Bansko History

The location and the physical and geographic charasteristics of the territory have determined its being populated in the earliest historical times. Multiple archeological objects, found on the territory of the municipality, including on the territory of Bansko, serve as evidence for that. In the ‘Staroto Gradishte’ area, 4 km south-west of Bansko and in the ‘Yulen’ area (by the stream of the river of Damyanitsa) remains of ancient fortifications have been discovered. In close proximity to the ‘Staroto Gradishte’ area, Thracian mounds have also been found. A Medieval settlement supposedly exists in the ‘Holy Trinity’ area. The remains of the late Medieval churches of Saint George and Saint Elijah can be found south-east of the town of Bansko.

It is commonly believed that Bansko was established as a settlement after several hamlets merged in the period between ХV-ХVІ centuries. The first documentary evidence of Bansko can be found in the Ottoman register of the celepkeşan (sheep-breeders) of 1576.

Up to the ХVIII century, the residents of Bansko were mainly stock breeders and craftsmen, who depended upon the spacious pastures and fertile forests. During the period of the national revival, the town of Bansko developed as a center of trade and crafts. By the shores of the River of Glazne a lot of mills, saw-mills, fulling-mills, tanneries for leather tanning, etc. were built. People of enterprise, the residents of the town maintained commercial relations with towns and villages from the area of the Aegean Sea, Central and Western Europe. Caravans with articles for the carpenter’s, leather and smith’s trade traveled to Western Thrace, Serres and Drama and returned loaded with cotton, fish, tobacco, olives, unprocessed and processed leather. Business offices of people from Bansko started to open in many towns around Europe – Budapest, Vienna, Leipzig, Marseilles, and London. A great part of the children of wealthy families received their education abroad.

Expanding contacts with the outer world have stimulated national consciousness ever since XVII century and made Bansko and its surrounding region one of the centers of the Bulgarian National Revival. Bansko is the native place of the founder of the Revival and author of Slavonic-Bulgarian History (Istoriya Slavyanobolgarskaya) – Paisiy Hildenarski (1722-1773). During the same period, this was the place where the prominent enlightener Neofit Rilski (1793-1881) – a monk, teacher and artist, described as the ‘patriarch of the Bulgarian teachers and men of letter’, Toma Vishanov Hadzhiikonomov-Molera (1750-?), founder of an artistic school with enormous contribution to the development of the national traditions in religious art, and Marko Teodorovich Veznyov (1760-1840) – tradesman, publisher and educationalist, lived. It should be added that a lot more famous people who left traces in the national history and culture were born in Bansko, among them: Galaktion Hilendarets(1830-1894) – clergyman and revolutionary, Georgi Kremenliyata (1840-1886) – rebel and voivode in the Kresna-Razlog Uprising, Dimitar Seizov, revolutionary, voivode in the area of Nevrokop and Melnik, Dimitar Penkov (1876-1925) – revolutionary, the brothers Dimitar (1874-?) and Kostadin (1876-?) Molerov – students of folklore and native place, and so on. Bansko is also the native town of Nikola Yonkov Vaptsarov (1909-1942) – one of the poets-geniuses of Bulgaria.


In 1838 in the church yard is opened a monastery school, which in 1847 grows to a modern secular school. Around 1850 the Bansko municipality is established and it build a new school building and starts distributing Revival newspapers and books.
During the 60-ies and 70-ies of 19-th century the Bulgarian municipality in Bansko takes the lead againt Greek church authorities and fights for religious independence and development of education in Bulgarian language. Later, the municipality aids the victims of brutally smashed Kresna-Razlog Uprising and Ilinden Uprising, revolting against the Ottoman Empire and the unfair to Bulgaria Congress of Berlin (1878). The final liberation of the region from Ottoman presence comes in 1912.