Haskovo, Bulgaria

Travel Guide to Haskovo, Bulgaria

Haskovo is the capital city in the Haskovo municipality/province. Located in the central portion of southern Bulgaria, Haskovo is an area with reliable bus and train service. As Haskovo is near the Greek border, many tourists use this area as a central point to view more than one town and country.

As Haskovo receives very little rainfall, summers are warm and dry and winters are cool and generally the wettest time of the year. If you travel between June and August, you will probably experience no rainfall and plenty of sun.

  • Province: Haskovo
  • Population: 83,755 (Year 2005)
  • Altitude: 196 Metres
  • Postcode: 6300
  • Area Code: 038
  • Geographic Coordinates: 41° 56' North, 25° 34' East
History

Archaeologists have unearthed evidence of settlements dating back over 7,000 years. Haskovo is believed to be one of Bulgaria's oldest residences. Traces of Thracian, Roman, medieval Bulgarian, and Ottoman/Turkish tribes were left behind. A 9th century fortress turned the area that would become Haskovo into a busy town. It appears to have been an important religious centre.

The actual name Haskovo does not appear until late in the 14th century. It appears to have been a thriving market linking Plovdiv, Odrin, Tzarigrad, Ruse, and Greece. There is evidence that it was a booming trade centre. In the 1700s, the town fell under Ottoman rule and they renamed the town Marsa. The Turks held control until the 19th century.

When Haskovo was liberated in 1878, the name Haskovo replaced Marsa. The origin of Haskovo is believed to come from the Arabian word has (meaning possessing) and the Turkish word kjoy (meaning villages.) As the Bulgarians settled in Haskovo, they turned it into a thriving trade area focusing their attention on fabric and carpeting woven from silk or cotton. As the town continued developing, flour mills, creamery plants, and silk workshops began popping up. These industries were followed by tobacco companies, churches, and schools.

Site Seeing

Many visitors to Haskovo are drawn by the town's mineral springs. The Haskovo Mineral Springs are known for their healing and restorative properties. Be sure to visit nearby Kanane, a park set amidst a huge oak forest. In Kanane you can dine in the restaurant, play tennis on the well-kept courts, or spend time on the picnic areas. You might also think about staying in one of the hotels located inside Kanane Park. Many hotels offer in-house restaurants, bars, and some even have delightful pastry shops where you can get treats for breakfast.

Hisaria, a fortress from the Middle Ages, is well preserved and open to tourists. You can also go to the nearby village of Klokotnitza to see the Asenova Krepost, another fortress from centuries ago.

The Haskovo Ethnographic Museum is housed in the former Paskalev's house. The home's architectural features are stunning, but the contents of the museum inside offer an in depth look into the clothing, equipment, and cookware of times long past.

Many area churches are intriguing displays of art and architecture. The iconostasis of St. Archangels Mihail and Gavrail were completed in 1861 and should not be missed.

The Haskovo Historical Museum and Art Gallery offer artifacts from thousands of years ago. There is a wide array of antique coins, pottery, tools, and artwork done by many area artists.

For those who prefer to spend their time taking in performance art, the Ivan Dimov Drama and Puppet Theatre should be appealing. Performances are held regularly. There is also the Symphony Orchestra and a number of folk ensembles that provide regular concerts.

Accommodation

Hotel Diamond Plaza is located in the city centre. There are twenty-one rooms, some with Jacuzzi baths and fireplaces, in the hotel. All hotel rooms come with cable television, minibars, telephones, internet connections, room service, and in-room safes. The hotel has an on-site restaurant, two bars, and a couple of clothing stores.

Aida Hotel houses 74 rooms. Located in the city centre, guests rave over the central location.

Hotel Central is known for employing friendly workers. Seven single and double rooms await guests. Rooms include cable television, room service, air conditioning, and telephones.

Located near the Haskovo Mineral Spa, Hotel Toplika is one of the area's nicest hotels. Eighty-five rooms await eager travellers. The hotel has a medical centre, gift shop, restaurant, and indoor pool. All rooms include private baths, telephones, balconies, and televisions.

Motel Klokotnitsa has 42 rooms and 3 suites. All rooms come with private baths, satellite television, and room service. There is a billiard room in the hotel, and nearby horseracing will appeal to some.

Industry

A number of plants within Haskovo contribute to the area's economy. Donido, Rodina, IBI (coffee machines), and Erato (kitchen appliances) all build machines that help the food, wine, and tobacco industry. Companies like Modus, Bukelon, and Erato-Les build handmade furniture. Textilni Vlakna (cotton processing), Manuela (yarn making), Svila (silk), Mir (clothing), and Nikena (clothing) are the largest companies in Haskovo's textile industry. Bisera PLC makes shoes.

Food production, wine making, and tobacco processing also add to the economy. Shato-Aida makes and bottles soft drinks. Stil is the area's largest brewery. Astika PLC is a meat processing plant. Haskovo BT PLC is the area's largest tobacco processing plant.

Gastronomy

A number of family-run taverns are scattered throughout Haskovo and offer the greatest variety of traditional Bulgarian cuisine. Expect dishes to offer a nice selection of grilled or stewed meats and fresh vegetables. Bulgarian cuisine is usually balanced with loaves of freshly baked bread. Carbs are not evil in Bulgaria!.

Nightlife

Haskovo is not well known for having a variety of nightclubs and discos. There are some area taverns that will appeal to some, but if you need discos and lots to do, you will need to head to a larger city.

Summary

Although Haskovo is a small town, there is plenty of traffic and lots of hustle and bustle. Streets and sidewalks are kept clean, and the sidewalk cafes add charm. Citizens of Haskovo are among the friendliest in the world. While there may not be much in the way of nightlife activities, the town is an excellent tourist destination. You can stay in an inexpensive hotels and then wander or drive to area parks, sites and monuments.