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A dolmen of the early Iron Age
A dolmen of the early Iron Age
A balsamarium of the Roman age
A balsamarium of the Roman age

The town of Elhovo is situated along the valley of the Lower Toundzha River.

The favourable natural conditions made human presence possible in the region as early as the Neolithic (6000-4000 BC). Evidence for that are the discovered stone and copper tools and the hand-made pottery with carved ornaments.

The Bronze Age culture was that of the Thracians. There are preserved remains of Thracian fortresses, settlements and burial mounds. Most of the artifacts discovered in them are fragments of pottery, weapons, tools and votive tablets with the image of the Thracian Horseman. The Thracians also left interestingly built megalithic tombs called dolmens. It was the Thracians that built the first settlement near the present-day town, which was known as Orouditsa.

The region fell under Roman rule in 72 BC. They fortified the settlement and called it Orudica ad Burgum - a road station between Cabile and Adrianopolis. The Romans left many traces of their material culture, mostly fragments of pottery and structural ceramics, coins and bronze sculptures.

The town was known as Yoanitsa during the early Middle Ages. The Slavs settled permanently on the Balkan Peninsula in c. 7 AD. They pronounced the name of the town as Yanitsa.

The Elhovo region was annexed to the Bulgarian state, which was officially founded in 681, during the rule of Khan Kroum (802-814). A proof to that is the famous Hambarlii Inscription, which was found in the near the present-day village of Malomirovo.

The town was conquered by the troops of Timourtash Bey in 1373. That event was the start of the hardest period in the historical development of Elhovo - the five-century Ottoman rule.

The Elhovo region gave its modest contribution to the struggles for new Bulgarian education, an authonomous Church (from the Greek Patriarchate) and national liberation. The town's first school was opened in 1833; and the townspeople drove out of town the hated Greek metropolitan Dionysius in the spring of 1874. The construction of a new church with a nave and two isles was finished in 1877/1878 to replace the small and half-built into the ground chapel.

The first form of resistance against the Ottoman oppressors was the haidout movement (more or less chaotic struggle by small groups of rebels) - especially popular among its leaders were Indzhe Voivoda and Kara Kolyu. An organized revolutionary movement was started in1872 with the foundation of a Secret Revolutionary Committee headed by the tailor Dzhenko Dimitrov. The town welcomed its liberation on 21 January 1878 at a great sacrifice of life.

The years at the end of c. 19 and the beginning of c. 20 were marked by the struggles of the Bulgarian people for the realization of its national ideal - a free and united Bulgarian state. The soldiers from the Elhovo region fought bravely and many of them died with the name of Bulgaria on their last breath. 103 inhabitants of the town were killed in the wars of 1912-1918.

The town gradually established itself as an administrative and economic centre in the following years. Its Turkish name Kazalagach of the Ottoman rule was replaced with the Bulgarian name Elhovo and it was legally acknowledged as a town with Decree № 86 of 18 march 1925.

A new stage in the historical development of Elhovo started in the 1940's. The Fatherland Front came to power on 10 September 1944 and active preparation for participation in the Fatherland War started at once. The fallen in the war were 16 inhabitants of Elhovo, and over 100 inhabitants of the whole municipality.

The town changed radically in the second half of c. 20, affirming itself as a leading administrative and economic centre.

Overcoming the latest difficult period in its historical destiny, the Elhovo region today strives for a better future. There is a lot of work yet to be done for its becoming a well-developed and prosperous part of Bulgaria. This is the aim of all people who are connected with it and devoted to it.

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