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Assumption of Mary Orthodox Church
The Roman Amphitheatre
Stronghold Ulpia Augusta Traiana over city's modern map
Stara Zagora ( ) is city in Bulgariamarker and fifth largest agglomeration in Bulgaria with 213 444 inhabitants, and one of the nationally important economic centres. Stara Zagora is known as the city of straight streets, linden trees, and poets. According to the city's chamber of commerce, it is one of the oldest settlements in Europe, being at least eight thousand years old. According to an unofficial study, Stara Zagora ranks second among the cities in Bulgaria by average salary.

Geography and climate

Stara Zagora is the administrative centre of its municipality and the Stara Zagora Provincemarker. It is located about away from Sofiamarker, near the Bedechka river in the historic region of Thrace.

The city is located in an area of transitional continental climate with considerable Mediterraneanmarker influence. The average yearly temperature is about .


Stara Zagora is considered one of the oldest settlements in Bulgaria and Southeastern Europe. It was founded by the Thracians under the name Beroe (meaning iron) about 6th-5th century BCE, with the Neolithic dwellings and the copper mine near the city being the oldest preserved ones in Europe. The area has been a mining region since Antiquity.

Under the Roman Empire, the town was renamed to Ulpia Augusta Traiana in honour of emperor Trajan.

At the time of the Byzantine Empire, it adopted the name Irinopolis after Byzantine empress Irene. The fortifications around the town were reconstructed because of fear of Bulgarian attacks, but Irinopolis and the whole Zagore region were incorporated into Bulgariamarker in 717. The land was bestowed on khan Tervel as a Byzantine gift in acknowledgement of the Bulgarian help to fight back the Arabs besieging Constantinoplemarker. The region was the first Bulgarian territorial gain south of Stara Planinamarker. The town acquired the name Boruy.

In 1122 Stara Zagora (Beroia) was the site of a battle between Byzantine Emperor John II Komnenos and an invading Pecheneg army, the Battle of Beroiamarker. The Pechenegs suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of John's Byzantine army, and many of the captives were settled as foederati within the Byzantine frontier. In 1208 the Bulgarians defeated the Latin Empire in the battle of Boruymarker.

The Ottomans conquered Stara Zagora in 1371. A grade school was built in 1840 and the town's name was changed to Zheleznik ( ; a Slavic translation of Beroe) in 1854 instead of the Turkish (Also called Zağra-i Atik), but was renamed once again to Stara Zagora in 1870. It was a kaza centre in Filibemarker sanjak of Edirne Provincemarker before 1878 as "Zağra-i Atik". After the Liberation of Bulgaria from Ottoman rule in 1878, it became part of autonomous Eastern Rumelia as a sanjak centre before the two Bulgarian states finally merged in 1886 as a result of the Unification of Bulgaria.

Historical population

Year Population
1875 23,000
1884 15,500
1901–1913 27,000
1934 34,000
1940 40,000
1956 56,000
1965 87,000
1968 100,000
1975 122,000
1985 157,000
1992 162,000
2002 164,000
2009 161 967


A typical street scene
  • APK (АПК - named at former Industrial-agricultural complex)
  • Atyuren (Атюрен - future district of the city)
  • Bogomilovo (Богомилово - former village of Bogomilovo)
  • Central City Part (includes Supercenter, Chayka & Zagorka) (Централна градска част (Суперцентър, Чайка и Загорка) - Chayka - Sea-gull, Zagorka - named at Zagorka brewery)
  • Chumleka (Чумлека)
  • Dabrava (Дъбрава - former village of Dabrava)
  • Eastern Industrial Zone (Източна индустриална зона)
  • Hrishteni (Хрищени - former village of Hrishteni)
  • Industrial Zone (Индустриална Зона)
  • Kazanski (Казански)
  • Kolyo Ganchev (Кольо Ганчев - named at famous Bulgarian revolutionary)
  • Lozenets (Лозенец - from лозе - vineyard)
  • Malka Vereya (Малка Верея - Vereya - old name of the city, Malka - small)
  • Samara 1, 2 & 3- (Самара 1, 2 и 3 - named at sister city of Samara, Russiamarker)
  • Studentski grad - (Студентски град - Student town)
  • Tri Chuchura north, center & south - (Три чучура север, център и юг - "Three spouts")
  • Zheleznik (small & big) (Железник - named at former name of the city)
  • Zora (Зора - Dawn)



Famous Natives


International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

Stara Zagora is twinned with:



See also

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