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KYUSTENDIL

The town of Kyustendil lies in the middle of the Kyustendil Plain. It is situated on the edge of the Osogovska Mountain, on both banks of the Banshtitsa River. It is situated in the westernmost parts of Bulgaria, just 27 km, as a bird flies, from a point where three borders meet -Bulgaria-Macedonia, Bulgaria-Serbia and Serbia-Macedonia.
The settlement was founded during the 5-4th century B.C. by the Thracian tribes of Danteleti and Paeones. During the first century the Romans made it an important fortress, trading centre and a balneological healing resort; it was known, until the end of the 6th century, as Pautalia. Later, according to the practice of the time, the family name of the Emperor, Trajanus Augustus - Ulpia - was added. During the middle ages, the town was called Velbazhd. It was unified with the Bulgarian state during the time of Tsar Kaloyan (1197-1207). During the 16th century, it was named Kyustendil (the land of Konstantin), for the name of the former feudal ruler, Konstantin Dragash (1379-1395). From the middle of the 15th century the Ottoman Turks began to colonize the town. Approximately 60 mosques were built during that period. After the Liberation the ethnic make-up changed due to the many Bulgarian emigrants from other lands, which were still under Ottoman rule, and from other nearby towns. Some of the crafts connected with Turkish markets declined, but tobacco production was developed and the spa industry grew. The construction of highways and railroads eased the transformation of Kyustendil into a national balneological centre.

LANDMARKS
• The Town Historical museum, which was founded in 1897. Each of its departments is housed in buildings which are cultural and historic monuments. The building of the Archaeological Department is an architectural monument from 1575, the home of Ilyo Voyvoda has housed the National Revival and Struggle for national liberation Department, and the Ethnographic and Post-Liberation departments are situated in Enfiedzhiev House, which was the headquarters of the Russian commander during the Russo-Turkish War of Liberation.
• The Art Gallery, which carries the name of the great Bulgarian artist, born here in Kyustendil - Vladimir Dimitrov, the Master. Its main body is an exposition of 200 of his works.
• The Asclepeion of Pautalia - an impressive ensemble from a Roman balneological healing centre and a temple (2nd-3rd century), dedicated to the god of health Asclepius and his daughter, Hygia, situated on 3500 m2 (nearly one acre). At the time of the excavation, the foundations of spacious rooms with heating systems, aqueducts and a variety of architectural elements were uncovered. The balneological healing centre was the largest on the Balkan Peninsula after Epidavros in Peloponnese.
• Churches: St. George's (12-13* century) in the village of Kolusha, the Holy Virgin's (1816) and St. Demetrius' (1866).
• Ahmed Bey Mosque.
• The Pirgova Tower (16-17th century).
• The wall from the Devehani Inn (1606).
• Lekarska, Hekiminov, and Prokopiev houses.
• The old school (1849)
• Chifte Baths.
• Remains of the acropolis of ancient Pautalia in the Hisarlaka Forestry Park. The fortress is in the form of a polygon and takes up a large portion of the hill.
• Memorials: to the Russian soldiers who died in the liberation of the town from Ottoman rule, to the fallen in the wars of 1912-1918, to one of the greatest Bulgarian poets, Peyo Yavorov.
• One of the most valuable riches of the town - the numerous warm water springs, which possess precious curative qualities. Diseases of the muscular-skeletal system are treated in Kyustendil, and also of peripheral nervous system, and gynecological diseases. The mild winter allows spa treatments all-year-round. The resort centre offers comfortable holiday homes, baths, sanatoriums, hotels and private accommodations.
• Kadin Bridge (1470) in the village of Nevestino - 13 km east of Kyustendil.

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