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PANAGYURISHTE

Panagyurishte is situated on a small plain in the Sredna Gora Mountain, on both banks of the Luda Yana River.

In the 4th century B.C., there was a Thracian settlement near where the present-day town is situated. During the Middle Ages, this settlement was known as Kamenograd (Litopolis). Panagyurishte was founded after the Ottoman incursions into the Balkans - at the end of the 15th century. It took its name from the small fair, which had set itself up on the bank of the river (panagyur is a synonym of panair, the word for fair, in the dialects of the people of Southwestern Bulgaria). During the years of Ottoman rule it received an official status as a military town and a series of privileges - right to relative self-government, freedom from some taxes, etc. - which assisted in the preservation of a sense of belonging to a nationality and the freedom-loving spirit of its residents. A rapid economic and cultural upsurge marked the town at the beginning of the 19th century. Boys' and girls' schools were opened. The teachers in Panagyurishte included Marin Drinov - the founder of Bulgarian historical science as well as one of the founders and first director of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, and Nesho Bonchev - the first Bulgarian literary critic. The main teacher in the girls' school was the 20-year-old national heroine Rayna Popgeorgieva (Rayna Knyaginya). The fame of the town is due mostly to the historic role which it played at the centre of the April Uprising of 1876 - the culmination of the struggle for national liberation of the Bulgarians. During the time of the uprising hundreds died, and fires turned the most dignified buildings into ashes. It endured so many human and material casualties that it was slow in restoration after the Liberation.

LANDMARKS
• The Town Historical Museum.
• National-Revival houses - Dudekova (where the Ethnographic Museum is housed), Tuteva (in which the uprising was declared on April 20. 1876), Eekova, Mateeva, Eandzheva, Smolska, Fidzhekovi Dyukyani among others.
• The House-Museum of Rayna Knyaginya, the folk heroine, whose bones are buried in the courtyard, and who sewed the flag used during the uprising and embroidered on it the cherished words, "Freedom or Death".
• Church of the Presentation of the Holy Virgin (1818), destroyed by fire during the April Uprising, reconstructed after the Liberation.
• St. George's Memorial Cathedral (1856), also destroyed by fire during the April Uprising and reconstructed after the Liberation.
• The Apriltsi National Memorial Complex, erected in 1976 in honor of the 100th anniversary of the April Uprising. It is situated on the historic hill above the town known as Manyovo Bardo
The Panagyurishte Gold Treasure - a unique Thracian set of vessels, a masterpiece of antique artwork. It was discovered in 1949 during excavation. It consists of 9 vessels of 23-carat gold with a total weight of more than 6 kilograms (131bs. 3ozs.), upon which figures from Greek mythology are depicted. It was created in the city of Lampsak, south of the Dardanelles, and confirms the millenial connection between the Balkans and Asia Minor.
• Thracian brick tomb (4th century B.C.) in the locale of Mramor.
• The Krasen Fortress - military, administrative, commercial and spiritual centre of the Panagyurishte region during late Antiquity and the Middle Ages (4-14th century).
• The Oborishte historical site 10 km from Panagyurishte, where the first Bulgarian Grand National Assembly was gathered on April 14, 1876, and where the decision to declare the April Uprising was taken.
• The Panagyurski Koloni Recreational Centre between Panagyurishte and Zlatitsa.
• The village of Banya - 11 km from the town. 20 Thracian mounds have been found on its territory, and old fortresses (the most famous of which is Kaleto- 11-14th century). The village is famous for it curative mineral waters.

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