Stara Zagora − the city with eight names
Stara Zagora's history goes way back in time to 8 000 years ago. It is filled with ups and downs, creation and demolition; however, the inhabitants of this special place always rebuild it. Life springs and is maintained with love, which allows Stara Zagora to live and to prosper.
The first signs of life date from the Neolithic era 8 000 years ago. Humans appreciated the abundant natural resources and settled in the area. Europe's best-preserved eight-thousand-year-old Neolithic dwellings can be seen even today. Their numerous ritual and everyday objects are enchanting with their aesthetics. Europe's seven-thousand-year-old first metal mines are in close proximity to the contemporary city. According to some theories, the name of the first settlement established in that location by the Ancient Thracians in 4th century (Beroe) is related to those mines. However, to this day, the questions regarding the creation and subsequent fate of the settlement are still under discussion.
The Emperor Trajan built the city Augusta Traiana during the Roman Empire in 2nd century. The city gradually became the second biggest economic, administrative and cultural center in the Thrace province and it thrived.
The city changed its name several times during the Middle Ages. Between 6th and 14th century, Stara Zagora was called Vereia, Irinopolis, Boruy.
The city was occupied by the Ottomans in 1372 and kept its new name Eski Zagra until the mid-19th century when the teacher Todor Shishkov initiated its change. Stara Zagora's Bulgarian elite decided to rename the city Zheleznik. The new name highlighted the region's iron mining dating back to Antiquity.
In 1871, during the Council of Constantinople, the city gained its contemporary name Stara Zagora thanks to the newly formed diocese and the perseverance of the local people.
One of most decisive battles of the Russo-Turkish War took place in the summer of 1877 in the vicinity of Stara Zagora. This battle was a form of christening of fire for the Opalchentsi (the Bulgarian voluntary army units) who were defending the Samara flag.
The revival of the city picked up in 1879, immediately after the Liberation of Bulgaria according to the urban plan of the Austrian-Hungarian architect Lubor Bayer. Aleko Bogoridi laid the first stone of the new city's construction on October 5, 1879. This date is now the city's official holiday.
Each episode of this glorious history has left some legacy for the generations, whether it is instruments or artifacts from the daily life of our ancestors, precious coins, beautiful objects of art, visually impressive Roman mosaics, Thracian chariots and many more testimonies of life in the region.
Come and discover for yourself the pieces of this colorful puzzle, which will challenge your mind and win your love for Stara Zagora!