Panaguyrishte is a small, historical town located in the skirts of Sredna Gora Mountain in Pazardjik district. It lies 523 m above sea level and is only 42 km north of Pazardjik and 90 km east of Sofia. Its population, as of 2005, is estimated to be 20,940 people. The settlement dates back from ancient times but was formed as the town of Panagyurishte between XII – XIV century. Panagyurishte is world famous for its Gold Treasure dating back from the Hellenic Age (IV – III century B.C.).
The territory around Panagyurishte belongs to the transitional climatic area. The average January air temperature is minus 1.1оС, the average July temperature is 20.6оС, and the average annual temperature is 10.1оС. The character of the relief and the considerable differences in the altitude above sea level predetermine the variety in the microclimate and the landscapes and its mountain character in the northern part of the municipality. The favourable combination of the altitude above sea level (1050 m - the level of prevalent low cloud) and the southern exposure of the climatic resort Panagyurski Kolonii contributes to the ionization of the air from 1 200 to 1500 ions per cubic sm (light positive and negative ions), which has a curative effect. The percentage of calm weather cases in the Panagyurishte Hollow is unsubstantial (67.5%), temperature inversions often occur (11-15 cases monthly) and the precipitation is insufficient. The average annual precipitation is 653 mm and decreases from 750 mm in the mountain part of the municipality to 550 mm in its most southern parts, which are cultivated. The annual precipitation sums are lower than the corresponding many-year norms in 53% of the cases. This tendency has been especially pronounced since 1985, and is also accompanied by increased values of the average annual temperature. This leads to an expressive aridization of the climate in the region, which alters the conditions for vegetation of the cultivated and the natural vegetation, and also for the formation of the surface drainage of the waters. The he region is strongly exposed to hails (with a probability for more than one hailstorm per year in the period May-August) and with averagely 28 intensive rainfalls (over 30 l/s/ha) per year.
Relief and Soils:
The northern part of the Panagyurishte municipality is occupied by a ridge flattening at an altitude 1 300-1 500 m, preserved at the summits Bratia, Lisets and Bunaya. An Old-Pliocene (Pontic) denudation evenness has formed around these summits, and the village of Panagyuriski Kolonii and many pastures are situated upon it, between the summits Bratia and Bounaya. The Sredna Gora slopes are not steep to the south and gradually pass into the Thracian Lowland (the Plovdiv - Pazarjik Field). The small Panagyurishte and Bata-Banya hollows have formed between the mountain parts, A characteristic element in their development is the fault tectonics, to which the mineral springs testify. The municipality is situated entirely upon the southern slopes of Real Sredna Gora. The character of the relief is from middle-mountain to low-mountain and hilly with an average altitude above sea level 683 m. The altitude above sea level changes from 1 500 m at the ridge parts of the mountain to the north to 500 m to the south. The whole territory of the municipality is indented and cut through by the valleys of the tributaries to the rivers Louda Yana and Topolnitsa. The vertical indentation of the relief in the northern parts of the municipality is from 100 to 400 m/km2, and the horizontal indentation -1-2 km/km2. There are steep slopes and valleys in the region of the canyon of the Panagyurska Louda Yana River between the town of Panagyurishte and the village of Bata and northwest from the village of Popintsi. The average inclines of the slopes are 20-30 є. The characteristics of the relief, the prevalent shallow soils, the active anthropogenesis and the intensive precipitation in the region are a prerequisite for the development of unfavourable erosion processes on the municipality's territory. The Sredna Gora relief and the rich forest vegetation with prevailing beech forests, combined with a favourable climate and ionization of the air, are a serious potential for the development of tourism.
A large part of the copper ore reserves in the country are concentrated on the municipality's territory – 13 deposits, belonging to the Panagyurishte Ore Zone, with a total amount of the reserves 380 844.5 thousand metric tons. 344 118.2 thousand tons of them are in the Assarel Deposit (by 01.01.1994). The deposits Radka and Elshitsa are of pyrite, pyrite-copper and polymetal-copper ores, and the deposits Medet, Assarel, etc. are of molybdenum-copper ores. Of the natural mineral resources on the territory of the Panagyurishte municipality, of priority importance are the formed gold-bearing river-bed deposits. They are connected with the paleogeomorphological development of the region and occur in the southern, lowest part of the municipality. There are especially favourable conditions for the accumulation of gold-bearing placer materials along the paleo-valleys of the rivers Topolnitsa, Panagyurska Louda Yana and the Banya-Popintsi valley extension. The content, distribution and the shape of the placer gold in the old and young Quaternary sediments is found mostly in the heavy fraction. The size of the gold grains is from 0.01 to 0.05 mm and they are usually shaped as irregular grains, plates or flakes with a typical metal glitter and a golden-yellow colour. The canyon valleys of the rivers Mechenska Reka and Panagyurska Louda Yana were a serious barrier for the transportation of gold-containing placers from the Real Sredna Gora massif to the south.
The town and the surrounding area did play a part in ancient history, too, despite being off the main roads of antiquity and the Middle Ages. A number of archeological monuments have been discovered in and around town, including several dozen Thracian burial mounds. One of them, the Mramor Mound, yielded the burial of a Tracian war-lord from the late forth or early third century B. C. Nearby, construction workers discovered in 1449 what has now become the world-famous Panagyurishte Gold Treasure, a rare archeological find from the Hellenic Age (fourth-third century B.C.). The nine utensils making up the treasure – four rhytons shaped like animals’ heads, three ewers sculpted like Amazons’ heads, an amphora with handles in the shape of centaurs, and a phiale, are all richly ornamented with mythical figures. The unique table set, a replica of which is on show at the Panagyurishte Historical Museum, is the most interesting monument of culture, which Thrace has yielded so far. The ruins of the once-mighty Bulgarian fortresses of Krassen and Doushkovchenin indicate that in the Middle Ages, too, people were attracted by the town’s comfortable location, bountiful nature and the fine climate.
Where monuments are lacking, legend helps fill in the town’s history, linking the founding of present-day Panagyurishte to the dramatic developments in the late fifteen-century, following the Ottoman invasion of the Balkan Peninsula. As a venue of a modest trade fair on the banks of the Luda Yana river, the town derived its present name from ‘panagyur’, an Old Bulgarian synonym to the noun ‘fair’. In the years of Ottoman domination, Panagyurishte was formally recognized by a sultan’s decree as a settlement of warriors. The ensuing privileges, like relative independence in local affairs, certain tax alleviations, etc., helps the tow’s economic development and nursed hopes for freedom in the breasts of the townsfolk.
Economically, the town reached its heyday in the early nineteenth century, when animal husbandry gave rise to crafts and occupations like trading, homespun cloth manufacturing, tanning and fur clothing, shoe-making and goldsmithery. Master craftsmen alone numbered in excess of 550; together with the journeymen and apprentices, their number was well above 2,500. Merchants from Panagyurishte peddled their goods to the markets of Asia, Serbia and Greece, and as far as Vienna, Dubrovnik and Cairo…
It was this economic boom that led to an intellectual upsurge which reached a high point on the eve of the April 1876 Uprising. The Panagyurishte townsfolk’s thirst for knowledge made the town one of the country’s topmost centers of education. The two-storied building of the boys’ school was erected by common effort in 1839, and was followed by the building of the girls’ school in 1843. Their joint annual enrollment was in the vicinity of 900 children on the uprising. The boys’ school boasted a library of some 2,000 volumes by Bulgarian and foreign authors including medieval manuscripts of the time, most prominent among whom were Marin Drinov, the founder of Bulgarian historical studies and, afterwards, one of the founders and the first president of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, and Nesho Bonchev, the first Bulgarian literary critic.
Just prior to the April Uprising, Panagyurishte welcomed back home Pavel Bobekov, a graduate of Constantinople’s Military Medical School. As head teacher at the boys’ school and chairman of the community center’s board of trustees. Bobekov was at the heart of a patriotic fervor, creating, according to contemporary accounts, “an entire movement among the young people”. The atmosphere of economic and intellectual prosperity was largely responsible for Panagyurishte’s ardently embracing the idea of national liberation as early as the time at which that great fighter for Bulgaria’s liberation, Vassil Levski, was setting up his revolutionary committees across the country. He founded one such committee in Panagyurishte, in the autumn of 1870, kindling in the townsfolk’s souls the idea of an uprising that was to burst out in flames in the fateful spring of 1876. By that time, the emissaries of the Giugiu Revolutionary Committee, Georgi Benkovski and Panayot Volov, had arrived in Panagyurishte, mounting together with the local revolutionaries, headed by Pavel Bobekov, feverish preparations that established the town as the center of the coming uprising.
Little remains today from the town of that time. In the uprising’s suppression, there burnt many of the two-storied merchants’ houses, erected by the best builders and decorated by famous painters. Yet, a few have remained, as if to tell us about the memorable days of April. One of these is the Toutevs’ house, in which the uprising was proclaimed on April 20, 1876. Even today, the courtyard seems to revive the fateful moments when the Letter Written in Blood by the rebels in Koprivshtitsa was being passed from one emotion-shaken hand to another, before Benkovski read out the words: “… If you, brothers, have been true patriots and apostles of freedom, then follow our example in Panagyurishte, too …”
Another treasured monument is the house in which national heroine Raina Popgeorgieva was born. Today the house-museum tells the story of the maiden who embroidered and carried across town the banner of freedom; of the maiden whom the nation has lovingly named Princess Raina (Raina Kniaginia). At the mere age of twenty at the time, Raina was already head mistress at the girls’ school. On a memorable evening, in the midst of the feverish preparations for the uprising, the leader Benkovski asked her to make the main battle flag for the insurgents, the legendary ensign with the lion rampant and the winged motto: “Liberty or Death”. Not far from Raina’s home are the walls that fenced in what was Hadji Louka’s house, the office of the Interim Revolutionary Government of 1876, headed by Pavel Bobekov.
Panagyurishte has a very good strategic geographic location. There are favourable climate conditions for agriculture, rich flora and fauna, rich forest resources (49.69 % of the municipality). All these factors predispose the town and the municipality toward the development of the timber industry, woodworking. There are possibilities for the tourism to be further developed as Panagyurishte is a historic town and there mineral springs in the region. The bigger part of the country’s copper resources are in the area and logically the copper extraction and production industry are well developed. The economic face of the municipality is almost entirely industrial. As well as the extracting and the production industries, machine-building, textile, tailoring and the food-processing industries are developed. During the 2001-2003 period, there has been registered economic growth in terms of revenues of the companies. The cost of long-term assets has increased a lot evidencing for the investments in the local companies, 99% of which are private. There are fifteen big companies that are vital for the municipality, al of which are operating in the extracting, chemical and textile industries. Panagyurishte does not possess serious resources for the development of the agriculture and farming industries and this is the main reason that it is mostly developed in personal farms. It can be only developed by modernization, which will lead to intensifying the production of the proper flora and fauna: fruit-trees, herbs, apiculture and mountain stock-breeding. The trading and services industry is the least developed. There are no multifunctional stores like Billa or Metro. The transport and the construction industries are fairly developed and do not have big impact on the local economy.
Special Thanks to www.panagyurishte.info