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Coat of arms of Pazardzhik
Pazardzhik is located in Bulgaria
Location of Pazardzhik
Pazardzhik is located in Balkans
Pazardzhik (Balkans)
Coordinates: 42°12′N 24°20′E / 42.200°N 24.333°E / 42.200; 24.333
 • MayorTodor Popov
 • City37.382 km2 (14.433 sq mi)
205 m (673 ft)
 (Census 2021)[1]
 • City65,671
 • Density1,800/km2 (4,500/sq mi)
 • Urban
Time zoneUTC+2 (EET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+3 (EEST)
Postal Code
Area code034
License platePA
WebsiteOfficial website

Pazardzhik (Bulgarian: Пазарджик [ˈpazɐrd͡ʒik]) is a city situated along the banks of the Maritsa river, southern Bulgaria. It is the capital of Pazardzhik Province and centre for the homonymous Pazardzhik Municipality.


The name comes from the word pazar, ultimately from the Persian: bāzār, "market" + the Turkic diminutive suffix -cık, "small". Called Tatar Pazardzhik earlier in the town's history, its title thus signified, "small Tatar market".[citation needed]


Pazardzhik was founded in 1485 by Tatars originating from what is today Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi. They sited it on the left bank of the river Maritsa, near the market of the region, an important crossroad at the center of this productive region. Thanks to this favourable location, the settlement quickly developed. Very small at the beginning of the 19th century, it became the administrative centre for the region by the end of that century and remained so until the dissolution of Ottoman Empire. During the following centuries the town continued to grow and strengthen its position. Trade in iron, leather and rice prospered.

The old clock tower is one of the landmarks of Pazardzhik.

The town impressed visitors with its beautiful houses and clean streets. In 1718 Gerard Kornelius Drish visited Pazardzhik and wrote "the buildings here according to construction, size and beauty stand higher than those of Niš, Sofia and all other places".

By the mid-19th century Pazardzhik was an important centre of crafts and trade, with a population of about 25,000 people. It hosted two large annual fairs, and a substantial market on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. There was a post office with a telegraph. During this period, it also became an important cultural centre: a school was opened in 1847, a girls' school in 1848, a community centre in 1868, the women's union Prosveta in 1870.

During the Ottoman period Pazardchik had 18 mosques but only Kurshumlu Mosque, built in 1667, survives. In 1837 the Church of the Holy Mother of God, Panagyurishte was built; it is an important national monument, famous for its architecture and woodcarving.[citation needed]

The Russians under Count Nikolay Kamensky took the city after a brief siege in 1810, during the Russo-Turkish War of 1806–1812.

At the close of the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–1878, areas of Bulgaria which had been wrested from Ottoman rule had a continuing Russian Imperial Army presence, commanded by Lt. Gen. Iosif Gurko. The detachment of Zapdniya Russian troops stationed in Pazardzhik were withdrawn on 14 January 1878 (new style). Unlike many other Bulgarian towns, where there were massacres during the course of the war or its aftermath, the unprotected Pazardzhik was spared from planned depredations. Elsewhere along the Maritsa, the Ottoman commander, Süleyman Hüsnü Pasha had burnt multiple settlements, killing or mistreating the inhabitants. The Armenian, Ovanes Sovadzhiyan, prevented the similar destruction[how?] of Pazardzhik and its inhabitants.[2]

The railway station in 1928

From the early 20th century, on people built factories, stores and houses, and thus the industrial quarter of the town. The notable British travel writer, Patrick Leigh Fermor, visited Parardjik in the late summer of 1934, as described in his book The Broken Road: From the Iron Gates to Mount Athos (2013). From 1959 to 1987 Pazardzhik was again an administrative centre for the region, and is again since the 1999 administrative division of Bulgaria.


The Pazardzhik theatre named Konstantin Velichkov.

In the 1880s the population of Pazardzhik numbered about 15,000 and it was one of the largest of Bulgaria.[3] Since then it started growing decade by decade, mostly because of the migrants from the rural areas and the surrounding smaller towns, reaching its peak in the period 1985–1992 exceeding 80,000.[4] After this time, the population has started decreasing in consequence of the poor economic situation in the Bulgarian provinces during the 1990s that led to a new migration in the direction of the country capital Sofia and abroad. As of February 2011, the city has a population of 71,979 inhabitants, while the Pazardzhik Municipality of 114,817 inhabitants.[5][4][6]

Year 1887 1910 1934 1946 1956 1965 1975 1985 1992 2001 2005 2009 2011 2021
Population 15,659 18,098 23,228 30,376 39,499 55,430 65,727 77,340 82,578 79,476 76,161 75,346 71,979 65,671
Highest number ?? in ??
Sources: National Statistical Institute,[5][1],[4],[6] Bulgarian Academy of Sciences[3]

Ethnic linguistic and religious composition[edit]

According to the latest 2011 census data, the individuals declared their ethnic identity were distributed as follows:[7][8]

  • Bulgarians: 57,332 (86.3%)
  • Turks: 4,822 (7.3%) (Muslim Roma or the so-called Turkish Gypsies)[9][10]
  • Roma: 3,423 (5.2%)
  • Others: 325 (0.5%)
  • Indefinable: 495 (0.7%)
    • Undeclared: 5,582 (7.8%)

Total: 71,979

The ethnic composition of Pazardzhik Municipality is 89787 Bulgarians, 10132 Romani and 5686 Turks among others.

According to some reports, as of the middle of the 19th century the city was composed by 33 neighborhoods – 18 Turkish, 12 Bulgarian and 3 Gypsy. Although the Bulgarian neighborhoods were numerically smaller they were more densely populated, while there were Bulgarians in the Turkish neighborhoods too. In 1865 the population of the city was 25.000, Bulgarians comprised 57% of it and the Turks 28,5%.[11] As a trading town the city was attractive for other peoples and sizable minorities of Jews, Armenians and other peoples remained for decades, they are currently present although in much smaller numbers.[citation needed] Some Aromanian families inhabit Pazardzhik too.[12]

Culture and pedestrian areas[edit]

Videlina cultural centre (chitalishte).

Kurshumlu Mosque from 1667 is one of the oldest mosques in Europe. It is one of the highlights of Pazardzhik.

The Church of the Theotokos preserves the most impressive icons in Bulgaria by master artists of the Debar School, wood-carvings of New and Old Testament scenes, and icons by Stanislav Dospevski. Among the town's landmarks are also the clock tower, the ethnographic and history museums.

As with most Bulgarian cities, Pazardzhik has developed a significant pedestrian center, in which several central squares typify the European coffee house society and pedestrian culture. In Bulgaria the café culture is particularly prominent, with many downtown squares easily providing up to a half dozen cafés, with ample outside seating.

Pazardzhik has a level of pedestrian streets (or network of carfree areas) even above the relatively high Bulgarian standard. There are several longer pedestrian streets, and at one point there is even an intersection where five different pedestrian streets converge. A few of these do not continue for very long, but most do, or are connected to the rest of the pedestrian areas of the city, and thus could be said to form the pedestrian network of the city.

During the warmer seasons, most afternoons of the week and especially weekends find a large number of people strolling about or sitting in cafés.

Pazardzhik Point on Snow Island in the South Shetland Islands, Antarctica is named after Pazardzhik.[13]

Museums and Theaters[edit]

Konstantin Velichkov Drama and Puppet Theater[edit]

The city is home to one of the oldest theaters in the country, built with funds raised voluntarily by citizens. Today the theater is united with the puppet theater under the name Drama and Puppet Theater "Konstantin Velichkov".

133 years of theatrical tradition and over 40 years of state theater; 35 theatrical seasons. The first production of the State Drama Theater in Pazardzhik is Albena by Yordan Yovkov. From January by Radichkov, directed by Krikor Azaryan, to Epic Times again by Radichkov, directed by Petrinel Gochev, from As You Like It by Shakespeare directed by Leon Daniel to The Storm by Alexander Ostrovsky directed by Vladlen Alexandrov. From Vampire by Anton Strashimirov, directed by Vili Tsankov, through Roman Bath by Stanislav Stratiev, to The Backyard by Bilgesu Erenus, directed by Iskender Alton. Some of the greatest directors have worked on the Pazardzhik stage: Krikor Azaryan, Asen Shopov, Leon Daniel, Nikolay Polyakov, Zdravko Mitkov, Nikolay Lyutskanov and others, some of the most famous actors: Nevena Kokanova, Georgi Georgiev - Getz, Georgi Kaloyanchev, Katya Paskaleva, Ilka Zafirova, Zlatina Todeva, Leda Taseva, Georgi Cherkelov and more, and more... of text, theme, direction, with always spiritually young actors and directors.

Regional historical museum[edit]

The Pazardzhik Historical Museum is one of the leading and oldest museums in Bulgaria. It was established in 1911 by a decision of the management board of Chitalishte "Videlina". In 2000 it was transformed into a Regional Historical Museum with territory of activity in the towns of Pazardzhik and Plovdiv. The profile of the museum is general history and has the following main departments: Archeology; History of Bulgaria 15 - 19 century; Ethnography; Recent history; Funds and scientific archive; Public Relations. The historical expositions are housed in a specially built building with an area of 1200 m2. The museum has its own specialized library, restoration studio and photo laboratory, has a stand for the sale of advertising materials and souvenirs and a cafe.

The ethnographic exposition of the Regional Historical Museum is arranged in the largest residential building in Pazardzhik from the Renaissance era, built in 1850 in the style of the Plovdiv Revival Baroque house. The owner of the house, Nikola Hristovic, was a wealthy merchant from Pazardzhik. Declared a national architectural and artistic cultural monument.

Stanislav Dospevski Art Gallery[edit]

The Stanislav Dospevski Art Gallery was founded in 1966. It is named after the Samokov school artist and public figure Stanislav Dospevski (1823-1878), who worked in the field of the portrait genre. The current gallery building was opened in 1980. Later (1911) it housed the Regional History Museum. The total exhibition area is 800 m2. The art fund of the gallery exceeds 10,000 works.

The exposition presents the Bulgarian fine arts from the end of the last century to the present day. It consists of 731 works by 204 authors and is located in 5 exhibition halls. All genres (portrait, landscape and still life) are presented, as well as the different currents in the Bulgarian fine arts: Revival realism, romanticism, academism, realism, symbolism, impressionism, expressionism, socialist realism, abstractionism and others.

Stanislav Dospevski Art Gallery has two branches: Stanislav Dospevski House Museum and Georgi Gerasimov House Museum, as well as the open-air exhibition of Velichko Minekov.

Konstantin Velichkov House Museum[edit]

Birth house of Konstantin Velichkov (1855 - 1907) - a prominent Revival activist, active participant in the national liberation struggle, politician and statesman in post-liberation Bulgaria, poet, writer, translator and artist.

The house is located on Vl. Gyoshev ”4. One-storey and with a veranda, it was built around 1850. In 1964 - 1965 the house was completely repaired and restored. Since 1967, the urban living conditions from the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century have been arranged in it. In the native house of Konstantin Velichkov in 1876 his sister Teofana sewed the flag of the Pazardzhik Revolutionary Committee, and on 21 April 1876.

Vasil Petleshkov was the first to announce in Pazardzhik the outbreak of the April Uprising. The house is a branch of the Regional History Museum. It has been open for visits since 2 March 1967.

Twin towns – sister cities[edit]

Pazardzhik is twinned with:[14][15]

Notable people[edit]



  1. ^ a b
  2. ^ Tikhomir Tikhov, Tsonko Genov 1878: Rusko-turskata ocvoboditelna voĭna 1877-1878 v spomeni i ochertsi na bŭlgari-ochevidtsi, Nauka i izkustvo, 1978, p. 199.
  3. ^ a b (in Bulgarian) Bulgarian Academy of Sciences Archived 6 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ a b c (in English) „WorldCityPopulation“
  5. ^ a b (in English) Bulgarian National Statistical Institute – towns in 2009 Archived 13 November 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ a b """".
  7. ^ (in Bulgarian) Population on 01.02.2011 by provinces, municipalities, settlements and age; National Statistical Institute Archived 8 September 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ Population by province, municipality, settlement and ethnic identification, by 01.02.2011; Bulgarian National Statistical Institute Archived 21 May 2013 at the Wayback Machine (in Bulgarian)
  9. ^ Per study by M. Mancheva and R. Dzhekova, Working Paper, February 2017, Risks of Islamist Radicalisation in Bulgaria: A Case Study in the Iztok Neighbourhood of the City of Pazardzhik, Sofia, Center for the Study of Democracy: "The inhabitants of the Iztok neighbourhood in the city of Pazardzhik belong to two of the larger Romani groups – Daskane Roma, a literal translation for Bulgarian or Christian Gypsies, who speak a Balkan dialect of Romani influenced considerably by the Bulgarian language, and the so called Horahane Roma, a literal translation for Turkish or Muslim Gypsies, who speak a Balkan dialect of Romani influenced considerably by the Turkish language. According to data from the 2011 Census, which covered certain control areas of the Iztok neighbourhood in the city of Pazardzhik, 40 percent of the neighbourhood inhabitants self-identified as Bulgarians, 27 percent as Turks, and 20 percent as Roma."
  10. ^ Per study of Krastev, Georgi et al, Research and Science Today; Targu-Jiu Iss. 2, (Nov 2019): 55-63. Gypsies/Roma in Bulgaria professing Islam - ethnic identity (retrospections and projections): "Very often, the surrounding are called Turkish Gypsies or Horohane Roma, and this name also dates back to the Ottoman Empire when mixed religion and ethnicity. Horohane Roma are a heterogeneous community, and identity is complex, defined on different levels, which are often blurred, and with a dual orientation towards the Turkish or the Gypsy community. They are scattered all over the country, and in some areas are the most numerous ethnic minority... Here are some examples. At the beginning of the 21st century, the mosques were built in the Roma neighborhoods “Iztok” in Pazardjk and “Nadezhda” in Sliven"...The new mosque in Pazardjik, built in a private property funded with money from abroad, is also named after the leader of an Islamic state. This speaks of a certain radicalization in Pazardzhik's Roma neighborhood, a case without analogy, concealing new dangers for ethnic and religious peace...Nowadays the Roma neighborhoodsin Pazardzhik resembles Arab neighborhoods of the Middle East, were man must wear beards and women burqas."
  11. ^ Tatar Pazarcik in Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition., Volume X, page 371, column 1: There were 8 Turkish schools with 500 pupils, 6 Bulgar schools with 530 pupils, and Jewish, Vlach and Armenian schools. The population is said to have amounted to 25,000 inhabitants, of whom Bulgars comprised 57% and Turks 28.5%.
  12. ^ Kyurkchiev, Nikolai (2006). "The Aromânians: an ethnos and language with a 2000-year history". International Journal of the Sociology of Language. 2006 (179): 115–129. doi:10.1515/IJSL.2006.029. S2CID 144939846.
  13. ^ Composite Gazetteer of Antarctica: Pazardzhik Point.
  14. ^ "В Деня на побратимените градове: Кой град с кой е брат". (in Bulgarian). Nameri dobroto. 23 April 2018. Retrieved 19 January 2021.
  15. ^ "Il gemellaggio di Salerno: la rete per rimanere umani". (in Italian). Salerno. 16 August 2019. Retrieved 19 January 2021.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 42°12′N 24°20′E / 42.200°N 24.333°E / 42.200; 24.333