Karlovo of today is situated in the North part of the Karlovo valley. It is 60 km from Plovdiv, 50 km from Kazanlak and 5 km from Sopot. The valley is known as a center of history, roses, and arts.
Sopot is connected as well with Ivan Vazov – a Bulgarian and universal writer.
The historic life of Karlovo commences with a number of settlements with unclear fate fading in the dark of the past. To a certain extend the town is ‘ a heir apparent to this settlements and castles emerging in various periods, blossoming and perishing in the neighborhood, even not leaving their names in the history.’ The most significant of these predecessors was Koise (Kopsis), the medieval center of the district with complex interweaving of truths and legends referred to it.
The name Karlovo in gradually affirmed in later time, after the Turks invade the the under-Balkan lands and build up the existing Bulgarian settlement Sushitza as their economic and administrative center. The Turkish feudal lord Karlizade lala Ali bey (Karli bey) came on the lead of the first Turkish aliens and gives the new name to the town – Karlyova, i.e. snow field (because there was a lot of snow on the fields when he arrived). The snow field was also a promise for a rich land, fruitful land – the cradle of the oleaginous rose.
In 1485 he builds up the first and the oldest mosque – Kurshum djamiya (Bullet mosque). Elegantly and solidly constructed, it was given this name because of the tin roof, and this mosque is standing high over the town as a remarkable monument of building art of the time. The sacred buildings - churches, mosques, ancient houses have always been worshipped in Karlovo.
The flourishing of crafts reflected in the cultural and educational development of the town. It gave the Bulgarian history persons like Raiko Popovitch, Braiko Hadjigenov. Hristo Popvassilev ( founder of the female education in the town, translator of ‘Alexandria’), Dr Ivan Bogorov ( author of the first Bulgarian grammar, publisher of the first Bulgarian newspaper ‘Bulgarski orel’, creator of the first Bulgarian separate book with Bulgarian folk songs), Botyo Petkov, the brothers Evlogii and Hristo Georgiev, the Apostle of Liberty Vassil Levski. These are enlighteners and people’s protectors, fighters and people of rich intellect, who possess not only national dimensions but universal as well.
Many houses of Renaissance architecture have been completely preserved in the town. The Alexandrov house, Blue house. The Rada N.Zoeva’s yard with frescoes, The white yard. These houses are the wonderful world of the Bulgarian art and architecture.
The Suchurum waterfall – flying water attracts the visitors, ‘the most wonderful thing in Karlovo’, as Raiko Popovich describes it. The clear waters rush down, crash in the stones, disappear in the abysses, rave and finally with a mad jump throw themselves into the lowland. ‘The Waterfall’ is source for physical and spiritual strength for the Karlovo citizen.
As a center of rose production and processing of the rose blossom, Karlovo was famous long before the Liberation. For years these were considered only as means of living, and in the thirties of the last century, the rose gardens, the beautiful nature and architecture, the local rose industry have been realized to be as well attractive , interesting for the Bulgarian and foreign tourists. Each year, on the first Sunday of June, the central square of Karlovo becomes a center of festive appearances – folklore, songs, dances – this is the Rose Feast. This day is a triumph of our Rose valley beauty and magnificence. People from allover Bulgaria gather here, foreigners come too. The festive programs parade on the streets of the town and the Queen of Flowers – the Rose is set on a pedestal. The citizens of Karlovo elect their most beautiful girl – Miss Rose at a contest.
Only a few Bulgarian towns are as remarkable as Karlovo. A native place to the constellation of enlighteners and people’s protectors, Karlovo is well known with people, who became famous in the New history. Hristo Prodanov, Everest conqueror, who set the Bulgarian flag in the Himalayas, is from Karlovo. As John Nochev – one of the brightest brains of America, whose engineering-technical thinking is of universal level. The Renaissance flame of Karlovo citizen of the past has not extinguished today. Today students from Bulgaria and the world study nowadays in the University, donated to our capital by the two patrons and people’s protectors – the brothers Evlogii and Hristo Georgiev. The name of the university ‘ Saint Kliment Ohridski’ is a symbol of the Bulgarian enlightening mission and of the Karlovo generosity and intelligence. The two brothers are people of great initiative and vision for the universal prosperity even in the distant past.
The brightest, purest and mythically greatest image of Vassil Levsky is an emanation of the Bulgarian revolutionary spirit. His zeal, his immortal legacies and apostolic deed are kept deep inside the hearts of Karlovo citizen – now and forever!