Blagoevgrad (Bulgarian: Благоевград) is a town in southwestern Bulgaria, the administrative centre of Blagoevgrad Province, with a population of about 76,075. It lies on crossroad to Northern Macedonia and Greece.
An ancient Thracian settlement called Scaptopara emerged on the site around 300 BC and was later conquered by the Roman Empire. The settlement was known for the hot springs in the vicinity, is the forerunner to the modern town of Blagoevgrad.
The Skaptopara inscription (238 A.C.) contains the only complete text of a petition to a Roman emperor (Gordian III). See more
Although the history of the settlement in the Middle Ages is unknown, during the Ottoman rule of the Balkans it was initially a Muslim-majority town called Cuma-ı Bala, meaning Upper Juma in Persian and Ottoman Turkish. A Bulgarian quarter called Varosha was formed during the Bulgarian National Revival, with many of its typical houses and the Church of the Presentation of the Mother of God from 1844 being preserved to this day.
A chitalishte, literally in Bulgarian “reading centre”, was founded in 1866. After the Balkan Wars of 1912-1913, the area was liberated from the Ottoman rule and integrated in the Bulgarian state.
The city today is the economic and cultural centre of south-western Bulgaria. It is located in the valley of the Struma River at the foot of the Rila and Pirin Mountains, 101 km south of Sofia, close to the Greek, Serbian and North Macedonian borders. Blagoevgrad features a pedestrian downtown with preserved 19th century architecture and numerous restaurants, cafes, coffee shops, and boutiques.
Blagoevgrad is home to two universities, the South-West University "Neofit Rilski" and the American University in Bulgaria. The city hosts also the "Sts. Cyril and Methodius National Humanitarian High School", Regional Historical Museum, Drama Theater “Nikola Vaptsarov”, City Art Gallery. See more
Attractions in the surrounding area include the resort Bodrost, and the Logodaj winery: http://www.logodajwinery.com/en.