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A Visit To Blagoevgrad

Blagoevgrad lies at the foot of the Rila Mountains in Bulgaria,100 km from the city of Sofia.It borders Macedonia to the west and Greece to the south.

Blagoevgrad possesses many interesting historical monuments including the ancient ruins of Thracian and Roman settlements, early Christian churches, medieval Byzantine towns and old Bulgarian monasteries and fortresses.

Culture vultures will love browsing the many art galleries or catching a play or opera. There is also a cinema, which shows predominantly American films with Bulgarian subtitles.

Heaven for Culture Vultures

This is also the home of the famous Pirin State Ensemble, a group consisting of a folk orchestra, dance troupe and women's choir.

The company endeavours to preserve Bulgarian culture with its performances of traditional music and dance. National Geographic dubbed the Pirin Ensemble "an organic synthesis of the regional folk choral and dance traditions of Bulgaria." Performances take place in the opera hall and the Blagoevgrad Drama Theatre. The city also hosts several festivals including an annual Theatre Festival, Euroart and the Uniartfilmfest.

Museums and Churches Galore

Blagoevgrad province is home to 10 museums, which preserve the meaningful historical, ethnographic and archaeological heritage here.

The Historical Museum has an interesting exhibition covering the struggle faced by Bulgarians to free Bulgarian land, which was estranged after the Berlin Congress. Also well worth visiting is the Varosha historical district, which is full of well preserved buildings from the 18th and 19th century.

It can be reached via the Lovers' Bridge, one of numerous pretty bridges, which span the Blagoevdradska Bistritsa River.

The Virgin Mary's Inauguration Church, which dates back to 1844, contains a spectacular display of frescoes and iconostasis.

Another church worth visiting is the Church of the Presentation of the Mother of God, which was also built at the same time.

Rest and Recreation

Those craving peace and relaxation are well advised to take a stroll through Bachinovo Park, a lush green area which attracts cyclists and local residents and hosts the annual town festival each June.

Also well worth visiting are the Hunter's House known as the Loven Dom, the rosary, the zoo park and the observatory.

There is a significantly large stadium in the city as well as swimming pools, a sports complex with facilities for athletics, baseball, and tennis.

The stadium hosts weekly football matches from spring through until autumn and is well represented by a selection of good local teams.

Families will enjoy a trip to the Aqua Park, which lies close to the indoor mineral water pool.