Travel Guide to Sliven, Bulgaria
The municipality of Sliven, capital city also called Sliven, has had problems building a tourism base in the past few decades. There are groups who are working on ways to change that, however, and the area is becoming increasingly friendly and open to tourism. With some incredible mineral baths in the area, tourism is bound to become the area's hottest industry.
The town of Sliven is located in southeastern Bulgaria at the bottom of the famed "Blue Stones", an area of mountainous peaks with rich, blue hued stone outcrops. The town is extremely picturesque and packed with options for accommodation. With a population of over 100,000 residents, tourists are guaranteed to find plenty to do, see, and eat while they are in Sliven.
- Province: Sliven
- Population: 106,434 (Year 2005)
- Altitude: 243 Metres
- Postcode: 8800
- Area Code: 044
- Geographic Coordinates: 42° 41' North, 26° 20' East
Historically, Sliven was settled by the Thracians in 2 or 3 B.C. Remnants of the Touida Fortress are evident today and provide insight into the area's ancient settlers. As time progressed, Romans and Slavs both placed their marks on the town called Sliven. Many artifacts were left behind as testament to those who helped shape the area. In fact, Sliven is the only city or town in Bulgaria that retained its Slavonic name.
In 1836, Dobri Zhelyazkov founded the first textile mill in the area. Fabrikadzhiyata (meaning "the factory owner") grew from looms and parts that Zhelyazkov smuggled out of Russian in bags of Russian wool. His factory became a building of national importance.
Thanks to the warmer winters and seasonable summers, Sliven's climate remains comfortable year round. The Slivenski Mineralni Bani are located in Sliven. These mineral baths offer tremendous healing and relaxation properties. Many area hotels offer packages tying in a relaxing stay with time spent in one of the mineral baths.
Dobri Zhelyazkovâ€™s Textile Museum is also located in the area. Here visitors can view an in-depth history into his textile mill and how it shaped the area.
Sinite Kamani (the Blue Stones) are seven ranges that make up the area known as the Blue Stones. These ranges vary in difficulty with one range available only by a long rope lift. The rope lift takes many people up to the top of the range every year and is one of the areaâ€™s hottest attractions. Located within these ranges are unforgettable plants and animals that are rarely seen outside of this area.
Also in the area are a well-stocked historical museum, an art gallery, the Sliven Puppet Theatre, a drama theatre, and a large library that houses many books and paper on the area's history. History buffs will enjoy their time spent in Sliven.
There are many bed and breakfasts, hotels, and hostels in Sliven. Some accept online reservations, but most require a phone call or in-person reservation.
Hotel Imperia is located at the foot of one of the area's mountains. It is a ten-minute drive from the city centre. There are six single rooms, fifteen double rooms, and five suites. The hotel offers an in-ground pool, parking garage, sauna, fitness room, and complimentary breakfast.
Also located a short drive from the city centre is Hotel Stote Voivodi. An outdoor pool, incredible mountain views, and in-house restaurant await weary travellers. There are fourteen beds in all, so space fills quickly.
Chateau Alpia is located at the base of the mountains. The restaurant has an 80-seat capacity. There are 21 rooms and suites. Rooms are well equipped with private baths, telephones, colour televisions, and refrigerators. The hotel allows children aged two and under to stay free.
Toma Hotel Inn is located in the city centre. The hotel building is in a historic home that has been recently renovated. This bed and breakfast has four rooms and offers breakfast in the room price. In the summer months, a glorious outdoor garden invites guests to relax and enjoy the scents and sounds.
National Hotel and Conference Centre is located in the heart of the city. The hotel houses nine double rooms and four suites. Each room has a private bath, direct dial telephone, satellite television, security system, internet connection, and minibar. Room service is available daily.
The key industry in Slevin is the textile industry. Dobri Zhelyazkov opened the way for many textile mills to bring revenue to the area. Knitted items from socks to hats are produced in high volume every year.
Dairy production is another large industry, but not bigger than the wine industry. Close to one dozen wine or alcohol producers are located within Sliven's city boundaries.
Sliven offers traditional Bulgarian cuisine, but one area specialty is often requested by tourists. Sliven pork chops are cooked in a mixture of mushrooms, garlic, onion, wine, carrots, tomatoes, and celery. The dish is baked slowly in a covered clay pot or casserole dish.
Meals in the area restaurants are inexpensive, often costing well below 10€ for a meal that leaves you feeling full. If you have the opportunity, try Kivla, a croissant that is filled with homemade jam and warmed!.
If you want to avoid the bar scene, why not spend an evening listening to the dramatic sounds of the Sliven Symphony Orchestra? Shows occur almost nightly and offer a wide arrange of performances. There is also the Folk Song and Dance Ensemble who hold many shows throughout the year.
There are clubs and bars that are open nightly. Therefore, those looking to go out dancing and drinking will be able to find something to suit their needs.
Sliven is an attractive city that is definitely worthy of a closer look. The Blue Stones are excellent subjects for any avid or beginning photographer. If you can time it right so that you can attend a folk dance festival, bring a camera. The colourful outfits and intriguing dances will have you taking shots for hours.