Panagyurishte

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The town of Panagyurishte is situated in a picturesque valley of the Sashtinska Sredna Gora (Mid-Forest), on elevation of 540 meters above the sea level. The town population is about 21 000 people.
The town region has been populated since the Antiquity, which is evident by more than 300 monuments found here – necropolises, settlements, fortresses, military camps, and road construction installations. During the Iron Age, a Thracian tribe called Velikokoylaleti was residing here. During the 5th – 4th century BC, they were a part of the Odrysian Kingdom. An unmatched monument of the Thracian Age is the renowned Panagyurishte Golden Treasure. It was found in the locality of Merul by Panagyurishte on 8 December 1949 by three brothers – Pavel, Petko and Mihail Deykovi. It consists of 9 golden vessels with a total weight of 6.164 kg and dates back to the 5th – 4th century BC. The treasure made by gold is a cult set, consisting of a phial, an amphora, and rhytons. Scenes of the Thracian – Greek Pantheon are presented on the external. Nowadays the original can be seen in the National History Museum.
The remains of the Krasen fortress speak of the medieval history of the town. They are situated on the south slopes of the Sashtinska Sredna Gora, in close proximity to Panagyurishte. The fortress had existed as an important administrative and cultural Medieval Bulgarian town center. The life inside it faded at the end of the 14th century when it was conquered and set on fire by the Ottoman conquerors.
The Panagyurishte settlement has existed since the 15th century. It received its name from the fair, conducted on the bank of the river Luda Yana, which divides the town. During the Ottoman dominion, it had the statute of a voynuk settlement (its residents had some privileges), which determined its economic progress, which was reached during the first half of the 19th century.
The Panagyurishte region was one of the centers of the Bulgarian Revival (18th – 19th century) and the struggles for national liberation from Ottoman dominion. During the April Uprising against the Ottoman ruling in 1876, the town was a canter of the 4th revolutionary region. There, the population rose in the largest scale and the riot was the most organized. During the struggles for national liberation and uniting, the people from Panagyurishte gave more than 1 100 victims. A Memorial Complex entitled Apriltsi was constructed in honor of the heroes of April 1876. It is situated on the historic hill of Manyovo Bardo in the town center. The historical locality of Oborishte, related to the April Uprising is situated 9 km north-west from it. One can get to it by a picturesque tourist path.
The old churches are among the most interesting landmarks of the town. The oldest church in the town is St. Todor Tiron, built more than 400 years ago. A temple called Holy Blessed Virgin was sanctified in 1823 next to it. The cathedral church St. George was also built in the period 1856 – 1860.
A compulsory stop during the acquaintance with the history of Panagyurishte is the historical museum. The central building of the museum includes an archaeological hall, in which original finds, which were found during excavations in the town area, are exhibited. The central museum exposition is dedicated to the participation of Panagyurishte in the April Uprising. Another exposition is dedicated to the liberation of Panagyurishte from Ottoman dominion and the participation in the Uniting of the Bulgaria Principality and East Roumelia in 1885.
A special hall is dedicated to the golden treasure of Panagyurishte. Here one can see a copy of the golden set, and the original is kept in the National Historical Museum in Sofia City.
The historical museum in the town has a few branches. Among them is the Duhovnikova House, built in 1790, in which in 1871 the Bulgarian revolutionary Vasil Levski swore the members of the local revolutionary committee. Another site of the museum is the Dudekova House, in which an ethnographic exposition is presented, showing the town style of life of Panagyurishte people during the Revival, in the second half of the 19th century. The exposition housed in the Dzhunova house traces the establishment and the development of the Panagyurishte Goldsmith School during the Revival and the used manufacturing techniques. A collection of artworks, fretworks, copper articles, ceramics, and jewels is shown in the beautiful blue Hadzhidimitrova House. The Tuteva, Lekova and Drinova Houses are also interesting to the visitors.
A special place in the hearts of the local people occupies the native house of Rayna Popgeorgieva, also known as Rayna Knyaginya. In 1876, the local revolutionary committee assigned to Rayna to embroider the flag of the Panagyurishte rebels. Nowadays, the house is turned into a museum. The favorite Bulgarian female hero from the April Uprising was buried in the yard.
There are a few hotels and guest houses which offer accommodation in the town. You can taste the local cuisine, famous for its delicious dishes, in the town restaurants.
Other interesting towns – the SPA resort of Strelcha, the museum town of Koprivshtitsa and the town of Klisura are situated in close proximity to Panagyurishte.

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