Sliven (Bulgarian: Сливен) is the eighth-largest city in Bulgaria and the administrative and industrial centre of Sliven Province and municipality.


Top: Panorama view of Sliven, 2nd left: Sliven City Hall, 2nd right: Stefan Kirov Drama Theater, 3rd left: Monument of Hadji Dimitar, 3rd right: Hadji Dimitar House Museum, 4th left: Saint Dimitar Cathedral, 4th right: Clock Tower, Bottom left: A bust chieftain of Hadji Dimitar in Dimitar House Museum, Bottom right: Slivenski Bit Museum


Coat of arms
Location of Sliven
Coordinates: 42°41′N 26°20′E
Country Bulgaria
  MayorStefan Radev
  City193.78 km2 (74.82 sq mi)
243 m (797 ft)
 (Census February 2011)[1]
  Density470/km2 (1,200/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+2 (EET)
  Summer (DST)UTC+3 (EEST)
Postal Code
Area code(s)044
License plateCH
WebsiteOfficial website

Sliven is famous for its heroes Haiduts who fought against the Ottoman Turks in the 19th century and is known as the "City of the 100 Voyvodi", a Voyvoda being a leader of Haiduts.

The famous rocky massif Sinite Kamani (Сините камъни, "The Blue Rocks") and the associated national park, the fresh air and the mineral springs offer diverse opportunities for leisure and tourism. Investors are exploring the opportunity to use the famous local wind (Bora) for the production of electricity.

Another point of interest and a major symbol of the city as featured on the coat of arms, is the more than thousand-year-old Stariyat Briast (Старият Бряст, "The Old Elm"), a huge Smooth-leaved Elm in the center of the city. In times of the Ottoman rule Turkish officials used to hang Bulgarian revolutionaries on it. Today the city is helping the tree to live on by frequent evaluations and reinforcing its base. It was elected Bulgarian tree of the year in 2013. On 19 March 2014 the results of an online poll were revealed at a ceremony in the European Parliament. The Old Elm was voted European Tree of the Year 2014. The city also served as an important strategic centre for the Bulgarian Army, with the headquarters of the Bulgarian Third Army located in the centre of the city, being situated relatively near to the sensitive Turkish border.

Sliven Peak on Livingston Island in the South Shetland Islands, Antarctica is named after Sliven.


The name comes from the Slavic word sliv ("pour, confluence") + the Slavic suffix or ending -en.[2] |


Sliven is located 300 km east of Bulgaria's capital Sofia, 100 km from Burgas, the country's largest commercial port, 130 km from the border with Greece and 130 km from the border with Turkey. It is located in close proximity to the cities of Yambol and Nova Zagora.

West of the city lies the so-called Peach Valley which contains large peach orchards. The city is also known for its mineral baths whose water is used to treat diseases of the liver and nervous system.

The most visited geographical location and attraction in the city is the Karandila (Карандила). It is a hilltop 1050m above sea level, with great sights overlooking the city. The rock formation Halkata (Хaлката, "The Ring") is located on the Karandila. It is a rock protrusion with a peculiar hole in the center. According to myth, one would have their most sincere wish granted upon passing through the ring. Karandila is the site of the annual Karakachani festival, organized by the Federation of the Cultural and Educational Associations of Karakachans (ФКПДК) in Bulgaria each July.[3]

Karandila is located in the nature park Sinite Kamani (Сините камъни), whose peak Bulgarka (Българка, 1181 m.) is the highest in the eastern Balkan mountain.[4]


Sliven Municipality is situated on the sub-Balkan plain in the zone of transitional-continental climate. In the region of Sliven, winter is mild and summer is relatively warm. Autumn is longer than spring. The local wind Bora is typical for the region.

Climate data for Sliven (2002-2013)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 6.7
Daily mean °C (°F) 2.3
Average low °C (°F) −0.5
Average precipitation mm (inches) 46
Mean monthly sunshine hours 94 122 171 213 264 293 327 319 232 191 123 87 2,441
Source: [5]


According to the Bulgarian National Statistical Institute, as of February 2011, the total population of the Sliven Municipality is 125,268 inhabitants while 91,620 inhabitants live in the city of Sliven.[6] The town is called the under-age mother capital of Europe, with 177 such births in 2008.

Year 1887 1910 1934 1946 1956 1965 1975 1985 1992 2001 2005 2009 2011 2013
Population 20,893 25,142 30,571 34,291 46,175 68,536 90,316 102,268 106,225 100,366 95,518 93,781 91,620 ??
Highest number 114,696 in 1991
Sources: National Statistical Institute,[1][7][8],[9],[10] Bulgarian Academy of Sciences[11]
Historical population

Ethnic groups

Members of the following ethnic groups are represented in the city's population:[12][13]

Total: 91,620

In Sliven Municipality, 88,750 declared as Bulgarians, 12,153 as Roma, 4,209 as Turks, and 18,641 did not declare their ethnic group. The city of Sliven, Sliven Municipality and Sliven Province have the largest number of Roma in Bulgaria.


Remains of the oldest settlements on the territory of Sliven date back to around 6000 BCE of the Neolithic. Ruins of a Thracian settlement dating to around 5th–3rd century BCE as well as Thracian ceramics and Hellenistic coins have been discovered in the area of Hisarlaka — a small hill in Sliven. In antiquity it was known as Selymnos (Σήλυμνος in Greek). The area occupied by present-day Sliven has in the past been settled by the Thracian tribes Asti, Kabileti and Seleti. These tribes held their independence until time of Philip II of Macedon and Alexander the Great who conquered them.

The 2nd century BCE marked the beginning of the Roman conquests of northeastern Thracia. Sliven was conquered by Rome around 72–71 BCE when the Thracian[14] Kabile and later Greek[15] cities of Kabile and Apolonia are conquered. With the emergence of the Roman Empire the region of the city became part of the Thracian province of the Roman Empire.

A new stage in the city's history began around 2nd-4th century. The first written records of the settlement's name, Tuida/Suida/Tsuida date to this period. This name is most likely of Thracian origin. Its etymology is currently not understood. Known as "İslimye" by the Turks, during Ottoman rule it was a sanjak centre in first Rumelia eyalet, then Silistre (Özi) eyalet, Edirne vilayet, finally being for a short period a centre of a department in the autonomous province of Eastern Rumelia before its inclusion in the Principality of Bulgaria in 1885. During the First World War it was the site of the Sliven prisoner of war camp, the largest such camp in the country. It was the place of internment for Greek and Serbian civilians and soldiers, with peak numbers of 19,000.[16]

In more modern times, Sliven became one of the most significant cultural centres during the Bulgarian National Revival, with much of its old heritage still preserved and enriched and today offers to its citizens and visitors a lot of opportunities for cultural life. It served as the birthplace of many prominent Bulgarians who contributed to the enlightenment such as Hadzhi Dimitar, Dobri Chintulov, Evgeniy Chapkanov, Ivan Seliminski and many others. Another notable native is Anton Pann who composed the Romanian national anthem. Another notable resident is Yordan Letchkov, whose goal in the 1994 World Cup eliminated defending champion Germany. Letchkov was mayor of Sliven from 2003 to 2011.


The economy of Sliven has centered around industry since the early 19th century. In 1834, Dobri Zhelyazkov established the first factory in Bulgarian lands, thus starting industrial development in Bulgaria. Sliven was one of the largest industrial centers in Bulgaria, playing an important role during the Bulgarian National Revival. It has long-lived traditions in textiles, machine-building, glass-making, chemical production, and the technical and food industries.

Following the beginning of communist rule in Bulgaria in 1944, most industries were nationalized and much industrial building and development was spurred. Industry continued to develop until the fall of communism, at which point much of the previously built industry stagnated; many plants and factories were shut down and there was little development.

In contemporary times, Sliven has experienced a surge in economy with increased investment, banking establishments and new industries have begun to emerge. The dairy industry, which has long been present, continues to grow and thrive. The wine industry, with companies such as Vinprom and Vini Sliven and about a dozen others, continues to grow as grapes are easily grown due to the climate conditions. In terms of heavy industry, the city produces electric lights and electrical machines. The city has also become notorious as a source of young girls who are trafficked into the sex industry.

Light industry in Sliven is mostly devoted to textiles with many companies making wool clothing, socks, and food.


There are many buildings in the city built in the National Revival Architecture style, including the House museum "Hadzhi Dimitar". It is in the south western part of the town and shows visitors a complex of a native memorial home and an old traditional inn. The Museum collection "Dobri Chintulov" is on the North side of Sliven; it was the home of the Bulgarian revival teacher and poet Dobri Chintulov. The city's main theater is located at the main city square. It is named after the Sliven native Stefan Kirov (Стефан Киров) who was a prominent actor and director.

See also

Twin towns - sister cities

Sliven is twinned with:[17]


  1. (in Bulgarian)National Statistical Institute - Main Towns Census 2011 Archived 2011-04-08 at the Wayback Machine
  2. "За Сливен" (in Bulgarian). БНС – Сливен. Archived from the original on 2008-09-28. Retrieved 2008-09-14.
  3. Annual Karakachan Festival, Karandila
  4. Sinite Kamuni and Karandila
  5. " Historical Weather for Sliven, Bulgaria". 2012. Retrieved on May 9, 2013.
  6. (in English) Bulgarian National Statistical Institute - Census 2011
  7. (in Bulgarian)National Statistical Institute - Towns population 1956-1992
  8. (in English) Bulgarian National Statistical Institute - towns in 2009
  9. (in English) „WorldCityPopulation“
  10. „“
  11. (in Bulgarian) Bulgarian Academy of Sciences Archived 2011-07-06 at the Wayback Machine
  12. (in Bulgarian) Population on 01.02.2011 by provinces, municipalities, settlements and age; National Statistical Institute
  13. Population by province, municipality, settlement and ethnic identification, by 01.02.2011; Bulgarian National Statistical Institute (in Bulgarian)
  14. Fol, Aleksandar. The Thracian Royal city of Kabyle. - In: Settlement Life in Ancient Thrace. IIIrd International Symposium “Cabyle”, 17–21 May 1993 Jambol. Jambol, 53-55.
  15. An Inventory of Archaic and Classical Poleis: An Investigation Conducted by The Copenhagen Polis Centre for the Danish National Research Foundation by Mogens Herman Hansen,2005,Index
  16. Pissari, Milovan (2013). "Bulgarian Crimes against Civilians in Occupied Serbia during the First World War" (PDF). Balcanica. Institute for Balkan Studies (44): 357–390. doi:10.2298/BALC1344357P. Retrieved 8 May 2016.
  17. "Градове-партньори". (in Bulgarian). Sliven. Retrieved 2019-10-31.

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