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History of Sandanski

On the place of the present day town there was an old Thracian settlement that had sprung up near the hot mineral springs. The first inhabitants were the tribe called medi. With the arrival of the Romans the small settlement was extended and improved. The curative springs were impounded and a big public bath was built (asklepion). Most probably the settlement grew into a town during the reign of Emperor Pius (138-161) and was surrounded by fortification walls made of pebble stones from the local river. The town reached cultural and economic boom during the time of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian II (527-565). After 6th century the town was destroyed. The Slavonic tribe called strimontsi (stroumentsi) settled here; they named the settlement Sveti Vrach, meaning Saint Healers. According to the legend this name is connected with two folk healers - the brothers Kozma and Damyan. The settlement was included in the territory of the Bulgarian Kingdom during the reign of Khan Pressian (836-852). During the Ottoman domination Sveti Vrach fell into decay and turned into a small village. In the year of its liberation - 1912 (the Balkan War) its population was no more than 500 inhabitants (the nearby town of Melnik had a population of 12 000 inhabitants at the time). A lot of refugees from the Aegean region settled in the area in 1913-1925. Nowadays the town is one of the most significant centres in Europe for treatment of diseases of the upper respiratory track and the lungs.

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