Sliven is a town in southeastern Bulgaria, located near Yambol and Nova Zagora. It is the eighth largest in the country and is the administrative center of Sliven municipality. Sliven is known as the City of the Hundred Voivodes connected with the haidouk movement. According to the latest NSI data as of December 31, 2019, the population of Sliven is 86,505 people, which makes it the eighth largest Bulgarian city.
Church of St. Nicholas
12 Moskovska Street
"St. Nicholas the Wonderworker" or "St. Nicholas" in Sliven is an
Orthodox church in the neighborhood "Klutsohor", built in 1834, when
it was consecrated. It is located next to the house-museum of Hadji
Dimitar. The building has the status of a cultural monument. The
church is one of the four Orthodox churches in the city, along with
the Cathedral of St. Demetrius and the Churches of the Holy Mother
of God and St. Sophia, within the Diocese of Sliven.
The building is massive, three-aisled, without a dome, with a central apse and six columns in a row. It was built by masters from Bratsigovo on the foundations of an old church and was completed by Todor Karahristov from Sliven. The middle of the arch next to the central nave is decorated with rich wood carvings and a preserved part of the original mural, which depicts the "Almighty" in a medallion and other religious scenes. Most of the icons have been restored. Church services are accompanied by a church choir.
Old forms of the name Sliven are Savulen, Tsoida, Tuida, Islimie, Istlifanos, Selimno, Svilne, Slivno, Slivne.
Named as Sliwno, it can be seen on an ethnological map of the spread of Hellenism, compiled by Prof. George Soteriadis of the University of Athens. It dates from the beginning of the 20th century, probably around 1916.
In his book "Origin and meaning of the names of our cities, villages, rivers, mountains and places" Vasil Mikov brings the name of Sliven as the name of a place where two rivers merge.
Traces of the oldest settlements on the territory of Sliven are dated to the Neolithic Age - the sixth millennium BC. Remains of primitive stone tools have been found in the Hisarlaka area. Traces of a Thracian settlement from the 5th to the 3rd century BC have also been found there, including Thracian pottery and Hellenistic coins. The area around the present-day town of Sliven was inhabited by the Thracian tribes Asti, Kabileti and Seleti. Their independence lasted until the time of Philip of Macedon and Alexander the Great, who conquered them, but not for long. During the same epoch, the Persians, the Celts and the Bastards marched through the Sliven region.
In the II century BC. Roman conquests began in northeastern Thrace. The region of Sliven became part of the Roman Empire most probably around 72 - 71 BC, when Kabyle and Apollonia were conquered. In 46 BC. the land of the city is included in the newly created Roman province of Thrace.
A new stage of the inhabitation of Hisarlaka is from the beginning of the new era - II - IV century. From this period the first written sources for the name of the then settlement - Tuida were found. The name is most likely Thracian, with unclear meaning. It is also mentioned by Hieroclus, who defines it as one of the four cities in the eastern Roman province of Hemimontus, established as part of the diocese of Thrace under Diocletian, in addition to its capital Adrianople, and also by Procopius of Caesarea in On the Buildings. The Roman road from Anhialo along the upper reaches of the Tundzha to Serdica in the west was built for the needs of this city.
In an inscription found from the beginning of the 3rd century, the settlement was called "marketplace" and most probably belonged to the territory of the town of Augusta Trayana (now Stara Zagora). The good economic opportunities of the village are evident from the sanctuary of Zeus and Apollo, which was discovered on its territory.
After the relocation of the capital of the Roman Empire to Constantinople, the settlement was fortified and a fortress was built on the hill. The technique used is with three-row brick belts and wall pillars, which ended with brick arches. There was also a secret passage to the river to the west.
The fortress escaped the invasion of the Goths in 378, but was destroyed during the invasions of the Huns in the V century. It was rebuilt during the reign of Emperor Anastasius I (491 - 518), and the new fortress retains the plan of the old one, but is much stronger. The brick belts are now five-row, and stone stairs have been added to the east and south walls. The construction of an additional protective wall one meter and eighty centimeters outside the main one has started.
Inside the ancient fortress, near its eastern wall, the remains of a basilica with a baptistery, which functioned in the V-VI century, have been excavated. It was probably destroyed by the Huns and rebuilt during the reign of Justinian I. A larger church was discovered south of the fortress, in today's Novo Selo district - it was built in the 5th century and expanded in the 6th century. This testifies that the settlement was not limited to the territory of the fortification - about 40 acres, but also extends to the surrounding area.
It is clear from the Epiphanes' List that the city of Tuida / Tsoida is the seat of a bishop subordinate to the Diocese of Adrianople. Related to the latter is the curious fact that until then the episcopal see was the larger and richer city of Kabile. In the 4th century, most probably due to the proximity of the two cities, which are in different provinces, Kabile was abandoned, and its population - moved to Diospol - today's Yambol. However, the bishop's seat was moved to Tuida for unknown reasons, which most likely marked the beginning of the proverbial rivalry between Sliven and Yambol.
Tuida / Tsoida ceased to exist around 598 - 599, when it was destroyed again, most likely by Avars and Slavs. There is a hypothesis that this happened as part of a great battle between the Avars and the Byzantine General Comenius.
Middle Ages and Ottoman rule
The region of Sliven entered the borders of the First Bulgarian
State around 705 as part of the Slavic-inhabited region of Zagore,
given to Tervel according to his treaty with the Byzantine Emperor
Justinian II Rinotmet. In place of Tuida arose an old Bulgarian
settlement, whose name is unknown. Its beginning is not dated, but
it is before 870, when a lead seal of Prince Boris-Mikhail was
found. The Bulgarians are repairing the fortress walls, even the
water supply system at the northern gate. New buildings are being
built inside, some of which are lined with marble slabs made in
stone studios in Preslav. From this period were found several bricks
engraved on them the proto-Bulgarian sign "epsilon", flanked by two
Bone remains of 14 species of wild and domestic birds from the 10th to the 12th century were found in the early Bulgarian settlement in the Hisarlaka locality by the paleoornitologist Prof. Zlatozar Boev. the country. Poultry farming was based on raising a domestic hen (Gallus gallus f. Domestica) and a domestic goose (Anser anser f. Domestica). Finding the remains of 4 copies. of a large hawk (Accipiter gentilis) suggests that the villagers practiced hawking - hunting with trained birds of prey. This is indirect evidence of their high material status.
The city continues to exist after the destruction of the First Bulgarian State. In the middle of the tenth century it was briefly in the possession of the Pechenegs, after which it began to decline. In 1153, Sliven was first mentioned by its current name by the Arab geographer Al Idrisi, who wrote that it had been "famous since ancient times". The fortress was abandoned and ceased to be used as a defensive structure in the XIII century.
During the Second Bulgarian State it was a center of spiritual life. Twenty-four monasteries were built in its vicinity, forming a complex called "Little Holy Mountain".
During the Ottoman invasion the medieval city and fortresses were destroyed and in 1388 the monasteries were burned. There is information about Sliven under the name Islimie in Turkish registers from 1609 and 1668.
In the notebook of Moshe Alevi Nazir from 1668 it is stated that in the places where he passed, Sliven stands out as a Jewish center. As of 1859, there were 30 Jewish families living in Sliven, for the needs of which a synagogue and a Jewish school were built.
In 1848 the town passed from the Silistra to the Edirne vilayet.
The city was a settlement of a strong bandit movement against the Ottoman conquerors and became known as the "city of a hundred voivodes". Among them are Hadji Dimitar, Zlati Voyvoda and Panayot Hitov. In his capacity as high priest of the Bulgarian militia, Father Amfilohiy from Sliven consecrated the Samara flag in Ploiesti. Famous sites in the Sliven Mountains, related to the haidouk movement, are: Kushbunar locality, Balgarka peak, Gabrova polyana locality, Djendem dere locality, Ravna polyana locality, Gunchov izvor locality, Haidushko kladenche locality, Haidushki dol, m. Haramiyata, Ceremidenata kashla, Matei, Ramadana, Futula (cave), Kalna usoya, Haidushka path
In the XVII century Sliven developed as a craft center and became famous for the production of rifles, pistols, iron tools. One hundred workshops produce five hundred pipes a day. 984 shops open in the bazaar every day. 35 inns accommodate guests of the city.
During the Revival Sliven was formed as an important trade, craft and cultural-educational center. The city part is divided into residential, commercial and administrative. With the efforts of Dobri Chintulov and other Sliven leaders in 1860 the community center "Zora" was founded. The founder of the Bulgarian theatrical work is the public figure and cultural figure Sava Dobroplodni, born in Sliven, who wrote the first play in our history - "Michal Mishkoed". In 1843 in Sliven was established the first textile industrial enterprise within the Ottoman Empire, headed by Dobri Zhelyazkov. In 1864 a second one was opened, and in 1872 tobacco and alcohol factories were established.
Since the beginning of the 16th century Sliven has been the center of a kaaza, which territorially remained almost unchanged until the middle of the 19th century.
In 1738 the population of Sliven was predominantly Turkish. The
Sliven Sandzak is mentioned for the first time in a register with
inventories of timars from 1792. Many Sliven residents took part in
the Greek national liberation uprising from 1821 to 1829. For
example, Hadji Hristo was promoted to the rank of general and led
the Christian armies of Bulgarians, Albanians and Greeks, and was
later elected a member of the Greek parliament. The inhabitants of
the town also supported the Braille riots, the Crimean War of
1853-1856, and participated in the Second Bulgarian Legion. Like
many of his fellow citizens, Kondo Bimbashi Voivode of Sliven joined
the Serbian uprising of 1804-1813 and, thanks to his decisive
actions, the rebels captured the Belgrade fortress in 1806. His
exploits were sung by Sima Milutinovic in the epic Serbian. Dr. Ivan
Seliminski, one of the theorists of Bulgarian nationalism, created a
secret patriotic society in Sliven similar to the Greek Filiki
During the Russo-Turkish War of 1828-1829, the troops of General Ivan Dibich-Zabalkanski entered Sliven. The conquest of the city was followed by prolonged massacres of the Muslim population and the desecration of mosques involving both Bulgarian and Russian soldiers and crowds of locals. In April 1830, after the end of the war, the first Russian consulate in the Bulgarian lands was opened here. After the withdrawal of Russian troops, more than 15,000 people from the city and surrounding villages emigrated to southern Russia, Bessarabia and Wallachia, leaving only 2-3 thousand Bulgarians in the city. With this, Sliven region suffered a severe demographic and economic blow, which blunted the momentum of its previous development and deprived the city of a leading position in the Bulgarian lands south of the Balkan Mountains.
The inhabitants of Sliven are actively involved in the church-national struggle. In 1859, the people of Sliven expelled the Greek bishop, and the Sliven diocese became part of the Bulgarian Exarchate, established on February 28, 1870. The first spiritual leader of the diocese was Metropolitan Seraphim of Sliven, who was greeted enthusiastically in the city on July 3, 1873.
During the April Uprising, Sliven was the center of the Second Revolutionary District with Chief Apostle Ilarion Dragostinov and Assistant Apostles Stoil Vuchkov, Georgi Obretenov and Georgi Ikonomov. The chairman of the district is Neno Gospodinov, vice-chairman - Dimitar Kukumyavkov, cashier - Petar Karakostov, secretary - Georgi Kiryakov. Stefan Sertkostov was chosen as the flag bearer of the insurgents, and Petrana Obretenova embroidered the insurgent flag. Although battles were fought near the city during the Russo-Turkish War of Liberation of 1877-1878, 800 shops and 100 houses in its center were set on fire. Metropolitan Seraphim has special merits for saving Sliven and a number of settlements and farms in the region from complete pogrom. The historical truth makes it necessary to mention the intercession of the Sliven mutesarif before the commander-in-chief of the Turkish troops in Thrace. On January 4 (January 16 in a new style) in 1878, Russian troops liberated Sliven from five centuries of Ottoman rule.
PR Slaveykov edited the first issue of the Sliven newspaper "Bulgarian Flag" in 1879. In the XIX century the city was a district center and was one of the largest cities in Bulgaria with over 20,000 people, most of whom were Bulgarians. . There are the neighborhoods Mangarska, Deli Balta, Kaftandzhiyska, Kokosharska, Slavchova, Koruchanska, Dragoychova, Ovcharska, Hadji Valkova, Popska, Eskinamazgyah, Hadji Yahya and others.
Sliven after the Liberation
In 1884 the population of the city amounted to 20,248 inhabitants, and in 1934 it was already 30,600.
In the municipal elections in September 1911, the BRSDP won the most seats, but failed to take over the management of the municipality until August 1912, when Dr. Yordan Danchev was elected mayor. The party won the elections again in 1915 and 1919. A social care bureau, a labor bureau, and municipal housing for the homeless were established. Binding regulations have been issued for the relations between workers and employers, for salaries, for weekends and holidays. The administration was dissolved on January 31, 1923 by a decision of the Sliven District Court, dominated by the Bulgarian Agrarian Union.
Sliven during the communist rule from 1944 to 1990.
From the beginning of the Industrial Revolution on Bulgarian lands to the beginning of the socialist economy, industry was concentrated in the northern parts of the city - in the gorges of the rivers that flow through it.
The new government gradually began consolidating existing
factories and building new ones, with industry centered around the
newly built station. At a given time, the number of employees in the
industry was 20,000, and 1/2 of them were in the textile industry -
wool and cotton textiles. Second in importance is the food industry,
and in third place is mechanical engineering (ZMM - Sliven, Dynamo
The population grew, and in 1946 it had 34,291 inhabitants, in 1956 - 46,383, and in 1975 - 90,137.
The town of Sliven is located at the foot of the
southern slopes of the Sliven Mountain, which begins the Eastern
Stara Planina. The boundaries of the Sliven Mountain are determined
by the Vratnik Pass and the Sliven Pass. It is characterized by
steep and rocky slopes and deep notches from the tributaries of
Tundzha and Luda Kamchia. Parvenets is Bulgarka peak with a height
of 1181 m. The Sinite Kamani Nature Park, which covers nearly eleven
and a half thousand hectares of the Sliven Balkans, is located on a
rock massif north of the town.
The Sliven field is the last of the sub-Balkan ones in the eastern direction, as what we call Sredna Gora curves orographically to the south near Sliven. Its morphographic sequels are Bakadzhitsite, the branch St. Iliyski hills, Manastirski hills and Sakar on the territory of Bulgaria. Until the first quarter of the 19th century, the Sliven plain was part of the Rose Valley, but the emigration waves from the city after the Russo-Turkish wars of 1806-1812 and 1828-1829 led to a decline in the production of rose oil. East of the city is the "Valley of Peaches", whose huge fruit massifs underwent renovation in the first decade of the XXI century.
Sliven is 308 km from the capital Sofia, 178 km from Plovdiv, 238 km from Varna and 114 km from Bourgas - the largest commercial port in Bulgaria, 130 km from the borders with the Hellenic Republic and the Republic of Turkey. The route of the Pan-European Transport Corridor 8 is planned to pass through Sliven.
The location of Sliven is favorable because it is at a crossroads - it is close to the Pass of the Republic, also to the road junction "Petolachkata" connecting northern and southern Bulgaria, the connection to the recently built highway "Trakia" is 15 km south (to Yambol), and the main road between Bourgas and Sofia connects the port of Bourgas and Bourgas Airport with the central part of the country.
The city falls in the zone of transitional-continental climate and is geographically located in the sub-Balkan Sliven plain. There is a pronounced four-season - winter is mild, summer is relatively warm, autumn is longer than spring. The falling wind is characterized by pine, which blows at lower temperatures in Northern Bulgaria.