Gotse Delchev

The municipality of Gotse Delchev (territory of 330 square meters, population of 32,784 residents) is located in Southwest Bulgaria and borders with the municipalities of Bansko, Garmen, Hadzhidimovo and Sandanski. It covers the picturesque Gotsedelchevska valley of the river Mesta, parts of southern Pirin and the Western Rhodope Mountain. It includes the municipal center – the town of Gotse Delchev (20,533 residents) and 10 villages: Musomishta, Delchevo, Bukovo, Borovo, Kornitsa, Lazhnitsa, Breznitsa, Gospodintsi, Banichan and Dobrotino. The territory of the municipality distinguishes with interesting and diverse landscape shapes, for example, the gorge Momina Klisura, the rock phenomena Kupena, Pirostiyata, etc. The climate is mainly transitional Mediterranean. The locality of Popovi Livadi in Pirin distinguishes with specific conditions. This is a climatic resort with local importance. The territory of the municipality is abundant in waters: the basic water artery is the river Mesta and its tributaries, the alpine lakes (Breznishki, Kornishki), multiple artificial reservoirs and mineral springs.
The plant and animal species distinguish with abundance and diversity. Besides the abundant forest stock, it is worth mentioning the concentration of local and Balkan endemic plant species (Pirin tea, white and black fir, etc.), medicinal plants (more than 80 species), mushrooms and forest fruits. In terms of large game, the most widespread species are the wild boar, red deer and roe deer. The most often seen predators are the wolf, jackal and fox, and the number of bears has decreased significantly. Chamois inhabits the alpine parts of the region, along with brown bear, and they both are protected by law. Rabbits and squirrels are spread everywhere in the forest area. In terms of feathered game, the most often seen species are the mountain quail, partridge, wood-pigeon, wild pigeon, grouse, etc.
The territory of the municipality covers the south-easternmost parts (1,823.4 ha) of the National Park “Pirin”, included in the UNESCO List of Global Natural Heritage. The natural reserve “Orelyak”, with an area of 850 ha is established in order to protect a centuries-old beech forest (the Black Forest) and deposits of Pirin tea. Other protected natural sites are the Breznik waterfall and many centuries- old trees.
The region has been inhabited since antiquity, which is evident by the multiple archaeological monuments, which are particularly highly concentrated around the villages of Musomishta, Gospodintsi, Borovo and Banichan – Prehistory, Thracian, Antiquity, Late Antiquity and Medieval settlements, necropolises, sanctuaries, etc. The late antiquity and medieval fortresses Momina Kula and Sudin Grad are also worth mentioning. Interesting is the preserved Revival heritage on the territory of the municipality: the churches “St. Archangel Michael”, “The Assumption of Virgin Mary” and “St. Kiril and St. Methodius and St. Prophet Iliya” in the town of Gotse Delchev, “St. Nikolas the Miracle Maker” in the village of Musomishta, “The Assumption of Virgin Mary” in the village of Delchevo and the monastery “Life-acceptance Spring and Virgin Mary” between Gotse Delchev and Delchovo (all monuments of culture are of local importance). The churches in the region are 35, and the monasteries – three. The town of Gotse Delchev is a center of the Nevrocope Bishopric, which covers the entire Blagoevgrad county. Here is the headquarters of the Nevrocope Bishop Nathaniel.
The town of Gotse Delchev is also the headquarters of the Regional Mufti, and there are six operating mosques in the municipality. Especially interesting is the architectural and archaeological monument of culture in the town of Gotse Delchev – the Old Mosque, which after an entire renovation can be a cultural tourism site.
Revival architecture ensembles are preserved in the town of Gotse Delchev (the house of Rifat Bey, the Prokopova House – now a museum, the Old Agronomy, the Maaza, etc.), the village of Delchevo (25 houses – monuments of culture), the village of Dobrotino (12 houses – monuments of culture) and the village of Musomishta (15 houses – monuments of culture).
The History Museum of Gotse Delchev is housed in a building dating back to 1877, declared an architectural and historical monument of culture of national importance. The museum possesses exceptionally rich fund, presented in the sections of archaeology, ethnography, traditional crafts and national liberation struggles. The traditional crafts are an exceptionally valuable part of the cultural and historical heritage of the region: pottery, bell-making, homespun making, rug making, copper processing, gold processing, etc. Presently, the best-preserved crafts are the female home crafts, mainly in the villages in the region. The rest of the traditional crafts are on their way to extinction.
Gotse Delchev is also famous for its singers, musicians and dancers. The Nevrocope Ensemble for Folklore Songs and Dances is the first amateur folklore ensemble in Bulgaria. Some of the most popular folklore performers, who had become widely renowned, are Nikolina Chakardakova, as well as the Nevrocope Dance Ensemble. We must specially mention the children groups and schools (folklore and standard dances, tambura, classic guitar) in Gotse Delchev. All traditional Christian and Muslim holidays are respected in the settlements of the municipality. Multiple visitors are attracted by the Ilinden Gathering in the locality of Popovi Livadi. A notion about the traditional spiritual culture of population can be established based on the Easter and Christmas ritual tables, organized by the History Museum in the town of Gotse Delchev, by the conducted festive liturgies, sacrificial rite and general tables made for church celebrations of Holy Mary in the eponymous monastery near Gotse Delchev, and many other cultural events in the entire municipality. An important place in the cultural calendar is occupied by the annual International Classic Guitar Festival.

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