Blagoevgrad

Blagoevgrad is Bulgarian town in the Pirin area with a population of about 76000, and the administrative center of Blagoevgrad Province, situated on the banks of the Blagoevgradska Bistritsa River at the southwestern foot of the Rila Mountain, in the Valley of Struma River. It is about 100 km in southern direction of the capital o Bulgaria – Sofia and close to the borders with Greek, Serbia and Republic of Macedonia. Blagoevgrad is the economic and cultural center of southwestern Bulgaria and also a well known spa resort, with about 40% of all mineral springs in Bulgaria. Blagoevgrad is bordered by Smolyan, Pazardjik, Sofia District and Kyustendil districts, which all have preserved authentic customs and traditions.
The beautiful and preserved environment of the nearby national parks and protected nature territories care for biodiversity and is widely considered an important resource. Blagoevgrad is a starting point for the Rila Monastery visit, tourist routes leading to the beautiful mountains Rila and Pirin as well as for the charming museum town of Melnik. The region of Blagoevgrad includes parts of three of the biggest and most majestic Bulgarian mountains – Rila, Pirin and the Rhodopes and is well known under the name of Pirin region which is characterized by its unique geographic location, physical beauty of the surrounding mountains, and rich flora and fauna. Picturesque lakes and roaring rivers provide the Blagoevgrad region with pure, fresh spring water. The names of the local rivers Bistritsa, Glazene, Struma and Mesta echo in the songs and the folklore of the region.
The main international routes connecting Bulgaria with Greece and the Republic of Macedonia, and an international highway and the Belgrade – Sofia – Athens railroad and EU transport corridor 4 pass through the Blagoevgrad district. The climate of Blagoevgrad is temperate continental to Mediterranean for the southern parts of the district like Sandanski – the town with the hottest average annual temperature in Bulgaria. Blagoevgrad is a major university center of Bulgaria and hosts the American University in Bulgaria, Neofit Rilski Southwestern University. The city is also famous with its beautiful and functional town center, all laid out in marble.
Traces of human settlements in the Blagoevgrad region date back to 3000 BC. The town was established on the site of the ancient Thracian settlement of Scaptopara, in the attractive and suitable region with mineral springs, fertile fields and venerable forests. The town was first known as Gorna Dzhumaya (upper market area) in 1502. Later it was known as Banya (bath). During the Ottoman rule the town was an important roadside fortress, fortifying the roads to the south along Stuma River. After the Berlin congress /1878/ the town remained within the borders of Turkey and became a resistance and struggle center of national unity. The local people took an active role in Ilinden – Preobrazhenie Uprising /1903/, and on October 5, 1912 the town was liberated. After the First World War it became a large tobacco, timber and handicraft center. The town was renamed in 1950 for Dimitar Blagoev, founder of the Bulgarian Communist Party.
The Old Houses in Varosha district of Blagoevgrad have been preserved and well restored to form a pedestrian downtown of well-preserved 19th century architecture reserve with numerous restaurants, cafes, coffee shops, and boutiques. The History Museum Blagoevgrad is also situated in the Varosha district in the authentic Revival style structure, exhibiting rich collections of “Archaeology”, “Ethnography”, “Nature” finds and items. The “Presentation of the Blessed Virgin” Church was consecrated in 1844 in Varosha quarter, and was completed and painted in the next 50 years. The House of Georgi Izmirliev – the Macedonian boy who participated in the Liberation Movements – is also located in Varosha district. The old town centre is actually known as the Macedonia Square, with the monument to the revolutionary Gotse Delchev and the reconstructed cultural clubs, in which the Chamber Opera is situated.

The town of Blagoevgrad is full you young people who enjoy gathering together in numerous bars, cafes, traditional pubs, night clubs, and restaurants.

Razlog is a town and ski resort in southwestern Bulgaria, in the Razlog Valley. All hotels of Razlog offer shuttle buses to the ski-runs, located only 8 km from the town. History, culture and natural resources of Razlog are combined here to build an unforgettable appearance. The town of Razlog carries the spirit of the Bulgarian Revival and culture. There are over 41 residential buildings from the time of Renaissance – Chepin house, possessing qualities of monuments of culture, Parapunov house (The Historic Museum in the Parapunov’s house shows us the way the local people lived in the Revival), Kiprevata house. The old town houses /from 30-years of the last century / in the central part of Razlog, the pleasant green parks, the great quantity of fresh water and the views of Pirin and Rila mountains create a unique feeling for tourist. The town is a start point to lot of interesting trekking tours, which will lead you to many historical places of interest. Razlog is a home of one of the most attractive and unique mummers procession in Bulgaria. “Strachevata” is a continuation of New Year’s Day Mummer celebration in Razlog, when the city is livened by the bells of 1500 Mummers, who compete in several criteria – presentation of Mummer tradition, maintenance and transmission of local cultural specificity, highlighting the tradition of to the region in the mask and clothing and artistic performance. The mineral springs in the Razlog area are just another little touch of the incredible generosity of nature in the valley.

Nearby sites to see : Bachinovo Park, just 3,5 km away from the city, Bodrost Resort in northwestern Rila offers numerous villas and bungalow for all year round relax and vacation, the exceptionally beautiful earthen pyramids called the Stob pyramids are capped with rocky blocks.

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