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:: holyplaces-kn ::




The three-day tour focuses on important architectural, artistic and historical monuments of culutre from 7th century BC until present day. The main tour offers the opportunity to make alternative thematic itineraries of educational, religious and scientific nature.

The starting point is the town of Kyustendil. The first day the tourists visit the sites which are part of the National architectural and archeological reserve Pautalia, Velbazhd, Kyustendil. The ancient history of the town and the region is displayed in the Archeological exhibition. The abundance of objects (from VII century BC- XIV century) attract the tourists attention and raise their interest for the next stages of the tour. In order to get the idea of what the Pautalia Asclepion was like, the tourists should visit the ancient therms from II-III centuries, which cover a territory of 3000 sq.m. and are one of the symbols of present-day Kyustendil. The existence of curative mineral water springs is the reason why Kyustendil has existed as a town for two thousand years in a row, has been an administrative, economic and spiritual centre and has been famous as a resort for emperors and military leaders. Just off the therms lies the Pirkova Tower (XIV- XV centuries) which was a fortification tower in the medieval town of Velbuzhd. Another landmark in the town is the fortress situated on the Hisarlaka Hill. Here among the ruins and magnificent nature, the tourists will be absorbed in the atmosphere of past events. This place is provided with well-maintained alleys and spots where one can sit down and relax or eat.

St. George Church from the XII century, which is situated in the Kolusha residential district is by far the pearl of the medieval architectural and art heritage. If the tourist group is interested in the history of the Christian religion and art, they can visit the temples Uspenie Bogorodichno, St Dimitar and St Mina dating back to the Bulgarian National Revival period. For those interested in ancient history, an observation of archeological excavation in Kyustendil could be organised.

The tour focuses on sites connected with the more contemporary history of the town and its present day rhythm. Anyone will be delighted to see the works of the great artist Vladimir Dimitrov- The Master, which are displayed in the art gallery Vladimir Dimitrov- The Master together with the works of other Kyustendil artists. Just off the art gallery is the home place of the great humanist Dimitar Peshev. His house contains an exhibition displaying his contribution to the saving of Bulgarian Jews in 1943- a human act, which impressed the whole democratic world. For a relaxation, we offer a walk along the pedestrian alley in the town where one can enjoy the centuries-old chestnut and lime trees, the houses designed in the style and architecture typical for the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. We also offer a visit to the Emfiedzhieva House, which has an exhibition displaying the way of life of the wealthy Kyustendil citizen from the same period. At the end of the day, after having gathered impressions, the tourists could have a dinner in one of the many restaurants in the town. As for accommodation, the town offers hotels in excellent conditions.

The second day of the tour continues with visiting the Ilyo Voivoda House- Museum. This place exhibits objects illustrating the fights of the Bulgarians from the Kyustendil region for national liberation and unification.

Leaving Kyustendil, the tourist group will head for the village of Nevestino situated 13 km away from the town, lying in the picturesque valley of the river Struma. Here over the river towers the medieval Kadin Bridge wrapped in the mystery of beautiful legends and sayings about people and events.

Leaving Nevestino and passing the town of Dupnitsa, the tourists will head for the town of Sapareva Banya. Here one finds a geyser (103  C), which every 6 seconds produces an 18-metre-high hot water stream. The main focus of the tour in Sapareva Banya is the medieval church St Nikola from XII century. Those who are interested in ancient times will visit the remains of the ancient town of Germanea, while the ones interested in Christian art will visit the churches and chapels in the town and its vicinities, which date back to the Bulgarian Revival Period. Both the town and the resort Panichishte, lying 10 km away from it offer outstanding conditions for eating and accommodation.

The tour continues with the town of Rila, where the tourists can visit the complex Babinska mahala (Grandmothers neighbourhood) from the Revival period, the medieval church St Archangel Michael with its unique frescoes. 2 km away from the town, on the way to the Rila Monastery, lies the convent Orlitsa (female eagle) with the St Peter and Pavel church. Going along the picturesque valley of the river Rilska, deeper and deeper into the heart of the Great Rila desert before the eyes of those fascinated by the surrounding beauty tower the walls of the Great Rila Monastery. Here the impressions build up one after the other- the unique architecture, the church with its high art value wood-carving and frescoes, the unique Magernitsa (kitchen), the medieval Hrelyova Tower, the superb interior design of the guest-hostels, the rich museum exhibition, etc. And all of this, being in an organic unity with nature, inspires awe to that which was created by man and awe to God.

After visiting the Rila Monastery the tour goes back passing the town of Rila and heads for Boboshevo. In the vicinity of the town lies St. Dimitar Church- a magnificent monument of the medieval architecture and paintings from XV century. On the way back to Kyustendil the tour passes by the enchanting Skrino defile and again returns to the Kyustendil valley. Those who are interested might visit the medieval churches St. Petka in the village of Vukovo and St. Ivan in the village of Pastuh.

Pleasantly tired by the impressions and emotions, the tourists will again sink into the calm atmosphere of the ancient and modern Kyustendil.

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Regional Historical Museum Academician Yordan Ivanov, Kyustendil - 2004-2006