Pazardzhik, Bulgaria

Geography : Vegetation : Hydrography | Economy | Transport | Education : University | Healthcare | Media | Culture | Sport | Architecture | Drama and Puppet Theatre Konstantin Velichkov | Regional History Museum | Ethnographic Museum | Stanislav Dospevski Art Gallery | Konstantin Velichkov House Museum

🇧🇬 Pazardzhik (Пазарджик) is a city situated along the banks of the Maritsa river, southern Bulgaria. It is the centre of Pazardzhik Province and Pazardzhik Municipality. It is located in the Upper Thracian Plain and in the Pazardzhik-Plovdiv Field, a subregion of the plains. It is west of Plovdiv, about 37 kilometres, 112 km south-eastern of Sofia and 288 km from Burgas. Due to poor economic performance in Bulgaria during the 1990s and early 2000s, emigration of Bulgarians began, which affected Pazardzhik as well.

The history of Pazardzhik can be traced back to the 7th millennium BC, with early civilisations being brought from Asia-Minor. They were agro-pastralists and settled near Maritsa, Pazardzhik and Sinitovo. A clay idol named the Pazardzhik Venus was founded in 1872.

The Drougoubitai tribe settled in the early Middle Ages. Many different researches have all been disputed on the founding of Pazardzhik. One of them was that the city was founded in 1395 by nomads from Saruhan. Another one was three years later in 1398, the city was founded by the migration of Tatars from Actav to Rumelia. The third is about the establishment in 1418, where the Minnet Bey and the Tatars came from Isquilip, and the fourth thesis and the final one is the city's foundation from the resettled Crimean Tatar people. Rice cultivation intensified in the region, which made the economy of the city grow.

During the Russo-Turkish War (1806–1812), there was a brief siege under Count Nikolay Kamensky. In the mid-19th century, it was an important craft and trade centre. Many institutions were established in this period. Тhe Church of the Dormition was first founded. Vasil Levski appointed the revolutionary committee in Pazardzhik as a second centre in 1872. Following 4 years after that, Georgi Benkovski resumed the activity of the committee. During the Russo-Turkish War (1877–1878), Iosif Gurko wrestled the Ottomans out of the city and during the same period, Ovanes Sovadzhian prevented the annihilation of the city.

The first reported Red Army troops entered Pazardzhik on 23 September 1944. After 9 September 1944, the city grew to an industrial centre, which in 1947 during nationalisation, began consolidation of industrial enterprises. There were demonstrations consisting of about 5,000 protesters, demanding to change to democracy.

The economy of Pazardzhik is now a slowly growing one. GDP per capita is 9,101 BGN in 2012. The average monthly salary was 635 BGN and unemployment was 5.2% in 2015. The economy today is mainly based on agriculture, which also includes animal breeding. Farms are mainly located in the fertile land of the Upper Thracian Plain.

The landmarks of the city are the clock tower, Church of the Dormition, which has a wood-carved iconstasis protected by UNESCO, the History Museum, the old post office, the Drama Theatre and the other museums.

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Geography The city lies in the south-western parts of the Upper Thracian Plain and also in the Pazardzhik-Plovdiv Fields, a sub-region of the plain. Pazardzhik lies on both the right and left banks of the Maritsa River, with an island called ''Svoboda''.

Pazardzhik is one of the few cities with a flat topography without any elevations. The average elevation is 205 m (673 ft) and covers the entire area of the city. The only exception is a slight elevation change in the riverbed of the Maritsa.

Nearby is the Besaparski Ridge, where limestone deposits have been discovered. Nearby, near the village of Mokrishte, there are many hills from the time of the Thracians, which were artificially created.

The nearest mountains are the Western Rhodopes - about 15 km south, the Eastern Rila - about 30 km south-west and the Sashtinskata Sredna Gora about 40 km north of the town.

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Geography: Vegetation The vegetation in and around the town is mainly broad-leaved species - oak, linden, poplar, chestnut, plane and less often coniferous species - mainly pine and fir. Willow, birch, ivy grow around the rivers.

The region is traditionally used for agriculture due to the favourable climate and fertile soils and is considered a recognised region for the cultivation of vegetables and fruit. Besides cereals, tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, watermelons, tobacco and wine, but also peaches, cherries and cotton are grown.

From the 15th century until the 1980s, Pazardzhik was a centre of Bulgarian rice cultivation, which was practised in the humid lowlands of the Upper Thracian Plain. The yellowish rice grains of Pazardzhik were well known and better appreciated than the rice grown around Plovdiv or further south-east along the Maritsa. Western visitors were amazed by the intensive rice culture and already in the 18th century spoke of the area as a "European Egypt" (in a travel diary from 1786). Today, rice cultivation no longer plays a major role in the Pazardzhik region. After 1989, production was stopped or even abandoned (in most places) within a few years, as Bulgarian rice was no longer competitive on the world market.

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Geography: Hydrography One of the main rivers, the Maritsa, flows through the city and Topolnitsa (river) and Luda Yana, tributaries of the Maritsa, also border the city to the east and west.

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Economy The economy of Pazardzhik began from the 15th century, when it was still a small town and a market place. It began to form as an important trade centre in the Ottoman Empire. In the 17th-18th century, the town was the primary centre of crafts within the empire. There were many crafts practised, including leatherworking (clothing and footwear from leather) forging metal, etc. After the Liberation, there was a large change in the rural life of Pazardzhik. The main aspect of the economy was agriculture, which included the production of rice and cereals. Factories were built, including for the production of Marseille tiles in 1908 and pottery in 1914. Pazardzhik's economy grew in 1920-1944 period, as it included the electrification of the city in 1922. In 1938, there were 18 industry enterprises and in 1944, that number grew to 54. During the nationalisation of the Bulgarian economy in 1947, all of the industries were consolidated. New buildings in the 1960s and 1970s were built for the huge industries. During this period, Pazardzhik was considered a large industrial centre, but in the 1980s, after the loss of Russian markets, the city's economy was in despair. Living standards fell by 40%. After 1989, new modern industries appeared. The industries in 1993 were 293, but increased to 424 in 2008.

Pazardzhik Municipality's economy in the performance of the province decreased after 2009. GDP per capita is 9,101 BGN in 2012, twice below the national average (18,382 BGN) and 18% lower than that of the province (10,315 BGN). It is the result of the general economic situation and low competitiveness. The average monthy salary was 635 BGN and unemployment was 5.2% in 2015. As of 31 May 2014, according to the data of the Directorate "Labour Office", 4 008 people were unemployed. In the period January–May 2014, the number of people who entered employment were 1175 people, of which 153 people (13%) were long-term unemployed. Women were 59% unemployed, while men were 41% unemployed. The unemployment rate increased to 5.7% in 2017. Activity rates were an estimated 49.8%.

The economy today is mainly based on agriculture. Farms are mainly located in the fertile land of the Upper Thracian Plain, where vegetables are grown - tomatoes, peppers, etc. Fruit is also grown, especially peaches and cherries.

Industry on the territory of Pazardzhik is the dominant sector in economy. Weaknesses include the loss of foreign markets in recent years, the depreciation of machinery, and the weak management capacity of local businesses, which are easily squeezed out by foreign competitors. The textiles industry, which was one of the largest dominant industries a few years ago, is currently in a poor state and enterprises rely on toll manufacturing, which deprives the market of quality goods from Bulgarian production brands. Construction in the municipality is widely represented by a large number of companies. There are natural resources underpinning the extraction of raw materials for the sector. In the sectoral distribution of expenditure on the acquisition of fixed capital assets, the largest share of manufacturing and the production and distribution of electricity and heat and gaseous fuels. Construction at the beginning of the period before 2007–2008 financial crisis also had a higher share, but in 2012, expenditure on acquisition of fixed capital in this economic activity decreased by almost 2 times.

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Transport The main transportation for the city are trolleybuses, buses, taxis and trains.

The trolleybus network in Pazardzhik is one of the main transportation covering 2/3 of the city. It first opened on 1 June 1993. The trolleybus lines are 6 (1, 1E, 2, 2E, 4, 5) and have designated routes. The length is 30 km (19 mi), which is one-way. The total passenger buses are 23, 6 of them are articulated buses.

The bus transport network in Pazardzhik consists of 16 lines (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 13A, 14, 14A) covering the most important areas of the city.

Pazardzhik is near the Trakia motorway and is on the I-8 road. The city connects with the major hub city Plovdiv and is 7 km away from the highway. The Pan-European Corridor VIII passes through, connecting it with cities such as Skopje. There are intercity buses which connect many cities and also countries like Greece.

Pazardzhik has 62,003 cars per 1000 people and only 26 people killed in road accidents per 10000 people in 2011 according to the Eurostat.

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Education: University • Agricultural College • College for Primary Educators • Branch of the Faculty of Music of Paisii Hilendarski University.

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Healthcare Healthcare here after the Liberation of Bulgaria was limited. There were lack of doctors and pharmacists in the area and no available hospitals. Many doctors and pharmacists, studied in different locations, came here in the mid-19th century. Russian troops after liberating the town in the Russo-Turkish War (1877–1878), established the first hospital ''Saint Pantaleimon''. In 1928, the hospital gained investments from national foundations in Bulgaria. Ivan Sokolov was a prominent doctor working in the hospital. He created the first private hospital in the town. After 1948, hospital work expanded, as outpatient examinations increased, and the number of qualified staff were growing. From 1 January 1959, by decision of the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, the hospital became a district hospital directly subordinate to it. From 1979 to 1990 the District Clinical Hospital became a training base for students of the Higher Medical Institute in Pazardzhik.

Today Pazardzhik has a well-developed health care network, both in outpatient and inpatient care. According to the data of the Regional Health Inspectorate - Pazardzhik, as of June 2014, there are 5 multiprofile hospitals on the territory of the municipality, all of them in Pazardzhik. After passing accreditation in November 2013, the number of hospital beds as of 1 January 2014 are 434.

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Media Media in Pazardzhik include ''PA Media'', ''Zname'', ''Marica'', ''PZdnes''.

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Culture Kurshum Mosque is one of the only two mosques in Pazardzhik, the other being Ebu Bekir located in Constructed in 1667, its one of the main sights of the city.

The Church of the Dormition preserves the most impressive icons in Bulgaria by master artists of the Debar School, wood-carvings of New and Old Testament scenes, and icons by Stanislav Dospevski. Among the town's landmarks are also the Pazardzhik Clock Tower, the ethnographic and history museums.

As with most Bulgarian cities, Pazardzhik has developed a significant pedestrian centre, in which several central squares typify the European coffee house society and pedestrian culture. In Bulgaria the café culture is particularly prominent, with many downtown squares easily providing up to a half dozen cafés, with ample outside seating. Pazardzhik has a level of pedestrian streets (or network of carfree areas) even above the relatively high Bulgarian standard. There are several longer pedestrian streets, and at one point there is even an intersection where five different pedestrian streets converge. A few of these do not continue for very long, but most do, or are connected to the rest of the pedestrian areas of the city, and thus could be said to form the pedestrian network of the city. Notable pedestrian areas are the Tortata and the island Svoboda, which also serves as a park.

During the warmer seasons, most afternoons of the week and especially weekends find a large number of people strolling about or sitting in cafés.

Island-park ''Svoboda'' is a pedestrian area, where people can walk freely. The park includes a football field, a basketball court in a stadium and also different sport areas. In 2009, a zoo was established, where various animals are kept. There is a lion, tigers, llamas, raccoons, horse and others. There is a monument of Aleko Konstantinov, and an iron cross which was built in 2005.

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Sport In the Pazardzhik History Museum, the items, documents and photos exhibited there tell about the development of the individual sports: cycling, football, swimming, weightlifting, wrestling, modern pentathlon, athletics, rhythmic gymnastics, volleyball, etc.

The main sports of the city is volleyball and football, as they have a professional men's volleyball team called VC Hebar Pazardzhik and a football team, FC Hebar Pazardzhik. There are other minor sports such as basketball and wrestling.

Sport arenas and stadiums in the city include the stadium Georgi Benkovski and an indoor arena ''Vasil Levski'', the home arena for the city's volleyball club.

Pazardzhik became the European City of Sports in 2020. It was inspected by the special commission of ACES Europe, in which it met the criteria. Tax cuts were made on families with children practising sports.

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Architecture Architecture in Pazardzhik have developed since its founding in the 13th century. The first houses were constructed at the river Maritsa, as the first mahalla is registered. Kurshum Khan was built in the 16th century, which was considered one of the gracious examples of the Ottoman architecture in the town. Its successor is the infamous Kurshum Mosque, which is one of the only examples of this legacy in Pazardzhik. In 1652, Evliya Çelebi visited Pazardzhik, to his words that it was a rich city with 16 mahallas, 870 one and two-storey houses.

The house-museum of Nikolaki Hristovich is commonly used to refer to the Revival architecture in Pazardzhik.

During the Bulgarian National Revival, architecture began to thrive. Many squares were constructed, one of them was square ''Vasil Levski'' and ''Konak na kaimakamina'' (today Saedinenie). In the 19th century, Pazardzhik was one of the biggest cities in European Ottoman, with 33 mahallas, 3420 houses and also many public buildings. The Bratsigovo Architectural School was one of the main supplier of architects that designed the house-museums such as the house-museum of Nikolaki Hristovich (today used as an ethnographic exhibition), the house-museum of Stanislav Dospevski (today used as an art gallery) and others. The Church of the Dormition was built in the period 1836-1837 and followed by many other churches, including the Church of St Constantine and Helena, built between 1868 and 1870.

During the Russo-Turkish War (1877–1878), Turks left the town and many buildings were left abandoned or demolished. In 1883, a city plan is developed. Many public buildings were built during this period, including the regional court and Chitalishte Videlina. In the first years after the Liberation, small changes were made in building houses. They were a bit higher, as well as the roofs were without any boards. During the years until 1944, many streets were enlarged, as well as new modern buildings and hotels were built.

During socialism in Bulgaria, the first cooperative apartment buildings were built. The industrial zone in the southern part of the city was established with large industries. The drama theatre, hotel ''Trakia'', ''Mineralni bani'' were constructed.

After 1989, where in this period the fall of communism happened, architectural and construction plans completely changed. The new plans were linked to the nature, which allowed many parks to be made. Four star Hotel Hebar was constructed with 48 rooms, considered the newest hotel in the city.

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Drama and Puppet Theatre Konstantin Velichkov The city is home to one of the oldest theatres in the country, built with funds raised voluntarily by citizens. Today the theatre is united with the puppet theatre under the name Drama and Puppet Theatre Konstantin Velichkov after the Bulgarian writer, Konstantin Velichkov.

The theatre has a big 470-seat auditorium and a 100-seat chamber hall. The theatre stages titles from world classic, from the Bulgarian classical literary heritage and from the contemporary national and foreign dramaturgy. It also presents its plays not only on home stage, but across the country.

The theatre was founded in 1870 first performance "Mnogostradalna Genoveva" takes place on the stage centre "Videlina" situated in one of the rooms of class school. In 1899 a new building of the chitalishte was constructed - a new spacious lounge and theatre scene. In 1937 the theatre was professionalized. Funds are allocated for salaries of all artists are conducted training courses. In 1942 the theater was closed. Since 1945, the theatre in Pazardzhik again began to function and develop and strengthen one of the major cultural institutions in the city. In 1964, due to reorganization of the theatre is closed again. On 1 August 1969, the theatre restores the status of a state theatre.

With 133 years of theatrical tradition and over 40 years of state theatre; 35 theatrical seasons. The first production in theatre in Pazardzhik is Albena by Yordan Yovkov. From January by Radichkov, directed by Krikor Azaryan, to Epic Times again by Radichkov, directed by Petrinel Gochev, from As You Like It by Shakespeare directed by Leon Daniel to The Storm by Alexander Ostrovsky directed by Vladlen Alexandrov. From Vampire by Anton Strashimirov, directed by Vili Tsankov, through Roman Bath by Stanislav Stratiev, to The Backyard by Bilgesu Erenus, directed by Iskender Alton. Some of the greatest directors have worked on the stage: Krikor Azaryan, Asen Shopov, Leon Daniel, Nikolay Polyakov, Zdravko Mitkov, Nikolay Lyutskanov and others, also some of the most famous actors: Nevena Kokanova, Georgi Georgiev - Getz, Georgi Kaloyanchev, Katya Paskaleva, Ilka Zafirova, Zlatina Todeva, Leda Taseva, Georgi Cherkelov and others.

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Regional History Museum The Pazardzhik Regional Historical Museum is one of the leading and oldest museums in Bulgaria. It was established in 1911 by a decision of the management board of Chitalishte Videlina. In 2000 it was transformed into a Regional Historical Museum with territory of activity in the towns of Pazardzhik and Plovdiv. The profile of the museum is general history and has the following main departments: Archeology; History of Bulgaria from the 15th-19th century, Ethnography, Modern history, Funds and scientific archive, Public Relations. The historical expositions are housed in a specially built building with an area of 1200 m2. The museum has its own specialized library, restoration studio and photo laboratory, has a stand for the sale of advertising materials and souvenirs and a cafe.

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Ethnographic Museum The ethnographical exhibition of the history museum is set up in the biggest Baroque house from the Bulgarian National Revival period in Pazardzhik constructed in 1850 by master builders from Bratsigovo. The house belonged to Nikola Hristovich, a rich merchant from Pazardzhik. It was declared a national monument of architecture and culture by virtue of publication in State Gazette, issue No 25 of 1998.

The building is declared monument of culture of national importance. The presented exhibition illustrates different aspects of the traditional national lifestyle (typical for Pazardzhik region) some of which were practiced up to the middle of the 20th century. Pazardzhik region covers parts of Rhodopes, the Upper Thracian Plain and Sredna Gora and is characterized by widely varied ethnographic and folklore traditions.

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Stanislav Dospevski Art Gallery The gallery was established in 1963 as a department of the General People's Museum in the city. In 1966 it united with the Stanislav Dospevski House Museum with decision No 50 / 02.08.1966 of PNA in the gallery. The founder and first director of the gallery is the artist Tsvetan Radulov. It is named after the Samokov school artist and public figure Stanislav Dospevski (1823-1878), who worked in the field of the portrait genre. The current gallery building was opened in 1980. Later in 1911 it housed the Regional History Museum. The total exhibition area is 800 m2. The art fund of the gallery exceeds 10,000 works.

The building was constructed by builders from Bratsigovo in 1864. Its a two-storey high, made of sun-dried bricks, with six rooms and a parlor, typical for the period of Revival.

The exposition presents the Bulgarian fine arts from the end of the last century to the present day. It consists of 731 works by 204 authors and is located in 5 exhibition halls. All genres (portrait, landscape and still life) are presented, as well as the different currents in the Bulgarian fine arts: Revival realism, romanticism, academism, realism, symbolism, impressionism, expressionism, socialist realism, abstractionism and others.

Stanislav Dospevski Art Gallery has two branches: Stanislav Dospevski House Museum and Georgi Gerasimov House Museum, as well as the open-air exhibition of Velichko Minekov.

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Konstantin Velichkov House Museum The museum is the birth house of Konstantin Velichkov, who was a prominent activist during the late Bulgarian National Revival and writer.

The house is located on Vl. Gyoshev ”4. One-storey and with a veranda, it was built around 1850 and is now declared architectural, artistic and historical monument of culture of national importance. In 1964-1965 the house was completely repaired and restored. Since 1967, the urban living conditions from the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century have been arranged in it. In the native house of Konstantin Velichkov in 1876 his sister Teofana sewed the flag of the Pazardzhik Revolutionary Committee. There is also kept an icon depicting the town of Jerusalem from 1856 that has been family heritage.

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Image: Adobe Stock dudlajzov #414700052

Pazardzhik has a population of over 65,671 people. Pazardzhik also forms the centre of the wider Pazardzhik Province which has a population of over 275,548 people.

To set up a UBI Lab for Pazardzhik see: https://www.ubilabnetwork.org Twitter: https://twitter.com/UBILabNetwork

Twin Towns, Sister Cities Pazardzhik has links with:

🇲🇰 Aerodrom, North Macedonia 🇯🇴 Al-Salt, Jordan 🇧🇾 Barysaw, Belarus 🇷🇺 Chekhov, Russia 🇮🇹 Salerno, Italy 🇷🇺 Stavropol, Russia 🇻🇳 Thái Bình, Vietnam 🇺🇸 West Bend, USA
Text Atribution: Wikipedia Text under CC-BY-SA license

Antipodal to Pazardzhik is: -155.667,-42.2

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