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Settlements: Pazardzhik

Pazardzhik - Pictures Of Bulgaria
The town of Pazardzhik (79 476 inhabitants, 205 metres above sea level) is located in the fertile Gornotrakiiska (Upper Thracian) Lowland, along the two banks of the Maritsa River. It is situated at the distance of 114 km (along the new Thracia Motorway fewer km in number) south-east of Sofia, at the distance of 36 km west of Plovdiv, 20 km north of Peshtera and 43 km south of Panagyurishte. It is located within a rich agricultural region. A regional administrative centre.

History: It was founded 5 centuries ago as a market settlement, which gradually turned into an important economic and administrative centre. The road Istanbul - Sofia - Western Europe on which the town was a road station contributed to it as well as the fact that it turned into a port - warehouse on the Maritsa River for cereals, rice, wine, timber from the Rhodopes and iron from Samokov, which were transported by rafts for Istanbul (through Enos).

A lot of Bulgarians settled down in Pazardzhik who changed its ethnic appearance, too. A lot of European and Turkish travellers spoke enthusiastically about it. The town flourished during the 19th century and competed with Plovdiv and Sofia. In 1865 the town had 33 mahali (quarters), 3420 houses, 1200 shops and approximately 25 000 inhabitants. The Holy Virgin Church was built in 1837, a unique monument of Bulgarian architecture, wood-carving and icon-painting. Other churches were also built for the individual Bulgarian quarters. There were 5 boys schools with 400 students and 2 girls schools with 100 students in them in the middle of the 19th century. The famous clock tower preserved up to date was erected as early as in the 18th century, too. Chitalishte (reading room or community centre) Videlina was founded in 1862. A lot of peoples enlighteners related their names with Pazardzhik - Bishop Dionisii Agatonikiiski who founded the first Bulgarian school in 1823 with his own funds, N. Popkonstantinov, Yu. Nenov, Hadzhi Tatyana - the first woman teacher in the town. The foundations of theatrical activities and of Prosveta Womens Society (Enlightenment) were laid in 1870. Levski founded the first revolutionary committee here chaired by G. Konsulov, but the detentions before trial on the part of the Turks frustrated the outburst of the Uprising. On 2 January 1878 the Army of General Gourko liberated Pazardzhik.

Landmarks: the Town Museum of History, located in one of the newest and most representative buildings of the town (15, Konstantin Velichkov Sq., tel.: 034 22505). The Ethnographic Museum, whose exhibition is housed in the biggest residential building in Pazardzhik of the Revival Period (the house of Nikolaki Hristovich), proclaimed as a cultural monument (8, Otets Paisii Str.). The cathedral church of St. Bogoroditsa (the Holy Virgin) (located at Otets Paisii Str.) - one of the most valuable artistic architectural monuments in the country erected in 1837 of pink rhyolite. The greatest piece of art in it is the wood-carved iconostasis in the traditions of the well-known School of Debur, remarkable for its exquisite open-worked wood-carving, re-creating figured compositions and plant ornaments. There are solely two similar matchless examples-work of masters of Debur and they are located in the Republic of Macedonia (in the church St. Spas in Skopje and the Bigor Monastery, not far from Debur). The monument to Stanislav Dospevski is in the courtyard of the church, work of the sculptor Ivan Blazhev. The house-museum Stanislav Dospevski (50, Knyaginya Maria Louisa Blvd.), in which the prominent Bulgarian painter and revolutionary from Samokov of the Revival Period lived from 1864 to 1877. The building was erected in 1864 by builders-masters from Bratsigovo in the so-called Istanbul style and was one of the most beautiful houses in the town at that time. Dospevski himself painted some of its premises. Stanislav Dospevski Art Gallery - a specialised state cultural educational and scientific institute of fine arts (15, Konstantin Velichkov Str.). House-museum Konstantin Velichkov (5, Teodor Trayanov Str.) built in 1850. The atmosphere, in which the distinguished writer lived and created, was preserved. It was in that the sister of Konstantin Velichkov - Teofana sewed the banner of the Pazardzhik Revolutionary Committee in 1876 and on 21 April Vassil Petleshkov brought the news about the beginning of the Uprising from Panagyurishte. The Synagogue (the Jewish Church) - erected in 1850 by the master from Bratsigovo Stavri Temelkov. Quite interesting are the arcs of the ceiling ornamented with beautiful wood-carving - an engraved sun with several round colourings and interlaced designs of geometrical figures. The internal walls are with mural paintings. It is located at 5, Assen Zlatarov Str. Hadzhistoyanovs House (1, Republica Str.), whose wood-carving is one of the best achievements in the Bulgarian residential architecture from the middle of the 19th century. The following are noteworthy, too: St. Petka Church of 1852, St. Archangel Church of 1860 with the icon of the same name painted by Stanislav Dospevski, St. Sotir Church (1862). The monument to Aleko Konstantinov is situated amidst a picturesque park on the island of the Maritsa River.

Pazardzhik is a town with defined cultural traditions. Three theatres function in it nowadays: the Theatre of Drama Konstantin Velichkov (Konstantin Velichkov Sq.) - one of the best provincial theatres in our country. The Theatre of Music Maestro Atanasov (Konstantin Velichkov Sq.) and the Puppet Theatre (42, Georgi Benkovski Str.).

Accommodation: Trakia Hotel (2, Bulgaria Blvd.). The Elbrus Hotel-Restaurant (1, Konstantin Velichkov Blvd.).

Tourist information: at above mentioned hotels and in the Aleko Tourist Association (19, Kliment Ohridski Str., tel.: 034 27320 and for reservations at the chalets in the Rhodopes - Milevi Skali Chalet (Milevs Rocks), Dobra Voda Chalet (Good Water) and Livadite Chalet (the Meadows) - tel.: 032 274016).

Transport: Well developed bus and railway connections with the remaining part of the country. It is situated on the most busy road, motorway and railway line in Bulgaria - Sofia - Plovdiv that predetermined its development as a big transport centre. Further to being connected to each station of the country through the national railway network, Pazardzhik has regular bus lines to Sofia, Plovdiv, Velingrad, Panagyurishte, Blagoevgrad, etc. The bus station is situated in the central part of the town, at 6, Georgi Benkovski Blvd. (tel.: 034 26315). The railway station is in the southern part of Pazardzhik (tel.: 034 26520). There is a well organised town bus transport functioning, too.

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