Stara Zagora is one of the big cities in Bulgaria, located in Southern Bulgaria. In terms of location it lies just 90 km east of Plovdiv and about 190 km away from Sofia, the capital city. As of February 2011, the city has a population of 138,272 inhabitants. Located at the cross-roads of multiple civilizations, Stara Zagora is an important piece in the European cultural routes mosaic. Inhabited by Thracians (Greeks), Romans, Ottomans and Bulgarians, this unique city bears the historical imprint of those past civilizations along with many of their historical treasures. Proof of its longevity can be found in the multiple names of the city, each one connected with a different era of its development. More than 100 prehistoric mounds from the 6th to 3rd millennium BC were found in the vicinity of Stara Zagora. One of them, the Bereketska mound, is the largest in Bulgaria, containing traces of people that lived there from the New Stone Age (6th millennium BC) to the Middle Ages (12th century). Founded around 106 AD by the Empror Marcus Ulpius Traianus (98-117 AD) and named in his honour Augusta Traiana, it was the second largest city in the Roman province of Thrace during 2nd and 3rd century AD, after Philipopolis (present day Plovdiv). It occupied an area of 38 hectares and was fortified by strong fortress walls. There are many other things to do in Stara Zagora even if you aren’t too fond of history and culture. The restaurants and cafes hidden under the thick shades of the sweet-smelling lime trees in the pedestrian zone of the city centre are always open for you while the mineral baths outside the city are just the best place to get a first-class spa treatment in the region.