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Settlements: Dimitrovgrad

Dimitrovgrad - Pictures Of Bulgaria
Dimitrovgrad (45 918 inhabitants, 100 meters above sea level) is a town in the very heart of the Gornotrakiiska (Upper Thracian) Lowland on both sides of the Maritsa River. It is located at the distance of 48 km to the south of Stara Zagora, 78 km east of Plovdiv, 13 km north of Haskovo, 215 km west of Bourgas and 220 km to the south-east of the city of Sofia. It is an important industrial centre and one of the youngest towns in Bulgaria. It is also a regional administrative centre.

History: The birth date of this town is well known - 3 April 1947, when the villages of Rakovski, Mariino and Chernokonyovo (earlier called the Small Batak due to its suffering from the Ottoman invaders) were united to place the foundations of what Dimitrovgrad is today. It was named after Georgi Dimitrov.

The vast deposits of lignite and lime as well as the proximity of the waters of the Maritsa River were the base for the construction of a cement and a chemical plants. Thousands of young people, called brigadiri came to participate in the construction works and populated the town. Apart from being a centre of industry, Dimitrovgrad developed as a powerful vegetable-producing region - the second in the country after Plovdiv.

In 1957 the town elected a representative and participated in the Constituent Congress of the World Federation for the Fraternity of Towns and became one of its founders. The town is also associated with the esteemed poet - Penyo Penev, called the poet with the vatenka (a coarse thick upper garment usually worn by builders).

Landmarks: The Historical Museum (7, St. Climent Ohridski Str., tel.: 0391 23264, working hours: 9 a.m. - 12 a.m. and 2 p.m. - 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, no entrance fee). The Penyo Penev House-Museum is situated on the floor of the building, where the poet lived and the exhibit shows his life and works (9, D. Blagoev Blvd., tel.: 0391 24304, working hours: 9 a.m. - 12 a.m. and 2 p.m. - 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, no entrance fee). The Art Gallery exhibits paintings and hosts personal and group exhibitions (7, D. Blagoev Blvd., tel.: 0391 25846, working hours: 9 a.m. - 12 a.m. and 2 p.m. - 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, no entrance fee). The Apostol Karamitev Theatre of Drama (13, D. Blagoev Blvd., opposite the railway station, tel.: 0391 23312, P. O. Box 88). Jordano Bruno Planetarium is the first such facility in the country, opened in 1962 (Vaptsarov Park, tel.: 0391 26180, no entrance fee). St. Dimitur Church was built in 1880-1884. It is a three-nave basilica, which can be visited every day from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. It is located at Rakovski Blvd., in the very centre of the town. Interesting because of its architecture is the Rotunda a modern building touching the town-hall. It is located at the downtown square.

Dimitrovgrad is one of the greenest towns in Bulgaria. There are more than 4 500 decares of parks and gardens. The Maritsa Park is on the right bank of the river, the oldest is the Vaptsarov Park, while the most interesting and picturesque one is the well-known Penyo Penev Park.
Every two years since 1970 the town hosts the so-called Days of Poetry, during which poets contest for the prize Penyo Penev. It is interesting to note that the first winner of this prize was the poet Damyan Damyanov. Since 1980 Dimitrovgrad also hosts the Bulgarian Theatrical Poster Exhibition and Contest.

Accommodation: The town has two 3-star hotels Moskva Hotel (Moscow) (11, D. Bla-go-ev Blvd. in the centre, opposite the railway station) and Aphrodite Hotel (in Vaptsarov Park).

The least expensive and unpretentious is the Trakons-FZS Hotel (2, S. Stambolov Blvd., opposite the central bus station and close to the well-known Sunday Marketplace). All three hotels have their restaurants and coffee-bars. Penyo Penev Tourist House offers 64 beds in 2 suites and double rooms (15-minute walk from the railway station into the park).

Tourist information: Compact Tour Tourist Association (tel.: 0391 54010, 54009, 27460), Hebros Tourist Association (8A, Tsar Boris I Str., tel.: 0391 24093, 27586, 23981), as well as at the hotels.

Transport: Dimitrovgrad maintains regular bus lines to Sofia, Plovdiv, Varna, Bourgas, Stara Zagora and Haskovo as well as to the smaller towns and villages in the region. The Group Transport Company maintains bus routes to many countries in Europe, as well. The central bus station (D. Blagoev Blvd., tel.: 0391 23687, 23861, 23187, the bus station to Haskovo (D. Blagoev Blvd., next to the police office) and the railways station (D. Blagoev Bvld., tel.: 0391 23622) are close to each other on the centre of the town. Dimitrovgrad can be reached through the Sofia - Plovdiv - Svilengrad and Rousse - Toulovo - Podkova railway lines, as well as their international extensions. It has well-organised bus transport.

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