Throughout history, the salubrious climate and fertile land around Stara Zagora attracted many invaders and settlers, including the Thracians (from the 4th century BC), who called it Beroe. In around AD 100, the Romans came, creating a prosperous city they called Ulpia Augusta Trayana. Stara Zagora continued to be significant due to its strategic location during Byzantine and medieval Bulgarian times.
During the Turkish occupation, the city was destroyed often, and was abandoned altogether in the mid-13th century. After eventually regrouping, it saw fierce fighting during the Russo-Turkish War, and was again completely demolished by the Turks in 1877. Unfortunately, most of the surviving Thracian and Roman ruins were also wrecked at this time and the few surviving remnants of those eras are now largely hidden beneath the modern city. Reconstruction of Stara Zagora commenced in 1879, and here one of Bulgaria’s first opera houses was opened. Today, it’s very much a living city, and a thriving educational and cultural centre where visitors (mostly of the business kind) are increasing.