|Pernik - City and District
Pernik Basic Data
|2,389 square km.
|Places of interest:
|Pernik, Radomir, Zemen
Pernik General Information
The district of Pernik is located in Middle West Bulgaria. It is bordered by Sofia, Sofia city, Kyustendil district and Serbia to the west. The town of Pernik is situated in a picturesque hollow in the western part of Middle Bulgaria. The total area of the hollow field is about 157 sq. km; it is 22 km long, extending in the southeast- northwest direction. Its narrowest part is about 4 km long. The hollow is between 700 and 850 m above the sea level. It is surrounded by the mountains of Golo Burdo, on the south, Vitosha, on the east and Liulin, on the north-east. The town is situated along the upper reaches of the river Struma. Its source is to the south of the highest peak in the Vitosha Mountain, Cherni Vruh, and it is one of the longest rivers in the country, its total length being 290 km.
The climate of the region is temperature-continental. The spring comes late and the autumn comes early. The summer is not hot ( the average temperature is 19.9 C ) and the autumn is warmer than the spring. The peak period of rainfall is in May, March being the scarcest of rain. It is foggy on 28.8 days of the year on average. The soils are the mostly black clay and alluvial-meadow. The soils of the mountainsides are light-brown forest and the ones of the mountain ridges are mountain-meadow.
Tendencies in farming are determined by the following conditions: soils that are difficult to cultivate, the late spring and the early autumn. The crops that are best to grow here are rye, barley, maize, lentils and potatoes. The hollow is famous for its rich beds of coals. Limestone rocks are also of importance to the industry. The town of Pernik is on one of the oldest trade routes on the Balkans, i.e. Sofia - Salonika - Skopje, which is the shortest route connecting the Danube and the Aegean Sea. The railway routes Sofia - Blagoevgrad - Petrich; Sofia - Volujak - Pernik are of great economic importance to the region. The town of Pernik is 30 km away from the capital Sofia. Two European transport corridors are passing through the district – number 4 (Vidin – Sofia – Kulata) and number 8 (Gueshevo – Sofia – Bourgas).
The Municipality of Pernik is an administrative territorial unit comprises 24 settlements - 2 town and 22 villages, its area being 461.1 sqkm, which is more than the average area of a Bulgarian municipality, i.e. 427 sqkm. In Bulgaria 4.8 settlements on average are located on a territory of 100 qkm. This figure is 4.98 for the municipality of Pernik.
The municipality has a population of 111 799 (as of January 1, 1999), 93 424 of whom live in the town of Pernik. The municipality ranks fifth in the population density table of the country - 232.7 people per square kilometer, the average figure being 74.6. The economically active population of the region is about 65300 people. There are 26 129 senior citizens. Women outnumber men, the ratio being 56 835: 54 964. The birth rate is 6.1 per 1000 population. Over the last several years the demographic structure is pronouncedly regressive as the population belonging to the young and middle age bracket is decreasing and the population belonging to the advanced age bracket is increasing with a lasting tendency towards a negative natural increase rate.
The first record of settlement life in the Pernik region dates back to the year of 6000 BC (the early Neolithic). The Thracian tribe that lived here, i.e. the Agrarians, was mentioned as early as Thucydides in his account of the march of the Odrysae king Citalk against the Macedonians in 429 BC. Those were the farthest lands belonging to his state system. Another chronicler, Arrian, gives an account of the marches of Alexander the great, in which the Agrarians took part: the battle of Pelion, the siege of Thebes, the battle with the Persians, led by King Darius. The town of Pernik became part of the Bulgarian kingdom in 809 AD during Khan Krum's reign. The ceding of the territory to Bulgaria was legitimized by a peace treaty of 815 AD between Khan Omourtag and the Byzantine Empire. It was in the life chronicle of St. John of Rila that the settlement was mentioned for the first time in the Middle Ages - the desert dweller "went to Pernik and settled in a place-made of stone near a river, called Struma and there he made a quiet home of his own". St. John of Rila is the principal patron saint of Bulgarians and a protector of miners.
During the 10th and 11th century AD, the town of Pernik acted as an important economic and military centre of the southeastern part of the country. Tenth and 11th century history of Pernik is associated with the legendary name of Krakra, a chieftain who twice, in 1004 and in 1016, repelled the attacks of the army of Emperor Basil II. The Pernik fortress was the last Bulgarian bulwark to be conquered by the Byzantine troops. The co-authors Skilitsa and Kedrin give an awe-inspired account of Krakra, describing him as "a men well-versed in military matters", who would succumb "neither to flattery, nor to other promises and offers".
Few historical records give an account of the place and role of the town of Pernik in the time of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom. In 1382 the region was conquered by the Ottoman invaders, but the population succeeded in keeping its national consciousness.
The boost of the national spirit during the Bulgarian National Revival did also find an expression here through the opening of scores of schools, through the participation in the fight for church independence, as well as through the revolutionary movement.
In the year of 1891 the first state coal mine in the country started operating. In the year of 1893 the railway route Sofia - Pernik was opened. In the year of 1895 was built the first coal separation facility in Bulgaria and in 1933 the first briquette factory was opened. In 1939 the mine's output accounted for 75% of the coal mined in the country as a whole.
It is mining that establishes the town of Pernik as one of the country's industrial centers. In 1892 the machine service was put into operation (later known as the "Struma" works). In the year of 1918 the first power station in Bulgaria was opened in the town of Pernik.
In the year of 1911 the "Granitoid" cement works was opened in the town of Batanovtci, later (in 1931) the factory producing flat glass and jars was opened (known today as "Cristal", plc). The region's furnace for cast iron moulds was the first to be built in Bulgaria. The town of Pernik also boasts the only factory on the balkans producing pectin. It was opened in 1941 and was known as the "Shapkar" factory. Its new name is "Pectin". In 1929 Pernik achieved the status of a town. Between 1959 and 1987 it functioned as a regional centre and since 1999 it has been a district centre.
In 1951 the "Republic" power plant was put into operation. On November 5, 1953 the state metallurgical works was put into operation (today known as the "Stomana Industry") works, now a private company. Plants were built for the production of rectifiers, Ferro magnets, welding machines, special steel profiles, and metal constructions. There is also a knitwear factory in the region.
The "Saint John of Rila" church was built in 1919 on the initiative of Mr. Ivan Simeonov - the then director of the Pernik state mines.
Palace of Culture - The Palace of culture was opened on February 12, 1957. Its construction started on July 15, 1953. The design of the building was worked out by Mr. Alexander Doubovik, an architect. Its total floor area of 4250 sqm houses the "Boian Danovski" dramatic theater, the "Svetoslav Minkov" universal research library, the art gallery, the "Orpheus" chamber orchestra, the unified art school and the intelligentsia club.
The first secular school in the town of Pernik was founded in 1876. In the year of the Liberation of Bulgaria (1878) the town offers instruction in all three school education levels popular at this time - primary, middle and secondary. In the year of 1903 the mining school was opened. There are 34 schools in the municipality at present, the number of teachers and students in them being 1 466 and 13 978 respectively.
There are 19 middle schools (including the primary level) and 15 secondary schools: 8 comprehensive schools and 6 vocational training schools.
The first hospital of the town of Pernik was built in 1899. In the year Pernik achieved the status of a town (1929) a hospital with 50 hospital beds was opened near the "St. Pantaleimon" monastery, to be known today as a state pulmonary hospital.
The Pernik municipality has 1 250 hospital beds at present, it has 17 ambulatory-policlinic facilities and 5 pediatric clinics with 224 hospital beds. There are 290 doctors, there being one doctor per 366 population, 68 dentists and also 710 assistant physicians and 1 020 nurses. The International festival of fancy-dress dance is held in the town of Pernik every even year at the first weekend after New Year's Day (January 14 according to the Old Style calendar).
The agricultural land accounts for 50% of the land in the district, while the cultivated lands are 37% - this defines the district as industrial, not agricultural. The climate conditions are not so favorable like in the other districts and agriculture is limited. In 2003 the industry was divided into Mining Industry – 14.7%, Light Industry – 49.1% and Production of electric and thermal power, Gas and Water supply – 36.2%. Metallurgy is developed very well in the district. Other production includes: production of metal wares, steel blocks and steel products, machine-building, metal construction, textile products, and products of the food and beverage industry.
The registered unemployment is 11%, slightly below the country average.
The big percentage of uncultivated agricultural land is a weak point of the district, but a potentially new big sector of the economy as well. There are 1,212,328 decares of agricultural land in the district, only 73% is used. The biggest sowings are of grain crops (wheat, barley, maize), fruits (apples, strawberries, cherries) and vegetables (tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, potatoes).