The town of Sopot (12 119 inhabitants, 520 meters above the sea level) is located in the fertile sub-Balkan mountain valley of Karlovo (which is the western part of the legendary Valley of Roses), immediately under the steep southern slopes of Troyan Mountain (Central Stara Planina). It is situated 5 km west of Karlovo, 136 km east of Sofia, 63 km north of Plovdiv and 61 km south of Troyan. The town of Sopot is the birthplace of the Patriarch of Bulgarian Literature – Ivan Vazov. Sopot is an important machine-building centre.
There is information about the settlement dating back to the Ottoman Rule. During the Revival period it was called Altun Sopot (Golden Sopot) because of its fluorescent industry and also thanks to the crafts and trade development. Citizens of Sopot manufactured abas, braids, fur and leather of high quality and traded them predominantly around the Ottoman Empire. The town was destroyed by fire during the Liberation days (1877) and its inhabitants were either slaughtered or expelled. The town was named Vazovgrad between 1950 and 1965 and later obtained its present name again.
Ivan Vazov's House is located in the central part of the town. The initial birthhouse was demolished after the end of the Ottoman rule and rebuilt in 1932. One can also visit the monument "Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Nunnery", which was erected in the central square carrying the same name. Other places of interest are St. Spas Monastery and Diado Stoyanov (Grandfather Stoyanov) Water Mill.
Ivan Vazov's House
The first place worth visiting in Sopot is the house where Ivan Vazov was born. It is located on the downtown Ivan Vazov Square. The initial house was destroyed at the end of the Ottoman Rule but on the initiative of admirers of the poet it was rebuilt in 1932 and proclaimed as house-museum. A special exhibition hall was built next to the house, which exhibits key moments of the public and literary activity of the people's poet Ivan Vazov (1850-1921).
St. Spas Monastery (2 km north-west from the town centre) is located immediately at the foot of the slopes of the Balkan Range, on the left bank of Manastirska River. The date of its origin is unknown. It was repeatedly devastated and destroyed by fire. Its present appearance dates back to 1879. During the Revival period there was a monastery school and a singing school functioning in the Monastery and it was a centre of revolutionary life too. In 1858 Vassil Levski was ordained as a Deacon here. The countryside surrounding the Monastery is extraordinary.
Sopot is a point on the main road and railway line Sofia – Karlovo – Bourgas. There is a town bus line functioning at short time intervals between Sopot and Karlovo. It maintains a bus connection with some of the smaller settlements in the region. The bus station is located at 75, Ivan Vazov Blvd. The railway station is situated 1 km south of the town.
Near the town are the ruins of Anevsko Kale – a Bulgarian fortress from the 12th century. Another fortress is Sopot Kale, which is located northeast of the town. Sopot is a starting point for hiking in Troyan Balkan. The lift station located in the northwestern part of the town takes you to an altitude of 1600 m in only half an hour. From there you can easily reach Nezabravka Chalet, which is only 5 minutes of walk from the upper lift station. The lift has a station in the place Pochivaloto (about 1350 m above the sea level) – a favorite place for the fans of delta and para-gliding. For the hikers there is also a well-marked mountain path from the town of Sopot to Nezabravka Chalet, Dobrila Chalet, mountain peak Ambaritsa and mount Botev.