Travel Guide to Pernik, Bulgaria
More than 90,000 residents live in Pernik, a city located in western Bulgaria. Pernik is on the banks on the Struma River. As the capital of the province of Pernik, there is plenty to experience in Pernik. Every January, the city comes to life with festivities that should not be missed. From the 1940s to the 1960s, the city was known as Dimitrovo, and a small percentage of travel guides may not have caught up with the name change.
- Province: Pernik
- Population: 92,627 (Year 2005)
- Altitude: 710 Metres
- Postcode: 2300
- Area Code: 076
- Geographic Coordinates: 42° 61' North, 23° 03' East
There is evidence that the area that is now known as Pernik was settled by the Neolithic culture. No one knows for certain the exact date, however.
What is known is that in 809 A.D. Pernik became part of the Kingdom known as Bulgaria. For the next few centuries, Pernik became an excellent military location. Nestled in the valley between three mountains, the area was hard to reach and invaders were easy to spot. Pernik was the final Bulgarian area to be conquered by the Byzantines armies. Eventually the area wound up in control of the Ottoman invaders in the 14th century.
Jumping forward to the late 1800s, Pernik became home to Bulgaria's first coal mine. This led to a railway between Pernik and the larger city of Sofia. By 1939, 75% of Bulgaria's coal was mined exclusively in Pernik.
The District Museum of History is located on Fizkulturna Street. The museum began in 1957 and houses many historical artifacts and documents. It is a "must see" for any history buff. Top this with a visit to Saint John of Rila, a church built in 1919 that offers some impressive architectural detail.
In the 1950s, the Palace of Culture opened to rave reviews. The palace is home to many orchestral shows, musical demonstrations, and theatrical productions. The Palace of Culture is connected to and part of the Boian Danovski Theatre. In addition, an art school shares the premise.
In early January, the Surva International Festival of the Masquerade Games is held in the city. This celebration of regional dances and traditional costume is not to be missed. Successful harvests, a New Year, dancing, eating, and partying are all enjoyed with flourish.
Hotel Struma is located in Krakra Square. The hotel houses 51 double rooms and five suites. This is one of the fancier area hotels. Rooms have minibars, private bathrooms with a deep bathing tub, satellite television, room service, and telephones. There are night clubs and restaurants nearby.
At Hotel Atlas, there are five rooms available. Rooms are basic with only a private bath, but there is plenty to visit in the immediate vicinity. The railway station is near the hotel.
With seventy double rooms and ten suites, Hotel Zora can fit many large groups. An in-house internet room allows guests with internet access for a small fee. All rooms have satellite television, minbars, private bathrooms, and telephones.
Pernik is Bulgaria's largest coal producer. Coal is mined in record amounts from Pernik's mines. There is far more to this town, though, manufacturing and big industry introduces ample amounts of money into the economy.
Pernik is home to Cristal's glass jar making factory. A large pectin (used in jelly and jam making) production plant hires many area residents. Stomana Industry is a large metal plant that specializes in welding machines and metal structures. There is also a company that specializes in cast iron molds.
Cuisine in Pernik is similar to many areas in Bulgaria. The area's fertile fields turn out an abundance of fruits and vegetables. For a starter, try Tarator, a chilled soup made from yoghurt, cucumbers, and spices.
Gyuvetch is a delicious stew baked in the oven. Beef, olives, tomatoes, mushrooms, rice, onions, herbs, and spices combine to make a rich and hearty meal. You can serve this with Balkan Mixed Salad combination of roasted eggplant, sweet peppers, garlic, tomatoes, and vinegar.
You can round out your dinner with some Mekitsas. Similar to doughnuts, Mekitsas are fried dough made from yoghurt and flour that are deep fried and served with jam.
Pernik offers a suitable amount of bars and nightclubs. Bars can range from quiet, local establishments to clubs with small dance floors and peppy music.
Pernik is a major industrial centre that offers an exceptional view into the way of life in western Bulgaria. There is not a load of things for tourists to do, but it is still worthy of a day trip. Pernik's architecture makes it well worth any time you can arrange to spend in the area.