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Northwest Bulgaria > Etropole > History

History of Etropole

There was a Thracian and later on a Roman settlement in the area of the nowadays town, the main occupation of its inhabitants being ore mining. In the beginning of 9th century the settlement was within the territory of the Bulgarian State. Thanks to the ore mining it turned into a flourishing settlement in 16th and 17th century (iron, silver and gold were mined). The crafts related thereto such as blacksmith, goldsmith, manufacture of knives, weapons, agricultural tools, etc., were also well developed. Some ore-miners came to this place from the Saxon area, Serbia and Bosna (the family names of the Alemans, Avramovs and Bohorovs date back to that period). Coins were minted in Etropole during 17th century. The village was destroyed by a devastating earthquake in 1749, but the bright highlanders quickly restored it. Then the year of 1791 came, when the town was ruined 6 times by the kurdzhalii (Turkish brigands). It was once again recovered and took its deserved place in the countrywide cultural and national uplift during the Revival. A manuscript dating back to 1820 named it The glorious town of Etropolia. Todays name of the town probably has a Thracian origin  etr meaning water, i.e. a water field (pole  field).

Together with the old church in 1710 a town tower (turned into a clock tower in 1821) was erected, while in 1871 a community cultural centre was built. There the famous Etropoles literary school was established and the proximity of the Etropolski Monastery, only 5 km away from the town, contributed to its sustained development. In 1870 Levski founded a secret revolutionary committee, headed by Todor Peev, one of the brightest leaders of the Revival. The natives of Etropole took part in the  Rakovskis Legiya (legion), in the detachments of Hadzhi Dimitur and Stefan Karadzha, of Panayot Hitov, Hristo Makedonski, Hristo Botev. Etropole was liberated on 24th November 1877 by the troops of Gen. Gourko. After the Liberation the town declined. It gradually developed as a tourist centre, taking advantage of the favourable natural resources facilitating this development.

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