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TROYAN

The town of Troyan is situated on the rich, terraced shores of the Beli Osam River, in the northern foothills of the Troyan-Kalofer section of the Balkan Mountains.
The archaeological excavations prove that the region has been inhabited since the end of the late Paleolithic Age. During 15 B.C. the lands of today's northern Bulgaria fell within the borders of the Roman province of Moesia. The name Troyan has remained from the old roman road Via Trajana, which connected Moesia with Thrace and the Aegean region and crossed the Balkan Mountains through the modern-day Troyan Pass. After Bulgaria fell under Ottoman rule, many Bulgarian refugees moved to this area, which was difficult for the Ottomans to reach. The town grew continually and was a developed trade and crafts centre during the 19th century. Up until  the Second World War, more than half of the population made their living via production of thick woolen fabrics (aba), blacksmithing, wood lathing, leather-working, gold-working and, most of all, pottery, distinguished by a ceramics school that is a leader still today. Several churches were constructed along with a school boasting a modern, secular teaching program (The Yellow School), and a cultural club, where theatrical activities were also developed.

LANDMARKS
• Museum of National Artistic Crafts and Applied Arts, which has gathered the best examples of products of local craftsmen.
• Town Art Gallery, set up in the Serekova House.
• The town tower.
• The architectural ensembles on Vasil Levski and Tsar Kaloyan streets and near the Markovia bridge (houses above the river), the house of Dona Milina, the Balevski houses, and the complexes of old houses in the quarters of Popishka and Dryanska.
• The Nunki architectural complex (currently a hotel) in the centre of town.
• The childhood homes of Ivan Hadzhiyski - renowned expert on the Bulgarian mentality, and Minko Nikolov - an authoritative literary critic, historian and translator.
• St. Paraskeva's Church (1835) - active temple, architectural and cultural monument.
• The St. Nicholas of the Summer's Church in the village of Gumoshtnik with arnnique wood-carved iconostasis.
The Troyan Monastery, situated 10 km (6 miles) southeast of the
town (16th century, currently active). The ancient chronicles tell us that its first residents were hermits from Mt. Athos. At the beginning of the 18th century the small, isolated monastery spread out. A wooden church, a residential wing for monks and an inn were built, all surrounded by a large fortified wall. Later a cell school began to function; a stone congregational church was constructed and a water system was set up. At the beginning of the 19th century, the monastery was expanded and represented an impressive architectural complex. The residential sections, which ring the courtyard, are two- and three-storied - something extremely rare for that era. After it was recognized as stauropegial (autonomous from the jurisdiction of the local bishop and directly subjected to the Patriarchate of Constantinople) in 1830, a period of flowering began. The church was renovated; new, two-storied residential buildings were built; an elementary school was opened in 1865; a new bell tower was constructed, which increased the architectural harmony of the complex. The interior ornamentation of the church is the work of the National-Revival master painter, Zahari Zograf, who created gorgeous scenes and portraits of Bulgarian tsars, patrons and patriots. Besides valuable works of Bulgarian National-Revival art, the monastery also preserves original creations of practical artwork - a silver ornament for the Gospel; a silver ossuary with silver filigree, gilding and precious stones; an exquisite chalice, etc. The large iconostasis is a woodcarving masterpiece, while the golden cross on the altar, from the 19th century, is unique with its miniature carvings. Among the monastery's rich collection of icons is the miracle-working icon of the Three-Handed Holy Virgin, brought from Mt. Athos back at the time of the monastery's founding. It is carried on a great march to the nearby chapel at times of shrine celebrations. Besides being a centre for Orthodoxy and enlightenment, the monastery was a refuge for revolutionaries and a hearth for the Bulgarian national spirit during the time of the Ottoman oppression. The cell, where revolutionary deeds were discussed, has been preserved in its authentic appearance.
• The Natural Science Museum in the village of Cherni Osam, 12 km (7.5 miles) east of Troyan.
• Beklemeto - a tourist complex 22 km (14 miles) from the town.
• The Steneto and Kozya Stena (Goat's Wall) reserves in the Central Balkan National Park; a large portion of the Troyan Mountains are within its borders. The Steneto Bioshpere Reserve covers an area of 3602.4 hectares (nearly 14 sq. miles). It was created to protect the ecosystems on the upper Cherni Osam. It nurtures rare plant and animal species, and the number of confirmed bird species is larger than all the other Balkan Mountain reserves. There are many rock formations, karst figures and caves. The interesting karst formation, Markova Dupka, is found at a location three hours trip from the Ambaritsa chalet. The reserve is included in the UNESCO program "Man and the Biosphere". The Kozya Stena is the smallest reserve in the Central Balkan National Park, situated in a very steep section of the Balkan Mountains. Its inaccessibility has preserved many extremely rare plants - mainly the endemic species Balkan Edelweiss. The Kozya Stena deserves the right to call itself a botanical reserve.
• The balneological sanatorium with mineral-water swimming pools in the village of Shipkovo 18 km west along the road to Teteven.
• The Sopot Dam approximately 30 km (19 miles) from the town, which offers wonderful conditions for relaxation, beach going, fishing, sport, and water tourism.
• The National Fair of Artistic Crafts, which is held in the village of Oreshak 7 km east of the town. Modern master craftsmen - not only from Troyan and the region, but from the entire country, present their creations here.
• The pleasant celebration of plums and plum brandy (rakia), which is held in September, with many competitions and taste testing.

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