Welcome to Pazardzhik, a captivating city located along the banks of the Maritsa river in southern Bulgaria. As the center of Pazardzhik Province and Pazardzhik Municipality, this vibrant city is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. With its rich history, stunning natural landscapes, and warm hospitality, Pazardzhik offers a truly unforgettable travel experience.
Pazardzhik is nestled in the picturesque Upper Thracian Plain and the Pazardzhik-Plovdiv Field, a subregion known for its fertile plains. Just west of the bustling city of Plovdiv, Pazardzhik is conveniently located approximately 37 kilometers (23 miles) away. It is also within easy reach of Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, which is located 112 kilometers (70 miles) to the northwest, and the coastal city of Burgas, situated 288 kilometers (179 miles) to the east.
With a population of around 65,671, Pazardzhik has witnessed significant growth over the years, reaching its peak with over 80,000 residents. However, like many other Bulgarian cities, Pazardzhik faced economic challenges during the 1990s and early 2000s, leading to emigration of its citizens. Despite these difficulties, the city has managed to revive itself and is now slowly growing its economy.
The history of Pazardzhik dates back to the 7th millennium BC, with early civilizations settling in the area. These ancient inhabitants, known as agro-pastoralists, established settlements near the Maritsa river, as well as in Pazardzhik and Sinitovo. In 1872, a significant archaeological discovery was made in Pazardzhik—a clay idol named the Pazardzhik Venus. This artifact, dating back to the 5th millennium BC, can now be admired at the Natural History Museum in Vienna.
Throughout the centuries, Pazardzhik has been shaped by various tribes and civilizations. The city’s founding has been a subject of debate among historians. One theory suggests that Pazardzhik was founded in 1395 by nomads from Saruhan. Another theory points to the migration of Tatars from Actav to Rumelia in 1398 as the city’s foundation. Yet another claim suggests the establishment of the city in 1418 by Minnet Bey and the Tatars from Isquilip. The final theory suggests the resettlement of Crimean Tatar people as the foundation of Pazardzhik. Regardless of its exact origin, Pazardzhik’s history is colorful and diverse.
During the Russo-Turkish War in the early 19th century, Pazardzhik endured a brief siege under Count Nikolay Kamensky. However, the city rebounded and became an important craft and trade center in the mid-19th century. Many institutions were established during this period, including the Church of the Dormition. Pazardzhik also played a role in the Bulgarian liberation movement, with Vasil Levski appointing the revolutionary committee in the city in 1872.
The city’s resilience was further tested during the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878. Iosif Gurko, a Russian general, led the liberation of Pazardzhik from Ottoman rule. Similarly, Ovanes Sovadzhian, an Armenian volunteer, played a crucial role in preventing the city’s annihilation. These events shaped Pazardzhik’s history and strengthened the spirit of its residents.
In more recent times, Pazardzhik witnessed significant changes. The city welcomed the Red Army troops on September 23, 1944, marking the end of World War II in Bulgaria. After the war, Pazardzhik transformed into an industrial center, with the consolidation of industrial enterprises through nationalization in 1947. The city also saw political demonstrations in the