Like most of the centuries-old towns, Haskovo has had different names. Some say that the first name of the settlement was “The Clean Town” or “White Spring” (“Чист град” or “Бял извор”/ Chist Grad or Bial Izvor), but this hypothesis cannot be supported with convincing facts.
In 1792 the name “Marsa” was mentioned for the first time in writing. The Short History of the Bulgarian Slav People of Spiridon tells about the Turkish raids in the Thracian valley in the second half of the 14th century. Among the conquered settlements are Dalgo Pole and Marsa, i.e. Uzundzhovo and Hasköy. The Turkish name Hasköy, used during the Turkish yoke period, can be translated “Ruler’s Village” (“Владетелско село”). This name was met for the first time in Ottoman documents of the time of Sultan Mehmed II - The Conqueror, i.e. the second half of the 15thc. It is assumed that the Turks had renamed the town immediately after its conquering at the end of the 14th c.
In the next centuries, the name Hasköy can be seen in different versions: Haskiuy, Haskeni, Haskivi until reaching the present form of the name – Haskovo. In its present form the name was first used in the literature of the Bulgarian National Revival from the mid 19th c.
It is interesting to know that our prominent writer of the Revival and fighter for pureness of the Bulgarian language – Ivan Bogorov translated the Turkish name Hasköy as “The Clean Village”. It could not, however, be imposed as a name of the town. In some newspapers of the time one can see that Haskovo was called by such strange words as “Chistograd Uzunzhovskij” (Cleantown of Uzundzhovo) or just “Cleantown”. Most probably the journalists of that time had meant or referred to a local myth about the oldest name of Haskovo.