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Centralsouth Bulgaria > Peroushtitsa > History

History of Peroushtitsa

The assumptions related to the origin of the name of the town are various. Most plausible seem those, which consider that it originated from Peristitsa  the name of a medieval Bulgarian fortress whose ruins were left over the steep rocks south of it. There was a system of 2 fortresses here a lower one (Gradishteto) and an upper one (Momino Kale). It is assumed also that the town is the direct inheritor of the Slavonic town of Dragovets. Ruins of Thracian and Roman settlements were found in the surrounding areas of Peroushtitsa. This proved that the settlement is very old and its beginning dates back to ancient times.

The church St. Archangels Gavrail and Mihail (1847) and the famous Danov School in which the first teacher was the prominent Bulgarian enlightener - Hristo Danov who introduced the mutual training method in 1850 were built in Peroushtitsa during the Revival Period. It was one of the first co-educational schools in our country. In 1869 Vassil Levski set up a revolutionary committee in Peroushtitsa headed by Peter Bonev.

The citizens of Peroushtitsa took an active part in the April Uprising (1876). They courageously stood at defence against the numerous bashibozouk (Turkish armed volunteers) hordes and the regular army of Rashid Pasha for five days. They brought their resistance to an end only when the cannon grenades destroyed the roof of the revolutionary fortress - the church St. Archangels Gavrail and Mihail, in which about 600 old people, women and children were gathered. The Turks plundered the settlement and burned down 350 houses. 348 people headed by Peter Bonev - a companion and associate of Rakovski and Levski in the Belgrade Legion and leader of the Uprising in the town died there. His associate Kocho Chestimenski demonstrated an unparalleled heroism and self-sacrifice. Seeing that there was no salvation whatsoever in the church already defenceless from the attacking bashibozouks (Turkish armed volunteers), he killed his wife and children and committed suicide himself. Others followed his example, too. The remaining leaders of the Uprising died heroically as well Spas Ginev, Father Tikev, Dr. Vassil Sokolski. The bones of those martyrs were gathered and buried in the same church so that people could remember them. The citizens of Peroushtitsa were of the first who stood for the union of the Principality of Bulgaria with Eastern Roumelia in 1885. 

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