Pazardzhik, Bulgaria

Travel Guide to Pazardzhik, Bulgaria

When travelling to Pazardzhik, one should be aware that this is the capital city of the similarly named province of Pazardzhik Oblast. With slightly more than 75,000 residents, Pazardzhik is one of Bulgaria's larger cities. Situated along the banks of the Maritsa River, Pazardzhik is a thriving industrial city that also sets a solid base in agriculture thanks to the extremely fertile soil.

  • Province: Lovech
  • Population: 81,485 (Year 2005)
  • Altitude: 215 Metres
  • Postcode: 4400
  • Area Code: 034
  • Geographic Coordinates: 42 12' North, 24 20'East
History

During the 15th century, Turkic settlers followed their way up the Maritsa River settling in an area that seemed prime for foot and boat traffic, as well as having rich, moist soil for crops. They proceeded to turn Tatar Pazaracik (the Turkic's name for Pazardzhik) into a thriving town. For many years, the town did well under Turkic rule. Eventually, however, the town gained its independence from Turkish control and skirmishes took place between the Turkics and the Russians. Russia dominated for the most part.

As the town continued to grow, visitors were amazed by the immaculate buildings, clean streets, and colourful gardens. For many years, the town continued to thrive. In 1810, Russia gained complete control of Pazardzhik. The town grew into a city with industry, craft trades, and agriculture producing equal portions of the area's economy.

Site Seeing

The area's grandest building is the Virgin Mary Church (Saint Bogoroditsa). Built in 1837, the church boasts impressive architecture and artwork. If you have the opportunity to visit the church, make sure you spend enough time to view the wooden carvings of scenes from the Old Testament. Many works of art done by students at the Debar School are on display in the church interior. Outside, a statue of Stanislav Dospevski (the famed Bulgarian artist) is located in the church courtyard.

Three area museums (Town Museum of History, Stanislav Dospevski House Museum, and The Ethnographic Museum) offer excellent views into the area's history and artwork. History buffs and art lovers alike will not want to miss these museums.

The architecture of The Synagogue, built in 1850, includes fantastic arches and wood carvings. Be sure to view the etching of the sun in the ceiling.

Accommodation

There are eight hotels within Pazardzhik's city limits. Many of the hotels in Pazardzhik are small and more like a bed and breakfast than that of a hotel. They are all delightful, cosy, and charming, however, and all great choices.

Hotel Elbrus is the largest hotel in the area. With 182 rooms, the hotel is well accommodated for any sized group. All rooms have private bathrooms, satellite television, telephones, and refrigerators. An indoor swimming pool is a bonus.

Five suites await guests of Hotel Petrakov. Rooms are comfortable and contain private baths, satellite televisions, telephones, and refrigerators. There is a conference hall for business travellers.

Hotel Primavera is open year round and has eight rooms. There is an entertainment room for guests use.

Hotel Riva is basic. Most rooms offer a private bathroom. Every floor has a shared bathroom as a backup to the private bathrooms. There are six rooms in the establishment.

Hotel Topolnitsa and Hotel Trakia both house thirty-four beds. All rooms have private bathrooms and some have balconies.

Five double rooms and two suites await guests at Hotel Vionas. Rooms are basic but comfortable.

Finally, Hotel Kalugerovo offers one suite and ten double rooms. Room service is available nightly. An on-site restaurant and lounge offer easy access to meals and drinks during inclement weather.

Industry

One of Pazardzhik's largest companies is Mlechna Promishlenost. Mlechna is one of Bulgaria's most productive dairy processing plants. Butter, cheese, and Bulgarian yoghurt are the company's key products. Bulgaria is home to a rare culture of bacteria that produces a thick, creamy yoghurt unlike anything you have experienced.

Thanks to the fertile soil, fruits and vegetables thrive in the rich farmlands. There is a thriving fruit and vegetable cannery in the town. KK Maritsa is the area's largest cannery, though their business has been declining as smaller companies are proving to be worthy competition.

Gastronomy

Like much of Bulgaria, Pazardzhik's cuisine focuses on fresh fruits, vegetables, yoghurt, and meat. Many area restaurants offer the famed Shopska Salata, a salad made from diced cucumber, tomatoes, cheese, onions, and green peppers. Kebabcheta is a spicy mixture of minced beef, herbs, and spices that are shaped into sausages and pan fried. Be sure to sample some hearty Kavarma, a meat stew that is baked in individual casserole pots and served hot from the oven.

Desserts in Bulgaria are typically closed with a glass of Rakia, a sweet grape brandy that is served chilled. Fruit is a staple in Bulgarian dessert making. Stewed Pears in a thick vanilla sauce is very common. For a simple dessert, a bowl of fruit topped with fresh yoghurt is acceptable.

Nightlife

Typically, life in Pazardzhik is calm and tranquil. There are local bars that are suitable for sampling the local wines and beers. If you are looking to party, you may need to head to other areas.

If you happen to be in Pazardzhik in January, nightly winter concerts are held throughout the city limits.

Summary

Though Pazardzhik is not a city that might make every person's travel itinerary, it should. The breathtaking buildings, gorgeous river banks, and delicious cuisine should keep you coming back for more. Pazardzhik is that impressive - it is undeniably one of the most beautiful spots in the world.