The town of Stara Zagora is located in the heart of Bulgaria – at a place where the green hills of the Sredna Gora Mountain merge with the golden Thrace valley. With its 160,500 inhabitants, it is one of the largest in the country. It is situated 230 km away from Sofia and 180 km away from Bourgas.
Stara Zagora is a town undergoing dynamic development. It is a university center, a town with a rich historic past and many scientific and cultural institutions.
The cultural and historical heritage of the town is the result of its eight thousand-year history that can be traced in the rich archives of the Regional History Museum; “The Neolithic dwellings” Museum, presenting the best-preserved dwellings in Europe from the middle of 6th century BC; the Antique Forum of Augusta Trayana; the “Defenders of Stara Zagora 1877” Memorial Complex, the “Geo Milev” Museum, the Art Gallery; the Museum of Religions.
The celebrations and festivals that take place here throughout the seasons create its unique atmosphere: The Festival of the Masquerade Games, The National Festival of Bulgarian Folklore and Traditional Bulgarian Dishes, The National Thracian Folklore convention at the “Virgin Mary’s footprint” neighbourhood, the “Jazz Forum Stara Zagora” Festival, the International Puppet Theatre Festival for Adults “Pierrot”, the Youth Festival of Arts “A Different Look”, various festive events dedicated to the Day of Stara Zagora – October 5th, the Opera and Ballet Festival held annually since 1967 and many others.
The “green” streets, the spacious parks and gardens are a real treasure for Stara Zagora. The biggest park in the town – Ayazmoto – is a favorite place for recreation and sports. It was established in 1895 at the initiative of Metropolitan Metodi Kussev. Today, on an area of 320 ha grow more than 150 exotic plant species. On its territory, there is a zoo with more than 80 species of animals from around the world, a Hall of Laughter with crooked mirrors, a large playground for outdoor fitness, a summer theater, etc.
15 km away from the town, on the slopes of the Sarnena Sredna Gora Mountain are the Stara Zagora mineral baths. The clean air, the mild climate, the mineral water and hospitable hotels make them a desirable place to visit and relax throughout the year. Nearby is the “Virgin Mary’s footprint” locality. According to a legend, the Holy Mother had passed there once and left a footprint in the stone that has kept water ever after even in times of most severe drought. The “Virgin Birth” chapel has been built there.
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