Originally known as Ezerovo (many lakes), the Smolyan area was settled in the 7th century by the Slav Smolyani tribe. The fortunes of war and diplomacy caused the region's fortresses, including Aetos (falcon) on nearby Mt Sokolitsa, to change hands numerous times between Bulgarians and Byzantines. The fortress was destroyed when the Turks conquered the area in the 14th century. Today, the town incorporates three neighboring urban areas - Smolyan, Raikovo and Oustovo - into one large municipality stretching ten kilometers along the Cherna River. Smolyan's main attraction is its lovely natural setting in a river valley surrounded by densely wooded hills. The local economy, which was heavily developed under communism, has fallen on hard times as the electronics, machine building and mining industries have largely ground to a halt. Smolyan is capitalizing on its location and natural beauty in attracting tourism to supplement the local economic mainstays, timber and livestock production.

Mountain hotels

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