Stara Zagora region is located in the central part of Southern Bulgaria with an area of 5147 sq. km and a population of 390,000 in eleven municipalities. The city of Stara Zagora is in the heart of the region. The region has nine towns. In the Northern part of the region stands the majestic Balkan Mountain Range / Stara Planina. Just below the Balkans lay the Sredna Gora Mountains. The upper Thracian plain occupies the Central and Southern parts of the region.
The climate in the region is influenced by the Mediterranean- it characterizes with soft winter and warm summer. More rainfalls are typical at the begining of the spring and at the end of the autumn. Strong winds appear in the months February and March.
The location of Stara Zagora region is a major advantage to trade with transportation routes providing easy access to Sofia in the West (230 km), Bourgas' Black Sea port in the East (180 km), Rousse's Danube Port at the Romanian Border in the North (235 km), and the Greek port Alexandrupolis, in the South (300 km). Stara Zagora serves as the central hub of an efficient train system connecting the region with all Bulgarian cities as well as cities in Eastern and Western Europe. The airport can offer easy access for the busy executive. Stara Zagora is one of the only two fundamental points in Bulgaria's optic highway providing a communication system to meet the standards of international business.
The rich soils of the region make it ideal for productive agriculture and food processing. Forests are one of the Stara Zagora region's most valuable natural resources offering ideal opportunities for logging, wood processing, hiking, hunting, and tourism. The Maritza-East Basin supplies lignite coal for electrical power plants that provide 30% of the electrical power for Bulgaria. The region is rich in thermal mineral springs with a large number of SPA and health centres to facilitate the use of the healing waters. Pavel Banya boasts an international reputation for healing those afflicted with arthritic and orthopedic conditions. Starozagorski Mineralni Bani, with thermal waters and fresh mountain air, is an important healing centre for respiratory and other ailments. The Eastern part of the region hosts the world famous Valley of the Roses. This rose growing area produces seventy percent of the world's attar - extract of roses. One of Bulgaria's largest cigarette manufacturers, produces a variety of popular brands for loyal customers in Bulgaria, Russia, Ukraine, Georgia, and several other countries.
Zagorka brewery, one of Stara Zagora's foreign investment success stories, produces the most popular beer in Bulgaria. There are two wineries in the region: Noviko, Chirpan, specializing in champagne and Menada producing red and white wines. The red wines are exclusively exported due to Western demand.
Stara Zagora region, located at the crossroads of multiple civilizations, has a particular glow coming out of its past - hidden in the depth of millennia. Inhabited by Thracians, Ancient Greeks, Romans, Slavs, Ottomans, and Bulgarians, this antique land bears the immortal historical testimony of its past civilizations. Stara Zagora's Neolithic dwellings (the earliest traces of human activity in Europe from the 7th - 6th millennium BC), the Karasura archaeological excavations near Chirpan, the ruins of the ancient Roman Forum at the centre of Stara Zagora, and the Thracian tomb in Kazanlak are among its countless historical treasures.
The town of Stara Zagora has been burned to the ground and raised from ashes in a number of devastating fires. Less than 150 years ago, it was resurrected from ruins. Stone by stone and brick by brick, it was rebuilt. It has entered the modern era as an important cultural centre and as a vital thriving community with tree-lined streets, lively cafes and beautiful parks.
The region has a cultural tradition with an impressive number of talented poets, writers, artists, musicians, and actors. Stara Zagora's National Opera Theatre, founded in 1928, is the first provincial opera company in Bulgaria and continues to provide world class operas. The Geo Milev Drama Theater presents outstanding classical theatrical productions. The State Puppet Theater has toured Europe and the Middle East performing with excellence.
Numerous cultural events take place throughout the year - the Festivals of the Opera and Ballet Arts, of the Old City Song, of the Children's Song, Thrace Sings and Dance Festival; and the St. Lazar's Days rituals of folk song and dance and many others.
The city's life style offerings include museums, libraries, art galleries, a brass band, cinemas, sport stadiums, an equestrian training centre, Roman ruins, and many lovely parks. Eternally green, the Ayazmoto Park dominates the northern section of the city with 939 acres of exotic trees, an astronomy observatory, a zoo, children's playgrounds, a sports complex and an open-air theatre, where the National Festival of Gypsy Music and Songs is held each summer. It is a popular weekend gathering place.
The Valley of the Roses is magically transformed with breathtaking blooms in May and early June each year when "The Festival of Roses" is celebrated. The capital of the rose growing region is Kazanlak where rose picking rituals and folklore displays are presented. The Museum of the Rose Industry is also located in Kazanlak.
Internet resources: http://www.szeda.bg/region/region.html