Karlovo is situated 56 km from Plovdiv and 147 km from the capital city of Sofia.
It has a mild climate with a mean annual temperature of 11, 4 degrees C.
The earliest traces of human settlement on the territory of what is today Karlovo go back to the Neolithic Age (6th millennium B.C). During the Late Iron Age (6th B.C – 1st century AD) the place was inhabited by Thracian tribes. The Roman period saw large-scale construction of roads and fortresses all over the Karlovo Valley. A Roman road passed north of the town linking the Black Sea Region with Serdica. One of the fortresses that guarded it was Karlovo Kale. It was built in the 4th-6th century.
Remains of medieval settlements have also been discovered in the vicinity of Karlovo. These are parts of monasteries and churches that were most likely erected on sites of ancient heathen sanctuaries. In the 13th century the territory belonged to the three Bulgarian Boyars Smilets, Radoslav and Voisil. In the early 14th century the Ottoman Turks conquered the Karlovo valley. During the National Revival the town flourished as a center of trade and handicrafts. Local merchants traded in goods manufactured in Karlovo all over the Ottoman Empire. After the liberation from Ottoman domination Karlovo declined, as did most artisan towns in Bulgaria. The situation changed for the better after WWI when a hydroelectric power station was built and several banks, schools and factories were opened. During WWI Karlovo became a major commercial, agricultural, military, and cultural center.
Karlovo is the native town of many prominent Bulgarians, e.g. Vassil Levski, Ivan Bogorov, the father of Bulgaria’s national poet Hristo Botev, the brothers Hristo and Evlogi Georgiev, who sponsored the building of Sofia University etc. It is most famous as the birthplace of Vassil Levski – Bulgaria’s greatest leader of the national-liberation movement in the 19th century: a revolutionary, a democrat, the mastermind of the Bulgarian national revolution and the internal revolutionary organization in Bulgaria.
Places to visit
Worth seeing are the two churches of Virgin Mary (1839) where Vassil Levski served as a monk and his mother Gina Kuncheva was buried. The icons are the work of famous masters from Samokov, Tryavna and Bansko.
The Old Town boasts some 115 houses that have been declared cultural monuments. They are fine examples of the National Revival style of architecture.
Vassil Levski’ House is located in the western side of Karlovo. It became a museum open to visitors in 1937. The place houses valuable documents, artifacts and items that are intimately connected with the life and activities of the Apostle of Freedom Vassil Levski.