Harmanli is a town in Haskovo Province, South-central Bulgaria. It is the administrative centre of the Harmanli Municipality.
The population is about 18 000 inhabitants.
Harmanli's territory spreads over some parts of the Upper Thracian Lowlands between the oblique south slopes of the Sredna Gora and precipitous north slopes of the Rhodope Mountains. The south boundary of the Thracian lowlands is outlined by the north Rhodope foot, along which it leans close on the north Rhodopes, between the lower end of the Momina Klisura defile (at 300 m elevation) and the beginning of the Harmanli defile (at 80 m elevation).
The Maritsa River flows near the city. The climate of the area is temperate continental, which determines the variety of the vegetative types, some of which pertain to the evergreen groups (south of Harmanli). The soils are mainly maroon and woody.
The first historical records of it date back to 1510. They belong to the Slovene Benedit Kuripešič, who would sojourn there as an interpreter in his mission. Skilful masters built a solid caravansary on the right bank of the Harmanli river (then Oludere).
To facilitate travelers, caravaners and threshers a vaulted bridge over the river in Arabic style traditional in that epoch was built in 1585 by the order of the Turkish vizier Siviush Pasha. The marble inscription on the bridge reads as follows: The world is a bridge, across which the way of the king and the poor man passes.
The hunchbacked bridge has been saved almost intact till our day. Bulgarian municipalities were charged with some fiscal, administrative and other functions in 1834. The written rules, called 'Instructions for mayors, masters and village criers,' which were a herald of the first Bulgarian Act of local self-government, are of interest.
Two transcontinental roadways intersect the municipality. The first one is from West and Central Europe, through Sofia-Harmanli-Svilengrad and Istanbul (Е-80 or І-8), and the second one is from North Europe through Rousse-Haskovo-Harmanli and Mediterranean, on which basis corridor 9 will be developed in the future.
"Cultural Centre and Library" in Harmanli is an unique, modern and functional building that offers 4 halls: "Local History" Hall, Conference Hall, Marriage Hall and Exhibition Hall. They provide excellent conditions for various cultural activities, trainings, seminars, meetings, discussions, debates, conferences, symposia and other events. The entre has a fully equipped library, operating under the "Global libraries" programme. The building has a separate office with informative advertising materials, brochures, books, CDs, photos and presentations on the city and emblematic places in it, as well as information for distinguished public figures, poets, writers, painters born in the town.
In Harmanli is situated a beautiful restored theater that is part of the National Community Center "Druzhba". On the scene, not as often as the local people want, come troupes from across the country. Children's productions are placed, as well as concerts of local groups, folk dancing, piano, guitar, etc.
The Cultural-History Museum is located near the historical monument "Gurbavia Most" bridge ("The Humpback Bridge") The departments are: Archaeology, Ethnography, Modern and Contemporary History. The museum is home to various historical and cultural exhibitions. Constantly exposed is a collection of historical objects from the history of the city.
The location of the town along the roadway gives reason to a writer Gencho Stoev to say that: Harmanli does not need to travel because the world goes through it.
Economy is characterized by a well expressed agro-industrial structure. In recent years, significant growth is in the production of food, clothing, furniture and shoes, construction and building materials. In the crop sector, the relatively largest part share the vegetables, tobacco, melon farming, grain and industrial crops. Livestock production in the region is provided mainly through milk and meat production.
Commercial activity in the municipality is determined by its geostrategic position and therefore most strongly is developed the market of fuels and petroleum products, food and clothing, and in recent years due to the proximity of the municipality to national borders - trade in cars. The services in Harmanli Municipality are characterized by relatively high level of development. Underdeveloped potential in the region of Harmanli municipality has the cultural, rural and eco tourism.
Health care in the municipality of Harmanli is performed by "General Hospital" Ltd (the Hospital of Harmanli). Outpatient medical care is provided by "Medical Center 1 - Harmanli" Ltd. and Medical Center "Panacea". Patients with severe health problems are redirected to "United Regional Hospital" in the Regional Centre of Haskovo.
On the territory of Harmanly there are two primary schools (OU "Ivan Vazov" and NU "Aleko Konstantinov"), one secondary school (SOU "Neofit Rilski"), one proffesional school (PU "P.R.Slaveykov") and one proffessional high-school (PGET "Zahari Stoianov").
There are three kindergartens - "Detski sviat", "6 Prolet", "Alen Mak" (with nursery).
The municipality area has highly remarkable and beautiful sights of nature - natural waterfalls in the regions of Kiumiurluka and Kuru Dere and the protected area of Defileto, as well as the historic spots the Karakoliuvata Kashta cave, Forest Hades and Haidushkata Dupka a small cave.
The town has also the so called "Kervan saray", which is believed to be the reason the city to exist. The site has housed travelers and caravans along the road from Constantinople. Nowadays is preserved one of the walls - with an inscription proving the 500-year history of the city.
A beautiful place is Trifona peak. Perhaps the only real attraction of this place is the Dolmen area, near the village of Ostar Kamuk.
At the eastern end of Harmanli is “Izvorat na Belonogata” (The spring of the white - legged woman) Compound with the Gerganina drinking – fountain, which is actually the biggest attraction of the town. The beautiful Bulgarian maiden Gergana, which actually inspired the construction of the fountain, was also a poet inspiration to the great Bulgarian poet Petko R. Slaveikov.
One of the present biggest attractions close to Harmanli town is the luxurious Hotel Restaurant "Prikazkite", which is owned and managed by the biggest pop- folk producer in Bulgaria. Life music and folk shows are often performed on spot.
Harmanli is also famous for the Church of St. Anastasias.