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Northwest Bulgaria > Botevgrad > History

History of Botevgrad

Botevgrad is a successor of the medieval Bulgarian town of Zelin, which was located 3 km away from todays town. During the Turkish rule the village was known by the name of Samoundzhievo, famous with its sweet smelling loaves (samouns) of bread. In 1826 in a private house in this village the first school was opened and 20 years later a school building was constructed. Later on a church and a clock tower were erected. In 1866, after the road from Rouschuk (Rousse) to Sofia was moved from the Etropole Gorge to Arabakonak Gorge, the Rouschuk ruler Midhat Pasha issued an order, proclaiming the small village a town. It was given the name of Orhanie after the name of Sultan Orhan. The town served the purpose of guarding and facilitating the travellers passing along the new road. The town was built up following a civil engineering plan, characterised by chessboard-like crossing streets and houses with spacious yards.

The town rapidly grew up and the Hungarian traveller, Felix Kanits who visited it in 1871, wrote that it was the centre of a region, incorporating 25 villages, while its square was it architectural centre and glory. The same year Vassil Levski founded a revolutionary committee, while in the next year the town became a district centre of the Domestic Revolutionary Organisation. During the Russian-Turkish War of Liberation (1877-1878) severe battles were held close to it and the town was badly destroyed. It was liberated on 29th November 1877. At that time it had only 2297 inhabitants.

Its present name (after the name of the poet and revolutionary Hristo Botev) was suggested by the prominent Bulgarian scientist - Prof. Assen Zlatarov. It is the native town of the poet Stamen Panchev and of our well-known linguist, expert in Slavonic languages and ethnographer, Prof. St. Romanski. 

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