Our next idea for a weekend tour about an hour's drive from the city on the hills is to the picturesque mountain town of Panagyurishte and is imbued with a lot of history and national spirit. Due to the numerous Thracian mounds in the area, it is believed that the settlement has existed since the time of the Thracians, but its founding is associated primarily with the dramatic times after the Ottoman invasion.
At the beginning of the 19th century Panagyurishte reached a significant economic and cultural prosperity. A number of handicrafts related to cattle breeding developed here: trade in cattle, production of hodden from homespun material, production of animal leather products, leather processing, shoemaking, as well as goldsmithing, which subsequently made the town famous for the Panagyurishte Golden School.
The economic and spiritual rise helped the idea of national liberation to be warmly received in Panagyurishte. In the autumn of 1870 Vasil Levski founded a revolutionary committee here, and the meeting was in the house of Ivan Duhovnikov, preserved to this day in the yard of the Historical Museum. In 1876 Panagyurishte became the center of the 4th Revolutionary District and the capital of the April Uprising. When it was extinguished, it was set on fire and completely destroyed. After the Liberation it was built with new buildings. This is the reason why it doesn’t have many Revival houses (unlike Koprivshtitsa, for example).
The team of the only digital guide under the hills has prepared a virtual tour of the History Museum and the birthplace of the flag bearer of the uprising. It is easiest to leave your car in the center opposite the church and the square of Raina Knyaginya and from there you will see the entrance of the museum on the right a few meters past the shop with magnets and souvenirs. There you can buy tickets for both sites. The yard, which houses the various exhibitions, is extremely well maintained and perfect for relaxation and beautiful shots.
The first hall and perhaps the most impressive one houses the Panagyurishte treasure. It is world famous and often travels and is exhibited in various museums around the world. It dates from the IV-III century BC and was discovered quite by accident by the bricklayer brothers Pavel, Petko and Mihail Deykovi in 1949. It is made of pure gold and weighs 6.164 kg. It consists of nine unique and impressive vessels.
In the initial part of the exhibition, you will get acquainted in detail with the history of the discovery and the characteristics of each of the individual objects, and in the second you are guaranteed to be impressed by the atmosphere and the way of revealing the unique gold exhibits. There are no restrictions on taking pictures and it really takes your breath away.
In the next building you can find out more about the history of the city, related to the national liberation struggles and the participation of its inhabitants in the organization and announcement of the April Uprising, as well as find valuable archaeological finds. From the outside, the crafts in the town and the surrounding area are somewhat similar to the Etara complex near Gabrovo, and here you can simply see them through windows without demonstrations.
A little further away in the form of an Ethnographic Museum the house of one of the richest families ever in the area – Dudekov – is open for visitors. The owner, his sons and son-in-law actively participated in the economic and cultural life of the city and in the fights against the invaders.
In the yard, there are several other buildings of prominent families, but at the moment they can be seen only as architectural monuments from the outside, so the next stop is the birth house of Raina Knyaginya, which is located on the left of the square.
In this home, on January 18, 1856, the future flag bearer of the April Uprising was born - Raina Popgeorgieva Futekova - Raina Knyaginya. In the former Kerena craft workshop, on the first floor, she is presented documentarily – with a material exhibition dedicated to the life and role of the brave Bulgarian during the April Uprising. The ethnographic exposition on the second floor gives an idea of the environment in which she was born and grew up. Among the valuable relics in the museum is the main flag of the Panagyurishte insurgents, which Raina Knyaginya reproduced in 1901 on the occasion of the first official celebration of the April Uprising.
In the yard of the house-museum there is a marble sculpture of the flag bearer, under which her remains are stored. In 1992 the heirs of Raina Knyaginya donated the house to the Municipality of Panagyurishte and now it is another place full of history and national pride in the Balkan town.
Near Panagyurishte is the Oborishte area, where the first Grand National Assembly in the history of Bulgaria was held, at which a decision was made to declare the April Uprising.
The town is a perfect opportunity for a tour during the long spring weekends and we guarantee that you will not only enjoy its beauty, but also enrich yourself with new knowledge and impressions.