Contrary to the title I will first tell you why you should not visit Panagyurishte.
Do not visit Pangyurishte if you want to see authentic Bulgarian Revival architecture, because you will be disappointed. Let me explain why.
Panagyurishte is mainly known for being the center of the April Uprising against the Ottoman rule in Bulgaria in 1876. The city was the capital of the Fourth Revolutionary District which was the main center of the rebellion. The uprising was bloodily suppressed after 10 days of declared freedom, and the town was burnt down and almost completely destroyed by the Ottoman Turks! There are only a few houses which have survived.
If you want to see a larger collection of restored Bulgarian Revival style houses, then you should visit Koprivshtica. You can read more about it in the blog post Wanderin around Koprivshitica, Bulgaria by Travelling Buzz.
Now up to the point, my dear travelers.
Why you should visit Panagyurishte?
You are from Bulgaria and you haven’t been to Panagyurishte. Wait, what? You haven’t been to Panagyurishte? Yo, mate, did you skip a school trip or what?! You should fix that. 🙂
As for you dear foreign travelers. If you choose to visit Panagyurishte, you are in for a real treat!
I’ve visited the city twice. The first time was 13 years ago and the second 3 weeks ago. I don’t really remember much from my first trip and how Panagyurishte looked back then, but I gotta tell you, it for sure has changed for good!
Everything in Panagyurishte is made with so much love! The paved streets and sidewalks; the beautiful lamps that look like fireflies during the night; the colorful fountains in the center; the perfectly cut green grass on the way to the Apriltsi Monument; the museums and the kind people who work there; the pink school with a football playground made of real glass. There are so many details!
I have to admit that before going to Panagyurishte I didn’t know that the Panagyurishte Treasure would be there. I never actually knew where it was. Was it a part of a travelling exhibition abroad? Or was it kept somewhere private? Where is the treasure?? I’ve never known. And I am talking about one of the oldest gold treasures in the world, dating back to the 4th century BC! So, lucky me, it is actually there, exposed permanently in a special vault, right where the History museum is!
The Panagyurishte Treasure is a Thracian treasure excavated on December 8, 1949 by three brothers, Pavel, Petko and Michail Deikov who worked together at the region of “Merul” tile factory near Panagyurishte. The Treasure consists of phiale, an amphora and seven rhytons with total weight of 6.164 kg of 24-karat gold.
How to get to Panagyurishte?
The distance between Sofia and Panagyurishte is 90 km. By car you can be there for one hour and a half, and by bus in two hours. Taking the train is not really an option, because the ride takes too long and you will most likely have to transfer.
If you go by car, you can actually make it into a one day trip.
Where to stay?
I would definitely recommend staying at Kamengrad Hotel & SPA, situated in the heart of Panagyuirishte. Basically, where Kamengrad is, there is the top center! (not that the city is that big, but still 😀 ). Half of the rooms offer a great view over the city and you can drink your coffee on the balcony, while observing the busy life in Panagyurishte and the beauty of the surrounding area.
Oh! I almost forgot to mention the variety of SPA procedures you can enjoy during your stay at Kamengrad. The hotel has been named among the 10 most innovative Spa & Wellness centers in Bulgaria and that is well deserved. I loved the SPA! ❤
Where to eat?
We’ve asked a few locals in Panagyurishte where is the best place to eat and we got a 100% winner – Mehana Starata Kushta (The old house tavern)! The tavern is right in the center, it’s quite big, with an yard and playground for kids. Prices are average and the food is delicious. Just perfect!
What to do?
- Visti the Apriltsi Memorial Complex. From the top you will be able to see the whole city and the surrounding area. The view is spectacular! #miradouro
- Buy a pass for all museums. It costs 7 leva (€3.5) for adults and 4 leva (€2) for students. The pass gives you an access to: The History Museum, The Hall Treasury, Dudekova House, Raina Knyagina House, Lekova House, Tuteva House, Marin Drinov House. You can also see e design of a Panagyurishte bazaar, which is situated in the area of the History Museum. All of the museums have been recently renovated and there are signs also in English. It’s a great tour!
My most favorite stop for sure is the Lekova House. The owner, Ivan Lekov, a wealthy merchant, is a revolutionary activist and participant in the April Uprising. The Lekova House was actually not his private home, but his guest house! His home was burned down by the Ottoman Turks.
You can see some extraordinary murals inside and outside of the building, which are made by the local master Ivan Zografov. On the photo below is the real masterpiece. The mural is called “The Wheel of Life”. That kind of mural is only to be seen in churches, but this one is an exception. It depicts characters and symbols that reflect the values of Bulgarians at the time, their perceptions of the world; of professional, personal and social realization.
- Eat “Eggs in Panagyurishte”(in Bulgarian:“Yaitsa po panagyurski”). It’s a special dish, which is very typical for our cuisine and originates form Panagyurishte. It’s so yummy!
- Walk around and get lost. We walked by the river during the night. I looked up and there were like a million stars…