History of Perushtitsa

“Perushtitsa pale, nest of heroes and glory! Eternal glory, to the children of yours, to your ashes and on your grave….”

These poetic words forever determined the honorable place of Perushtitsa in Bulgarian history. The city has become a monument of immortality, to whom grateful Bulgarians and astounded foreigners worship. In this city on April 1876 cried out the most powerful voice for freedom that Europe has ever heard – men murdered their own women and children and then themselves, so that they may not become slaves. This moment in the April Uprising is truly overwhelming in its own force. In the church "St. Archangel Michael” more than 347 free Bulgarians lost their lives when faced with the Bashi-bazouk (a disobedient and cruel shoulder) Adil Aga. After a seven day battle Perushtitsa is freer than ever. Europe and the world are silenced from the feat of Kocho Chestemenski, Spas Ginev and Ivan Hadzhitliev.

On the occasion of the 20th anniversary, of the April Uprising in 1896 the Perushtinian committee “27 Aprilii” was created, and assigned the task of raising a monument for the Perushtinian martyrs, which died for the freedom of Bulgaria in 1876, and to preserve their heroic deed. After the April Uprising the bones of the heroes are buried outside the limits of the former Perushtitsa. With the decision of the committe“27 Aprilii” and the municipal government, the bones of the insurgents where returned to the church "St. Archangel Michael ". The city was liberated from Ottoman rule on the 3-rd of January 1878. The 100-year anniversary of the Liberation was marked with the “Monument of three generations” mounted on the hill "Vlasivitsa".Червената църква

The area of Perushtitsa is rich in archaeological findings. One of the oldest monuments, with great historical value is the Red Church, or “The Virgin Mary”. The temple was built in the early Middle Ages V – VI century AD and is one of the most significant and original Early Christian basilicas on the Balkans. It is has an impressive size for its time. “The Red Church” skilfully combines ancient Greek style with the new Byzantine style and some forms of roman mausoleum architecture unifying the requirements of the Christian cult.

Perushtitsa is located at the northern foot of “Varhovrah” and part of the Rhodope Mountains. Named after Perestitsa – a fortified place that has existed since the Middle Ages. The fortress was part of a defensive chain of the second Bulgarian kingdom. It is believed that the present town originated from the ancient city Dragovets, located 2-3 km north of its present-day boundaries and destroyed by the hordes of Turkish commander Lala Shahin in 1364. The Turkish attempt to assimilate the local population failed. In the XV century refugees had already settled in – Bulgarians from the farthest western coasts of the Balkans (today's Albania and Epirus). Later the town was plundered and burnt again in 1794 by Mehmed Mustard’s mountain bandits.

In Perushtitsa there are clear traces of Roman and Thracian civilizations. Ages before the arrival of the romans, the Thracians have created their own village around the “karst spring” in the former district Pastusha. In this region 29 mounds (tumuli) have been found, the most famous of which are Brass and Banova mounds. In the basics of the Spiritual mound, during excavations, Thracian golden chariots have been found. These findings suggest that civilization on these lands is linked to the oldest living city in the world – Plovdiv, and has never ceased to exist. The findings of the Spiritual mound are e exhibited today in the Historical Museum in Perushtitsa - thracian chariots, a male marble head in real size, statues of ancient gods, votive tablets, as well as coins minted in Philippopolis.

During the Revival in Perushtitsa, prominent educators and activists of the national liberation movement lived and worked there, people like Peter Bonev, Spas Ginev, Kocho Chestimenski Vasil Sokolsk ie. the doctor. In 1869 Vasil Levski founded here a secret revolutionary committee, whose work was resumed later in 1876 by George Benkovski.Изглед от град Перущица

Perushtitsa exist as an independent municipality from 1998 and covers an area of 48,720 acres. In its territory, the only inhabited place is the town Perushtitsa. According to data from the last counting, the residents of the community are 5058 inhabitants. Located 24 km from Plovdiv and with a good road infrastructure. It borders the municipalities of Krichim, and Rodopi Stambolijski.

The complex "Historical Museum" includes four exhibition halls, which trace the development of the settlement from Neolithic times to its modern look.  An addition to these is the church "St. Archangel Michael "- pantheon of the April epopee. The Ethnographic exhibition of Perushtitsa presents weaponry, costumes, pottery and ornaments of the local population. The Danov School is a first class education facility where the first teacher Hristo Danov applied the mutual teaching methodology. The main archaeological sites are represented by the early Christian basilica The Red Church, a roman road to the Aegean Sea and the ruins of the monastery complex "St. Teodor Tiron and Stratilat".

The centerpiece of the lives and livelihoods of Perushtitsa is viticulture and winemaking. During the period of the Second Bulgarian Empire each family is working on vineyards and especially monastic vineyards. For the vine harvest the writer Konstantin Gulubov wrote: “A perushtinian, even if he may be in China, will always come back for the vine harvest”. For Trifon's Day the song „In Perushtitsa the wine drives the mill” is always played.

“In Perushtitsa the wine drives the mill,
life here is a real paradise.
Be I a stork or another warbler bird,
a nest I would shrunk in Perushtitsa”.

The main attraction for the city, even up to present day, is the custom "Kupanki” celebrated on “Ivan’s day” by the old Christian calendar. It is characteristic only of Perushtitsa and the only custom of its sort on the Balkans. It is assumed that the practice is a legacy of the ancient Slavic celebrations associated with water. The Son-in-law or brother-in-law which are the freshest newlyweds, bathe under the “Chalakov” Bridge. The idea of the custom is to have health during the year, the newlywed lad will feel like a man, and so that the brides may be fertile. The custom has inspired the perushian poet Vlaso Vlasov, who wrote the poem "Kapanki in Perushtitsa":

“Fired up by the music and wine,
The young men throw and fight to show strength,
And spray the people with the water
They themselves have sanctified with their bodies.
And in thy yards the shy wives
Hold a vine stem, as each of them
Await for their master to carry in their womb,
The creation of life…”