The town of Bansko has developed into a modern winter resort in just few years with its ski facilities and hotels offering accommodation at average to high prices. The place is particularly popular among foreign tourists, drawn by the blend of antique Revival-time architecture and up-to-date amenities. Construction works have seen an astonishing boom here since 2002 with real estate prices often outstripping those in Sofia and large Black Sea resorts. The emergence of new luxurious buildings and dense construction have gradually given the resort the looks of a modern European resort, depriving it of some of its authentic spirit of antiquity. Yet this has not reduced its appeal to tourists in any way - just the opposite, the town enjoys increasing numbers of visitors with each and every year and booking of accommodation during the top winter season beforehand is recommended.
The town of Bansko lies in the northeast skirts of the Pirin mountain, at the foot of the most beautiful karst part of Pirin and some 160km to the south of the capital city of Sofia. Its name comes from the old Bulgarian word of ban, meaning master. The town saw its apogee in the 18th century, when it served as a regional crafts and trade centre, with the caravans of Bansko traders selling Bulgarian produce of tobacco, poppy seeds, cotton, gold, and textiles in the Aegean region and central Europe. However, the development of the alternative trade route down the Danube waterway deprived Bansko of its leading role in regional trade and gradually led to its decay after the second half of the 19th century.
At present, the town's inhabitants make their living primarily out of tourism and accompanying services. Besides high-quality ski and winter sports facilities, the town is famous for its Bulgarian Renaissance architecture and ancient remains. To mention a few, visitors are taken by the St. Trinity Church, the native houses of famous Bulgarians such as Neofit Rilski and Nikola Vaptsarov, marvelously designed houses built during the Bulgarian Renaissance period such as Velyanov's house, the Sirleshtov's house and Todev's house.