Bansko Apartment / About Bansko

GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT BANSKO

This charming town of Bansko is unique and steeped with authentic architecture from the Bulgarian Revival period. Don't be surprised if an ox and cart pass you on the narrow cobbled streets, it has managed to mix the traditional Bulgarian culture with the modern amenities which now exist in Bansko. The many ‘Mexahanas’ or commonly called Mehanas” (traditional Bulgarian restaurants) offer delicious fresh tasty dishes, whilst the five star hotels can fulfill those less adventurous taste buds, all at a fraction of the price you would pay in the Alpine resorts.

Bansko is already competing with the traditional Alpine ski resorts but has the added advantage of being much more affordable, ideal for the first time and intermediate skier, it is also gaining a reputation for excellent off-piste skiing - it has something for everybody and if you don't ski you can just relax in the many spa's and sauna's. Pirin Place is ideally situated for the ski-lift and with the ski rental shops and the best apres ski venues just a short walk from the apartment, this makes for a wonderful holiday for
everyone.

Population : 10,000 people
Nearest Airport : Sofia…..about two and a half hours by taxi or minibus.

FOOD AND DRINKS

Delicious Bulgarian meals and local red wine are easy to find. There are scores of places to dine out, predominantly local-style “mehana” restaurants. Live performances of local artists are common in the “mehana” restaurants. The peculiar local cuisine includes traditional meals, such as Kapama, Chomlek, Banski Starets. Some of these great eateries are only a minutes walk from the apartment at Pirin Place. A list of restaurants can be found on the Bars & Restaurants page of this web site.

SIGHTSEEING AND CULTURE

Popular sites include the St. Trinity Church, Velyanova House, Neofit Rilski Museum-house, Nikola Vaptsarov Museum-house, Poetry and arts house, numerous souvenir shops. Local men dress as Koukeri on Januray 1st and chase away evil spirits from the streets of Bansko. Other prominent events include the Easter concert, the Bansko Traditional Festival in May, the Bansko Jazz Fest in Summer and a Christmas concert during the Festive season.

BANSKO – not just a Cultural haven.

This is one of the most frequented Bulgarian towns, 160 km south of Sofia, 60 km southeast of Blagoevgrad, 6 km south of Razlog and about 50 km north of Gotse Delchev. Its extremely fine location, rich cultural and historical heritage, excellent conditions for sports and holidaymaking have turned it into an attractive tourist centre.

Bansko was first mentioned as an independent settlement in 1576. By that time the population had lived in little scattered hamlets. During the 17th-18th century it flourished economically and culturally, gradually becoming a rich settlement of developed crafts and trade. The caravans of the Bansko people traveled between the Aegean Sea and Central Europe, carrying goods of wood, hides and iron to the markets there, bringing back cotton, fish, olive oil, etc. During that period whole families of Bansko became rich. By traveling extensively they were bringing the culture of different countries and cities. Some of them sent their children to study abroad. Along with the improvement of their lifestyle, many inhabitants of Bansko began to build two-floor fortress houses, which characteristic with their architecture, at the same time also providing the safety of their owners from the inroads of brigands.

The town's history dates back to ancient times. According to the many legends and local tales, some of which claim historic truthfulness, the founding of Bansko can be traced back to the period of the Ottoman invasion (15th-16th century). It was back then that Bansko was mentioned for the first time as a centralised settlement in an official document (an Ottoman register of 1576). Prior to that time the population inhabited several separate small hamlets. The lack of any data on the development of the region in earlier times was to some extent filled by rchaeological excavation and research. Findings were diverse and encompass all historic periods from rehistory to antiquity to the Middle Ages. They come as proof that Banskalii did not spring up in our history out of the blue but had evolved through the centuries. Today's town is the centre of a "necklace" of ancient settlements and was obviously founded by their inhabitants.

The History Museum is part of the rich Bansko Museum Compound, including some of the most significant cultural and historical landmarks of the town.

Velyanov’s house, with its original woodcarvings and murals, is a superb model of Revival Period architecture. It was built in the early 19th century for Velyan Ognev, a master builder and icon painter, who was also the author of the original murals.

Benin House (Neophit Rilski Museum House) has typical Bansko rchitecture of the late 18th century. Outstanding Revival Period figure Neophit Rilski (lay name Nikola Benin) was born and lived here until 1811. A permanent exhibition of icons is on show in the Rila Nunnery, the oldest building (1749) in the town.

Nikola Vaptzarov House Museum recreates the lifestyle of the family, in which poet Vaptsarov grew up. On display are personal possessions of the poet, while a documentary exhibition is arranged in the ground floor. The museum compound also includes an ethnographic exhibition and bazaar, a home of the arts, and the history museum in the village if Eleshnitsa, displaying rich finds from the 6th-4th century B.C.

The Church of the Holy Trinity (1835) is emblematic for Bansko. Its mural paintings, woodcarvings and architectural layout are fully in the spirit of the Bansko School of Art. Some of its most outstanding representatives had worked on the church: masters Velyan Ognev and Dimitur Molerov. In 1850, master builder Grigor Doyuv built a belfry (29.5 m) in the churchyard. Ever since that time the church and the belfry have been a remarkable ensemble, dominating the town skyline. In 1865 a clock mechanism was assembled in the tower (made by Todor Hadzhiradonov). In this way it became one of the very few architectural models of that time, combining the functions of a church belfry and a town clock.

Sirleshtov’s house resembles a small fortress with walls about one metre thick, narrow and dark loopholes, barred windows and heavy doors.

Todev’s/Bouinov’s house (1835) is a model of high building skill and a fine sense of beauty and harmony. The dominating monument of Paissi Hilendarski [of Hilendar] (1976) is the work of sculptor Stoicho Todorov.

Bansko is a town of honour, having a notable past and a stable future – a hamlet that has been brought through the centuries, preserved and developed by the unique spirit of the Bansko eople and following the true traditions of Bulgaria.

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