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History of Blagoevgrad

The town originated at the place of the ancient Thracian settlement Skaptopara, evidence of which we find in the notorious Skaptoparski inscription from 238. As the town of Gorna Dzhoumaya it was mentioned for the first time in 1502, and with the name Banya - in 1576. In the past the town was an important roadside fortress. In 17th century monks from the Rila Monastery opened an monastery school. During the second half of 18th and the beginning of the 19th century the town developed as a big centre of craftsmanship and commerce. After the Berlin Treaty, Gorna Dzhoumaya (until 1950 the town had this name) remained within the borders of Turkey and for this reason it turned into the cradle of resistance and peoples unity. The population actively took part in the uprisings that followed. The town was liberated on 5th October 1912 (the Balkan War) and then had only 7000 inhabitants.

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