Stara Zagora: Exploring the Hidden Gem of Bulgaria – From Archaeology to SPA

Sightseeing in Stara Zagora

Nestled in the heart of Bulgaria lies a city brimming with history, culture, and charm — Stara Zagora. Often overshadowed by more prominent destinations in Europe, this hidden gem deserves a spotlight of its own. From its rich archaeological heritage to its vibrant cultural scene, Stara Zagora offers visitors a unique and unforgettable experience.

A Journey Through Time – Sightseeing in Stara Zagora

Neolithic-Dwellings-Museum-Stara Zagora

One of the most fascinating aspects of Stara Zagora is its deep-rooted history, dating back thousands of years. The city boasts an impressive array of archaeological sites, including the Neolithic Dwellings Museum, which showcases remnants of one of the oldest Neolithic settlements in Europe (late VII – VI millennium B.C.). Visitors can wander through reconstructed houses and gain insight into the daily lives of prehistoric inhabitants. This small museum will truly impress you. You will see a number of amazing masterpieces of pottery, anthropomorphic and zoomorphic sculptures, ornaments and tools made by neolithic artists. And they were the creators of the first European civilization. “The Birth of Europe” this is the title of a BBC documentary, dedicated to the unique prehistoric cultural heritage of Stara Zagora region.

Archaeological- Museum-Stara-Zagora

Stara Zagora’s history is further illuminated by its Roman-era ruins. The Ancient Roman Forum Complex of the ancient city is situated on area of about 7 acres. You will see the Western gate of Augusta Trayana, Parts of the two fortified walls, the first of which was erected in the end of II century, and the second – the end of V and the beginning of the VI century. A stone square with a pedestal for a statue and Amphitheatre auditorium with nine rows of stone seats are really impressive. Regional History museum is another site worth a visit. It displays amazing artifacts form the Roman period.

Roman Theater

Architectural complex “Museum of religions” – consider including it in your bucket list, too. It is a unique cult place in the center of Stara Zagora.  It was a sacred place for different religions, starting from the early Stone Age (X – IX c. BC). The whole complex is strong evidence of uncommon continuity throughout the ages.


Exploring these sites is like taking a journey through time, offering glimpses into the city’s diverse past.

Cultural Delights

Beyond its historical treasures, Stara Zagora is a cultural hub with much to offer. The city’s lively arts scene is evident in its theaters, galleries, and annual festivals. The Opera House presents a variety of performances, from classical operas to modern productions. On February 09,2024 famous Metropolitan Opera voices participated in Verdi’s Otello. The famous Bulgarian soprano Krassimira Stoyanova, as Desdemona, together with Željko Lučić (Yago) and Matin Iliev as Otello, created an unforgettable night for thousands of opera fans on stage of the Stara Zagora Opera.

Art enthusiasts will appreciate the array of galleries and exhibitions scattered throughout the city, featuring works by local and international artists. The Stara Zagora Art Gallery is a must-visit should you be an art fan

Natural Beauty

Surrounded by picturesque landscapes, Stara Zagora is an ideal destination for nature lovers. The nearby Sredna Gora mountain range offers ample opportunities for hiking, biking, and exploring pristine wilderness. The Bedechka and Zagorka Reservoirs provide tranquil settings for picnics and water-based activities, while the Rose Valley, located just outside the city, is renowned for its fragrant rose fields and annual Rose Festival.

Gastronomic Delights

No visit to Stara Zagora would be complete without indulging in its culinary delights. All in all, the city’s diverse culinary scene reflects its cultural influences, blending traditional Bulgarian flavors with international influences. From cozy taverns serving hearty stews and grilled meats to trendy cafes offering artisanal coffee and pastries, there’s something to satisfy every palate.

You will find a variety of options – from budget-friendly bites to more sophisticated local gourmet places. Note the outdoor seating, which is vital for a nice summer evening out with friends. Some of the most popular places, for instance, are “Buchchevata Kashta”, “Shtastliveca“, „Uniquto” and “Forum”.  In brief, Stara  Zagora will not leave you hungry or thirsty.

Beer’s Museum “The World of Zagorka” is the only beer museum in the country. It awaits you with doors wide open and glasses full to the brim.

The founder of this museum was Dr. Konstantin Kozhuharov, back in 1902. The Museum owns the only collection of personal items of the first Braumeister (the first licensed brewer in Bulgaria) in the country. You can see the first beer bottle (1902) and more that 15 kinds of beer glasses, used throughout the years And “Zagorka Vita”- is the first Bulgarian non-alcoholic beer, exported to the Middle East.

Wine Tourism in Stara Zagora

To start with, there are 6 wineries in the region. Actually, it seems that Stara Zagora is one of the most attractive wine tourism destinations in Bulgaria. Estates own hundreds of acres of red varieties – Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Petit Verdot, Grenache, Mourvèdre & Barbera. White varieties : Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Traminer, and Viognier. It’s a good idea to stop for a visit, a short wine-break en route to your next destination.

Stara Zagora Hot Mineral Baths – Starozagrski Bani

Bulgaria is famous for its mineral springs. And while Stara Zagora may not have as many as some other regions, there are still some springs in the vicinity that offer therapeutic benefits.

Thermal baths and spa resorts are located just half an hour away from Stara Zagora. Moreover, mineral water springs from a depth of 1,600 meters and is hot (400 С). All SPA hotels in the area offer

various wellness treatments, including hot mineral baths, massages, mud therapy, and more.

Certainly, Stara Zagora still offers plenty of opportunities for visitors to unwind, recharge, and connect with nature. Whether you’re seeking relaxation, adventure, or a combination of both, Stara Zagora has something to offer for every traveler.

In conclusion, Stara Zagora may be one of Europe’s best-kept secrets, but its allure is undeniable. Whether you’re a history buff, art enthusiast, nature lover, or foodie, this charming city has something to offer everyone. So why not venture off the beaten path and discover the magic of Stara Zagora for yourself?  You won’t be disappointed.