|Haskovo (Bulgarian: Хасково); is the
name of a town and administrative centre of the province of the same
name in southern Bulgaria, not far from the borders with Greece and
Turkey. Its population (as of December 2005[update]) is 96,010. The
province includes the town of Dimitrovgrad.
Haskovo celebrated its 1000th anniversary in 1985. To mark the event,
a new clock tower was erected in the centre of the town. In medieval
times it was known for the nearby Uzundzhovo fair, famous in all of
According to the archeologists, the area of Haskovo was originally
settled about seven thousand years ago. In and around Haskovo,
evidence has been preserved that confirms its long history during
the prehistoric, Thracian, Greek, Roman, and Byzantine periods.
In the 9th century—during the First Bulgarian Empire—a fortress was
built in Haskovo that soon was transformed into a town. The town was
located at the centre of a sizable region between the Klokotnitsa,
Harmanliyska, and Maritsa rivers.
In 1395 the Eski cami (the Old Mosque) was built as one of the first
in the Balkans. It is interesting that its minaret is slightly
World's highest monument to Virgin Mary
Ivan Dimov Dramatic Theatre (1921)
In 1782, the town was known as Marsa. Many speculate that the
current name came from the Arabic word "has" (هس; possession) and
the Turkish word "köy" (village) (Turkish: Hasköy). Several
historians have ascertained that the Turkish word "has" has roots to
the meaning "clean". Strengthening this argument further, the town
was literally called "the clean town" during the Bulgarian Revival
period. The Turkish "köy" was subsequently substituted with the
Bulgarian (and common Slavic) placename suffix "-ovo".
Most Bulgarians began to re-settle in Haskovo at the beginning of
the nineteenth century. At this time, the settlement was a trading
centre for merchants from Edirne, Enos, and Istanbul. Slowly, the
area acquired a strong reputation for producing cotton materials,
silk fabrics, and carpets.
After the liberation in 1878 Haskovo became a centre of high-quality
tobacco region. However, now there is no cigarette production in the
region as the once big Tobacco company "BT Haskovo" was closed.
Nowadays there are some enterprises producing food, machinery and
Haskovo Cove in Greenwich Island in the South Shetland Islands,
Antarctica is named for the city of Haskovo.
The cultural life in the town is presented by the newly renovated
Ivan Dimov Dramatic Theatre, the historical museum and an art
gallery. The annual Colourful Thrace Sings and Dances folk festival
takes place in the nearby park Kenana.
A 32-metre-high statue of the Mother of God and the Infant Jesus was
erected on the Hill of Youth near Haskovo in 2003. The monument was
inaugurated on 8 September on the occasion of the Nativity of Holy
Virgin Mary, when the day of the town of Haskovo is celebrated. It
entered the Guinness Book of Records as the highest monument to Our
Lady in the world.
The town centre has recently been the subject of many investments
Municipal landmarks include the Thracian Aleksandrovo tomb as well
as Uzundzhovo's Church of the Assumption, built originally as a
mosque during Ottoman times.