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History of Panagyurishte

Close to the present town a Thracian settlement existed even in the 4th century BC. In the 13th century the settlement at this place had the name Kamenograd (Litopolis). It got remarkably developed and won notoriety during the Turkish domination, when it was a privileged village for accommodating soldiers. It had a special status, which was kept util 1839. According to it no Ottoman Turk was entitled to settle or even to overnight in Panagyurishte. But the privilege did not save it from the raids of the kurdzhalii (Turkish brigands) - it was plundered and set to fire many times.

Nevertheless, in 18th century Panagyurishte reached its zenith. Its main way of life was cattle breeding. Woollen clothes, abi (homepsun coarse wollen cloth and upper mens garment made of it), sacks and etc. were manufactured and sold across the whole Ottoman Empire. The citizens of Panagyurishte were famous as tradesmen of cattle (dzhelepi). They were also tax collectors (beglikchii). Very early a church school was opened, which in 1839 become a mutual school. A community cultural centre was founded in 1865, which turned into a cradle of Bulgarian spirit and consciousness.

The popularity of this small town in Sredna Gora Mountain arose mostly from its particular role during the April Uprising (1876), when it became the centre of the IV Revolutionary District and in fact of all epic events. The apostles Volov and Benkovski organized a powerful and active revolutionary committee, managing to raise the whole population to an armed struggle for freedom. The first Bulgarian Republic was born with the president of the transitional government in Sredna Gora - Pavel Bobekov. Here the flag of the uprising was waved; sewn by the teacher from Panagyurishte, Raina Knyaginya, it had the words Freedom or Death embroidered on it. After exultation came defeat. In spite of the heroism and the self-sacrifice of the defendants, the much more numerous and better-armed enemy entered the town. Panagyurishte was burnt down. For their boldness to call themselves free, 650 citizens of Panagyurishte paid with their lives, immortalising the name of their town (Zahari Stoyanov). On 11th January the town was liberated from Turkish rule.

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