The exposition of the Regional Historical Museum is located in a special building constructed on the ruins of the main street (Cardo maximus) of the ancient city of Augusta Trayana and represents, in silhouette, the idea of an hourglass. It was officially opened on 03.03.2009.
The main purpose of the museum employees is introducing the history of the city and the region, from its origin in antiquity to its restoration after the destruction and the fires in 1877 during the Liberation War. The exposition is presented at three levels.
The favorable living conditions in the Upper Thracian Plain contributed to the establishment of the first settlements in the region as early as the Neolithic period. Across the territory of present-day city of Stara Zagora are registered five mounds. Among them are Azmashkata mound (first fully studied in Bulgaria), Bereket mound (one of the biggest in Bulgaria) and mound near the hospital "Dr. Stefan. Kirkovich, where there were excavated, studied and exhibited the best preserved homes from the Early Neolithic period in Europe. The production of copper ore from the mines located in the area of Mechi kladenets, near Stara Zagora and developed in the 5th millennium BC, and all the tools, weapons and ornaments, which were made from it, satisfied a vast territory reaching North Black Sea. Near Bereket mound, for the first time in Bulgaria has been studied a necropolis from the Early Bronze Age. Despite the discovery of several significant monuments of early and late Iron Age - the golden vials from. Daskal Atanasovo village, silver-plated belt from Lovets village, Thracian tomb mound in the Oryahovitsa village, the registered significant money circulation of several collective findings, as well as individual coins acquired by archaeological excavations so far on the territory of Stara Zagora region, except the already studied remains of the capital of the kingdom Odrysian - Sevtopolis, there is no other evidence of the existence of another urban structure in Thrace.
The first town that arises in the territory of the present-day Stara Zagora dates back to the time of Emperor Trayan (98-117 AD). In written sources it is known as Augusta Trayana. The exhibition presents objects related to the daily life of the townspeople - pottery, lamps, medical instruments, stone sculpture. Outstanding are the richest collections of bronze and glass vessels, lamps, amphorae, cauldron with embossed image of the exploits of Heracles, glass phial with engraved female dancer, glass rhyton with the front part of a snail. Gradually, the town became an important administrative, commercial and manufacturing center in the Roman province of Thrace with the right to mint its own coins. During the managed by the Boule (city council) and demos (National Assembly) across the town there used to pass important trade and military roads of Philippopolis to the coastal cities and to the south - to Adrianople. Some inhabitants had rich family suburban mansions. During the excavations of a Thracian necropolis and a villa in the "Chatalka" there were found some of the most significant findings from this period. Among these are ceremonial bronze helmet - mask and sword with the name of the Sarmatian king Enismey. The relatively peaceful life in the empire of the late II and early III century allowed deploying of large-scale construction in the town and its surroundings. On the first exposition level through stone inscriptions and architectural monuments, there is revealed part of this activity. There is attractively preserved part of the ancient street (Cardo maximus) and the adjacent building to the east. There are also exposed different images of deities from the pantheon of the Thracians, among which impress, with their exquisite craftsmanship, marble statue of Orpheus, the marble head of Pan, bronze and marble statues of Zeus and votive tablet of Dionysus. During rescue archaeological research in Stara Zagora there were found more than 20 mosaics, which is evidence of great material possibilities and aesthetic requirements of its inhabitants.
Third expositional level represents the development of the city during the Middle Ages, Renaissance and Ottoman rule. Its proximity to the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire, Constantinople, and the gradual imposition of Christianity as the only religion, give it new features. Beroe (as the town is called after the 4th century) became the center of an independent archbishopric, directly subordinate to the Patriarch of Constantinople. Furthermore, it is also an important military center that protects from barbarian invasions to the capital of the Byzantine Empire. This role increased especially after the establishment of the Bulgarian state. This is evidenced by the stone inscription found during archaeological studies, which reports about the visit of impress Irene and her son Constantine VI in 784 AD in Beroe as well as their intention to restore it and strengthen it.
After 812 the town was included in the borders of the Bulgarian state and retains its status of military and strategic center. After the fall of Bulgaria under Byzantine rule, it was a center of strategy. For the period between 11th - the beginning of 13th century it is a temporary residence of the Byzantine emperors of the dynasty of Comnenus. This peaceful period, from the history of the city, is connected with rapid economic and cultural progress. From that time date the famous stone reliefs with images of lions, griffins, peacocks, two-headed eagle and a lion cub (symbol of modern Stara Zagora). Among the unique museum object from the Middle Ages is a masterpiece of Byzantine art - magnificent bronze matrix gospel scene "Annunciation".
After the Ottoman invasion the town remained an administrative center, but for a smaller region. The material culture was substantially chanced as a result of the dominance of a new ethnic group professing Islam. At the end of the eighteenth, early nineteenth century, in Eski Zagra more and more Bulgarian producers were imposed on the market, as wells as traders, artisans, writers - they were all carriers of new ideas for spiritual, religious and political freedom. The visitors of the museum exhibition could see the copy made in Stara Zagora of Paisius’ history (1837), a unique copy of the first printed perpetual calendar Tsvyatko Hadzhigeorgov (1818), the flag of Stara Zagora rebels (1875) - a prototype of the Bulgarian national flag.
In the middle of the 19th century Bulgarians call the town Zheleznik, and after the Liberation, the name Stara Zagora was imposed.
Here are held the first major battles during the Russian-Turkish War (1877-1878), and the name of the city is associated with the heroism and sacrifice of the Russian soldiers and Bulgarian volunteers against the hordes of Suleiman Pasha. Within the borders of Eastern Rumelia, "the builders of modern Stara Zagora” lay the foundations of a new beginning, charged with the desire of its people to build a modern European city.