Stara Zagora

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Stara Zagora

Стара Загора
Samarsko Zname Panorama.jpg
View of the city from the monument "The Defenders of Stara Zagora"
Bulgaria location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Stara Zagora
Coordinates: 42°26′N25°39′E / 42.433°N 25.650°E / 42.433; 25.650 Coordinates: 42°26′N25°39′E / 42.433°N 25.650°E / 42.433; 25.650
Country Bulgaria
Province Stara Zagora
  MayorJivko Todorov (GERB)
196 m (643 ft)
 (2015) [1]
Time zone UTC+2 (EET)
  Summer (DST) UTC+3 (EEST)
Postal Code
Area code(s) 042

Stara Zagora (Bulgarian : Стара Загора, pronounced  [ˈstarɐ zɐˈɡɔrɐ] ) is the sixth-largest city in Bulgaria, [2] and the administrative capital of the homonymous Stara Zagora Province located in the historical region of Thrace.



The name comes from the Slavic root star ("old") and the name of the medieval region of Zagore ("beyond the [Balkan] mountains" in Slavic) [3]

The walls of Ulpia Augusta Traiana over a modern map Ulpia Augusta Traiana - en.svg
The walls of Ulpia Augusta Traiana over a modern map

The original name was Beroe, which was changed to Ulpia Augusta Traiana by the Romans. From the 6th century the city was called Vereja and, from 784, Irenopolis in honour of the Byzantine empress Irene of Athens. In the Middle Ages it was called Boruj by the Bulgarians and later, Železnik. The Turks called it Eski Hisar (old fort) and Eski Zagra, from which its current name derives, assigned in 1871.


Auditorium of the Antique Forum The roman amphithe galleryfull.jpg
Auditorium of the Antique Forum

The original Thracian settlement dates from the 5-4th century BC when it was called Beroe or Beroia.

The city was founded by Phillip II of Macedon in 342 BC. [4] [5] [6] [7]

Under the Roman Empire, the city was renamed Ulpia Augusta Traiana in honour of emperor Trajan. The city grew to its largest extent under Marcus Aurelius (161-180) and became the second most important city in the Roman province of Thrace after Philippopolis (Trimontium). Its status and importance is evidenced by the visits of several emperors including Septimius Severus (193-211), Caracalla (211-217), and Diocletian (294-305).

The Battle of Beroe was fought near the city in 250 resulting in a Gothic Victory. [8] It was probably after this event that the city walls were doubled like other cities in the region (e.g. Diocletianopolis, Serdica).

In the 2nd-3rd century the city had its own coin mint showing its importance.

In 377, in the Gothic War (376-382), the Goths marched on Beroe to attack the Roman general Frigiderus but his scouts detected the invaders and he promptly withdrew to Illyria. [9] The city was destroyed but rebuilt by Justinian. [10]

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 Boruy, also fought nearby.

The Ottomans conquered Stara Zagora in 1371. A grade school was built in 1840 and the city's name was changed to Zheleznik (Железник; a Slavic translation of Beroe) in 1854 instead of the Turkish Eskizağra (Also called Zağra-i Atik), but was renamed once again to Stara Zagora in 1870. It was an administrative centre in Edirne Vilayet before 1878 as "Zağra-i Atik". [11] After the Liberation of Bulgaria from Ottoman rule in 1878, it became part of autonomous Eastern Rumelia as a department centre before the two Bulgarian states finally merged in 1886 as a result of the Unification of Bulgaria.

July 31, 1877 is a tragic date in the city's history: the first major clash between the two belligerent armies of the Russian-Turkish Liberation War took place near Stara Zagora. The 48,000 Turkish army was launched on the town, which was merely defended by a small Russian detachment and a small unit of Bulgarian volunteers. After a six-hour fight for Stara Zagora, the Russian soldiers and Bulgarian volunteers surrendered to the pressure of the larger enemy army. The town then soon experienced its greatest tragedy. The armed Turkish army carried out the Stara Zagora massacre against the weaponless civilians. The city was burned down and razed to the ground during the three days following the battle. Incredibly sadistically were massacred 14,500 Bulgarians from the town and villages south of the town, encompassing all Bulgarian civilians with exceptions. Another 10,000 young women and girls were sold in the slave markets of the Ottoman Empire. All Christian temples were attacked with artillery and burned. The only public building surviving the fire was the mosque, Eski Dzhamiya, remaining even nowadays. This is possibly the largest and worst massacre documented in the Bulgarian history and one of the most tragic moments of the Bulgarians. While the people of Bulgaria lost this particular battle for Stara Zagora, they did ultimately win the war. Today, several monuments witness the gratitude of the Bulgarian people to its liberators.

Ancient monuments

Model of south west quarter showing double walls and Antique forum with "auditorium" Model of south west quarter.jpg
Model of south west quarter showing double walls and Antique forum with "auditorium"
Main street of Augusta Traiana Main street Augusta Traiana.jpg
Main street of Augusta Traiana
"Dionysus's Procession" mosaic from 4th century house Unique Mosaic "Dionysus's Procession" 4th century AD.jpg
“Dionysus’s Procession” mosaic from 4th century house

Many of the monuments from the Roman city have been excavated and are visible in situ today and include: [12]

Overlooking the "antique" forum is an unusual building in the form of a monumental auditorium in the shape of a theatre.

Geography and climate

Stara Zagora is the administrative centre of its municipality and the Stara Zagora Province. It is about 231 kilometres (144 mi) from Sofia, near the Bedechka river in the historic region of Thrace.

The city is in an area of a mediterranean climate that is near humid subtropical climate. The average yearly temperature is about 14 °C (57 °F).

Climate data for Stara Zagora (2002-2014)
Average high °C (°F)6.5
Daily mean °C (°F)2.0
Average low °C (°F)−1.5
Average precipitation mm (inches)47
Source: []


Stara Zagora, 1930's BASA-526K-1-1416-2-Stara Zagora.JPG
Stara Zagora, 1930's

Stara Zagora was possibly the biggest city in today's Bulgarian territory before liberation from Ottoman rule. But the city was burned and destroyed by Turkish army during the Liberation war in 1877–1878. During the first decade after the liberation of Bulgaria, in the 1880s the population of Stara Zagora decreased and numbered about 16,000. [14] Since then it started growing decade by decade, mostly because of the migrants from the rural areas and the surrounding smaller towns, reaching its peak in the period 1989-1991 exceeding 160,000. [15] After this time, the population has started decreasing mostly because of the migration to the capital city of Sofia or abroad.

Stara Zagora
Stara Zagora
Highest number 151,272 in 1985
Sources: National Statistical Institute, [15] [16] [17], [18], [19] Bulgarian Academy of Sciences [14]

Ethnic linguistic and religious composition

According to the latest 2011 census data, individuals who declared their ethnic identity were distributed as follows: [20] [21]

Total: 138,272


PFC Beroe Stara Zagora is a football club in Stara Zagora. It was established in 1916 and plays at Beroe Stadium. The team is a member of the First Professional Football League. Beroe has won the Bulgarian Cup two times (2009-2010 and 2012-2013). [22] [23]

Main sights

A Communist era statue at a park in the centre of town. Stara Zagora Bulgarian Statue.jpg
A Communist era statue at a park in the centre of town.


Districts of Stara Zagora StaraZagora-districts-en.svg
Districts of Stara Zagora

Future districts :

Notable people


Twin towns and sister cities

Stara Zagora is twinned with: [26]

Stara Zagora official day

Every year October 5 is celebrated as the official day of Stara Zagora with multiple events, concerts, activities for kids and a fair.

See also

Related Research Articles

Eastern Rumelia Autonomous territory in the Ottoman Empire from 1878-1885

Eastern Rumelia was an autonomous province in the Ottoman Empire, created in 1878 by the Treaty of Berlin and de facto ended in 1885, when it was united with the Principality of Bulgaria, also under Ottoman suzerainty. It continued to be an Ottoman province de jure until 1908, when Bulgaria declared independence. Ethnic Bulgarians formed a majority of the population in Eastern Rumelia, but there were significant Turkish and Greek minorities. Its capital was Plovdiv. The official languages of Eastern Rumelia were: Bulgarian, Greek and Ottoman Turkish.

Stara Zagora Province Province of Bulgaria

Stara Zagora, formerly known as the Stara Zagora okrug, is a province of south-central Bulgaria. It is named after its administrative and industrial centre—the city of Stara Zagora—the sixth-biggest town in the country. The province embraces a territory of 5,151.1 km2 (1,988.9 sq mi) that is divided into 11 municipalities with a total population, as of December 2009, of 350,925 inhabitants.

PFC Beroe Stara Zagora

Beroe is a Bulgarian professional association football club based in Stara Zagora, that competes in the First League, the top division of the Bulgarian football league system. The club was founded in 1916 under the name Vereya. The club's colours are green and white.

Beroe or Beroë may refer to :

Trajanopolis or Traianopolis may refer to several cities named after Trajan:

Aleksandar Tomash Bulgarian footballer and manager

Aleksandar Tomash is a former Bulgarian association football player, who currently manages Etar Veliko Tarnovo of the Bulgarian First League.

Stara Zagora Airport is the airport of the sixth largest city in Bulgaria, Stara Zagora. It is near the Kolio Ganchev suburb about 9 km south from the city center of Stara Zagora. Due to its good location, near the Shipka Top, Stara Zagora Spa Resort and Sevtopolis - The Thrace Capital, the airport is mainly attractive for charters. Stara Zagora Airport was awaiting concession procedure as of 2008 and is currently nonoperational.

Jason Marcelo Elame is a Cameroonian football defender who currently plays for Vereya Stara Zagora.

Vesselin Stoykov

Vesselin Stoykov is a Bulgarian-German opera singer and manager, from Bulgarian origin.

Kran, Stara Zagora Province Place in Stara Zagora, Bulgaria

Kran is a town in central Bulgaria. It is located just south of the Balkan Mountains and is administratively part of Kazanlak Municipality, Stara Zagora Province. Kran was an important castle of the Second Bulgarian Empire in the 13th–14th century. Among the local sights are a conserved ancient Thracian tomb, a much older Thracian sanctuary and the ruins of the medieval fortress.

João Paulo da Silva Araújo, commonly known as João Paulo, is a Brazilian footballer who plays as a forward for Ordabasy.

Trolleybuses in Stara Zagora

The Stara Zagora trolleybus system forms part of the public transport network of Stara Zagora, Bulgaria.

Steven Petkov Bulgarian footballer

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Sulitsa (village) Village in Stara Zagora Province, Bulgaria

Sulitsa is a village in Stara Zagora Municipality, Stara Zagora Province, Bulgaria.

Boris Tyutyukov is a Bulgarian footballer who plays as a midfielder for Litex Lovech.

The 2016−17 Bulgarian Cup was the 35th official edition of the Bulgarian annual football knockout tournament. The competition began on 20 September 2016 with the first round and finished with the final on 24 May 2017. CSKA Sofia were the defending champions, but lost in the first round to Lokomotiv Sofia. Botev Plovdiv won its third cup, after winning the final against Ludogorets Razgrad. Botev, thus, qualified for the first qualifying round of the 2017–18 UEFA Europa League.

Battle for Thrace or Thracian derby is the name of the local derby football match between the two most popular and successful football clubs in Thrace region, Bulgaria: PFC Botev Plovdiv and PFC Beroe Stara Zagora.

Edith Schönert-Geiß

Edith Schönert-Geiß was a German numismatist, who specialised in the classical coinage of Thrace and was instrumental in the post-war re-establishment of the Corpus Nummorum.

Stara Zagora Uprising

The Stara Zagora Uprising is an attempt of the Bulgarian Revolutionary Central Committee to organize an armed uprising in Bulgaria in 1875 in order to overthrow the Ottoman Empire.


  1. "Population by districts, municipalities, place of residence and sex". NSI. 2015-12-31. Retrieved 2016-05-13.
  2. (page 39) Archived September 30, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  3. "Стара Загора" (in Bulgarian). Верея Тур. Archived from the original on 2007-01-17. Retrieved 2008-09-14.
  4. Women and slaves in Greco-Roman culture: differential equations by Sandra Rae Joshel, Sheila Murnaghan,1998,page 214,"Philip II founded cities at Beroe, Kabyle, and Philippopolis in 342/1, and Aegean-style urban life began to penetrate Thrace".
  5. Late Roman villas in the Danube-Balkan region by Lynda Mulvin,2002,page 19,"Other roads went through Beroe (founded by Philip II of Macedon) "
  6. Philip of Macedon by Louïza D. Loukopoulou,1980,page 98,"Upriver in the valley between the Rhodope and Haimos Philip founded Beroe (Stara Zagora) and Philippolis (Plovdiv)".
  7. The cities in Thrace and Dacia in late antiquity: (studies and materials) by Velizar Iv Velkov,1977,page 128,"Founded by Philipp 11 on the site of an old Thracian settlement, it has existed without interruption from that time".
  8. The History of Zonaras: From Alexander Severus to the Death of Theodosius, Thomas Banchich, Eugene Lane, ISBN   1134424736, 9781134424733 p 94
  9. Coombs-Hoar, Adrian (2015). Eagles in the Dust: The Roman Defeat at Adrianopolis AD 378. Pen and Sword. p 62-3
  11. [ dead link ]
  12. Historical sites:
  14. 1 2 (in Bulgarian) Bulgarian Academy of Sciences Archived 2011-07-06 at the Wayback Machine
  15. 1 2 (in Bulgarian)
  16. "Таблици на населението по настоящ и по постоянен адрес". ГД ГРАО. Retrieved 2016-05-13.
  17. (in English) Bulgarian National Statistical Institute - 2014
  18. (in English) „WorldCityPopulation“
  19. """".
  20. (in Bulgarian) Population on 01.02.2011 by provinces, municipalities, settlements and age; National Statistical Institute
  21. Population by province, municipality, settlement and ethnic identification, by 01.02.2011; Bulgarian National Statistical Institute (in Bulgarian)
  22. Website: /
  23. "Loading".[ permanent dead link ]
  24. "Neolithic Dwellings". Archived from the original on 2011-07-24.
  25. "Vesselin Stoykov - Offiziele Webseite » Home". Archived from the original on 2011-02-16. Retrieved 2009-09-15.
  26. "Побратимени градове на община Стара Загора". (in Bulgarian). Stara Zagora. Retrieved 2019-10-29.