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History of Kustendil | Kyustendil – a heavenly place!

History of Kustendil


    Kyustendil is one of the oldest towns in Bulgaria. In the history it goes by the names Pautalia, Ulpia Pautalia, Pautalia Avrelii, Velevuzdion, Velbondzh, Velbuzhd, Konstantinova Bania, Uludzha, Bania, Kolasia, Kyustendil.

Kustendil before years ago

    The fertility and the hot mineral springs attracted the Tracian tribes at the end of the Bronze Age and they established a settlement here in 5-4 century B.C. The biggest tribe was the one of the Denteleti. Later, its name became the name for the whole region – Denteletika.

    When the Romans subdued the Thracians, the Romans turned the settlement into an important stronghold and a famous health resort which they called Pautalia – one of the biggest town centres in Thrace.

    Kyustendil was announced for a town in the year 106 when the emperor Marcus Ulpius Traianus was governing. In II-III century the town mints its own bronze coins. Pautalia was among the most flourishing settlements at that time.

    In honour of god Asklepii a healing centre called Askelpion was built. Remains of it now are situated in the centre of the town. In the past there were halls for cure and relaxation, pools with hot mineral water, places for gymnastics. In the 5th century the stronghold in Hisarluka was built because of the more frequent attacks from barbaric tribes. It was used until the 15th century.

    Later, the town was renamed Velbuzhd, probably by the name of a chieftain. We don’t know exactly when Velbuzhd was annexed to the soon-established Bulgarian country but it is suggested that this happened in the beginning of the 9th century, probably when khan Krum ruled. After Bulgarians were baptized the town became important Episcopal centre.

    When Bulgaria was under Byzantine’s domination large monasteries, connected with the life and activity of the bulgarian saints Ivan Rilski, Yoakim Osogovski and others, were built. Then the importance of Velbuzhd grew and in a diploma from Aleksii I Komnin, the town is mentioned in third place, before Sredets.

Kustendil before years ago

    When Delianovtsi were ruling the Velbujzhd principality was formed and Velbuzhd was its capital city. Velbujd was the last Bulgarian town that lost its independence.

    At the end of 14th century the town goes under the domination of the Ottoman empire and its new name is Konstantin-ill (The land of Konstantin) by the name of the last Christian ruler Konstantin Dragash, which name is later transformed to Kyustendil. The Bulgarian population there didn’t reconcile with the slave reality and used every opportunity to attempt to free themselves.

    During the Revival the town develops and grows fast. With national resources are built a church and a school.

    The haidouk bands of Ilio the Voivode and Rumena the Voivode, who is one of the few women-voivodes in the Bulgarian history, operate in the surrounding mountains.

    Kyusendil was libertated from Ottoman domination on 29 January, 1878. After the Liberation, tobacco-growing and fruit growing were developed and the balneological healing expanded.

    The town developed and gained its present appearance.

Do you know that:

  • the redwoods near the village of Bogoslov are the oldest and the highest in Bulgaria.
  • the film “The Knight of the White Lady” was shot in Kyustendil.
  • the Roman baths in Kyustendil are the second by largest in Bulgaria.