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History of Velingrad

The numerous archaeological findings, such as stone and bone tools, bronze articles and others imply existence of life since ancient times in these places. Long-lasting traces have left Thracians, Slavs, Byzantines, and Romans. The traces, however, left by the Ottomans are bloody and morbid, related with forced conversion to Islam of the local Christian population. A moving account about that time has left priest M. Draginov.

The national poet Ivan Vazov wrote at length about it in his travel notes from the Rhodopes. Later, when the spark of the Revival was kindled, the local population also made its contribution to the patriotic acts.

The St. Trinity Church was built in Kamenitsa in 1816, which by that time was just a small underground monastery, and in 1846 the first school was opened with Iliya Zhdrakov as teacher. At the liberation time the settlements, forming the modern town Velingrad were in a sorry plight. Gradually the local population become conscious of the environment granted by nature, so that the town developed into a modern resort of national and international significance.

There is a Town Museum of History (tel.: 0359 22591).

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