North Thrace or Northern Thrace (Bulgarian: Северна Тракия, Severna Trakiya) (as opposed to Western Thrace and Eastern Thrace to the south) constitutes the northern and the largest part of the historical region of Thrace. Bulgarian Thrace is located in Southern Bulgaria and refers to the whole territory south of the Balkan and east of the Mesta River; to the Greek and Turkish borders in south and to the Black Sea in east. It encompasses Sredna Gora, the Upper Thracian Plain and 90% of the Rhodopes. The climate divers from continental to transitional continental and mountainous. The highest temperature recorded in Bulgaria occurred here: it was 45.2 °C at Sadovo in 1916. Important rivers are the Maritsa and its tributaries. Important cities include Plovdiv, Burgas, Stara Zagora, Sliven, Haskovo, Yambol, Pazardzhik, Asenovgrad, Kardzhali, Dimitrovgrad, Kazanlak and Smolyan.
The lands of the nowadays region were part of the Bulgarian and Byzantine Empire before the gradual Ottoman occupation in the 1300s. The Ottoman Turks created the autonomous province of Eastern Rumelia in northern Thrace in 1878. The region was annexed to the Bulgarian kingdom in 1885.
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