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The largest coal-mining region in Bulgaria is situated on the Pernik Plain, between the peaks of Vitosha, Lyulin and Golo Bardo. It is situated on both banks of the Struma River.

There was a fortified settlement of a Thracian warrior tribe - Agriani - on this plateau. The palace complex - including a large hall with columns, stone aqueducts, exquisite terracotta vessels and coins from the 5-4th century B.C., discovered here, testifies to their presence. Probably this was the headquarters of the chieftains of the Agriani. The Bulgarians took advantage of the fortified location and built one of the strongest Bulgarian fortresses in the Struma Pass - the unconquerable haven of the legendary local boyar, Krakra Voyvoda. The medieval town of Pernik (Perunik, Perinik) became an important, strategic point, which took the brunt of Byzantine incursions toward Sredets (Sofia) and Northwest Bulgaria. In the middle of the 11th century, under Byzantine rule at the time, the fortress experienced a destructive earthquake. After its reconstruction, it existed until 1189, when it was burned to the ground by the Serbian leader (governor of a province) Stefan Neman. During the Ottoman Rule, Pernik lost its significance as a strategic fortress because it was deep within the interior of the Empire. Pernik met the Liberation as a small stockbreeding town, made up of a few scattered neighbourhoods, deserted due to the numerous attacks by the circali - Turkish bands that raided the Bulgarian towns. The rich deposits of brown coal in the region turned the small mining town into the main energy base for Bulgaria.

• The medieval Krakra Fortress on the Krakra Hill, a monument of national significance.
• The antique and medieval fortress in the Gradishteto locale of the village of Kralev Dol.
• Roman villa in the village of Kralev Dol.
• Thracian sanctuary (1st-4th century) in the Tsarkva Quarter.
• The medieval St. George's Church in the village of Studena with interesting murals from the 16th century.
• St. Archangel Michael's Church (1845) in the village of Studena.
The Zemen Monastery of St. John the Theologian. One of the oldest and most important monuments of medieval Bulgarian culture, it was founded during the 11th century on the site where the Bulgarian fortress Zemlungrad existed. Burned out, pillaged and renovated many times, the monastery always played an important religious and educational role in the area. The church, in its current configuration, dates from the 14th century. It is the sole remaining example in the country with its special, almost cubic, form. The most remarkable facet of the Zemen Monastery are the church murals of 1354. The monastery impresses not only with the originality and impact of the compositions from the life of Christ, but also with some of the oldest preserved images of the Bulgarian saints - Ivan of the Rila Mountain, Kliment of Ohrid, and Prohor of Pchin among others. Of special artistic, historical and ethnographic importance are the donors' (founders') portraits of Deyan the Despot, his wife Zoya, and their children. This composition, together with the image of Sebastocrator (governor) Kaloyan and his wife Desislava of the Boyana church, is one of the oldest masterpieces of Bulgarian medieval donor portraiture. During the Ottoman rule, the residential wings of the monastery were destroyed. They were reconstructed in the 19th century. The church of the Zemen Monastery was renovated in the 20th century and declared a national monument of Bulgarian culture.
• The church in the village of Rasnik with murals of the 19th century.
• The church in the village of Bosnek.
• St. Spas' church in the village of Staro Selo with murals of the 19th century.
• The Assumption of the Holy Virgin's Church (16th century) in the village of Priboy with murals of the 17th century.
• The John the Theologian's Church in the area of the Pchelina dam.
• Zhdreloto (The Gorge) natural landmark.

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