|• Mayor||Ivan Lebanov|
|• Total||124.955 km2 (48.245 sq mi)|
|Elevation||777 m (2,549 ft)|
|Population (December 2011)|
|• Density||180/km2 (470/sq mi)|
|Time zone||EET (UTC+2)|
|• Summer (DST)||EEST (UTC+3)|
Velingrad (Bulgarian: Велинград) is a town in Pazardzhik Province, Southern Bulgaria, located at the western end of Chepino Valley, part of the Rhodope Mountains. It is the administrative center of the homonymous Velingrad Municipality and one of the most popular Bulgarian balneological resorts. As of December 2009, the town has a population of 22,500 inhabitants.
The region was inhabited by the Slavs. According to Bulgarian academics, the Dragovichi tribe lived there. The Dragovichi accepted many Thracian customs, but gave them typical Slavic characteristics. Soon after the Bulgar invasion on the Balkans, the whole region was annexed to the First Bulgarian Empire by Malamir.
Velingrad was founded in 1948 after the unification between the villages Chepino, Ladzhene and Kamenitsa. Whereas Chepino and Kamenitsa are older settlements, Ladzhene was founded after 1878 by Bulgarian refugees from Macedonia, because their region remained under Ottoman rule after the Treaty of Berlin.
Velingrad is situated at 750–850 m above sea level. Summers are warm and winters are cold. The average annual temperature is 10°C, while the average July temperature is 19°C. The annual duration of sunshine is about 2,000 hours. The relative air humidity ranges from 65 to 75%. Surrounded by age-old pine tree woods, the town favors abundant sunshine. This exclusively rare and valuable combination has a beneficial influence on the process of ionization (negative ions are prevailing) and is of definite therapeutic importance.
There are more than 90 mineral water springs with curative and preventive properties in and around the town. The mineral waters (from springs and wells) vary considerably in temperature, mineralization, radon, silicic acid and fluorine content, and are suitable for treatment of a wide range of diseases. 9000 litres of water per minute spring from the five thermal and mineral deposits in Ladzhene, Kamenitsa, Chepino, Rakitovo and Kostandovo.
Together with the numerous mineral waters, Velingrad boasts another natural phenomenon as well — the Kleptuza, the biggest Karst spring in Bulgaria, with an average discharge of 1200 litres of ice-cold water per second.
Culture and education
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Velingrad.|
- (English) Bulgarian National Statistical Institute - towns in 2011
- (Bulgarian) Register of schools, kindergartens and service sections