Town amidst three mountains
Razlog has proudly preserved the Bulgarian National Revival spirit until nowadays
1 July, 2017
The Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary Church.
The Parapaunova House.
The ruins of the Painted Church.
The old Turkish bath.
Razlog is a picturesque town in southwest Bulgaria, situated in the centre of the Razlozhka geological basin, bordered by three mountains - Rila, Pirin and the Rhodope Mountains. The area has been settled since early Antiquity, with the oldest found evidence of civilised life dating back to a Thracian sanctuary, presumably dedicated to the Sun, from the late Bronze and early Iron Age. Two large marble plates with decorations in relief have been found there. There are a total of eight antique settlements registered in the area of Razlog.
Even though it was affected by the barbarian invasions of the 3rd-7th century, the area continued to be inhabited, as evidenced by ruins of an early Christian church of the 5th-6th century near the town of Razlog. Known as St. Ilia, the church has a semicircular apse and preserved fragments of the altar wall, a column with leaf patterns, moulding, etc.
Not far from it stand the ruins of the so-called Painted Church dating back to the Second Bulgarian Empire, which has in turn been built on the site of an older temple. The area also keeps traces of a large 13th-14th century settlement.
The name Razlog was first mentioned in a chrysobull (charter with a gold seal) issued by the Byzantine Emperor Basil II in 1019 as part of the Velbazhd Bishopric. In the Rila Chrysobull issued by King Ivan Shishman in 1378, the expression “Razlozhki priests” was featured in the list enumerating the settlements comprising the feudal estate of the Rila Monastery. In a 1576 Ottoman registry the settlement was referred to as Mehomia and described as a village. The etymology of the word is thought to be linked to “waterskins”, the type of containers used to transport the tar produced in Mehomia.
In the 18th century the Rila Monastery opened a convent in Mehomia, which housed a church school. People in the area lived off of agriculture and stock-breeding in the 19th century, with pottery and gold craftsmanship among the more developed crafts. In 1834 the St. George Church was built and in the early 20th century, the larger Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary, was raised.
The village took active part in the 19th century independence movement. In 1869 the national hero Vasil Levski established a revolutionary committee in the town. During the preparation of the April Uprising of 1876, Mehomia was included in the IV Revolutionary Region (Panagyurishte). Following Bulgaria’s independence, the town remained in the territory of the Ottoman Empire and so the freedom fight continued. Mehomia was not acceded to Bulgaria until the First Balkan War of 1912.
Some 41 residential buildings of Bulgarian National Revival houses have been preserved in the old part of Razlog. They are all of the Razlog-Chepin type and have been designated cultural monuments.
In the 1920s-1930s Razlog got its typical modern town centre, which has stayed largely untouched over the years. Today, the town is covered in greenery, while the profusion of water basins and panoramic views of Pirin and Rila create an unforgettable atmosphere. The churches, the town museum in the Parapaunova House, the Kipremakseva House, the natural washing machine on the River Yazo and the old Turkish bath are just some of the local landmarks.