On the territory of Kyustendil County there are 1052 cultural monuments whereas more than half of them are concentrated in Kyustendil Municipality. The combination of natural sites, of cultural and historic heritage in Kyustendil region, the course of Struma River and Osogovo Mountain is also favorable. Kyustendil Municipality has an exceptionally rich cultural and historic heritage with the broadest specter of historic eras and high value in terms of quality characteristics. The antique and medieval reservation Pautalia – Velbujd and the numerous cultural monuments from the period of the National Revival enrich the treasury of the cultural heritage. The cultural and tourist route Kyustendil Region – Center of Ancient Cultures covers a total of 14 cultural monuments with exceptionally high scientific, historic and architectural artistic value from all cultural and historic ages in chronological interval from the 7th millennium B.C. to the 19th c.
“AHMED BEY” MOSQUE
The former mosque “Ahmed Bey”, known also as “Ingiliz” (Christian), was built towards the middle of 15th century.
The entrance arcade covered with three small vaults is preserved in its original look. In 1734 “Ahmed Bey” mosque was reconstructed and enlarged. Today it is an exhibition hall of Kyustendil museum.
2500 Kyustendil, 2 Stefan Karadja Str.,
Phone:+359 78/55 01 24
“FATIH SULTAN MEHMED” MOSQUE
The mosque was built by Haradzhi Kara Mehmed bin Ali, one of the famous builders of public buildings in Kyustendil. It is considered that it was built towards the middle of 15th century. The year — 1531 inscribed with bricks in the eastern part of the vault, probably is related to later reconstruction. The mosque doesn`t function.
2500 Kyustendil, Tzar Osvoboditel Str.
Dervish bath is the oldest Turkish bath. It was built in 1566 year and working for over 400 years until 1992. It is located in the central part of Kyustendil and it is part of the architectural and archaeological reserve “Pautalia-Velbuzhd-Kyustendil”. On the front walls of the bathroom built two brick inscription indicating the years 1604 and 1835, which probably indicate subsequent repairs of the building. The bathroom is built of broken stone blocks and red bricks. Though in 2005 it was restored in full, the facility still hasn`t been re-opened as a bath and currently serves only as an historical monument. The name of the bathroom is connected with the word “dervish”. One of the rare examples of a small dome-shaped mineral bath. In the past there were nine of them in Kyustendil.
Dervish bath was declared a cultural monument of local importance.
The medieval defense tower in Kyustendil known under the name of Pirkova Tower is situated in the central part of the town near the Roman Therms.
The name “Pirkova” comes from the Greek word “pirgos”, which means “tower”. This defence tower is considered to have been built at the end of 14th century and the beginning of 15th century. The ground floor functioned as storage. On the first floor there is a northern overarched entrance, a stone fireplace in the southern wall, which was used for heating, as well as two loopholes. The second floor was used for living. It has a fireplace, a niche, 3 vertical and 2 round loopholes and a gallery with a place for sanitary needs. The third floor was used for circular defense.
The Pirkova Tower gives evidence of the architectural and building techniques used in the defense system in the medieval town of Velbazhd.
2500 Kyustendil, Prof. Kiril Tzonev Str., Phone: +359 78/55 01 24
The Roman Therms are located in the central part of the town within the immediate vicinity of the Ahmed Bey mosque.
The therms, which functioned as a public bath, were built in 2nd-3rd centuries. They are considered to have been a part of a larger complex called Asclepion.
The Pautalia Therms are one of the most significant monuments from Roman times in Bulgaria. They are second in size after those in Odessos (present-day Varna). The building has a rectangular layout and a built-up area of 3000 square meters. Six premises situated on an area of 1000 square meters have been researched and exhibited.
All premises are supplied with a heating system (hypocaust). The design of the asclepion (arcado) is a vaulted system of corridors and is the only one known so far in Bulgaria.
The floor and the walls of the halls have been covered with marble plates, shaped cornices and wall piers. Semicircular niches and swimming pools have been found in some of the premises.
The combination of different building techniques and architectural styles make the Pautalia therms one the most interesting monuments from the Roman period in Bulgaria. They are one of the symbols of Kyustendil.
2500 Kyustendil, Stefan Karadja Str.
Phone:+359 78/55 01 24
HOUSE – MUSEUM “DIMITAR PESHEV”
In 2002 the ambassador of Israel, Emanuel Zisman and Kyustendil Municipality implemented a project for the restoration of Dimitar Peshev`s house and its turning into a museum. The permanent exhibition with original belongings, photos and facsimiles tells the story of what happened in March 1943 and of the worldly acknowledged merit of Dimitar Peshev and his fellow-citizens form Kyustendil, who contributed to the salvation of the Jews in Bulgaria.
2500 Kyustendil, 11 Tzar Simeon I Str.
Phone: +359 78/55 18 11
Working time: 8 am – 5 pm,
open all year round
Closed: Saturday and Sunday
HOUSE – MUSEUM “ILYO VOIVODA”
The restored house of Ilyo Markov, one of the renowned figures of the National liberation movement, hosts an exposition called: “The National Liberation fights of the people from Kyustendil.
Focus is given to the battles from the 15th century up to the Liberation, as well as to the people`s contribution to the national liberation and unification of the Bulgaria in the late 19th and early 20th century.
2500 Kyustendil 189 Tsar Osvoboditel Str.
Phone: +359 78/55 01 26
Working time: 8 am – 5 pm,
open all year round
Closed: Saturday and Sunday
The Emfiedzhieva house is an architectural monument from the Bulgarian Revival period. It is situated in the old Kyuestendil residential district Losenets (Bagluck). The museum exhibition “Urban Life and Culture of the Kyustendil population from the end of the 19th century to the beginning of the 20th century” is hosted there. You can see the typical interior, furniture and household utilities of the urban houses, belonging to the better-off part of the intelligentsia or to rich and famous Kyustendil families.
2500 Kyustendil, 24a Gorotsvetna Str.
Phone: +359 78/55 01 29
Working time: 8 am – 5 pm,
open all year round
Closed: Saturday and Sunday
LATE ANCIENT AND MEDIEVAL FORTESS “HISSARLAKA”
The fortress is situated on the highest flat part of the Hissarlaka Hill two kilometers to the southeast of Kysutendil.The fortress was built at the end of 4th and beginning of 5th century. The fortress was read- justed in 6th century and was in use during the time of the First and Second Bulgarian State and was demolished by the Ottomans in 15th century.
The fortress has the shape of an irregular polygon. It is 117 meters by 175 meters in size and its territory is 2,12 hectars. The fortress is protected by 14 round, triangular and rectangular towers. There are two gates and five secret entrances. The main and widest gate is in the eastern wall and is near the main road.
The interesting construction techniques, the combination of different building techniques and materials as well as the excavated archaeological monuments from different historical periods define the Hissarlaka Fortress as one of the most important ones in Bulgaria.
2500 Kyustendil, Hissarlaka Park, Phone: +359 78/55 00 95
Architectural and archaeological reserve “Pautalia-Velbuzhd”
With Memorandum 16 of Government of Republic of Bulgaria (21.02 1977) the area of ancient Pautalia and medieval Velbuzhd is considered as National Architectural and Archaeological reserve. Borders of preserved area are drawn up, a security line, wide 50 m is marked around fortress’ walls in town center and on the hill Hissarluk. Rules for archaeological and architectural research within the Park, construction, landscaping and synthesis of cultural monuments with modern town environment are listed in Memorandum 7 of Committee of Art and Culture and Committee of Architecture and Landscaping (State Newspaper № 77/1977). Applying the requirements in this memorandum made possible the research of several archaeological sites in Kyustendil. Researched monuments and found remnants revealed in general different periods in town development – since eneolith to Late Medieval Era. Among the largest sites, explored in the Park, and of great significance, are: Hissarluk, “Cell School”, Party’s Hall, Youth’s Hall, Eastern Gate, Art Gallery, Reading Hall, Dervish Bath, etc. Revealed architectural complexes are of high historical value, date back since Roman and Early Byzantine period (Roman Spa, South Tower, Eastern Gate), conservation work is done on them and are exhibited.
BISHOP`S CHURCH “VIRGIN MARY`S ASSUMPTION“
The church is situated in the central part of the city in the immediate vicinity of the central square. It was built in 1816 in place of the medieval church “St. Nicola”. According to the design is a dug-in one-apsis pseudobasilica, which has three naves and wood backing. The northern and western narthex, candle works and an ossuary were built in 1933.
The church is an impressive monument of Bulgarian Revival art. It has altar holy gates to the women`s section (16th-17th centuries), preserved icons from the beginning of 19th century (“St. Ivan of Rila`s Assumption” by Toma Vishanov, “St. Todor Tiron”, “St. Todor Stratilat”), an iconostasis and frescos painted by Ivan Dospevski. The church has been declared an architectural and art monument of national significance. It is currently a working temple as well.
BULGARIAN REVIVAL CHURCH “ST. MINA“
The church is located in the western part of Kyustendil. In 1859 it was built as a monastery church. According to the design it is a three-nave pseudobasilica without a narthex. A portico from the south takes one to a small underground chapel with holy spring water.
In 1934 the new temple “St. Martyr Mina” was built in the vicinity of the church. It was designed by architect Anton Tornyov. At present the church is a cathedral temple.
MEDIEVAL CHURCH “ST. GEORGE“
“St. George” church is situated in the southwestern part of Kyustendil, in the neighbourhood of Kolusha (the medieval village of Kolasia). It is the most ancient preserved Medieval Church in Kyustendil. According to its architectural features and the recently discovered medieval frescoes, the church dates back to 10th-11th centuries. It is assumed that the grave of the Bulgarian Tsar Mihail III Shishman, who was killed in the battle of Velbazhd in 1330, might be here. In the 19th century the church was razed to the foundations of the vault arches by the Ottomans. In 1878-1880 it was reconstructed.
The medieval frescoes are rare records carrying the typical features of the stately Byzantium art of painting in Bulgaria. The frescoes from the Revival period expand our knowledge about the Bulgarian Church art of painting from that period. The church comprises a huge historical, art and architectural value. The church is one of 100 national tourist objects in Bulgaria.
In the central part of Kyustendil is located the restored building of the old school, known as cell school. It was built in the second half of XIX century in the southern courtyard of the church The Virgin Mary “Assumption.” A single storey stone building in typical Renaissance style.
It was declared a cultural monument in 1976, but since 1981 it arranged various cultural events.
Iron Bridge over the Banshtitsa River
It was built in 1909 designed by Rudolf Fischer as part of the implementation of the then project for the direct link between the railway station and city center. In the four endpoints of the iron bridge placed four columns and four sculptures of women in various poses, symbolizing the glory of Kyustendil known as spa and horticultural center and its rich revolutionary past. The sculptures are made of white Vratza stone.
ART GALLERY VLADIMIR DIMITROV “THE MASTER”
The art gallery in Kyustendil, which is named after the most significant Bulgarian artist of world fame, was established in 1959, and in 1972 it moved to an especially made for it modern building. The gallery has the major and largest collection of unique works of Vladimir Dimitrov — the Master, set-up in a permanent exposition. It keeps and organizes regular exhibitions of other eminent artists from Kyustendil like Stoyan Venev, Kiril Tsonev, Morits Bentsionov, Nicola Mirchev, Asen Vasiliev, and others. Performances of modern authors from Kyustendil, visiting, anniversary and thematic exhibitions are organized in the hall for temporary exhibitions. Annually, the gallery gives its halls for the closing part of the International plenary meeting “St. Luka”, which takes place in Kyustendil every October.
2500 Kyustendil, 20 Patriarch Evtimii Str.,
Phone: +359 78/55 00 29
Working time: 9 am – 12 am, 2 pm – 6 pm,
Open all year round
REGIONAL MUSEUM OF HISTORY “ACADEMICIAN YORDAN IVANOV”
As a result of many years of research and collecting the museums and exhibition halls hold superb examples of the human civilization from all historical periods. The archeological, architectural and documentary monuments presented there, the variety of indigenous forms and hues in the traditional clothes and objects from everyday life are a material expression of the spiritual culture, the specific character and identity of the human communities which lived in these lands.
2500 Kyustendil, 55 Bulgaria bld
Phone: +359 78/55 00 95
Working time: 8 am – 5 am
Open all year round
DRAMA THEATRE, KYUSTENDIL
In 1883 a theatrical troupe was formed at the Kyustendil Reading Rooms comprising local cultural personages.
Theatrical activities increased with the building of a new set of reading rooms with a small theatrical salon in 1907. It was on the stage of the Kyustendil theatre that the premiere of Maxim Gorky’s play Mother was first produced. In 1952 the Kyustendil Theatre was taken over by the State and in 1978 a new modern theatre was built for the premiere of Maestri by Racho Stoyanov.
Eminent actors such as G. Popov, K. Popov, A. Georgieva, J. Stefanov, A. Aleksiev, L. Ilieva and G. Dimitrov all contributed to the development of the theatre.
26a Bulgaria Boulevard
Telephone (+359)78/ 550094
Telephone/fax (+359)78/ 550090
THE BROTHERHOOD READING ROOMS AND SOCIAL CENTRE, KYUSTENDIL
The Brotherhood Reading Rooms and Social Centre is the oldest cultural institution in the Kyustendil region and it spawned the library, the theatre and the history museum in town more than 136 years ago. At that time an unknown calligrapher wrote the first articles of association for the centre with the impressive motto: Wealth is mortal, Virtue – immortal. This motto has lifted up the spirits of Kyustendil people during the years of the rise and fall, hoping for renaissance and prosperity and supported the spirit and traditions we have up the presented, maintaining optimism and preserving our identity as Bulgarians in our future as part of the family of European nations.
11 Otets Paisii Street
Telephone (+359)78/ 52 91 95, 52 63 95
THE EMANUIL POPDIMITROV REGIONAL LIBRARY, KYUSTENDIL
In 1869 the Brotherhood Reading Rooms were created. From its original Articles of Association it can be seen that almost all the monies were spent on books, newspapers and journals. As the heir to the library at the Brother Reading rooms, The Emanuil Popdimitrov Regional Library has an enviable 135-year history.
The library in its current from was created in execution of Decree 20/1959 ‘For the new territorial division of the People’s Republic of Bulgaria’. It was separated out on the basis of a civic lending library at the Exemplary People’s Social Centre ‘Vasil Kolarov’ (now Brotherhood) under the name District Methodical Library.
In 1981 the library was moved to its present building. The Art, Children’s Literature and Technical Sciences (opened in 1987) departments remain outside the building.
Now the library has a rich fund of books, periodicals, gramophone records, slides, audio recordings, etc amounting to more than 227000 library documents.
Lyuben Karavelov Street
Telephone (+359)78/ 55 01 16
Surroundings of Kyustendil
Comlex “Vladimir Dimitrov – The Master” in the village of Shishkovtsi
The village of Shishkovtsi is situated in the Kyustendil Valley, northeast of Kyustendil on the railway Sofia-Kyustendil. The famous painter Vladimir Dimitrov – The Master lived and worked in the village. He came to Shishkovtsi in the fall of 1924 and in Shishkovsko Field the Master created world-class art. Vladimir Dimitrov was quoted as saying “If there is paradise on the earth, it`s Kyustendil with a heart Shishkovtsi village. The village has several sites associated with the life and work of Vladimir Dimitrov – The Master:
In 1972 a memorial complex was opened in honor of Vladimir Dimitrov-The Master. The project is the work of the architect. P. Kovacheva. The community center building contains a movie theater with 303 seats, a library with 6500 items a reading room, a chamber, an exhibition, conference and wedding halls, a shop and administrative offices. In 1982 the building was reconstructed in the design of architect. Y. Gumnishka. The showroom is a branch of the Art Gallery “Vladimir Dimitrov the Master in Kyustendil. In the garden in front the house stands a bronze monument of the artist. The memory wall around the building carries his remains.
The house-museum “Vladimir Dimitrov-The Master” in the village of Shishkovtsi – was oppened on June 25, 1982 on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Vladimir Dimitrov-The Master. This is where Vladimir Dimitrov lived and worked from 1926-1944. The room is preserved in its original condition that he lived in. The upstairs contains documents and photos illustrating his contribution to the Bulgarian art world and other objects related to his life.
Men`s Holy Monastery „St. Ivan of Rila” (Ruen Monastery)
It is located in a beautiful area in the vicinity of the town of Boboshevo, about 8 km to the west of the international roads Sofia – Kulata. Just off the town is the village of Skrino – he birthplace of St. Ivan of Rila, while the holy monastery is 2,5 km away up in the mountain.
Men`s Holy Monastery „St. Ivan of Rila”
2663 village of Skrino
Phone: +359 4894/67 71
GIRL`S MONASTERY “ST. LUKA”
The monastery is situated at the northern foot of the Ossogovo Mountain, 4 km to the southwest of the village of Granitsa. It was built in 10th century and was restored in the 1950s. Today the monastery is entirely renovated. It is a small complex of one-nave and one-apsis church without domes, a belfry next to it and monastery residential buildings. A total of 16 people can spend the night there. There is a legend that in the 15th century, the monastery abbot was Jacob, father of Joasaph, David and Teofan, all of whom restored the Rila Monastery. There is a fountain in the monastery yard, which was built in honour of the three monks from the village of Granitsa. The monastery is constantly open for visitors and is accessible to vehicles.
Phone: +359 7911/ 286
In the center of Nevestino on the road Kyustendil – Dupnitsa and Kyustendil – Boboshevo, is situated an impressive architectural monument known as Kadin Bridge (Bride`s Bridge).
This is a medieval 100 m long bridge built over the river Struma and has five circle vaults, the highest of which is in the middle. It is covered with granite slabs some of which have inscriptions taken from ancient ruins. The lower parts of the columns are wedge – shaped and stick out to cleave the waters. Every column has an overarched window functioning as drainage for the water at high tides. It is decorated with stalactite ornaments and rosettes. The architecture of the bridge is a mixture of ancient, medieval and Renaissance elements. There is a granite plate with an inscription in Turkish built in the southern part of the eastern parapet. This inscription says that the bridge was built on the orders of Vizier Isaac Pasha in 874 from Egira (1470).
The name of the bridge “Kadin” or “of a bride” is connected to the legends concerning its building. One of the legends tells that the bride called Struma was built in the bridge and the other says that the bridge was a wedding gift to a brave Bulgarian bride by Sultan Murad. The name of Murad is indentified with the name of Mohamed II whose great vizier Isaac indeed passed through these lands in 1463 on his way to Bosnia. The bridge was called Kadun kyuprisi in Turkish (which means A Bride`s Bridge), and the village is still called Nevestino (Bride`s village).
The other legend tells about the building of the bridge. Three brothers from the nearby village were building a bridge over the river Struma, but during the night the waters of the river destroyed and swept away what had already been built during the day. The brothers did not want to be mocked and made a very difficult decision to sacrifice the wife who first brought breakfast to her husband. This was for the sake of making the bridge solid. The first wife to come was Manol`s wife. The young woman carried with one hand her first baby and with the other the breakfast and had hardly managed to say “God help” when the brothers caught her and walled her in the middle vault. While they were walling her up, she asked them to leave out her breast and make a vent for her eyes so that he could breastfeed and watch her child. The local people say that even today when the river rises, the misfortuned mother can be heard crying.
The village of Razhdavitsa, situated at the entrance to the Zemen Gorge is one of the exit points to the deep canyon of Konyavo Mountain, ending near to the village of Bunovo. The name of the canyon is Shegava. It has many beautiful rock figures and remains of fortresses. Water flows through it only when it rains. Unlike other attractive rock formations, on a small area, there is an interesting combination of single underlying rocks and rock crowns. A dirt road goes into Konyavo Mountain. From it one can see two church ruins along the Struma. Soon one reachs the entrance of the canyon. Rock pyramids protrude everywhere. On the high thresholds in spring there are small cascades. Dizzying heights and cliffs alternate with a dense jungle of trees and shrubs. History tells us that here in the turbulent 1330, the Spasov day consisted of the Velbazhdka great battle between the army of the Serbian king Stefan Dechanski and Bulgarians of Michael III Shishman. The Bulgarian king turned for help to the population of the nearby village of Zlatina and when this was not received, they uttered a curse on the village, which was for it to be covered with the rust of the time. And indeed, years after the battle the population settled in the valley, the entrance of the Zemen Gorge, but with the new name Ruzhdavitsa and today Razhdavitsa. The nearest rock formation that is visible in the valley of Shegava is called Loner. At this place there was a settlement, which is judged by the numerous pieces of building and household ceramics. In rainy weather, tons of water fall from the stone threshold “Drop down”. Beside this, on the ridge, are frozen “Shishmanovi soldiers.” Here is the cave “Loft”. A legend from years ago says that a snake, the size of the python lived inside, feeding on pigeons eggs. Here is a triangular cave – a gallery with length 15-18 cm, “Belevashtitsa,” “Cellar” and many other smaller. In places the canyon narrows to two meters. To walk here one needs sturdy shoes and withstand winds through the bushes in order to climb and walk on the rocky bottom of the dry river.
Polsko – Skakavishki Waterfall
Another natural attraction in Kyustendil Municipality is the Polsko-Skakavishki Waterfall. It is located on the right bank of the Struma River in the deep Zemenski Prolom, 18 km to the north-east from the town of Kyustendil and close to the train station Skakavitza. The Polsko-Skakavishki Waterfall is one of the highest in Bulgaria – its waters fall from approximately 80 m.
The Polsko-Skakavishki Waterfall has a very interesting origin – the surrounding ridges are made of limestone, which lets the rain water pass through. On its water becomes saturated with calcium carbonate. When it reaches the impermeable rocks the water comes out in the form of Karstic springs above the village of Polska Skakavitza. Due to the favorable natural conditions the calcium carbonate settles in the form of travertine /freestone/ and forms a high terrace from which the water falls.
Protected zone “Osogovo Mountain”
The Osogovo Mountain is the fifth highest in Bulgaria with its highest peak Ruen (2251 m above sea level) – one of the hundred national tourist sites. The mountain is easily accessible and passable all-year round. A convenience asphalt road (21 km) connects the town to the main tourist sites and lodgings. Osovogo is part of the European “Green Belt”, the only mountain in Europe which out of 14 European-standard ecological criteria fulfils 12, which makes it particularly suitable for development of eco-tourism: eco-paths have been laid providing opportunities for pedestrian, bicycle and equestrian tourism. There are also numerous marked hiking routes of varying lengths and degrees of difficulty, while the ski slopes and ski rope-lines at the Osogovo Lodge offer excellent conditions for winter sports.
The presence of game, dining areas, shelters rest areas and camp sites have benefited the development of hunt tourism, while the abundance of Balkan and American trout make the mountain rivers Bistritsa, Eleshnitsa and other attractive for fishing expeditions.
A number of sites of natural beauty are also to be found on the mountain: “Yuch Bunar” – a group of secular sequoia, a centuries-old beech forest close to the Saint Luke Convent and Carna Reka Preserve. The link between the mountain and town is Hisarlaka hill, which is a preferred place for relaxation and walking in the fresh pine-scented air of the hundred-year-old woods in the Forestry Park where pedestrian paths, children`s parks and a zoo have been built. This is where many of the mountain-hiking routes start.
The natural place “Yuch Bunar”
On the territory of the Osogovo mountain is situated the natural place “Yuch Bunar” – a group of sequoia trees at the age of 110.
The natural site “Centuries old oak forest”, Granitsa village
On the territory of the Osogovo mountain is situated the natural site “Centuries old oak forest” close to the medieval monastery of ”St. Luka”.
The natural reserve “Tsurna Reka” (Black River)
The natural reserve “Tsurna Reka” (Black River) is situated in the Osogovo Mountain, and it was declared a reserve in 1980. It comprises ecosystems of unspoilt oak tree areas in climax phase and includes the most typical biocenoses of the mountain.
The natural reservation Tsarna Reka is located in the Osogovo Mountain. It covers a representative ecosystem of primary beech cocommunities in their climax stage and shows the most typical biocenoses of the mountain.
In the Municipality the hiking tourism is in the form of route and cognitive tourism with excellent conditions provided by the marked routes in Osogovo leading to famous national sites. The natural and geographic picture outlines a rich variety of forest parks and green zones. The climate favors the tourism throughout the year and depending on the season the accent is laid on the specialized tourism (village tourism, cognitive tourism, ski tourism, etc.).
Hiking in Konyavo Mountain
Konyavo Mountain is the name of a mountain in western Bulgaria, located about 80 km south of Sofia, in her cross the road from Sofia to Kyustendil and Gyueshevo checkpoint.
To the west the mountain borders the Valley of Struma River, to the east it is connected to Verila Mountain by Ushi Saddle, to the north and south it borders Radomir and Kyustendil Hollows. Konyavo Mountain has four parts – Rishki, Videnski, Koloshki and Korilovski. The highest mount is called Viden (1487 m). TV tower on Mount Video is launched on September 4, 1969.
An interesting place is the swamp Choklyovo, which is near the village Dragomirovo at 880 m altitude and is the biggest peat swamp in Bulgaria covering an area of 1,5 m2.
In Konyavo Mountain has found remains of ancient and medieval fortresses, churches, gardens and tombs.
Konyavo Mountain is a favorite place for lovers of extreme sports – gliding and paragliding, because warm air currents. The most convenient months for flying are June, July, August, September and October. The wind is oriented northwest-south. The height is 750 m, 1478 m above sea level.
Hiking in Osogovo Mountain
Osogovo is a mountain and ski resort between southwestern Bulgaria and northeastern Republic of Macedonia. It is about 110 km long and 50 km wide.
Osogovo is the northernmost and highest part of the Osogovo-Belasitsa group and it is situated between the Kyustendil and Kamenitsa Valleys, Dobro pole and the Bregalnitsa an Kriva Reka river valleys. The west slopes are steep and the southeast are slant.
There are many legends about the origin of name Osogovo, but the most famous one is that it was given by the Saxon miners who were mining gold and silver in the region in the past. According to this legend, the name originates from the Old Germanic words “osso” (god) and “gov” (place) which means “a divine place”.
The Osogovo Mountain is the fifth highest in Bulgaria with its highest peak Ruen (2251 m above sea level) – one of the hundred national tourist sites. The mountain is easily accessible and passable all-year round. A convenience asphalt road (21 km) connects the town to the main tourist sites and lodgings. Osogovo is part of the European “Green Belt”, the only mountain in Europe which out of 14 European-standard ecological criteria fulfils 12, which makes it particularly suitable for development of eco-tourism: eco-paths have been laid providing opportunities for pedestrian, bicycle and equestrian tourism. There are also numerous marked hiking routes of varying lengths and degrees of difficulty, while the ski slopes and ski rope-lines at the Osogovo Lodge offer excellent conditions for winter sports.
The presence of game, dining areas, shelters, rest areas and camp sites have benefited the development of hunt tourism, while the abundance of Balkan and American trout make the mountain rivers Bistritsa, Eleshnitsa and others attractive for fishing expeditions.
A number of sites of natural beauty are also to be found on the mountain: “Yuch bunar” – a group of secular sequoia, a centuries-old beech forest close to the Saint Luke Convent and the Crna Reka Preserve. The link between the mountain and town is Hisarlaka hill, which is a preferred place for relaxation and walking in the fresh pine-scented air of the hundred-year-old woods in the Forestry Park where pedestrian paths, children`s parks and a zoo have been built. This is where many of the mountain-hiking routes start.
In Kyustendil Municipality there are mountainous populated areas with a potential for developing rural tourism. 44 villages comply with the requirements set in the normative framework of the country for providing this type of tourist serv¬ices.
In the Kyustendil village the tourist is welcomed as a guest and can feel as a friend or traveler – researcher, can identify himself and live with the local population, can participate in the agricultural activities, walks, trips with horses and carts, craft and culinary courses, etc. This folklore and traditional variety that even today bewilders the specialists was created by the traditions of the Thracians, Slavs and Proto-Bulgarians. The traditions, rituals, national costumes, songs are specific and varied. They are unified by our 13-century history and have preserved the Bulgarian spirit through the ages. Elements of pagan rituals can be seen even today (mummers, fire dancers). A unique tradition is to make tassels for health (martenitsa) from red and white treads. The skilful Bulgarian hands have mastered the use of textiles, clay, wood, stone and metal.
Hunting and Fishing
National game breeding station “Hunting House – Bor”
Kyustendil 2500, area “Tri Buki”,
tel: +35978/52-55-05, fax: +35978/55-20-50
GSM: +359 888 232 302
South of Kyustendil rises Osogovo Mountain with its highest mount – Rouen. It is characterized by its soft forms, with its beautiful beech, oak and young coniferous forests, large meadows, grassy ridges and mounts. Amazing scenery with good game country, rivers glorifying famous trout predisposes to the development of hunting tourism. This has ensured by the Osogovo state game – breeding station, established in 2001 within the State Forestry “Osogovo” an area of 16,812 ha and an altitude of 600 to 1700 meters with the construction of nature reserve. The region has the shape of an irregular polygon with a length of east-west about 30 km and north-south, about 25 km. The forest consist mainly of beech and white pine trees and main game species are deer, wild boar, wolf, fox, wild cat, marten, badger and others. On the territory one can hunt partridge, quail and others. There are shelters and places for recreation and camping.
“Hunting House – Bor” has 10 beds in double and triple rooms, located 10 km of Kyustendil.
The whole territory of the Kyustendil Region is drained from the Struma River and its feeders. Struma is one of the biggest rivers in Bulgaria. It`s fourth in length and in catchment`s area. The area enters the Kyustendil Hollow from the Zemen Defile, it crosses the hollow from northwest to southeast, flows by Skrino Defile and after the rivers Dzherman and Rilska flow into Struma and it leaves the territory of the Kyustendil Region at the Kocherinovo Rapids. The larger feeders of Struma spring among Rila and Osogovo Mountains. In the Kyustendil Hollow the right Struma feeders are better developed (Dragovishtitsa, Bistritsa, Novoselska and Eleshnitsa rivers), while in the Lower Dupnitsa Hollow – the left feeders (Dzherman and Rilska Rivers).
Among the Valley of Struma River there are many lakes. These include large dams Studena, Pchelina and Dyakovo. There are many suitable places for fishing in the municipality of Kyustendil. Here are the most popular routes:
– In the village of Nevestino (about the bridge) – there you can catch – klen, chub, barbel black, perch and others.
– In the village Rajdavitsa (the dam) – trout, bream, perch and others.
– In the village Kopilovtsi – trout, bream, perch, rudd and others.
– In the village Shipochano (Shipochki Bridge) – trout, bream, perch, rudd, black barbell
– In the village Turnovlag – trout, bream, perch, rudd and others.
Dragovishtitsa River rises from Musul Mountain on the territory of Serbia, near the border with Bulgaria. It flows through Bosilegrad, village of Dragovishtitsa and flows into the Struma River near the village of Shipochano. The length of Dragovishtitsa River is 70 km and in Bulgaria its length is – 24.5 km. Dragovishtitsa is an alpine river with clean, cold water, very suitable for hiking and fishing. There are many opportunities to catch Balkan and American trout, maple, black barbell and Brook, near the villages of Dragovishtitsa, Goranovtsi and Lower Uyno.
Other options for river fishing:
In the upper reaches of Bystrica, Banshtitsa, Eleshnitsa Novoselska, Glogozka and Mlachka Rivers each year shall be an artificial displacement of Balkan and American trout. In the area of these rivers there are many opportunities for fishing tourism.
Dams on the territory of Kyustendil Municipality:
Bagrentsi Dam (village of Bagrentsi); Bersin Dam (village of Bersin); Valog Dam – paid (village of Gorna Grashtitsa); Izvevo Dam – paid (village of Gorna Grashtitsa); Drenov dol Dam (village of Skrinyano); Nikolichevci Dam (village of Nikolichevci) Dam Skrinyano (village Skrinyano) Dam Guigal – paid (village of Tavalichevo). A wide range of representatives of aquatic life such as: American trout, grass carp, silver carp, carp, perch, maple, catfish, pike, rudd, tench, and others.