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|Jivko Todorov (GERB)
|196 m (643 ft)
|• Summer (DST)
Stara Zagora (Bulgarian: Стара Загора, pronounced [ˈstarɐ zɐˈɡɔrɐ]) is a city in Bulgaria, and the administrative capital of the homonymous Stara Zagora Province and municipality. Its located in the Upper Thracian Plain, being near the cities of Kazanlak, Plovdiv, Sliven. Its population is around 121,582 making it the sixth largest city, just below Ruse and above Pleven.
The city had a period of different names, mainly Beroe, Borui, Irenepolis, Eski Zagra, Augusta Traiana, etc.
Earliest traces of civilisation date back to the 7th millennium B.C. Some scholars believe that the ancient Thracian Beroe was located there. In 1968, Neolithic dwellings from the mid-6th millennium BC were discovered in the town, which are the best preserved and richest collection in Europe and have been turned into a museum.
A high density of Neolithic and Chalcolithic settlements has been identified by researchers and a ritual structure nearly 8,000 years old has also been discovered. Also the first copper factory in Europe and a large ore mining centre were discovered, both over 7,000 years old. The original settlement dates from the 5th-4th century B.C under the name Beroe or Beroia, founded by Philip II of Macedon. It was renamed to Ulpia Augusta Traiana during Roman rule and became the second most important city, after Philippopolis. During Marcus Aurelius' rule, many buildings have been built, art and music developed and there were statues and inscriptions of Orpheus.
The Battle of Beroe was fought, which resulted in a Gothic victory over the Romans. During the Gothic War between 376 and 382, the city was under attack by the Goths in order to attack Frigiderus, a Roman general, but he promptly withdrew to Illyria. At the end of the 6th century, Beroe was destroyed, but rebuilt under the name Veroia.
During the Middle Ages, Zagore is mentioned for the first time by Byzantine historians. Irene of Athens visited the town, rebuilding it and renaming it to Irenepolis, in honour of her. By the end of the 10th century, the city was in Bulgarian hands and acquired a fully Bulgarian character. Bulgarians called the town Borui (a modified form of the Thracian Beroe).
In 1371, the Ottomans conquered the town, but its earliest mention was in an Ottoman document from 1430. Plagues rampaged in the 18th-19th century, as well as famine and drought, livestock pestilence, and hailstorms destroyed all crops. During the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878, the town had devastating moments, which included a massacre in which thousands of people lost their lives, young women and girls being sold in the slave market of the Ottoman Empire.
In modern times, the city is relieved, as a growing city. The economy is developing like major cities in Bulgaria, with one of the highest wages in the country, high GDP in comparison with many Bulgarian cities, low unemployment of about 4%. The city is also located near the largest energy industrial complex, Maritsa Iztok Complex, where many of the people from Stara Zagora are employed.