Pazardjik is a cloud city in South Bulgaria, an administrative center for the municipality of Pazardjik and the Pazardzhik region with 60,000 inhabitants. It is the largest city at the beginning of the Upper Thracian Plain, just 35km from Plovdiv. It lies on both shores of Maritza, with Liberty Park in the middle (liberals in Latin meaning children because they were the only ones who were free in the Roman Empire).
The city was founded at the beginning of the 15th century by Muslim Tatars. Therefore the first name was Tatarpazardzhik. In the beginning of the 16th the first Bulgarians from the surrounding villages settled there and the town became a big shopping center. At that time the Maritza River was navigable on both shores and there were storage facilities.
In 1865 the city had 25,000 inhabitants (Sofia then had 20,000 inhabitants) and is the third largest trade fair in Bulgaria after the Chov after Plovdiv and the Eskidzhumayski in Targovishte. It became a major Renaissance center in the 19th century with many developed crafts.
The first cell school was opened there in 1823, and the first school in 1845.
In 1862 a community center was founded, called by Stanislav Dospevski ‘Videlina’. He is the founder of the academic field in Bulgarian painting and is the first graduate Bulgarian artist.
In 1869 Vasil Levski founded a revolutionary committee there. In 1870 it was formed a women’s society and an outdoor theater.
The Church of the Assumption of the Virgin from 1837, also called the Metropolitan Cathedral, is the main tourist site. There is a valuable iconostasis, which dates from the mid 19th century. The master is Makre Frachkovski and a group of Debar woodcarving school. He is buried in the deacon (the right part behind the iconostasis, where the relics are holy and where the deacon is worshiped) of the church for his great services. It is the most beautiful iconostasis in the Balkans. The church is a three-nave basilica. It contains interesting fragments from the carving of St. Stefan with Stones, Introduction. The Virgin Mary, beheading John the Baptist, offering the head of Solome (King Herod’s daughter), St. George kills the lamas, the Old Testament trinity (visit of the Lord with two angels to Abraham, the day before Sodom and Gomorrah collapsed).
Sightseeing in Pazardzhik
Kurshum mosque from 1677 (so-called because the cube is covered with lead), the oldest building of the Eski mosque from 1540, the old Jewish synagogue, the house of Stanislav Dospevski’s museum, the birthplace of Konstantin Velichkov, the house of Nikolai Hristovich 18 and the old 19c mail with an original Gothic tower that was also used by the fire department as an observer.
In Pazardjik are the following attractions from 100 national tourist sites of the Bulgarian Tourist Union:
- Cathedral Church “Holy Assumption”, (8:00 – 17:00)
- Regional Museum of History – one of the leading and oldest museums in Bulgaria. It was established in 1911 by a decision of the management board of Vidinina Chitalishte.
- “Stanislav Dospevski” Art Gallery, 15 “Konstantin Velichkov” Square, (09:00 – 12:00 and 14:00 – 17:30, winter time weekends – Saturday and Sunday) – founded in 1966. the name of the Renaissance painter and public figure Stanislav Dospevski (1823 – 1878), worked in the field of the portrait genre. The current building of the gallery was opened in 1980. Later (1911) it houses the Regional Museum of History.
- Stanislaw Dospevski House Museum, 54, Maria Louisa Street, (9:00 – 12:00 and 14:00 – 16:00, on Saturdays and Sundays)
- The old post office with the clock tower, Konstantin Velichkov Square
- Drama-puppet theater “Konstantin Velichkov” – one of the oldest theaters in the country, built with funds collected voluntarily by the citizens. The first performance of the State Drama Theater in Pazardzhik is “Albena” by Yordan Yovkov.
- Ethnographic Exposition of the Regional Museum of History, 8 Otets Paisiy Street, (09:00 – 12:00 and 13:30 – 16:30, weekends – Saturdays and Sundays)
- Konstantin Velichkov House Museum, 6 Theodor Trayanov Street –
– One-storey and with veranda, it was built around 1850. In 1964 – 1965 the house was renovated and restored. Since 1967, it has been arranged urban style from the late 19th century to the beginning of the 20th century. Konstantin Velichkov is a prominent Bulgarian Revival activist, active participant in national liberation struggles, politician and statesman in post-liberation Bulgaria, poet, writer, translator and artist.
- Park-Island “Freedom” (known as “The Island”)
- “Nikola Furnadzhiev” Library
- Chitalishte “Videlina”
- Chitalishte “Hristo Botev”