Sliven is located in Southeastern Bulgaria roughly 300 km east of Sofia, 110 km away from Bourgas - the, 130 km from the Greek border and 130 km from the Turkish border.
It is located at the Upper Thracian Lowlands at the foot of the Sliven Mountain (1181 m) which is part of the Balkan Range. On the South and the East the town is opened toward the Sliven plain. Sliven is also situated on the railway line â„–3 and on the international route E-773 connecting Sofia and Bourgas.
The territory of Sliven Municipality is 1366 square km and comprises 49 settlements - two towns Sliven and Kermen and 47 villages.
Sliven Municipality's relief can be divided in two parts: semi-mountainous and mountainous on the North and plain - on the South. The altitude varies from 180 m up to 300 m in the different areas.
Sliven Municipality is situated on the sub-Balkan plain in the zone of transitional-continental climate. In the region of Sliven, winter is mild and summer is relatively warm. Autumn is longer than spring. The local wind "Bora" is typical for the region. Therefore Sliven is also one of the top locations for windmills.
River Tundja is the main water resource for the Municipality.
The reservoir "Jrebchevo" is constructed on the river Tundja, 25 km away from Sliven, with capacity of over 400 million cubic metres and is used mainly for irrigation. Sliven is crossed by the rivers "Asenovska", "Selishtka" and "Novoselska". The main water source of the city is the reservoir created on the valley of the river "Asenovska".
There is a great number of thermal springs in the region of Sliven Municipality. The water is particularly valuable in the treatment of gastro-intestinal and hepato-biliary disorders, diseases of the skeletal and muscular system and the peripheral nervous system.
The population of the municipality is 147 557 and 112 000 of them live in the town of Sliven.
There is very little known about Sliven until the time it gets popular with its current name.
For the Sliven region during Thracian times can be judged by the few monuments and excavations.
The oldest astigraph monument in the town itself dates back from Roman times. Nowadays this monument is a ruin and is called Hisarlak.
An old saying about path through Sliven actually hints at the military road from Misia to Thracia. The current settlement Sliven is lost in legends and guesses.
The names used for it in Roman times is Castrum,Savulen-Canalin, the Byzantium Sidara and so on. It was mentioned as Istilifounos by an Arabian writer in 1153. Later it became known as Silimno, Slivno. It preserved its Slavic name ever since.
The name probably comes from the fast that it merges the field, the mountain and the three rivers of Assenovska, Selishka and Novosselska. Slivam menas fusion.
In 1388 the town was conquered by the Turks and entirely destroyed. A Turkish settlement rises on its medieval grounds - Enidjekarie. Around it the new Sliven started developing.
During the Ottoman rule it was a privileged town for a few reasons. It was famous for its people breeding falcons and people guarding mountain passes.
Gradually the town became an important craft centre, growing further in size and wellbeing. It gained popularity for the creation of the woolen cloth called kebe. In 1828 there were about 20 000 inhabitants. Sliven was liberated in 1828 in the Russian-Turkish War. When the Russian soldiers withdrew more than 15 000 Bulgarians left with them and settled to live in Romania, Bessarabia and South Russia. In 1872 the population of the town numbered 25 000 inhabitants.
Sliven becomes an important crafts and trade center utilizing actively the power of the many water supplies.
The most popular was still the cloth production and tailoring. More than 400 traders came from Turkey, Poland and Hungary on the annual trade fairs.
The first textile factory in Bulgaria was built in Sliven in 1834 by Dobri Zhelyazkov. Its stone structure still impresses with its three stores, 20 spinning machines and 500 workers.
During the Revival era Sliven got popular as the town of the 100 voyvoda:Indzhe, Zlati, Kara Sybi, Radoy, Hadji Dimitar, Panayot Hitov, Tenio voyvoda and many others come from Sliven area.
After the liberation the crafts decay but textile continues to define the economical look of the town.
- Drama and puppet theatres
- Dimitar Dobrovich art Gallery
- Sliven's 19th Century Lifestyle Museum
- Sadak Pasha House
- The house museum of Dobri Chintolov - one of the greatest Bulgarian community activists and poets
- The first textile factory owned by Dobri Zhelyazkov
- The clock tower in the town center (1808)
- The monument to the liberation of Hamam Bair
- The monument of Hadji Dimitar
- The old elm tree in the centre of the town (600 yrs old)
- The remains of the early Byzantine and medieval Tuida fortress in the locale of Hisarlaka
- The Karandila locale northeast of the town amid 100 years old oak and beech trees in the Sliven Mountain. This is also a starting point for mountain and eco tourism. It includes the Sinite Kamani Natural Park with interesting rock formations and many tourist sites.
- Slivenski Mineralni Bani (Mineral Baths) 12 km from the town. The temperature of the water is 44-45 C. It is used for treatment of diseases of the skeletal - muscular system, the peripheral nervous system etc. Beside the balneological sanatorium the resort also hosts two hotels and several restaurants. It is open all year round.