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There has been a social life in the region of Pirdop since the remote past. The territory was inhabited by the Thracian tribe Koilaleti which became part of the tribe of the Bessi around 5th - 4th BC. More than 180 Thracian tombs indicate their presence in the region.

The active social life continued during the Antiquity and the Middle Ages. The ancient Roman road from Serdika (Sofia) to Augusta Trayana (Stara Zagora) passed through the area; remains of it can be seen in Sredna Gora Mountain near the village of Doushantsi. The remains of many ancient monuments and Medieval fortresses in the close vicinity prove that there was a developed social life during the Early, High and Late Middle Ages. A well-known historic site is the Elenska Basilica which was built at the end of 5th and at the beginning of the 6th century and rebuilt during the reign of the Byzantine emperor Justinian the Great (527 - 565).

The first written record for the existence of a settlement named Protopopintsi is an Ottoman register dated at 1430. The name Protopopintsi is a proof that the highest-ranking priest in the region - protopop (archpriest) lived in it. The place name Pirdop was used for the firs time in 1727 in a written record of the Glozhene Monastery.

In the early Ottoman times the settlement was the biggest and the most important in the region. It is known that groups of the population with specific statute, usually used for auxiliary or rear services in the Ottoman army lived here until the middle of the 19th c. The first historical record about the existence of a Christian church in Pirdop is from 1618. It is said in it that the local priest paid with his own money for a liturgical book he needed. The written records indicate that in 1698 the well-known Protopopinski damaskin (a collection of homilies) was bought with the financial support of fifty-three donors. In 1874 Pirdop Epistle book (an important historic book from the 18th century) was found among the church books. Todor Pirdopski, the last Bulgarian author of damaskins, worked here until the middle of the century. He wrote more than 30 books one of which was a manual copy of Istoriya Slavyanobolgarskaya (Slavonic-Bulgarian History). There are two more such copies of it from Pirdop.

 

During the Bulgarian National Revival Pirdop was an important manufacturing and trade centre. There were more than 700 water-driven looms for braiding in the town. Carpet and cotton industry, homespun tailoring, shoemaking, soap boiling and goldensmith's crafts, sheep and cattle breeding were also highly developed. In 1860s and 1870s local traders, cattle-drovers and tax collectors sold goods at the markets in Uzundjovo and Eskidjumaya, Tsarigrad (Instanbul), Bursa, Izmir (Smyrna), Štip, Belgrade, Bucharest and many other places in and out of the Ottoman Empire. In regard to the economy Pirdop could be compared to many other developed centres in Bulgaria from that time - such as Gabrovo, Karlovo, Kalofer, Kotel etc. One of the first joint-stock company was founded here - its eight manufacturers and traders had offices all over the Ottoman Empire and a turnover of more than 2.5 million grosh (a currency until the lev was introduced in the 19th century) per year.

There has been a school in Pirdop since 18th century. In 1820 it became a community-owned secular school. In 1840 a secular school using the Monitorial System (Bell-Lancaster method) was founded, in 1859 - a class school, and in 1863 - a girls' school. In 1871 a community cultural centre (chitalishte) named "Suglasie" was founded.

The local people took part in the Bulgarian liberation movement when Vasil Levski (a leader of the struggle for liberation from Ottoman rule) set up a revolutionary committee here in 1870. Just before the April Uprising (in March 1876) another revolutionary - Todor Kableshkov (born in Koprivshtitsa) renewed the committee.

Pirdop was a home town of one of the members of Hristo Botev's group of rebels - Dimitar Nochev and 37 Opalchentsi (literally "those who oppose [the Ottoman rule]".They were Bulgarian voluntary army units, who took part in the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878). Four of them - Dimitar Savov, Atanas Savov, Ivan Pushkarov and Peter Venkov also took part in the Serbo-Turkish War of 1876.

Other well-known local people of that period were: a teacher and writer Zlatan Gruev Kinov who was one of the founders of the first Red Cross Society in Bulgaria; a teacher and also a writer, later a trader, Luka Pavlov who in 1858 made the first lithograph portrait of Cyril and Methodius, which was very popular in the schools at that time; a leader in the intellectual life at the end of the period was the teacher Simeon Surdanov who founded a students' society "Uchenolubiva Drujinka".

After the Liberation of Bulgaria (March 3rd, 1878) Pirdop was one of the few Bulgarian towns which had four members in the First Grand National Assembly in 1879 - Luka Pavlov, Dimitar Savov, Manol Zlatanov and Haralampi Zlatanov.

Some other prominent Bulgarian public figures born in Pirdop were:

Nikola Pushkarov - a leader of the struggle for liberation of Macedonia and one of the leaders of the Ilinden-Preobrazhenie Uprising. He worked as a teacher in Skopje and an editor of the illegal newspaper "Osvobojdenie"(Liberation). Later he dedicated his life to scientific research and he was the first scientist who studied the types of soils in Bulgaria. He was acknowledged to be the founder of the soil science and of The Bulgarian Soil Institute which was named after him. Now his native house is a museum.

Lieutenant-general Stefan Paprikov was a prominent Bulgarian soldier, Minister of War, Minister of Foreign Affairs and held other high positions in Bulgarian Government from 1899 until 1910. As a Minister of Foreign Affairs he played an important part in the proclamation of Bulgaria's independence. He was minister plenipotentiary in Russia twice - 1907 - 1908, 1910 - 1912.

Alipia Genchov Vlaikov (1856 - 1934), the famous writer Todor Vlaikov's brother, was a teacher, customs officer, chief secretary of Ministry of Finance. He climbed up the state governing ladder due to his honesty, diligence and self-education. The fact that he retired at the age of 70, which was not common, show that he was highly respected. For five decades as a teacher, customs chief officer and state employee he worked hard for the progress of his country and was acknowledged for that - he was awarded a Medal for Merit and "St. Alexander". He was also very generous and willing to help his fellow citizens - he donated 200 000 leva for building and supporting a home for the aged which was named "Alipia and Nedeliya Vlaikovi".

Todor Vlaikov (1865 - 1943) was a prominent writer and founder of the Radical Democratic Party, author of the novella "Old Slavcho's Granddaughter", a collection of stories "Officials and Rulers" and the memoirs "Experience" in three volumes. He was one of the founders of the first agricultural cooperative "Oralo" (plough) in the village of Mircovo and one of the founders of the Bulgarian Teachers' Association. For more than 30 years - from 1899 to 1931 he was a MP. He suffered from progressive failing eyesight and finally he resigned from active social life and devoted the rest of his life to his literary works. He was one of the few Bulgarian writers who signed the Petition to save the Bulgarian Jewish population during the Second World War.

Georgi Georgiev Andreev (Veselin Andreev) - was a writer, anti-fascist, author of the memoirs "They Died Immortal", short stories "In Lopian's Forest", a volume of poetry "Guerilla Songs" and others.

Neno Stoyanov - the first Bulgarian phytotherapist;

Dr. Haralampi Genchev - the founder of the Bulgarian epidemiology;

Ivan Krustanov - an Academician (Academician is a title and denote a full member of the National Academy of Sciences), Esperantist

Academician Tsvetan Krustanov -a volunteer in The International Brigades in Spain.

Prof. Ivan Nenov - a deputy minister of Education and an ambassador in Pakistan in 1970s.

 

In the last 40-50 years Pirdop has been developed as a centre of the copper production in Bulgaria and is known as the copper centre of the country. In 1958 a copper smelter and refinery was founded. It was privatized by the Belgian company Umicore eleven years ago. Now it is part of the German company Norddeutsche Affinerie (NA) - the leading European copper production and processing group.

Now in Pirdop there are four schools, a nursery and three kindergartens. Two of the schools are municipal - the Primary school-monument "Todor Genchov Vlaikov" and the Comprehensive school "Savo Ts. Savov", The Vocational Technical School is run by the Ministry of Education and the Vocational School of Tourism and Food Technology "Prof. Nikola Dimov" is run by the Ministry of Agriculture. About 1000 students altogether are attending these schools.

Pirdop is a starting point for a hiking trail to lodge "Paskal" and peak Paskal(2029.1m) in Stara Planina, the Elenska Basilika, the village of Doushantsi, Panagurishte, Koprivshtitsa and Sredna Gora. There is a hostel with a capacity of 30 guests and a Mountain Rescue Service. The nine Canadian redwood trees planted in 1930 at the railway station, in the Primary School's yard, in the churchyard and in some private properties are natural landmarks.

Popular tourist sights are the fountain in the centre of the town (build in 1956), Todor Vlaikov's monument (1975), chitalishte "Napredak"(cultural club "Progress"), Lukanov's house-museum, Nikola Pushkarov's house-museum, the church "Sveto Uspenie Bogorodichno" (Dormition of the Theotokos) and others.