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Settlements: Botevgrad

Botevgrad - Pictures Of Bulgaria
The town of Botevgrad (23 516 inhabitants, 350 m above sea level) is situated in the valley of the same name, in north foothills of the eastern parts of the Western Stara Planina, along the two banks of Stara Reka River. It is 62 km north-east of Sofia, 57 km and 40 km south-east of Vratsa and Mezdra, respectively, 25 km north-west of Etropole, and 39 km south-west of Yablanitsa.

History: Botevgrad is a successor of the medieval Bulgarian town of Zelin, which was located 3 km away from todays town. During the Turkish rule the village was known by the name of Samoundzhievo, famous with its sweet smelling loaves (samouns) of bread. In 1826 in a private house in this village the first school was opened and 20 years later a school building was constructed. Later on a church and a clock tower were erected. In 1866, after the road from Rouschuk (Rousse) to Sofia was moved from the Etropole Gorge to Arabakonak Gorge, the Rouschuk ruler Midhat Pasha issued an order, proclaiming the small village a town. It was given the name of Orhanie after the name of Sultan Orhan. The town served the purpose of guarding and facilitating the travellers passing along the new road. The town was built up following a civil engineering plan, characterised by chessboard-like crossing streets and houses with spacious yards.

The town rapidly grew up and the Hungarian traveller, Felix Kanits who visited it in 1871, wrote that it was the centre of a region, incorporating 25 villages, while its square was it architectural centre and glory. The same year Vassil Levski founded a revolutionary committee, while in the next year the town became a district centre of the Domestic Revolutionary Organisation. During the Russian-Turkish War of Liberation (1877-1878) severe battles were held close to it and the town was badly destroyed. It was liberated on 29th November 1877. At that time it had only 2297 inhabitants.

Its present name (after the name of the poet and revolutionary Hristo Botev) was suggested by the prominent Bulgarian scientist - Prof. Assen Zlatarov. It is the native town of the poet Stamen Panchev and of our well-known linguist, expert in Slavonic languages and ethnographer, Prof. St. Romanski.

Landmarks: The Town Museum of History. Well-preserved are the house, having provided shelter to the Old School, the Ascension Church dating back to 1864, the Community Cultural Centre from 1883, the Clock Tower - a symbol of the town, built up at the central square by master Vouno Markov from the village of Vrachesh in 1866. The town has a number of monuments - to Hristo Botev, to the Russian soldiers, killed in the Russian-Turkish War of Liberation, to the Unknown Soldier, to Granny Koina (heroic mother), to the poet Stamen Panchev.

Accommodation: Botevgrad Hotel (79, 3rd March Blvd.). Sinyo Nebe (Blue Sky) Hotel.

Tourist information: is available at the hotels, at the Council on Tourism (2140 Botevgrad, tel.: 0723 6128), and at Venets Tourist Association (tel.: 0723 3301).

Transport: Only bus transport is available in the town. It is used to link it to the villages and towns in the region and countrywide. Southeast of the town passes the Hemus motorway from Sofia to Varna, which facilitates and speeds up large portion of its bus communications. There are regular bus lines to Sofia (every hour), Etropole, Yablanitsa, Mezdra, Loukovit, etc. The bus station can be reached at tel.: 0723 3346.

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