The 7-thousand year history of Haskovo ranks the town among the oldest settlements in Bulgaria. According to the archeologists, the first people in the territory of the town has originated as early as the new-stone age /about 5 000 years BC).
The favorable geographic location and climate from the very ancient times had been an attractive place for many Thracian and Slavic tribes, who settled in these areas.
Workshop in Haskovo in the early 1920s
By the end of the 8th century, in the territory of the today’s living quarter – Hisarya – the Slavic tribes made a new settlement, surrounded by strong fortifications. In this way, 10 centuries ago appeared an early Middle-ages town with the characteristic for the times crafts, military garrison and a significant number of people. In the 11th century the settlement was destroyed by the Byzantine invaders. The population, however, stayed there, settling on the other side of the river and around the present “Youth Hill”.
Haskovo revived again during the second Bulgarian empire during the reign of the Assens and Shishmans. One of the most glorious times in our history is the fight near the village of Klokotnitsa, where in 1230 Ivan Assen II destroyed the treacherous invader – Teodor Komnin – the despot of Epir.
The fall of Haskovo under Ottoman yoke put the citizens of the town under great hardship, but they did not submit easily. In 1872, the liberation leader of Bulgaria – Vassil Levski came for the second time in Haskovo and created a secret revolutionary committee, headed by the teacher – Petar Berkovski. The organization, however, was revealed nd its most active leaders were imprisoned in Diarbkir, which became the reason for the Haskovo people not to support with weapon the April upraising of 1876. Despite this fact, the town became a prey of the raging Turkish hordes, who burned, robbed and slaughtered the unprotected population.
Cultural Centre Zarya in 1929
The Russian-Turkish War of 1877-1878 brought the long expected freedom. On 19 January 1878, the population met with bread and salt the soldiers of the Russian General – Gurko. Because of the heavy clauses of the Berlin Congress, the town fell within the limits of the so-called “eastern Rumelia”, which was vassal territory of the Ottoman Empire. The fight for independence and unification with Bulgaria did not stop for a moment and a network of revolutionary committees was built, called “Unity”, which worked for the preparation of the unification of Bulgaria in 1885.
Haskovo in the beginning of the 20th century