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Historical and archeological findings indicate that the most ancient monument with national significance in the region of Pirdop is the ruins of the Early Christian church in the area of Elensko dated at the end of 5th and the beginning of 6th century. It is included in UNESCO's World Heritage List.

The temple is located at 3.5 km. northeast of Pirdop. The area is called Elensko, the river which flows through it, is Elenska and the ruins of the basilica - Elenski monastery or "St. Ilia" (St. Elijah) monastery.

It was an ancient Thracian temple of the tribe Koilaleti. Prof. Alexander Fol connects the place with the legend of a deer which came down from the mountain and was offered as a sacrifice from the local people on a certain day of the year. This is one of the hypotheses for the name of the place as deer in Bulgarian language is "elen". The legend is not groundless as a lot of deer bones and horns were found during the excavations. Another hypothesis for the place name comes from the Greek word "Έλληνες"(elini) which means Greeks as the basilica was built in the early Byzantine Age.

The church is situated in the eastern part of a small yard surrounded by thick fortress walls and four square towers. It was built about the end of the 5th century and rebuilt during the reign of the Byzantine emperor Justinian the Great (527 - 565). Thick fortress walls were built after the Slavs invasions in the Balkans in 6th and the beginning of 7th century.

During the Second Bulgarian Kingdom the church was a cultural centre. An important historic book from that period is Pirdop Epistle book which was found in the church in 19th century.

The church was used until about 1700. The legend says that The Ottoman army destroyed and set on fire the church at the order of Yahia Pasha because the local Islamic people slandered the monks of the monastery for not being obedient.

The first amateur excavations of the church were made by the local teachers in the beginning of 1890s. Professional archeological excavations were made in 1913 by Prof. Peter Mutafchiev. The results of the researches the professor published in his essay Elenska basilica near Pirdop" (A Selection of Works, I v., Sofia, 1973)

Later only restoration works were made. Now the ruins of the church are in good conditions but the fortress walls need restoration.