at a distance of 45 km southeast of Stara Zagora. On the territory of the municipality have been discovered many housing buildings, ceramic objects telling for the main means of living of the first settlers - the growing, processing and preservation of agricultural products.
The true history of the settlement starts in 1873 when the construction of a 106 km long railway line begins. By the railway station begin to spring up pubs, shops and warehouses. The settlement is called Karabunar station.
The village of Opan is the municipal centre of 12 settlements in the Stara Zagora District. The village lies at a distance of 28 km southeast of the district centre and has a population of 500 inhabitants. On the territory of the village there are tomb mounds, traces of a Thracian settlement and a Roman settlement from III-IV c. In XVIII c. the village is mentioned in the Ottoman documents with the same name.
The village of Bratya Daskalovi is the municipal centre of 23 settlements in the Stara Zagora District. The village lies at a distance of 56 km southwest of Stara Zagora and has a population of 1 000 inhabitants. The municipality is specialized in the vine-growing, wine making, fruit and cotton growing. In the region of the village there are remains of an old settlement dating from III c. and Thracian tomb mounds.
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