Peristera fortress overlooking Peshtera
|• Mayor||Georgi Kozarev|
|Elevation||450 m (1,480 ft)|
|• City||20 493|
|Time zone||UTC+2 (EET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+3 (EEST)|
|Postal Code subdivision_name1= Pazardzhik||4550|
Peshtera (Bulgarian: Пещера, sometimes transliterated as Peštera) is a town in the Rhodope Mountains, southern Bulgaria. It is located in Pazardzhik Province near the towns of Batak and Bratsigovo. The town is the third largest in the province after Pazardzhik and Velingrad and is the forty-fifth largest in Bulgaria. It is the administrative center of the municipality Peshtera. As of September 2014, Peshtera has a population of 20 493 inhabitants. At about 5 km to the south, along the road to Batak, is one of the most visited caves in Bulgaria — Snezhanka. Near the town is located the Peshtera Hydroelectric Power Station. The town is well known for producing the alcohol beverage mastika under the brand Peshterska.
The local climate is temperate and sudden temperature fluctuations are uncommon. Peshtera average annual temperature is 12.6° C. Rainfall is relatively high - from 670 to 680 l/m2 year.
The population of Peshtera includes several ethnic communities. Bulgarians are prevailing, but there are also Turks, Roma, Vlachs (Armani). The latter have their own cultural tradition. The number of Roma in the municipality is approximately 4000. Different ethnic groups in the town have always lived in harmony and tolerance. Peshtera presents an example of integration and understanding of all ethnic groups.
The first traces of human presence in the area date from the Neolithic. The Thracian tribe of the Bessi inhabited the area in Antiquity and the settlement in the Peshtera Valley emerged in the fourth century BC.
The earliest piece of writing documenting the town's name dates from 1479, when Peshtera was part of the fief of a certain Mustafa in the Ottoman Empire. During the Bulgarian National Revival, many churches, bridges, fountains, schools and houses were built. The first secular school in Peshtera was opened in 1848, while the Nadezhda ('hope') community centre emerged in 1873. Many local residents took part in the armed struggle for the Liberation of Bulgaria. Peshtera was liberated during the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78 on 6 January 1878.
In 1876, the town had 800 households, of which 500 Bulgarian, 60 Aromanian and about 250 Turkish and Romani. The first official Bulgarian census in 1880 stated 758 households and 3,871 inhabitants, of which 2,618 Bulgarians, 856 Turks, 341 Greeks (most Aromanians), 53 Roma and a single Karakachan. Five years later, in 1885, Peshtera had a population of 4,704 and 876 households.
Industry is the most important sector of the town's economy. The two largest factories are "Biovet Peshtera", producing antibiotics and medicines, and "Vinprom Peshtera", producing alcoholic beverages. A number of smaller plants produce metal constructions, footwear and food.
Peshtera Culture club Chitalishte "Development"