The modern city dates back to the beginning of the 15th century. It was founded as a military fortress to protect the Shipka Pass and later developed as a city of craftsmen. More than 50 handcrafts developed such as tanning, coppersmithing, goldsmithing, frieze weaving, shoemaking, cooperage and, of course, rose cultivation. The oil-prodicing rose, imported from India via Persia, Syria and Turkey, found all the necessary conditions to thrive - proper temperature, high moisture and light, sandy, cinnamon-forest soils. The Kazanlak rose oil has won gold medals at expositions in Paris, London, Philadelphia, Antwerp, Laet, and Milan. After the Liberation the handcrafts declined due to the loss of the markets in the huge Ottoman Empire. The textile, aerospace and military industries were developed.
One of the first country town museums in Bulgaria. It was founded on June, 29, 1901, by Peter Topuzov — a bright man of enterprise from Kazanlak and by decision of the leaders of Iskra Studious Club. More than 50 000 exhibits revealing the history of Kazanlak area from ancient times until nowadays have been kept at Iskra museum. The finds from Thracian town of Seuthopolis are displayed in three separate halls. Temporary exhibitions with valuable articles from this museum and loan-collections are arranged during the active tourist season.
The charming cobbled Mirska Street is located in the oldest part of the city – Koulata District, which is near the world-famous Thracian Tomb of Kazanlak. This is where traditional architecture from the period of the Bulgarian National Revival (18th – 19th centurty) can be found. The traditional buildings there constitute Koulata Ethnographic Complex, restored and open to visitors since 1976. They “take us back” to the unique, diverse material cultre of Bulgarians from the Kazanlak region of the past. Before stepping through the big gate, one can hear the clanking of the coppersmiths’ hammers in the distance. Their “song” tells the storey of the typical local coppersmiths’ craft. Just opposite are the violin-makers, and right next door is the goldsmith’s. The country house nestles among bushes and trees. It is one-storied, asymmetrical, and in architectural terms has the characteristic of the Balkan velley houses from the end of the 18th and the beginning of the 19th century. The life-style of the late 19th and early 20th century inhabitants of the region is shown in the restored houses from the time of the Bulgarian Renaissance. The artefacts displayed here are kept at Ethnography department. Kazanlak was a famous craftsmen town in the near past. Today you are given the opportunity to feel the atmosphere of the past, to feast your eyes on the Bulgarian Renaissance architecture, to watch activities done by hand as it was long, long ago and to try some of the rose industry products — rose jam, liqueur, and of course gyulovitsa (rose brandy).
Buzludzha National Park rises east of the Shipka pass. It is a very important part of Bulgarian history — here, on July 30, 1868, Hadji Dimiter fell in battle. He was at the head of a small group of rebels fighting the numerous Turkish enemy. In 1961 a monument was built here to commemorate this act of heroism. The impressive marble figure of Hadji Dimiter is outlined against the green background of the pine-trees. Near it, under the venerable beeches, a stone bas relief commemorates another event in Bulgarian history — founding of the Bulgarian Socialist Party on August 2, 1891, after a clandestine congress. Buzludzha with its numerous chalets, rest homes and hotels offers excellent opportunities for the lovers of winter sports and tourism.
Shipka National Park is founded on the same area where the bloody battles of the Russian-Turkish Liberation War occurred during 1870s. It represents a complex of memorial tablets, monuments, trenches, and bunkers reminiscent of the battle.
On the top of the mount at Shipka rises THE MONUMENT OF FREEDOM. It was paid for by voluntary donations of the Bulgarian people and built after the design of Atanas Donkov, an architect and Alexander Andreev, a sculptor. The monument was opened officially in 1934. The located on the monument's levels expositions relate the story of Russian soldiers' and Bulgarian volunteers' heroism during the five-month defence of the pass. From the last ground there is a panorama of the restored details of the battle field, monuments and common graves reminiscent of the self-sacrifice of the Russian and Bulgarian heroes.
The locality offers excellent conditions for relaxation and tourism. Several shops, cafes with well stocked wet-bar, camping, a comfortable hotel-restaurant and a petrol station are available for the visitors.
The Shipka Memorial Church is located only 12km north of Kazanlak, at the south foot of the Stara Planina mountains near the town of Shipka. It was erected after the Liberation as a monument to both Russian and Bulgarian dead. The golden domes and the green and pink coloured facade loom against the mountains and attract the attention of the travellers in the Shipka pass. The project design following the seventeen-century Russian church architecture with arks, friezes, pediments, and gold-plated ornaments, was the work of the Czeck architect A.I. Tomisko. The main entrance has three arks, topped off with the distinctive 50 m-high spire of the bell tower. There are 17 bells, the heaviest of them weighs about 12 t. The lime-tree iconostasis is richly decorated with gilded wood-carvings and is of great artistic value. The icons in the church were presented by Russian monks from the monastery of St. Pantaleimon on Mount Athos — Greece.The names of the Russian regiments and of both Russian and Bulgarian dead are inscribed on 34 marble plates built in the walls of the church.The honoured dust of the Russian soldiers killed at Shipka Pass (1877-78) have been kept in 17 stone sarcophagi in the crypt. The Shipka Memorial church was ceremoniously consecrated on 27th Sept., 1902.
THE KOSMATKA TOMB, KAZANLAK. In the summer of 2004 a team of Bulgarian archeologists unearthed a large, intact Thracian mausoleum dating back from the fifth century BC near the central Bulgarian town of Shipka. "This is probably the richest tomb of a Thracian king ever discovered in Bulgaria. Its style and its making are entirely new to us as experts," said Georgy Kitov, the head of the team.
Archeologists have discovered a 2,500-year-old golden mask that was likely made for a Thracian monarch's funeral. The mask depicts a full face with moustache and beard. The rare artifact is made of 600 grams of solid gold and "is without paragon in archeology,". The mask may belong to King Seutus III, the Thracian king who ruled in the fifth century BC. Besides the mask, archeologists also found a golden ring showing a rower, and many bronze and silver vessels. Inside one of the rooms they found a golden crown of oak leaves and acorns, the first such object found in Thracian temple. No remains have been found but archeologists continue to excavate the tomb.
The national Shipka-Buzludza park-museum includes Shipka Memorial Church (or Church of the Nativity) near the town of Shipka, Shipka National Park, Freedom Monument near the village of Sheinovo and Buzludza National Park.
The Bulgarian climate is temperate, with average temperatures from 0о С to +1,5о С in January, and +21о С in July. The average altitude is 350 m.
Spring temperatures rise comparatively early and are usually above 5о С (in the first half of March) and above 10о С (in the first half of April) but sometimes there are also some cold spring periods.
The summer temperatures are moderate and the average summer rainfall is rather high, especially at the beginning of summer. During the second half of the summer and the beginning of the autumn, there are continuous drops in rainfall. Until the middle of November, the average autumn temperature is above 5о С, and above 10оС until the end of October.
The winter is mild, with comparatively low snowfall, short-lasting snow-cover and low minimum temperatures. The highest rainfall is in June, and the lowest – in February and March. The general wind direction is from Northeast.
The Kazanlak Valley is formed during the Quaternary Period with the rise of the Balkan and Sredna Gora Mountains and the submergence of the Fore-Balkan fields. The fault character of the Valley is evidenced by the hot mineral springs near the village of Ovoshtnik, Yagoda and the town of Pavel Banya.
Morphologically, the Kazanlak Valley is divided into three areas. The Western area is the broadest one and has a lot of hills due to the numerous alluvials, formed by the rivers flowing through the Balkan Mountains. Although the average altitude is 350 m, here it reaches up to 500 m. The Middle area is narrower and lower, and the relief of the Eastern area is much more complex.
Soil cover is closely related to the relief, climate, flora of the region and the economical activity of the man. The varied Bulgarian natural environment has produced about 20 soil types and subtypes.
This region is characterised mainly by cinnamon-forest soil.The spreading of the accumulative river materials along the Tundzha river and the Eninska river has formed alluvial soil types and subtypes. The draining and the deeply intended geological base together with the drought-resistant and thermophilic forest vegetation (oak, field elm, hornbeam) are the reason for the spreading of the forest soils.
The arable lands related to this soil type are inclined and that leads to the degradable effect of the plane, linear and ravine erosion. The alluvial soils are high-productive — they are represented by arable lands of I, II and III category. They cover two thirds of the searched territory and this is an obstruction to the town growth.
The lands are planted mainly with roses and perennial plants. Low-productive and degraded lands are located only north-east of Kazanlak. Part of them are covered with meadows and pastures.This region is not rich in mineral resources of industrial importance but there are several non-metalliferous minerals of local importance. There is a clay deposit for brick manufacturing in Manastirska Niva locality two km west of Kazanlak. A greisen-pit for broken stone, paving stones, and kerbs is located 7 km east of the town in Kara Dere locality.
Sand, gravel, and felt are extracted from the pits near the villages of Ovoshtnik and Cherganovo. There are granite pits near the villages of Kanchevo and Bouzovgrad. The granite is used for kerbs, paving stones, and others.
The Kazanlak valley is drained by the Tundzha river and its tributaries. The Tundzha river rises in the highest part of the Balkan east of Mount Botev, flows across several fields — Kalofersko Pole, Kazanlashko Pole, Slivensko Pole, Yambolsko Pole and Elhovsko Pole and empties into the Maritsa river. Total length (Bulgarian section) - 349.5km, drainage basin area - 7834km². The river flows slowly in Kazanlak valley near the north slopes of Sredna Gora mountain. The average annual water quantity increases southwards.
At Koprinka dam it is 9.5m3/s on average or about 300mil m3/year; at the village of Knezha it is 31.14m3/s or 1200 mil m3/year. But this water quantity is not equally distributed during the whole year. The maximum is in spring (April and May) due to the intensive snow melting and high rainfalls in spring. The underground waters of the considerable in range and flow rate alluvial cones play an important role in the drain regulation during summer season when the rainfall is minimum. Southwest of the village of Koprinka the river valley is deeply cut in the slope of Sredna Gora mountain and this narrowness was used for the Koprinka dam construction which permits the irrigation of the land round Kazanlak and Stara Zagora. Many tributaries feed the Tundzha river; those rising in the Balkan mountains are numerous and deeper.
The rivers Tazha, Leshnitsa, Eninska and Maglizhka and their deeply cut in the Balkan slopes valleys are of remarkable beauty. The Kran river rises in the village of Kran and collecting several spring flows through the western part of the town and gradually disappears in the terrace materials of the Tundzha river.
The Eninska river rises in the Balkan, collects the waters of many springs, flows through the eastern part of Kazanlak and empties into the Tundzha river south of the town. Both tributaries have deeply cut valleys in their upper courses. In the lower courses the terrain is not so inclined and the river beds are wider. The average annual water quantity of the Eninska river at the village of Enina is 0.75 m3/s. The maximum water flow is in April - 1.70 m3/s and in May - 1.49 m3/s. The minimum is in September - 0.20 m3/s. These tributaries (especially the Eninska river) are characterised by plenty of alluvial formations.
Many gullies run down the slopes of Tulbeto hill (located in the north-eastern part of the town) when heavy rain falls or snow melts and carry to the Eninska river heavy alluvial formations. Two or three km north of Kazanlak the rivers Eninska and Kranska are connected by a drain carrying off the water directed towards the town. South of the town there is another drain system carrying the disappearing in the alluvial cone waters from the rivers Eninska and Kranska towards the Tundzha river.
The Rose Festival is one of the most remarkable events in Bulgaria, dedicated to beauty and flowers, to spring and the fragrance of the priceless Kazanlak rose.
The Rose Festival was celebrated for the first time in 1903 and since then it has traditionally been held during the first weekend of June.
This is the season when the gentle oleaginous Kazanlak rose comes to bloom, filling the air with its scent. Nowadays the Rose Festival has evolved into an international event where thousands of tourists and guests of the town are entertained.
The beautiful celebrations for the blossom of the roses there takes place in the first week of June. The whole week is filled with different attractions every day. That week is also interesting, because there is a beauty pageant and on the last day of the celebrations, the most beautiful girl in the city is chosen. They call her "The Queen Of Roses".
According to The Ultimate Visual Encyclopedia, Bulgaria is the major supplier of a certain type of rose oil in the world and Kazanlak's rose gardens are the largest rose gardens in the whole world. It is the only place in the entire world that can grow this certain rose.
Prominent among Kazanlak's manufacturers is Arsenal Corp. Founded in 1924, it manufactures and develops a wide range of military equipment, including small arms (especially AK-47 models), anti-aircraft missiles, and heavy machine guns.
Also located in the city are M+S Hydraulic and Caproni JSC, manufacturers of hydraulic components. Kazanlak has three textile factories, one for woolen cloth, the second producing thread of different types and the last producing cloth from synthetic materials.
Finally, Kazanlak is home to a rose oil factory.