Welcome to Sliven
Encircled by rocky crags, Sliven is famed for its role in the 19th-century revolution. The hilltop caves and boulders that now form Blue Rocks Nature Park, north of town, once concealed haidouks, the rebels who helped secured Bulgaria's freedom from the Ottomans. Against the backdrop of this proud history, this welcoming town offers glimmers of inspiration in its well-preserved house-museums, and cultural draws along its pretty pedestrianised mall.
Outside these areas, Sliven is a rather dusty place where post-Soviet gloom hangs heavy. Nonetheless, local desires to plant Sliven more firmly on the tourist map are seeing it improve by the day.