Pazardzhik is town situated in the valley of the Maritsa River, in the fertile Pazardzhik-Plovdiv Plain, which takes up the western section of the Upper Thracian Lowlands. One of the 28 district regions in Bulgaria, the territory of the Pazardzhik region has been divided into 11 self-governed municipalities: Batak, Belovo, Bratsigovo, Velingrad, Lesichovo, Pazardzhik, Panagyurishte, Peshtera, Rakitovo, Septemvri and Strelcha.
Tatar Pazardzhik /Tatar market/ emerged as a town of Bulgaria in Eastern Rumelia during the first quarter of the 15th century as a commercial centre on the Singidunum (Belgrade) international road, which connected Europe with Asia Minor. During the 16th century the city became an administrative district centre (kaza) and kept this status up until the time of the Liberation from the Ottoman rule in 1878. Large municipal buildings were built – Eski Mosque, Pasha Haram, Kurshum Inn, etc. The entire architectural appearance of the city was formed by the Revival. By the 19th century Pazardzhik had already become a large craft and trade center and an important spiritual centre, too, when Churches, schools, cultural clubs were built and the Prosveta (enlightenment) Women’s Society was founded. Contributions to the spiritual development of Pazardzhik at the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th century were made by Bishop Dionisiy Agatonikiyski, who constructed a building – with his own funds – in order to open a cell school. Prominent personalities of Pazardzhik contributed also to the cultural development – the first Bulgarian local historian Stefan Zahariev and the artist Stanislav Dospevski, who originated secular portraiture in Bulgaria and Konstantin Velichkov – writer, translator, artist, participant in the preparation of the April Uprising of 1876, and Minister of National Education. At the time of the war (1877-8), the city was put to fire by the retreating Ottoman soldiers. After the Liberation it grew onto the right bank of the Maritsa River also.
Landmarks of Pazardzhik : Historical museum with seven exhibition halls, Ethnographic exhibitions, situated in the largest residential building in the city from the Bulgarian National Revival Era – the baroque home of the businessman Nikola Hristovich, Memorial exhibit at the childhood home of Konstantin Velichkov, the Stanislav Dospevski Art Gallery, the House-Museum of Stanislav Dospevski. Stanislav Dospevski was born in Samokov in 1823. He belongs to a family of icon painters – he is the son of Dimitar Zograf, a grandson of the founder of the Samokov School of Fine Arts – Hristo Dimitrov, and a nephew of Zahari Zograf – one of the most renowned Bulgarian artists and icon-painters. He initially studied in his native town – Samokov, later in Plovdiv, and he obtained his academic education in Moscow and St. Petersburg. His real name is Zafir Dimitrov Hristov, which he changed after his return from Russia. His surname is borrowed from the native village of his grandfather – village of Dospey, which is situated near Samokov. He also lived in Pazardzhik and Plovdiv and is one of the first Bulgarian artists and icon-painters with academic education. He turned into a founder of the refined portrait painting in the second half of the 19th century. The prominent artist participated in the national movement for liberation from the Ottoman dominion. Due to this activity he was arrested and thrown in the Mehterhane prison in Istanbul, where he died in 1878.
The Holy Virgin’s Cathedral /1837/ in Pazardzhik is one of the best examples of church architecture and woodcarvings during the National Revival, a monument of cultural and national significance. The Holy Virgin Cathedral in Pazardzhik preserves some of the most remarkable icons in Bulgaria by master artists of the Debar School, wood-carvings of New and Old Testament scenes, and icons by Stanislav Dospevski. Its iconostasis impresses with fine workmanship and exquisite decoration – unique combinations of geometrical ornaments, animal and human figures entwined in compositions depicting biblical scenes. The unique St. Demetrius’ Church in the village of Patalenitsa is a national monument of culture, with valuable murals from the 12-13th century, Pazardzhik settlements and their mounds from the New Stone, Stone-Copper, and Bronze Ages, of which the most famous are: Maltepe, near the village of Ognyanovo, and Ploskata Mogila, near the village of Yunatsi, 6 km from Pazardzhik. The mound near Yunatsi is the largest in western Bulgaria. The results of excavations here have supplied extremely valuable information regarding prehistory in the Balkans and Southeast Europe, as a whole. The term “Yunatsi Culture” has even entered into the annals of European science. It is a type of an open-air museum included in the system of international cultural tourism. Pazardzhik also features Monuments of Antiquity – over 100 settlements and fortresses, more than 300 burial mounds and flat necropolises. One of the largest sanctuaries to the Three Nymphs was discovered within the territory of the municipality /in the village of Ognyanovo/, as well as the sanctuary of Asclepion, dated from the 1st-4th century /in the village of Patalenitsa/. The medieval fortress of Batkunion near the village of Patalenitsa had strategic military and administrative significance. The Sts. Peter and Paul monastery in the Batkunion Complex, founded during the 12th century and restored during the 19th century. In Pazardzhik numerous architectural monuments have remained from the time of the Ottoman rule – mosques, konaks /police and administrative headquarters/ and Turkish baths, as well as cultural and historic monuments of traditional Bulgarian culture during this period – bridges and fountains. The clock tower of Pazardzhik dates from 1741. Pazardzhik is also popular for Winter Music Night – annual festival, with a more than 20-year-long tradition and for symphonic music founded by Prof. Ivan Spasov /Director, composer and community activist/.
Regional Historical Museum in Pazardzhik, Bulgaria was established in 1911 by resolution of the Board of the local community center “Videlina.” In 2000, he was transformed into a regional history museum complex activity, and District Pazardjik District Plovdiv. The museum has the following departments: Archaeology, History of Bulgaria 15-19th century, Ethnography, New History, Modern History, Stocks and scientific records and Public Relations. Historical exhibitions are housed in a special building area of 1,200 square meters. The Regional Historical Museum Pazardzhik has its own specialized library, restoration workshop and lab, booth arranged for the sale of promotional materials and souvenirs and a café. Ethnographic exposure of the Regional Historical Museum is arranged in the largest building in Pazardzhik of the Renaissance, built in 1850 in Plovdiv Revival style house. The owner of the house Hristovich Nicholas was a wealthy merchant of Pazardzhik. The house was declared a national architectural and artistic monument.