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Top 10 Oldest Cities in Bulgaria

When it comes to Bulgaria, you may be surprised to find that the oldest city isn’t the biggest city. Instead, it’s Sofia—which was founded in 629 AD! So what are the other top 10 oldest cities in Bulgaria? Let’s take a look and see. 


Plovdiv, Bulgaria’s oldest city, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to over 30 archaeological monuments. The city’s well-preserved architecture and rich history make it a popular tourist destination.

The oldest settlement located in the current Plovdiv district was discovered in 2009 and has been dated to 7,000 BC. It was a small village of farmers and hunters that grew into the largest city in Thrace by 330 BC. The city prospered as a trading center between Greece, Rome, and Byzantium. In the 6th century AD, Plovdiv became an important center of Slavic culture and learning.

The most significant event in Plovdiv’s history occurred in 814 AD when Prince Boris captured the Byzantine capital Constantinople from the Muslims. Boris established the Second Bulgarian Empire which lasted for more than 1,500 years until its fall to Ottoman Turks in 1453. During this time, Plovdiv became one of Europe’s most important cultural centers with renowned scholars such as John Philoponus and Constantine Porphyrogenitus teaching at its universities.

Today, Plovdiv is still popular for its historical attractions including its castles, monasteries, churches, museums, and festivals. Its thriving economy has led to numerous developments such as new bridges across the Maritsa River and a vibrant nightlife scene.

Stara Zagora

Stara Zagora is the oldest city in Bulgaria and was founded by the Thracians in the 4th century BC. It became an important trade center and was occupied by the Romans in 90 BC. The city reached its peak during the Middle Ages when it was one of the most important cities in Europe. The Ottoman Turks conquered Stara Zagora in 1459, but it remained a major center of trade and culture until its decline following World War II. Today, Stara Zagora is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is home to many historic landmarks, including the Khan Asparuh mosque and the Basilica of St John Chrysostom.


1. Varna is the oldest city in Bulgaria, founded as a Thracian colony in the 6th century BC. It became an imperial capital under the Bulgarian Empire and continued to be an important commercial and cultural center through the medieval and early modern periods. After falling to Ottoman rule in 1444, Varna remained relatively unscathed until its liberation by partisan forces in 1878. The city has since undergone significant development, becoming a major tourist destination and industrial center.

2. The historic core of Varna consists of a series of winding streets and squares lined with late 19th-century neoclassical architecture. Highlights include the Basilica of Saint George and the Terrace Park, both well-known tourist destinations. Nearby attractions include the Ancient Thracian Tombs Museum, which features exhibits on Thracian archaeology and culture, as well as the Archaeological Museum of Artifacts from Ancient Thrace.

3. Fortune-tellers congregate at one of Varna’s main squares, Pliska Square, where they offer predictions for future events based on palm readings, interpretation of omens, and consultations with spirit mediums known as “diviners.” Another popular gathering place is Knyaz Alexander Square, which features a statue of Alexander III of Macedon commemorating his victory over Byzantium in 330 BC.

4. Varna’s economy is primarily focused on trade and industry; it is Bulgaria’s second-largest seaport after Burgas

Veliko Tarnovo

Veliko Tarnovo is the oldest city in Bulgaria and one of the most important cultural and historical centers of the country. The city was founded by Thracian tribesmen in 611 BC and became an important trade center due to its location on the Danube River. It has been the capital of Bulgaria since 927 AD. Veliko Tarnovo is home to a number of historical monuments, including the National Palace of Arts and several mosques.


Ruse is the oldest city in Bulgaria and dates back to the 5th century AD. It is located in the southern part of the country and has a population of around 200,000. The city is known for its historic architecture and attractions, including the Ruse Archaeological Museum. There are also many shops, restaurants, and bars in Ruse.


Burgas is the oldest city in Bulgaria, founded by the Thracians in 627 BC. It became part of the Byzantine Empire in 654 AD and passed to the Bulgarians in 811 AD. The city experienced rapid growth during the Middle Ages as it became an important trade center between Constantinople and Europe. It was captured by the Ottoman Turks in 1443 and remained under their control until 1878. Burgas played an important role during both World Wars, serving as a transit point for troops heading to Central Europe and as a naval base for the Allied forces fighting against Bulgaria’s Nazi collaborators. Today, Burgas is a thriving urban center with a population of over 100,000 people.


1. Plovdiv, Bulgaria’s oldest city, is located in the province of Plovdiv. The city was founded in 629 BC by the Thracian tribe of the Odrysians. It was known as Philippopolis until 1878 when it was renamed after its founder.

2. As one of the most ancient and historic cities in Bulgaria, Plovdiv has a rich history that goes back thousands of years. The city is noted for its impressive medieval architecture and numerous monuments, including the Saint Demetrius Cathedral and the Khan Krum Fortress.

3. Today, Plovdiv is a vibrant city with a population of over 250,000 people cities in Bulgaria. It is home to many museums, galleries, and other attractions, making it a great place to visit if you’re interested in history or culture.

Stara Zagora

Stara Zagora is the oldest city in Bulgaria and has a long history dating back to the 6th century BC. It was initially named Eleusis after the ancient Greek goddess of wisdom and fertility, which is why it is also known as the City of Mysteries. Over the years, Stara Zagora grew to become one of the most important cultural and commercial centers in southeastern Europe. Today, it is a vibrant city with a rich history that is well worth exploring.

One of the best things about Stara Zagora is its architecture. The city’s historic downtown area features some spectacular medieval ruins, including an 11th-century cathedral that is considered to be one of Bulgaria’s finest examples of Byzantine art. Additionally, there are many beautiful Victorian-era buildings and squares throughout town, making it a very appealing destination for visitors.

One thing to note about Stara Zagora is that it can be quite hot during the summer months, so make sure you pack plenty of sunscreens if you’re planning on spending any time here during those months. In addition, please note that this city does not have much in terms of nightlife, so if you’re looking for something fun to do after dark then you’ll likely be out of luck. However, there are a few restaurants and bars scattered around town that should provide ample opportunities for socializing with friends or meeting new ones.

Overall, Stara Zagora is an excellent place to visit if you


Varna is the oldest city in Bulgaria and it was founded by the ancient Greeks. The city has a rich history and it is located on a peninsula on the Black Sea. Varna is a popular tourist destination because of its beautiful architecture and historical sites.

Today, Varna is a major commercial center and it has a population of around 300,000 people. The city has many attractions, including the Gamza Monastery, which was built in the 12th century and is one of Bulgaria’s most important UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Varna also has a beautiful waterfront with many restaurants and cafes.

Veliko Tarnovo

Veliko Tarnovo, otherwise known as the capital of medieval Bulgaria, ranks as one of the oldest cities in the country. It was founded circa 629 by Tsar Simeon I, who named it after his father-in-law, Tarnovgrad. The city rapidly grew in importance due to its strategic location and its favorable climate.

Today, Veliko Tarnovo is a thriving metropolis with a population of around 150,000. It is home to many important historical landmarks, including the medieval White Tower and the Church of St John the Baptist. Veliko Tarnovo is also well known for its wine production, which contributes significantly to the local economy.


In Bulgaria, there are a number of ancient cities that date back to antiquity. Some of these cities, such as Plovdiv and Varna, have been continuously inhabited for over 2,000 years! These cities offer a fascinating glimpse into the history of Bulgaria and its people. If you’re looking for a place to explore on your next trip to the country, be sure to check out some of these ancient urban centers.

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