Sliven is a town in southeast Bulgaria and the administrative centre of Sliven Province. It is a comparatively large town with 110,000 inhabitants (the 8th largest in Bulgaria). Sliven is famous for its Bulgarian hajduks who fought against the Ottoman Turks in the 19th century. The current mayor of the city is former football star Yordan Letchkov.
In 1834, Dobri Zhelyazkov established the first factory in Bulgarian lands, thus starting industrial development in Bulgaria. Sliven was one of the largest industrial centres in Bulgaria, playing an important role during the Bulgarian National Revival. It has long-lived traditions in textiles, machine-building, glass-making, and the technical аnd food industries.
One of the most significant cultural centres during the Bulgarian National Revival, Sliven has preserved and enriched its heritage and today offers to its citizens and visitors a lot of opportunities for cultural life. A birthplace of many prominent Bulgarians who contributed to the enlightenment, Sliven gave Bulgaria many authors, scientists, intellectuals like Julia Kristeva, Hadzhi Dimitar, Dobri Chintulov, Evgeniy Chapkanov, Ivan Siliminski and many others.
The famous rocky massif Sinite Kamani ("The Blue Rocks") and the associated natural park, the fresh air and the mineral springs offer diverse opportunities for leisure and tourism.
The information sources about the existing of town are comparatively rich. The imagination provoking remnants of the Touida fortress in Hisarlaka site testify to the fact that this area has been inhabited since the Tracian times (3rd - 2nd millennia BC). The name of the fortress was deciphered from a stone.
The town has changed several names - Istilifounos, Islimie and others. The name 'Sliven' was mentioned for first time in 1153, by Al Idrisi - an Arabic traveller. He described Sliven as a beautiful and large city. The name means 'fusion' - the fusion of the three rivers which run through the town, and the fusion of the three winds which blow out of the three passes of the Balkan - Assenovskia, Bulgarka and Choukata Pass.
Sliven is the only Bulgarian town which has never changed its Slavonic name.
For us, Bulgarians the name of Sliven is the cradle of the revolutionary movement (19th century), a synonym of our irreconcilability to the tyranny and slavery. That's the reason why the town was called the 'town of the hundred voivodas" during the national revival. (Voivoda - chieftain of a band of haidutes, a haidute - freedom-fighter).
The country's first factory was established in 1836 by Dobri Zhelyazkov, known as Fabrikadzhiyata (the factory owner). He acquired parts and plans of looms by smuggling them home from Russia in bags of wool. Bulgarian textile industry as well as Sliven's subsequent development was greatly influenced by this factory. Even nowadays the factory building impresses the visitors with its stateliness. It has been declared a cultural monument of national importance.
The territory of Sliven enters the region of the under Balkan fields and the climate characterizes with soft winter while the summer is comparatively hot. The water sources of the municipality are not very large despite the lots of rivers, groundwaters and lakes.
The monument of Hadzhi Dimitar is elevated in the centre of the town in 1935.At its foundation in special bays busts of other prominent persons of Sliven from that period can be seen. The chair lift, with its station in the northern part of Sliven,situated at the very foot of the mountain, will lift to more than 600 metres altitude those of you, who have the desire to take a stroll in the Sliven Balkan.
The ground of Karandilla is sited in the northeastern part of Sliven, among century-old forests. Here you will discover the “Sinnite kammani”(Blue Stones) national park,where there is a huge abundance in natural strange rock formations, as for example Halkata. The national park preserves the local biosphere and is suitable for pedestrian-based and mountain tourism. On its territory there are many tourist walks, which will take you to awesome peaks, unique natural phenomena such as the rock formations Halkata, Enyova Bulka, Kuklite and many others, crystal-clear springs or the beautiful waterfalls Sinni vir, Futula and others. At the mountain resort Karandilla near the town of Sliven you will enjoy complete relaxation amidst the gorgeous scenery of the Stara Planina mountain.
The reservation Kutelka, which is part of the Sinnite Kammani national park, is of international importance, protecting a number of Red Book birds and animals (Gypaetus barbatus,Neophron percnopterus, Falco cherrug, Falco peregrinus and others ). The reservations in the national park Sinnite Kammani offer also excellent opportunities for sport, tourism and recreation. There are ski tracks with a ski lift, a football field and a lake. The Karandilla national park is point of departure along numerous well-marked mountain walks. The mineral bath of the town is situated some 12 km away to the southwest of Sliven, at the village of Zlaty Voivoda, near the road to the town of Nova Zagora. Here the visitors are seeking relief from pains of bones and joints, nervous system, stomach and the liver diseases.
Sources: Sliven.bg, wikepedia.bg