Like A Local in Sliven
What could be better than a city combined with culture and nature? Follow our local Kalina, a Bulgarian girl to explore Sliven and prepare to be amazed by this charming city!
1. Could you tell us a bit about yourself?
My name is Kalina Petrova and I am 25 years old. I am currently living in Roskilde, Denmark but I am from a city called Sliven in Bulgaria – a city I’m going to introduce to you today.
2. What do you love most about living in this city?
The thing I love the most about Sliven is the surrounding nature. The town is located in one of the most beautiful landmarks in the country, called “Sinite Kamani” (the Blue Rocks).
Sinite kamani (the Blue Rocks)
3. What are your recommendations for first-time travellers in this city?
What I would totally recommend for first-time travelers to do is to visit the Museum of Textile Industry. The owner of the first textile factory was Dobri Zhelyazkov Fabrikadzhiyata who established and managed the factory in the Ottoman Empire. The factory later became a supplier of woolen fabrics for the Sultan and the army. The craft in fabric manufacturing of the factory is still alive and admired even nowadays.
The Art Gallery “Dimitar Dobrovich” is also not to be missed. The conception of the art gallery can be dated back to 1905 by Renaissance painter Dimitar Dobrovich. In 1965 it became an independent cultural institution and was officially named as "Art Gallery Dimitar Dobrovich". Today, the gallery displays a collection of 6,000 works, from paintings, to graphics, to sculptures, representing some of the Bulgaria’s best art pieces.
4. What would you recommend seeing or doing to someone who has already been to this city and has done the main highlights?
One of the most interesting places to visit is ancient fortress ”Tuida”. It dates back to the second half of the 4th century AD, and have been reconstructed during the past years.
5. What are the must-sees and must-dos in this city?”
The must-do are the reenactments in the amphitheater where visitors can see ancient warriors in a real size. There are also light shows, concerts and craft festivals throughout the year.
6. When is the best time of the year to visit this city?
In my opinion, the best time to visit Sliven would be in spring, when you can best enjoy great weather and beautiful nature.
7. What is the best places to eat? And what would you recommend to order there?
There are a couple of places in Sliven, where you the enjoy the authentic Bulgarian cuisine, for example: “Pri Hadjiyata”, “National Palace” and “Park Central”. I would recommend dishes such as “Shopska salad”, “Stuffes peppers” and traditional Bulgarian grill.
8. What is your favourite place in this city?
My favourite place is “Halkata” (The Ring). It is a unique rock formation and one of the emblems of the city. There is a legend that many years ago, “the Ring” was under the sea and it was used for fishermen to tie their ships.
Halkata (The Ring)
9. Could you design an itinerary for a one-day visit of the city you are living?
For a one-day visit I would focus on visiting museums, art galleries, the city library and historical buildings. Sliven is known as “the City of 100 Voivodas” (“Voyvoda” menans Haidouk leaders), and has rich histories and traditions.
You can start by visiting the art gallery “Dimitar Dobrovich”. Then continue to visit the Museum of Textile Industry, the only museum in Bulgaria dedicated to textile manufacture from ancient times to present days. The museum offers seminars and demonstrations the textile manufacture techniques. After that you go on visiting “the Customs House Museum”, where you can see and learn more about the traditions of the region in the last few centuries.
The city library of Sliven
10. Can you describe the perfect day trip/excursion from this city?
To better enjoy Sliven, you need to be here for at least a couple of days, so you can have the time to visit not only the historical places, but see the incredible nature around.
You can start by visiting the museums and galleries, followed by a visit to the ancient fortress “Tuida” and last but not least – the national park “Sinite Kamani” (the Blue Rocks), where you can enjoy the nature to its fullest.
11. Any recommendations for low-budget travellers in this city?
The city of Sliven is a very affordable place for budget travellers. But if you want to save some money while visiting the city, I would recommend to focus on the landmarks – “Sinite Kamani” (the Blue Rocks), “Halkata” (the Ring) and Karandila where no entrance fees needed.
“Karandila”, Sliven, Bulgaria
12. Any advice for solo travelers?
Try to interact with the locals. Sliven is a city with a very rich history, so try to talk with people around you – ask them if they would like to share an interesting story or two of the city with you.
13. What would be the challenges to travel in this city?
The challenges you may face is that not everyone in the city is fluent in English. But it would not be a big obstacle, since people there are very friendly and you can always find someone to help you out.