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Hissarya Tours

Visit Hissarya as part of our Festival of Roses in Kazanluk 7 days Programme

Spa Resorts: Hissarya

Hissarya - Pictures Of Bulgaria
The town of Hissarya (also known as Hissar) is situated in a small valley among the south-eastern outskirts of Central Sredna Gora Mountain. It is located 167 km east of Sofia, 43 km north of Plovdiv, 26 km south-west of Karlovo and 57 km east of Panagyurishte. It is a world famous balneotherapy resort and one of the biggest in Bulgaria.

History: The modern health resort, with its more than 20 mineral springs and mild climate, has an ancient past. During the Roman rule the town (called Augusta and Sevastopolis) was a wealthy resort centre with Emperors palaces, wide stone streets, marble baths, a sewage system and lots of statues of Roman gods. Sick people from all over the Balkan Peninsula, Asia Minor and the Aegean Islands crowded here. The white-as-marble town could be seen from far away, like a dream among luxuriant vegetation, it was famous for its mineral springs throughout the Roman Empire. After being burnt down by the Goths in the 3rd century, it was rebuilt in the beginning of the 4th century, this time with massive and high defensive walls. During the 5th and 6th centuries the town reached its zenith, being part of the Byzantine Empire. After the 6th century it slowly started to decline. Almost all the time between the 9th and the 14th century its within the borders of Bulgaria and is known by the name of Toplitsa. When the Turks invaded Bulgaria, the town put up a rugged resistance, for which it was completely destroyed and the population was massacred. It was in the 17th century when the Turks finally appreciated its natural assets and re-populated the ex-resort, giving it its present name - Hissarya (Fortress) because of the many fortress remains in it. While in Hissarya the population was mainly Turkish, in the nearby villages Verigovo and Momina Banya (now quarters of the town) there lived enthusiastic Bulgarians who took an active part in the fight against the Ottoman rule. In 1868 Vassil Levski founded a revolutionary committee in Verigovo, 15 members of who took part in The Grand Peoples Gathering at Oborishte. The village rose in rebellion against the Turkish rule in April 1876 together with other villages in the area, but it was devastated when the April Uprising was suppressed - the village was burnt down, many people were slaughtered, others sent on exile to Cyprus Island, some were driven away.

Present: Today Hissarya is a flourishing town and resort of national importance. The mineral waters temperature is 24-49C and its output is 40 litres per second. It cures diseases of the kidneys, liver, gallbladder, gastritis, diabetes and many more. The most famous spring is the one in the Momina Banya Quarter (Maiden Bath) with its radioactive alkaline water. There is also a mud-cure establishment, which increases the quality of the therapy. There are some mineral drinking-fountains, balneotherapy establishments, a lot of sanatoriums, few dozens of recreational facilities, hundreds of private and departmental villas, a mineral water beach, many parks and gardens.

Landmarks: The Archaeology Museum with a rich archaeological (mainly) and ethnographic exposition (8, Al. Stamboliiski Str., working hours 8.00 a.m. - 12.00 a.m. and 1.30 p.m. - 5.30 p.m. all week round, tel.: 0337 2796). The Hissarya Fortress has the shape of an irregular tetragon with an area of 300 decares. Its 4th century walls still look impressive and are some of the best-preserved fortress defences in Bulgaria. Their total length is 2315 metres, the walls thickness is about 2,5 to 3 metres and their height is 10 metres. The fortress were strengthened with 43 quadrangle turrets. One could enter the town through 4 gates, the main of which was the southern, called Kamilite (The Camels). The northern side has 2 walls, the outer of which is 10 metres away from the inner one, in front of the southern wall there was a 4-metres deep and 10-to-12-metres wide moat. Inside and outside the fortress different kinds of buildings from the ancient town were found - barracks, ancient Roman baths, a late-Roman building (with a colonnade), churches, necropolises. Out of the 5 late-ancient tombs, found in the area, the so-called Hissarya Tomb, also known as the 3rd tomb, is the biggest and most famous. It is a late-Roman (from the 4th century) family tomb, consisting of an overarched passage, a staircase and a burial chamber. The walls of the chamber and the passage are decorated with colour frescoes, and the chambers floor is covered with a 4-colour-mosaic. Other interesting sites are the banski buildings (baths) at the springs of Havuza, Momina Banya and Indzheza, the Old-Christian Basilicas from the 5th and 6th century, the Church-Tomb from the 10th-12th century, the Holy Virgin Temple in the Momina Banya Quarter, the St. Dimitur Temple in Verigovo Quarter, the St. Pantaleimon Temple (4, Augusta Str., tel.: 0337 2749), St. Peter and Paul Church and many more.

Accommodation: Augusta Hotel (3-star, 3, Gen. Gourko Str.). Krepost Hotel (Fortress) (13, Gen. Gourko Str.). Natalis Hotel (20, Geo Milev Str.). Apriltsi Balneological Complex (66, Ivan Vazov Blvd.). Ministry of Healths Balneological Complex (12, Gladston Str.). Hissar Balneological Complex (2, Gen. Gurko Str.). These balneology complexes operate as balneo-hotels. There are a lot of private lodgings available through the Accommodation Bureau. As a resort centre Hissarya offers a wide variety of restaurants and places where one can eat and have fun.

Tourist information: available at the hotels, the balneo-hotels, the Accommodation Bureau, and at Orela Tourist Association (16, Augusta Str., tel.: 0337 2592).

Transport: Hissarya has regular bus lines to Plovdiv, Karlovo, Panagyurishte, Strelcha, the village of Krastevitch and other smaller villages in the area. The town is the last station of the local railway line Dolna Mahala - Hissarya (a deviation of Plovdiv Karlovo railroad). The bus station (tel.: 0337 2069, working hours: 5.40 a.m. - 7.45 p.m. all week round) and the railway station (tel.: 0337 2256, 2094) are located next to each other in the western outskirts of the town.

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Bulgaria Regions: Plovdiv