Bulgaria – Fly to Bansko

Bansko

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Bansko
Банско

The Bulgarian National Revival-style Church of the Holy Trinity in Bansko, built in 1835


Coat of arms
Coordinates: 41°50′N 23°30′ECoordinates: 41°50′N 23°30′E
Country Bulgaria
Province
(Oblast)
Blagoevgrad
Government
 - Mayor Georgi Ikonomov (GERB)
Elevation 925 m (3,035 ft)
Population (01.02.2011)
 - Total 13,088
Time zone EET (UTC+2)
 - Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3)
Postal Code 2770
Area code(s) 0749
Website bansko.bg (Bulgarian)

Bansko (Bulgarian: Банско) is a town and ski resort in southwestern Bulgaria, located at the foot of the Pirin Mountains at an elevation of {{|925|m|}} above sea level.

Bansko is the birthplace of 20th-century Bulgarian poet Nikola Vaptsarov and Bulgarian enlighteners Paisiy Hilendarski and Neofit Rilski.

Legends

There are several legends about who founded Bansko. According to one of them, Bansko was founded by people who lived in Dobarsko, a village in Rila, itself according to a legend founded by the blinded army of Tsar Samuil. Another legend claims that Bansko was founded by an Italianpainter by the name of Ciociolino, hence the existence of the name Chucholin in Bansko.

Still according to another version it was a Slavic tribe called the Peruns, who lived in Pirin and worshiped Perun, that founded the village later to become a town. There are a number of ethnographic texts, legends, prayers and oratories, which lend credence to this legend.

History

The archeological traces of the inhabitants of Bansko and the Razlog Valley in general date to the early periods of the Roman Empire. There are several housing structures at the outskirts of the town, which date to 100 BC. However, there is no consensus nor credible theory on who these people were.

The Bulgarian Evangelical Church Community, the first Protestant church in Bulgaria, was founded in Bansko on 6 August 1868.

Until October 5, 1912, Baniçka (Bansko’s former name) was a part of the Ottoman Empire, but enjoyed a quasi self-rule autonomy granted by the sultan. The town was ruled by an assembly of the elders, while justice was administered by the Ottoman judge in Razlog. It was incorporated in Bulgaria in 1912 as a result of the First Balkan War.

Tourism

Bansko, once mainly a stockbreeding and travelling merchant community, has become an international centre for winter and summer tourism. The mountain peaks near the town, the numerous lakes and the old pine woods make it a popular site for recreation.

Improvements to the infrastructure and organisation of the ski area on Todorka have been made annually to accommodate the rising number of tourists. A gondola lift was built from town in 2003, replacing the minibus ride to the primary base area of Banderishka Poliana. As of 2010, the ski area has 75 km (47 mi) of ski runs, 27 lifts and drags, serving up to 24,500 persons per hour. The lift-served summit rises to an elevation of 2600m above sea level. The vertical drop is nearly 1000m to the base area at Banderishka Poliana, and over 1600m with the ski runs to town

The nearby village of Banya, located only 5 km (3 mi) from the town, is known for its 27 thermal mineral springs.

Nikola Vaptsarov Memorial House

Transport

The town is served by the scenic narrow gauge line from Septemvri to Dobrinishte. Regular bus connections are available to Sofia, Plovdiv, Blagoevgrad, Gotse Delchev, Razlog, among others.

Sport

Bansko has recently hosted World Cup alpine ski races: the women raced in 2009 in two downhills and a super G. The men’s circuit made its first stop at Bansko in 2011 with a super combined and a slalom.

Alpine and biathlon competitions take place regularly. It is expected that the summer biathlon world cup will also take place in the resort of Bansko.

Events

In recent years, the town has gained international popularity as a pop and jazz scene after the start of the annual Bansko Jazz Festival and consequently the annual Bansko pop-star concert featuring top pop stars.

Development

Many of the road problems have been given attention to since 2009. The small portion of unfinished apartments are now being given attention to. Due to the global recovery from the financial crisis and the more realistic pricing, apartments are attracting more buyers from across Europe.

In 2010 the resort recovered from the crisis and has seen record profits.

The ski area is very tightly controlled by some of the most restrictive development laws in Europe. As a norm 12/5% of European national parks can be set aside for tourist services whilst in Bansko only 3.3% is set aside. With new development of lifts and pistes the town bed capacity will balance out.