The story of the tobacco Plovdiv is a story of successful merchants and entrepreneurs who have found stimulus in the union.


The first Plovdiv grocery-owner Magardich Tomasian /1857-1923/ early in 1872 opens in his shop a special compartment for tobacco cutting that consists of two pounders. Barely 15-years he cooperates with another Armenian – Kevork Garabedian – to create a common company named Tobacco workshop Zlaten lеv of M. Tomasian and Co. The company further sustains as Kevork marries to the sister of Tomasian. The two companies cooperate until the death of their establishers and in 1923 the companies are divided. The workshop in Kapana marks the beginning of the first tobacco factory M. Tomasian and Co. that’s owned by the associates Tomasian and Garabedian. The trade moves on and the import of a machine for tobacco cutting with hand wheel becomes a necessity. It is replaced with a motor machine cutter that is the beginning of the modern tobacco processing in Bulgaria. Four years later the cigarettes Tomasian receive a gold medal for its quality at the international London exhibition.  The company produces the record size for the time: 1 million pieces per shift. It is among the top 10 taxpayers in the country. There is an export to Germany and Austria-Hungary, Switzerland, France and England. The success of the brand Tomasian is hidden in the way the tobacco ferments – one really demanding technology and the recipe of the tobacco mixture that fills the cigarettes. The secret was known only from two people – the main technologist and the owner – Armenac Tomasian that takes the factory after the death of his father Magardich. The main technologist is Shahbazian - not the revolutionary Stepan but his brother. Stepan was also an expert on tobacco with his cousins Garabedian. The two companies cooperate until the death of their establishers and later are divided. In 1922 the successors of Garabedian – Kirkor and Ervant - leave the Tomasian company and create a separate tobacco factory as holding the name Zlaten lev. The factory is provided with new machines and since 1934 works under the name Plovdiv.

In January 2020 The Bulgarian National Television Plovdiv had a special episode dedicated to the descendant of the Tomassian family. You can see a recording here /only in Bulgarian language/.


Important information is that in 1889 Nikola Libenov, Nikola Dermendjopoulos, Polimeris Dimitriadis and Kostadin Mandjanis establish Joint-Stock Company that is a foundation of the tobacco factory Slantze.  The next year the joint venture Orel Dimitar Stavridis and Dimitar Marinov (Mardas) opens tobacco factory, too. In 1900 all tobacco factories in Plovdiv produce cigarettes in Plovdiv. With the years some factories declare bankruptcy, others buy the property and continue to function. One real production system is the biggest machine factory that has the most machines – the Carlo Vaccaro (ex Stavridis). Because of the fact that thе factories become too many and it creates immense competition, Vaccaro initiates the establishment of Anonymous Joint-Stock Company  United Tobacco Factories in 1909 named afterwards the Cartel.


"The tobacco production and manipulation goes through all the difficult road from the primitive handiworks to the modern industry. Before the Balkan War Plovdiv District has the third place in the areas planted with tobacco after Haskovo and Dupnitsa District. In 1914 the District has the third place and after the war – has the first place with 5 919 hectares’ area planted. After the wars, the production and export of high-quality tobacco from Bulgaria is levelled with Turkey and Greece. In the period 1919-1923, Turkish export is significantly exceeded. Bulgaria becomes the third country in Europe between two world wars that is recognized as a significant exporter of high-quality tobacco manufactures. Bulgaria exports tobacco and cigarettes to England, Czech Republic and the United States... The count of the companies during the period 1922-1925 exceeds with 14 per cent and manipulation of tobacco – 3 to 4 times. After the two national catastrophes in 1913 and in 1918 in Plovdiv arrives a big count of the Bulgarian refugees from Aegean Macedonia, the Aegean Sea and East Trace. They are expelled with fire and sword and they abandon their property, houses and lands but arrive with an extremely valuable asset – the experience in raising tobacco in their homeland and the most precious tobacco blends on the Balkan peninsula. They are looking for livelihood and the factory-owners- workforce. Thus from the meeting of tobacco workers and tobacco factories, Plovdiv builds up as the biggest center for tobacco processing and tobacco manufacturing in Bulgaria." Stefan Shivachev, director of the Historical Museum in Plovdiv


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