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Settlements: Blagoevgrad

Blagoevgrad - Pictures Of Bulgaria
The town of Blagoevgrad (71 361 inhabitants, 430 m above sea level) is one of the largest towns in South- Western Bulgaria. It is situated at the foot of the south-western slopes of Rila mountain, on both banks of Blagoevgradska Bistritsa River, within the river-basin of the big Bulgarian River Strouma. It is situated 101 km south of the capital city Sofia, 53 km north-west of Razlog, 65 km north of Sandanski. The town is the main centre of Bulgarian Macedonia. There are 30 mineral springs in catchment with temperature up to 55oC. This makes it a spa resort. It is a regional administrative centre as well.

History: The town originated at the place of the ancient Thracian settlement Skaptopara, evidence of which we find in the notorious Skaptoparski inscription from 238. As the town of Gorna Dzhoumaya it was mentioned for the first time in 1502, and with the name Banya - in 1576. In the past the town was an important roadside fortress. In 17th century monks from the Rila Monastery opened an monastery school. During the second half of 18th and the beginning of the 19th century the town developed as a big centre of craftsmanship and commerce. After the Berlin Treaty, Gorna Dzhoumaya (until 1950 the town had this name) remained within the borders of Turkey and for this reason it turned into the cradle of resistance and peoples unity. The population actively took part in the uprisings that followed. The town was liberated on 5th October 1912 (the Balkan War) and then had only 7000 inhabitants.
Landmarks. The Museum of History in Varosha Quarter (tel.: 073 29020, 21170, 29173), the house-museum of Georgi Izmirliev-Makedoncheto, Stoyan Sotirov Art Gallery, Stanislav Art Gallery, Petit Bizhou Art Gallery, Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Church (Vuvedenie Bogorodichno), as well as the Revival houses in Varosha Quarter. There are monuments to Ilyo Voivoda, Gotse Delchev, P. K. Yavorov, Cyril and Methodius and to the Macedonian-Odrin volunteers, to those who were killed in the Balkan War (1912-1913). As a cultural centre Blagoevgrad has several theatres Theatre of Drama (tel.: 073 23475), Puppet Theatre (Varosha Quarter, phone 073 21080, 22210), Chamber Opera House (tel.: 073 20703.
The town is a university centre - American University, Neofit Rilski Southwestern University. Blagoevgrad is famous with its beautiful and functional town centre, all laid out in marble.

Accommodation: The accomodation facilities are not sufficient. Only several hotels are available - the 3-star Alen Mak Hotel at the central town square (1, St. St. Cyril and Methodius Street), Bor Hotel and Riltsi Motel - 2 km north of the town, by the motorway to Sofia. There are enough catering facilities, offering original Bulgarian cuisine.

Tourist information: Tourist Information Centre, 2770 Blagoevgrad, Varosha Quarter, tel./fax 073 65458, 36795, e-mail: /Pirin Touris House/; Council on Tourism (2700 Blagoevgrad, 1, Georgi Izmirliev Square, tel.: 073 65459, 23133); Bureau for Complex Tourist Services, located at the central town square (1, St. St. Cyril and Methodius Square, tel.: 073 23218); Pirin Tourist Forum (tel./fax: 073 65458); Orbita Chain for Youth Tourism (6, Trakiya Street, tel.: 073 23267, 22583, fax: 073 25516); Travel Bite Agency for Students and Youth Travel (9, St. St.Cyril and Methodius Str., tel.: 073 36917, 36918). There are many other tourist travel agencies. Aigidik Tourist Association (1, Vassil Levski Street, tel.: 073 26839, 26939).

Transport: Blagoevgrad is a major and important transport centre in this part of Bulgaria. It is the main stop on the international motorway and railway line Sofia-Koulata-Athens. It maintains regular bus connections with Sofia and many of the towns in Southwestern Bulgaria, as well as with the villages in the region. It has a regular bus line to the Bulgarian sanctuary - The Rila Monastery. The bus station (tel.: 073 22348, 23750) and the railway station (tel.: 073 22286, 23695, 22174) are situated close to each other at the southwestern end of the town. Blagoevgrad has a developed and well-organised bus transport within the town.

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 Gotse Delchev

Bulgaria Regions: Blagoevgrad