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PAZARDZHIK

Pazardzhik is situated in the valley of the Maritsa River, in the fertile Pazardzhik-Plovdiv Plain, which takes up the western section of the Upper Thracian Lowlands.
Tatar Pazardzhik emerged during the first quarter of the 15th century as a commercial centre on the Singidunum (Belgrade) international road, which connected Europe with Asia Minor. During the 16th century the city became an administrative district centre (kaza) and kept this status up until the time of the Liberation from the Ottoman rule in 1878. Large municipal buildings were built - Eski Mosque, Pasha Haram, Kurshum Inn, etc. The entire architectural facade of the city was formed by the Revival. By the 19th century Pazardzhik had already become a large craft and trade centre and an important spiritual centre, too. Churches, schools, cultural clubs were built; the Prosveta (enlightenment) Women's Society was founded. Contributions to the spiritual development of Pazardzhik at the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th century were made by Bishop Dionisiy Agatonikiyski, who constructed a building - with his own funds - in order to open a cell school; the first Bulgarian local historian Stefan Zahariev; the artist Stanislav Dospevski, who originated secular portraiture in Bulgaria; and Konstantin Velichkov - writer, translator, artist, participant in the preparation of the April Uprising of 1876, and Minister of National Education. At the time of the war (1877-8), the city was put to fire by the retreating Ottoman soldiers. After the Liberation it grew onto the right bank of the Maritsa River also.

LANDMARKS
• Historical museum with seven exhibition halls.
• Ethnographic exhibitions, situated in the largest residential building in the city from the Bulgarian National Revival Era - the baroque home of the businessman, Nikola Hristovich.
• Memorial exhibit at the childhood home of Konstantin Velichkov.
• The Stanislav Dospevski Art Gallery.
• The House-Museum of Stanislav Dospevski.
• The Holy Virgin's Cathedral (1837) in Pazardzhik, one of the best examples of church architecture and woodcarvings during the National Revival, a monument of cultural and national significance.
• The unique St. Demetrius' Church in the village of Patalenitsa -a national monument of culture, with valuable murals from the 12-13th century.
• Settlements and their mounds from the New Stone, Stone-Copper, and Bronze Ages. The most famous are: Maltepe, near the village of Ognyanovo, and Ploskata Mogila, near the village of Yunatsi 6 km from Pazardzhik. The mound near Yunatsi is the largest in western Bulgaria. The results of excavations here have supplied extremely valuable information regarding prehistory in the Balkans and Southeast Europe, as a whole. The term "Yunatsi Culture" has even entered into the annals of European science. It is a type of open-air museum included in the system of international cultural tourism.
• Monuments of Antiquity - over 100 settlements and fortresses, more than 300 burial mounds and flat necropolises. One of the largest sanctuaries to the Three Nymphs was discovered within the territory of the municipality (in the village of Ognyanovo), as well as the sanctuary of Asclepion, dated from the 1st-4th century (in the village of Patalenitsa).
• The medieval fortress of Batkunion near the village of Patalenitsa which had strategic military and administrative significance.
• The Sts. Peter and Paul monastery in the Batkunion Complex, founded during the 12th century and restored during the 19th century.
• Numerous architectural monuments have remained from the time of the Ottoman rule - mosques, konaks (police and administrative headquarters) and Turkish baths, as well as cultural and historic monuments of traditional Bulgarian culture during this period - bridges and fountains.
• The clock tower (1741).
• Winter Music Night - annual festival, with a more than 20-year-long tradition, for symphonic music founded by Prof. Ivan Spasov (Director, composer and community activist).

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