Pazardzhik /also spelled as Pazardjik/ is a town situated along the banks of the Maritsa river in Bulgaria. It is the capital of Pazardzhik Province.
The relief of the municipality is a flat country. Above sea level ranges from 190 to 370 m, the sea level for the town Pazardjik is 205 m.
The town's climate is favorable - it characterizes with warm summer, early spring and late autumn, while the winter is cold and wet. The long summer - often from April until October favours to the growing of grain, rise, tabacoo, cottom, etc. The middle temperature in July- 23.3°С.
Town of Pazardzhik was founded by Tatars in 1485 on the left bank of the river Maritsa, near the market of the region, an important crossroad at the middle of this productive region, and named Tatar Pazardzhik (Turkish Tatar Pazarcιk, "small Tatar market"). Thanks to this favourable location, the settlement quickly developed. While it was very small at the beginning of the 19th century, it became the administrative centre for the region at the end of the century and remained so until the Liberation from Turkish occupation.
The clock tower is one of the symbols of Pazardzhik
During the following centuries the town continued to grow and strengthened its position. Trade in iron, leather and rice prospered. The town impressed visitors with its beautiful houses and clean streets. In 1718 Gerard Kornelius Drish visited Pazardzhik and wrote "the buildings here according to construction, size and beauty stand higher than those of Niš, Sofia and all other places".
The Russians under Count Nikolay Kamensky took the city after a brief siege in 1810. By the mid-19th century Pazardzhik was a big, important centre of crafts and trade, with a population of about 25,000 people. It hosted two big annual fairs, and a big market Tuesdays and Wednesdays. There was a post office with a telegraph.
In 1837 the Church of the Theotokos was built - an important national monument, famous for its architecture and woodcarving. In the mid-19th century Pazardzhik became an important cultural centre: a school was opened in 1847, a girls' school in 1848, a community centre in 1868, the women's union "Prosveta" in 1870. The Church of the Theotokos preserves the most impressive icons in Bulgaria by master artists of the Debar School, wood-carvings of New and Old Testament scenes, and icons by Stanislav Dospevski.
Among the town's landmarks are also the clock tower, the ethnography and history museum.
As with most Bulgarian cities, Pazardzhik has developed a significant pedestrian center, in which several central squares typify the European café society and pedestrian culture. In Bulgaria the café culture is particularly prominent, with many downtown squares easily providing up to a half dozen cafés, with ample outside seating.
Pazardzhik has a level of pedestrian streets (or network of carfree areas) even above the relatively high Bulgarian standard. There are several longer pedestrian streets, and at one point there is even an intersection where five different pedestrian streets converge. A few of these do not continue for very long, but most do, or are connected to the rest of the pedestrian areas of the city, and thus could be said to form the pedestrian network of the city.
During the warmer seasons, most afternoons of the week and especially weekends find a large number of people strolling about or sitting in cafés. There are both tourist and shopping attractions in this area as well.
The backbone of the economy in the Pazardzhik Province is industry. The "Batashki Vodnosilov Pat" is an important hydrocomlex consisting of three hydro power plants- "Batak", "Peshtera" and "Aleko" with combyned capacity of around 250 MW. Copper extracting industry is of national and European importance with major mines located around Panagyurishte (Asarel and Medet), Elshitsa, Tsar Asen and Mina Radka. Machine building industry is developped in Pazardzhik (lead acid batteries), Panagyurishte (optical), Velingrad. There is flourishinig pharmaceutical industry in Peshtera with more than 1 000 employees in the plant. Paper industry is developped in Belovo. Timber industry is very important in the southern part of the region (the Rhodopes)- Batak, Peshtera, Rakitovo and Velingrad. The manufacturing of textiles in well developped in Pazardzhik, Panagyurishte and Velingrad. There is a huge footware plant in Peshtera. Food precessing industry is developped in most of the towns. Agriculture is also important, especially in the fertile central parts of the region. The most important crops are orchards (apples, plums and strawberries), grapes, wheat, barley, rye and rice. Livestock breeding is relatively well developped in the mountainous areas.
The road network is not dense. The Trakiya motorway runs through the middle of the region. The main railway between Sofia and Plovdiv also runs through it. There are two other railways: to Panagyurishte and to Peshtera. There are several military airports. As everywhere in Bulgaria, every town and village in the region is provided with electricity, drinking water and telephone network. Each town and some villages are provided with Internet connection, and the cellular phone coverage is almost 100%.
Sources: web pages - official website of Pazardzhik, Government.bg/ Eng