There are many landmarks around Bansko that are worth seeing because they are truly unique – not only on a national and European scale, but on a global scale as well.
There are natural phenomena as well as museums and architectural reserves here that can be used to create a very interesting “historical route” – from our modern history through the Renaissance, the Middle Ages up to about 2000 years before the new era.
Bansko offers landmarks for those who are tempted by the art of the old folk crafts and for the fans of the history of Christianity in Bulgaria which is preserved in unique temples, and for those who are curious to see unique customs and rituals, a preserved national lifestyle from the past. One can also find landmarks related to great people in Bansko.
The natural landmarks around Bansko are breathtaking
Talking about landmarks around Bansko, we cannot but start from its nature – it is the first to grab people, raising their mood as soon as they start approaching the town. Bansko is located at the foot of North Pirin, and the mountain has a pronounced alpine character offering great views coming one after another.
Surrounded by the numerous peaks here, tourists can enjoy the inspirational panoramas which will give them positive emotions to make them relaxed for months ahead and to remember for a lifetime.
In no way less beautiful are the views from the valleys to the marble and granite high massifs with bizarre shapes. For lovers of “super-adrenaline” there are the shimmering chasms, or the so-called Konche /English: Horse/ saddle, for example, where at certain sections one need to walk along a 50 cm wide rim.
Around Bansko there are landmarks both for amateur tourists and for experienced mountaineers and “confirmed” alpinists.
Here is Pirin Park which includes three reserves – “Tisata“, „Bayuvi Dupki – Dzhindzhiritsa“ and “Yulen“. They are under European and world environmental protection because of their unique nature and international significance for the preservation of many plant and animal species, especially vanishing birds.
The park covers over 50 peaks – marble and granite, which are more than 2,500 m high. The highest peak of the mountain – Vihren – is within the park territory too.
With its remarkable 2,914 meters, it is the second highest one in Bulgaria and only 11.4 meters lower than the highest one – Musala which is in Rila. In the Balkans, Vihren is the third highest one, “lagging” just 4 meters from Mitikas in Greece.
There are also many lakes in the Park – nearly 170. The most famous groups of Pirin Lakes are Banderishki, Vasilaski, Prevalski, Popovi, Valyavishki.
Among the natural landmarks around Bansko we cannot but mention the so-called Baykusheva Mura which is 1300 years old, 26 meters high and has a circumference of 7.8 meters. Among the other landmarks around Bansko are also the beautiful waterfalls – “Demyanishki Skok”, “Saint Nikola”, “Yulenski Skok“, but the terrain is not an easy one.
Historical landmarks around Bansko
There are real historical treasures around Bansko that can bring tourists nearly 4000 years back in time.
The so-called Nameless City is a very interesting one. In fact, the area is among the unique landmarks around Bansko which are of international historical importance. It turns out that a place here, 4 kilometers from Bansko, has collected in itself the history of Thracians, the late antique and the medieval history.
The Nameless City – Fortress was discovered accidentally back in 2003. Then the terrain was cleaned in order to restore the chapel of St. Nikola. This chapel located at the top of the hill turned out to be a blessing for archaeologists and historians.
The city is called “Nameless” /”Bezimenen”/, because there was no information about it – neither written, nor stories or songs. According to experts, about 2000 years before the new era, the settlement was well settled and wealthy.
There was, for example, a “fortress in the fortress” – a well-fortified interior part, despite the external defenses along the city borders; expensive ornaments and a sanctuary of a Thracian priest were found.
The ancient graves of human skeletons which were nearly two meters high – much higher than the ordinary ones back then, pointed Vladimir Baryakov, head of the excavations, to Dai, the militant Thracian tribe described by Homer.
Before reaching the depths of the “Nameless City,” archaeologists unveiled the foundation of an early Christian church from the end of the 4th century, the findings suggesting it was expanded in the Middle Ages. Now the chapel of St. Nikola is standing over it.
Among the landmarks of international importance around Bansko is the church in the center of Dobarsko. Because of its high artistic and historical significance, it is under the protection of UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
The frescoes and icons are unique – over 460 images have been perfectly preserved from 1614 until today without ever being restored. And furthermore, the norm for saints is 4 – 5 per temple, while there are 30 of them here, which cannot be found anywhere else. And Jesus is portrayed as an astronaut in a shuttle.
Bansko also offers landmarks for fans of museum tours. In fact, Bansko is a museum town. Ethnography, architecture, history, art from the past are all to be found here.
There are landmarks related to great people in Bansko. From a historical point of view, perhaps we should start with Paisius. His memorial in Bansko is a new, modern building at the place where his home used to be.
The museum was opened in 2008 and it reproduces in a unique way the setting in which the “Slavonic-Bulgarian History” was created. With his “History”, Paisius became the founder and inspirer of the Revival in Bulgaria, the Church canonized him as a saint.
As it is known, he completed his work so precious for Bulgaria in the Hilendar Monastery in 1762. There he was a monk from 1745 on. His museum in Bansko has reproduced an exact copy of his monastic cell in Hilendar.
A complete reproduction has also been made in the chapel in which the monk Paisius used to pray – “St. Ivan Rilski”. In addition, it also offers an exposition of his two brothers, Lavrentiy, the abbot of the Hilendar Monastery, when Paisius wrote his “History” and the great donor Hadzhi Valcho. There are landmarks in Bansko related to other important persons as well – museums of Neofit Rilski and Nikola Vaptsarov.
The landmarks of Bansko also reveal details of the Revival – how the local Bulgarians getting rich built their homes back in those troubled times. The so-called Velyanova House is an emblematic one, with its walls resembling a fortress, small fortified windows, a shelter with several exits, working premises on the first floor, a residential part on the second one with a common room for women, guest rooms and so on. The house also has unique wood-carving and decoration.
There are also ethnographic landmarks in Bansko. Radonova House exhibits works of art of everyday life throughout the history of Bansko.
Many people visit Bansko for its Christian temples – the “Holy Trinity” dated 1835 was the largest one in the Balkans before “Alexander Nevsky” was built in Sofia.