Aytos from the Hisarya Heights above town
|• Mayor||Vasil Edrev|
|• City||79.033 km2 (30.515 sq mi)|
|Elevation||95 m (312 ft)|
|• Density||250/km2 (640/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+2 (EET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+3 (EEST)|
Aytos (Bulgarian: Айтос), sometimes written Aitos and Ajtos, is a town located in eastern Bulgaria some 30 kilometers from the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast and belonging to the administrative boundaries of Burgas Province. It is the administrative centre of the homonymous Aytos Municipality. As of December 2009, the town has a population of 21,067 inhabitants.
Aytos has a rich and long history dating back to antiquity. An old settlement founded by Thracian tribes, archaeological finds near the town testify that its existence dates back to the 5th century BC. Throughout the centuries, the town has been known under different names including Aetòs (in Greek Αετός meaning eagle), Astòs (Αστός), Eidos (Είδος), Aquilia, Tchengis, etc.
During the reign of Khan Tervel, the region was incorporated in the Bulgarian Empire for the first time. The fortress Aetos took an important part in the defensive system of the Bulgarian lands against the sudden attacks of the Tatars, the Avars and the Crusaders.
In 1206, Aytos together with many cities in Bulgarian province of Thrace was destroyed by the Crusaders, led by Henry of Flanders. Henry of Flanders was a brother of Baldwin I, emperor of Latin Empire of Constantinople. A fortified city was rebuilt at 1488.
In 1378 the town was conquered by the armies of the Ottoman Empire under Murad I. During the Russian-Turkish War (1828–1829), General Hans Karl von Diebitsch turned the town into a strategic strong point. After the Treaty of Edirne in 1829, many of the town's citizens fled to Bessarabia to join the Bessarabian Bulgarians.
After the Liberation, Aytos became a commercial center, reputedly more important than Burgas. The first girls' agricultural school in the country was established in Aytos during the period.
The geographic location determines the special significance of the municipality as a transport junction, where the road networks between Northern Bulgaria and Southern Bulgaria in this part of the country join. Important highways and the railway from Sofia to Burgas pass through it. Its good transport characteristics are also determined by the fact that it is only 28 km from Burgas, a key Black Sea port.
|Average high °C (°F)||7.0
|Daily mean °C (°F)||2.2
|Average low °C (°F)||−1.6
|Average rainfall mm (inches)||40
The town hosts the annual folk festival and competition Slaveevi Noshti, which takes place every Spring during the months of May and June. The festival is held at the "Slaveeva Reka" Recreational Park and it celebrates traditional dance and folk music from across Bulgaria.
Established in the early '50s, the famous Aytos Sports Academy “Vihar” has produced many national and international gymnastics champions including three-time international champion Silviya Kostova. The Academy has a soccer team as well -- "Vihar Aytos".
Recreation and tourism
- Recreation Park "Slaveeva Reka" ("Nightingale's River") — Few towns in Bulgaria can boast parks as big as "Slaveeva Reka" park. The park also hosts the Aytos Animal Zoo.
- Rock Formation "Trite Bratya" ("The Three Brothers")
- Natural Reserve "Kazanite"
- Natural Reserve "Hisarya"
- State Forest "Koriata"
- Ancient Fortress "Aetos"
- Aitoski Historical Pass — Connecting the ancient lands of Thrace and Moesia
- St. Dimitrii Solunski Orthodox Church
- Aitos Mineral Baths
- Ethnographic Complex "Genger" — A small Etara-like ethnographic center built in the traditional local architectural style. The complex has a variety of different traditional Bulgarian arts and crafts shops as well as a traditional hotel, taverns, cafes and restaurants.
- Museum of "Peter Stanev"
- Theater "Vasil Levksi"
- Vladimir Nenov — Filmmaker
- Eva Kirilova — Singer from Tonika
- Filip Kutev — Composer and founder of the Bulgarian National Ensemble & Choir
- Zhivko Mutafchiev — Painter
- Panayot Panayotov — Singer
- Pencho Peev — Poet
- Marie George Pepper - Psychotherapist, Cambridge, England
- Georgi Popgeorgiev — Painter and founder of the Young Bulgarian Painters Society
- Petar Stanev — Painter
- Hristo Tanev — Sculptor
- Yovi Tenev — Federal Prosecutor for the United States Department of Justice
- Sava Tanev — Sculptor
- Tatyana Yotova — Poet
- Rositsa Zhivkova
- Ivan Angelov — Music Idol Star