The region of Sliven has been attractive to people since hoary antiquity. A stone ax, rusty nails, bits of charcoal, bones of domestic animals, artifacts typical of cave cult of the Thracian tribes in the cave “Zmeevite dupki ” were found in proof of this. Exacavations with traces of iron and copper ore, stone molds for casting bronze axes in the vicinity of the second smaller cave – “Gorni zmeevi dupki” - have remained probably from the time of Roman rule. Evidence of settlements are the ruins of castles, watchtowers and roads from the time of Roman rule and the beginning of the First Bulgarian Kingdom.Several historical layers related to different ages were found.Implements, Greek inscriptions which mention the existence of the emporium and a sanctuary with a temple of Zeus were discovered as well. The state seal of king Boris and administration building in the archaeological reserve “Tuida” were also found.The name of Sliven (Istlifunos) was mentioned for the first time in 1153.The city was described as cultural center with a rich spiritual life. During the Second Bulgarian Empire monasteries, churches, chapels, holy springs have been built in the area.Today,in the area of the Natural Park “Blue Ridge” many ruins can be seen: Marichino and Marinino ruins, chapel “40 – Martyrs “monastery” St. Spas “, known as” St. Konstantin and Elena ” , as well. There are traces of a holy spring in “St. Todor” area, of the fortress of kyupya over Mollova grove,of the old Roman road, and others.
The textile industry has begun in Sliven.In 1834 Dobri Zhelyazkov built in the gorge of the river Selishka the first cloth factory in Bulgaria.On the area of the park along Assenovska, Monastery and Novoselska rivers still exist and operate about 20 brooklets (“bars” ) , which are part of the first bars and mills system built on the Balkan peninsula (XVII – XIX century) . The best and most skilled jewellers and masters of rifles and knives established their business here.
Blue Stones was the center of haidouk movement. There wasn’t a single place in the whole region where national defenders Tanio voivode, Dobri voevode, Nikola Adzhema, Panayot Hitov, Hadji Dimitar, praised in the folklore, haven’t visited. Areas of Kushbunar, Haramiata, Dzhendema and Daula were a refuge, a place for gathering and making a vow.
Blue Stones and Sliven are also associated with the traditional festivals which take place here – the festival of horses – Todor’s Day, also known as Horse Easter, Midsummer Day – Eniovden - a day on which herbs are picked at sunrise , Easter , on which eggs are painted and local customs are shown in the house-museum of Sliven , built in the nineteenth and early twentieth century, with the annual fair of Karakachan people and their guests from the Balkan countries.
You might also find interesting:
- “St. Sofia “, whose existence is mentioned in the middle of the seventeenth century,” St. Demetrius “- built by masters of Bratzigovo school,” St. Nicholas “and” St. Mary ”
- “Dimitar Dobrovich”, “Sirak skitnik”, “Dobri Dobrev”, “May” galleries, the Club of cultural figures
- Preserved customs and holidays – at Christmas, New Year custom Survaki, Trifon, St. George.