The town of Sapareva Banya is situated in West Bulgaria, 70 km south from Sofia and 55 km east from Kyustendil. The population of the town is 3,800 people. The town is located оn the north slope of Rila mountain, at 750 m altitude. The international highway E-79 lies near the town and facilitates its transport connections.
The climate here is transitional-continental. The average monthly temperature in January is 0 °C, and in July + 22 °C.
Sapareva Banya is primarily popular for its mineral waters – the hottest mineral water in whole Europe with a temperature of 103 °C springs in the town. The only geyser on the Balkan Peninsula lies here too. The symbol of Sapareva Banya is the fountain-geyser, located in the center of the town. During hydrological researches in 1957, hot water and steam with a temperature of 102°C were found 73 meters underground. The water column periodically pushes hot water with a height of 18m above the ground.
The mineral waters of Sapareva Banya are clear, colorless, with a smell of hydrogen sulfide. The water heals diseases of loco-motor apparatus, peripheral nervous system, gynecological illnesses, acute and chronic poisoning with salts of heavy metals, dermic diseases, illnesses of the upper respiratory tract, etc.
The healing qualities of the water in Sapareva Banya is the reason why the region twas popular from ancient times. The oldest known name of the town – Germaneya, was given by the Thracians and was related to the hot mineral springs. Scientists say that in the language of the Thracians “Germaneya” meant “hot water”. Hypotheses exist that German was a Thracian god of heat. In the 3rd century AD, Germaneya became one of the important centers of the Roman province Inner Dacia. The town suffered serious damage in the 5th century AD after the barbarian attacks. Remains of the ancient city can be seen near the medieval church “St. Nikolas”, located in the center of the town, opposite to the municipality.
The settlement became a part of the First Bulgarian State in the 7th century. In the Middle Ages Germaneya was an important commercial center with well-developed viticulture and agriculture. In 1205, when Bulgaria was governed by tsar Kaloyan (1197-1207), Germaneya was included in the territory of the Second Bulgarian State (1185-1393).
During the Ottoman dominion, the local people were forced to leave the town, and settle where nowadays the village of Saparevo lies. Sheep-breeding was developed in the region for the needs of the Ottoman army and of the local Ottoman population. Many new settlers arrived, which led to economic uplift.
An interesting local landmark is the medieval church “St. Nikolas”, built in the 13th century. The local people found remains of the church in 1837, in the process of building a new church at the same place.
The icon of St. Mary, which is believed to be miraculous, is stored in another temple in the town – the church “Forty Holy Martyrs”. The temple was constructed in 1859 and the wall paintings were made in 1878 – 1879.
The finds made during archaeological excavations in the region can be viewed in an ethnographic collection in the local school “Hristo Botev”.
Part of the territory of the municipality falls within the borders of “Rila” National Park, where popular destinations, such as the Seven Rila Lakes, the Panichishte resort, etc., are situated.
Panichishte is a mountain resort, on 1,350 – 1,450 m altitude. A few tracks and a ski tow-lift are available for the tourists during the winter. The close proximity to the “Rila” National Park and the Rila Lakes turn Panichishte into a preferred place for relaxation during the summer. There are marked tourist routes and good conditions for practicing various types of sports in the region. Tourists can learn more information about the tourism options in the region in the Visitor Information Center. There are a lot of hotels and restaurants in the region.
A few tourist routes leading to a number of monasteries and churches in the nearby villages start from Sapareva Banya. Tourists can learn more information in the Geyzera Information Center. The Resilovski Monastery is situated at a distance of 7 km south-east from the town. It is an active female monastery, established in the 1930s.
Town mineral baths, rehabilitation centers, hotels and guest houses, catering establishments function in Sapareva Banya.
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