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Stara Zagora

8000-year history

Stara Zagora
in the ancient times

The earliest traces of life on the territory of Stara Zagora date from the end of 7th - beginning of 6th millennium BC, when numerous prehistoric settlements occurred on the territory of today's city and its surroundings. The settlements and mounds found in the area are 120 so far, 5 of which are within the city limits. On one of them is studied and preserved on site, in a purpose-built museum, the best preserved two-storey Neolithic house in Europe, from the time of the early Neolithic (early 6th millennium BC).

The largest ore mining centre in Europe, where a huge amount of copper ore in the antiquity was mined in the 5th millennium BC, was located near Stara Zagora, in the vicinity of ​​Mechi Kladenets. The tools, jewelry, etc. made therefrom were exported to a large region of Southeast Europe, some of which even reached the middle course of the Volga River.


The names of Stara Zagora

In its thousand-year history, Stara Zagora has been called by many names, the most famous of which are: Augusta Trayana, Beroe, Vereya, Irinopolis, Boruy, Eski Zagra, Zheleznik and today's name: Stara Zagora.

Augusta Trayana is the name of the city, founded around 106-107 by Marcus Ulpius Traianus (98-117). During the rule of the Severan dynasty, the end of the 2nd - the middle of the 3rd century, it was one of the most beautiful and largest cities in the Roman province of Thrace, second in importance after Philippopolis, with the right to mint its own issues of bronze coins. It is called „The too brilliant city of the Trayans“

In the 4th century, the city under the name Beroe, became the centre of an independent Archbishopric, directly subordinated to the Patriarch of Constantinople and an important strategic centre of the Byzantine Empire.

In the Middle Ages, the city was mentioned under different names: Berone, Beroa, Vereya, Faruy, Verro, Boruy - all originating from Beroe. For a short period it was known as Irinopolis, in honor of the Byzantine Empress Irina and her son Constantine VI, who provide funding for the restoration of its fortress walls during their visit in 784.

Stara Zagora – this name the city received in 1871.

The decision was made in connection with the establishment of the Zagorska diocese. A few years later, in 1875, the name Stara Zagora was first mentioned in the press at the time.

Stara Zagora during the Middle Ages

In 812, during the reign of Khan Krum, Beroe again entered the borders of the Bulgarian state and retained its importance as a military-strategic centre. The famous five stone slabs of Stara Zagora with images of animals, dating to the border between the pagan and Christian eras, are masterpieces of medieval stone sculptures. One of them, the breastfeeding lioness, became the main symbol of the coat of arms of modern Stara Zagora.

Stara Zagora during the Second Bulgarian State and the Revival

The second Bulgarian State

During the Second Bulgarian State, Boruy was the administrative centre of a vast area known as the Boruy people. In 1370, the city was conquered by the Ottoman Turks. In the period 14th-19th century, it was known by the names of Zagra-i eski Hisar (Old Fortress of Zagora) and Eski Zagra. The Ottomans called the town the Old Fortress of Zagora, as it was a fortress, the capital of the Zagora district when it joined Bulgaria, during the time of Tervel (700-721).

The Revival

During the Revival, the city developed as an important economic, cultural and educational centre. As a manifestation of the new Revival spirit, in the 50s of the 19th century, the Bulgarians called it Zheleznik.

The battles around
Stara Zagora

The first major battles were fought near Stara Zagora during the Russo-Turkish War of Liberation (1877-1878), and the name of the city is associated with the feat and self-sacrifice of the Russian soldiers and Bulgarian volunteers. The Samara flag earned its battlefield commission here. Despite the heroism of the defenders, Stara Zagora was burned down and destroyed to the ground. Thousands of Bulgarians from the city and surrounding villages were killed and remained missing. In January 1878, Stara Zagora regained its freedom, but according to the provisions of the Treaty of Berlin, it remained within the borders of Eastern Rumelia until the Unification in 1885.

The modern look of
Stara Zagora

On October 5, 1879, the Governor of Eastern Rumelia, Aleko Bogoridi, laid the symbolic foundation stone by which the restoration of Stara Zagora began. The planning with straight and parallel streets, unusual for the settlements of Bulgaria, was due to the urban plan, whose main designer is the construction technician Lubor Bayer. – Czech by nationality. Stara Zagora rises from the ashes to become the first post-liberation city with a new and modern look