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Panagyurishte

 

     The town of Panagyurishte is situated in a small valley in Sashtinska Sredna Gora. It is 91 km east of Sofia, 43 km north of Pazardzhik and at 37 km south of Zlatitsa. Its name has Greek origin and means "a fair venue", but this small town became the symbol of the Bulgarian striving for freedom.

     Panagyurishte was fortunate to play a key role in one of the brightest and most poignant moments of Bulgarian history: April 1876 Uprising, which culminated the Bulgarians' struggle for national liberation after five centuries of Ottoman oppression.

 
     History

     In the 13th century the settlement had the name Kamengrad. It got remarkably developed and won notorious fame during the Turkish domination, when it was privileged village for accommodating soldiers. According to its special status, no Ottoman Turkish was entitled to settle or overnight in Panagyurishte. But the privilege did not save it from the assaults of the kardjalii (bandit bands) – it was looted and burnt many times. Nevertheless, in 18th century Panagyurishte reached its zenith. Its main way of life is cattle breeding. Woollen clothes, jacket sacks, etc. were manufactured and sold across the whole Ottoman Empire. The citizens of Panagyurishte were famous as tradesmen of cattle. All this reflected to the spiritual life of the local population. Very early an ecclesiastical school was opened, which in 1839 became public school. A cultural house was founded in 1865, which turned into cradle of the Bulgarian spirit and consciousness. 
     The population of the small town in Sredna Gora Mountain arose mostly from its particular role during the April Uprising (1876), when it became a focal point of the fourth revolutionary region and in fact of all epic events. The apostles Volov and Benkovski organized a powerful and active revolutionary committee, managing to raise the whole population to an armed struggle for liberation. Here, the banner of the uprising was sewn by the teacher from Panagyurishte, Rayna Knyaginya, with the embroidered words on it: "Freedom or Death". After enthusiasm came defeat. In spite of the heroism and the self-sacrifice of the defendants, the much more numerous and better armed enemy entered the town. Panagyurishte was burnt. For the boldness to call themselves free, 650 citizens of Panagyurishte paid with their lives. On January 11 the town was liberated from Turkish domination.

 


     Landmarks

     The Municipal History Museum is almost wholly dedicated to the epoch of Revival and April Uprising. A landmark is the House of Dudekov which personifies the town's way of life in the end of the 19th century. Djunov's House is part of the museum complex and was built in 1893. Here, in the headquarters of general Dandevil in 1878, now is housed the Ethnographic Museum. The house of Tutev is famous for the fact that the Uprising was declared in it on 20th April 1876. Close by you can marvel at the native house of an amazing Bulgarian historian, professor and first minister of education in newly liberated Bulgaria - Marin Drinov. The House of Rayna Knyaginya with its revival architecture is a southern of the old town. In its courtyard is the grave of the national hero - Rayna Knyaginya, who has sewed the banner of the uprising. Due to her charity work as a nurse, she is also famous as the "Bulgarian Florence Nightingale". 
     Every year on 20th of April, the town is the centre of the national celebrations, commemorating April 1876. Panagyurishte is the native place of Pavel Bobekov - the main organizer of the uprising in the town, Nesho Bonchev - the first Bulgarian literally critic, Pavel Deliradev - a notorious Bulgarian social personality and true follower of Aleko Konstantinov. In 1949 near the town the Golden treasure of Panagyurishte was discovered - unique in the world with its original shapes and decorations.


 


     One of the most interesting landmarks of Panagyurishte is the Assumption Church in the centre of the town. The church will attract you with its incredible architecture and gigantic fresco gallery representing the life of the Virgin and the most important feasts of christianity.
 
     Transport

     The town is connected with the remaining part of Bulgaria by bus and railway transport. There are regular bus lines to Sofia, Plovdiv, Zlatitsa, Pirdop and to all the smaller settlements around it.


     Surroundings

     10 km to the northwest is located the historical place of Oborishte. Here on the 14th April 1876 convened the revolutionary committees. They took the decision for the declaration of the April Uprising. It can be reached by bus. Recreation campus Panagyurski Colonies is situated at the highest point along the road between Panagyurishte and Zlatitsa at 1050 m above the sea level. There are many recreation houses, chalets, children’s camps.

     The town of Banya is located 11 km to the southwest from the town. Here you can visit the church St. Nikolay, dating from 1856. The town is the birthplace of the famous priest Gruyo Banski – a colorful personality from the time of the April Uprising. Banya is famous for its mineral water. The town has a regular bus connection with Panagyurishte and Pazardzhik.