{short description of image} Tour 11: Pirin Mountains Tour 10: Rila Mountains Tour 9: Rhodopes Tour 8: Sofia - Blagoevgrad - Kulata Tour 7: Sofia - Plovdiv - Haskovo - Kapitan Andreevo Tour 6: Sofia - Karlovo - Sliven - Bourgas Tour 5: The Black Sea Tour 4: Sofia - Veliko Turnovo - Shoumen - Varna Tour 3: Sofia - Pleven - Rouse - Silistra Tour 2: Sofia - Vratsa - Montana - Vidin Tour 1: Sofia; One day tours around Sofia
Tour 1B: SAMOKOV
SamokovSAMOKOV - a town on both banks of Iskur River at the southern foot of Rila Mountains, 62 km south of Sofia; climatic resort at an altitude of 900 m and one of the skiing sports centres of Bulgaria. Population 29 000.

Founded probably in the 12th C. as an iron-foundry settlement. During the Bulgarian National Revival it is established as a centre of crafts and commerce. In the town and its outskirts there were 85 vidni (furnaces) with 22 samokova (forges, that gave the town its name), used in mining and processing of iron.

A centre of the artistic school of Samokov (second half of the 18th-19th centuries) - icon painting, mural painting, woodcarving and artistic crafts. Most famous are the icon painters of Samokov, whose work is of national significance - Hristo, Dimitur and Zahariy Zograf, Stanislav Dospevski, Nikola Obrazopisov and others. Their works can be seen in the monasteries of Rila, Bachkovo, Troyan, Preobrazhenie. Famous for their skill are also the master builders of Samokov.

Zahariy Zograf (1810-1853) - a painter of the Bulgarian National Revival. His work marks the transition from church to secular painting - mural paintings, icons, portraits.

Stanislav Dospevski (1823-1878) - a painter of the Bulgarian National Revival. Nephew of Zahariy Zograf. One of the founders of the Bulgarian secular realistic painting.

In 1828 N. Karastoyanov opens in Samokov the first Bulgarian printing house.

SamikovThere have been preserved houses built during the Bulgarian National Revival, painted with rich ornamental compositions and decorated with woodcarvings - Saraf house, Zograf house, Obrazopisov house, Marchina house, as well as the oldest, all-wooden house of the 17th C. - Belyo house. An ancient fountain (1662), known as The Fountain with the Earring, rises in the square at the centre. The following have been declared monuments of culture: the Nativity of the Virgin Church (15th-16th centuries, built on the foundations of an older church with partially preserved frescoes of that time and painted by N. Obrazopisov), the Bishop's Church of the Assumption (1790-1791, with a valuable woodcarved iconostasis of 1793, 1833 and icons by Hr. Dimitrov - the first work of the artistic school of Samokov), the Nunnery (1772), the Presentation of the Virgin Church (1835), St. Nicholas Church (1861, with icons by N. Dospevski), the Synagogue (1858, also with mural paintings of the school of Samokov), Bairakli Mosque (19th C., built and painted by Bulgarian masters; the rich ornamental decoration belongs to the artistic school of Samokov).

A historical museum. Samokov is a starting point to Borovets resort and hiking routs in Rila Mountains.
Tour 1B - more
Bankya * Trun * Kalotina * Stob Pyramids * Rila Monastery * Pernik * Ostritsa Reserve * Monastery of Zemen * Gorge of Zemen
Kyustendil * Gyueshevo * Samokov * Borovets * Govedartsi * Kostenets * Dolna Banya

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