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Haskovo ↓
The region of Haskovo is situated in the south-eastern part of Bulgaria on a territory of 5,541 sq km. It includes the valley of the Maritsa River, the Haskovo hills and parts of the Upper Thracian lowlands, Sakar Mountain and the Eastern Rhodopes. To the Southeast it borders on the Republic of Greece and the Republic of Turkey. The region is characterised by fertile land and moderate continental climate. The rivers Maritsa, Arda and Tundzha flow through the territory of the region. Roads connecting the Mediterranean with Thracia and the Rhodopes have been built along the rivers since ancient times. Many monuments from the Thracian epoch, the Greek antiquity, the Roman times, the Middle ages and the Renaissance are preserved in the region. Haskovo is one of the oldest settlements in Bulgaria. Its history dates back from the Neolithic - i.e. the habitation is about seven thousand year old.

Haskovo (population: 80,870, 200 m above sea level) is located at the banks of Haskovska River, among Haskovo Hills at the foothills of the Eastern Rhodopes. The town is 225 km and 75 km to the south-east of Sofia and Plovdiv, respectively; 64 km and 16 km south of Stara Zagora and Dimitrovgrad, respectively; 50 km north-east of Kardzhali and 70 km north-west of Svilengrad. It is one of the oldest settlements is Bulgaria (in 1985 Haskovo celebrated it 1000th anniversary). It is a regional administrative centre.

The first settlement on this territory dates back to around 7,000 years BC in the neolith period. Throughout its existence, the town experienced innumerable periods of revival and decay. During the first half of 13th century near Haskovo history witnessed one of the most successful battles in Bulgarian history - the Battle of Klokotnitsa (nearby the village bearing the same name). On 9th March 1230 Tsar Ivan-Asen II (1218-1241) inflicted a smashing defeat of the Byzantine Empire, which had violated the peace treaty. The battle at Klokotnitsa later proved to have been an event of immense importance for the entire future of Bulgaria.

The town developed into a settlement of craftsmen although much smaller than the near village of Uzundzhovo, which hosted a big fair. In fact, during some time Haskovo was called "Haskyoi by Uzundzovo". The town was liberated on 19 January 1878 by General Gourko's army. After the Balkan Wars the population of the town grew rapidly as a result of the incoming refugees from the Aegean Thrace. Gradually, it developed as the tobacco-producing centre in Bulgaria.

The town is the birthplace of the noted Bulgarian scientist and social activist - Prof. Asen Zlatarov and the famous violin player Nedyalka Simeonova. To the South of Haskovo there are remains of the medieval citadel Hisar. The oldest Moslems religious building in Bulgaria is the "Eski Dzhumaya" mosque, built in 1395.

Haskovo municipality includes the town of Haskovo and 35 villages. It is a transport cross road between Europe, the Near East and the Middle East, which is a good prerequisite for an international commercial and cultural exchange.
The geographical location on the border of Greece and Turkey and our complicated history has designated this region as a crossroad of different cultures, religions and ethnic traditions. This combination has created a cultural richness to a land full of natural beauty that makes the region of Haskovo one of the most attractive for tourists in Bulgaria.

Haskovo municipality offers good tourist attractions, as well as facilities for sport, business and cultural events. The guests of Haskovo are mainly attracted by the healing Haskovo mineral springs and the picturesque "Kenana" - a splendid oak forest with a spacious park, restaurants, tennis grounds, and houses for recreation. The remains of ancient fortresses and mineral pools from the Roman period in Mineralni Bani municipality are of special interest for tourists. Attractive tourist sights are also Kaleto Fortress and "Sharapanite" (with the best kept "sharapani" - wine cellars dated from the ancient Thracian times - one millennium B.C).

Haskovo has two theatre houses - Ivan Dimov Theatre of Drama (40, Otets Paisyi St., tel.: 038 24233) and the Puppet Theatre "Kutsoto Petle" ("the lame little cockerel") (tel.: 038 20726).
The town is a university centre and hosts the Territorial Systems and Administration Faculty with the University of National and World Economy, Sofia.

Haskovo has many establishments, offering traditional Bulgarian cuisine. Some of the best known are: Aida Restaurant (4-star, 1, Svoboda Sq.). Gurkova Kashta Restaurant (Gurkov's House) (3-star, 6, Gen. Gurko St.). Divo Kozle Restaurant (The Wild Little Goat) (3-star, in the Kenana Park). Bolyarka Tavern (2-star, 18, Elbrus St.).

Haskovo has bus and railway transport facilities. This is a stop along the Trans-European motorway to the Middle East. Over 54 bus lines ensure the transport connections with Dimitrovgrad, Harmanli, Lyubimets, Svilengrad, Stambolovo and many other towns and villages in and outside of the region.
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