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Town of Batak, The

The lands of Batak region have been inhabited eversince ancient times. The first vestige of the past dates back to the Old Stone Age. These lands, either inhabited or just passed by Thracians, Romans, Slavs, Proto-Bulgarians and Ottomans, still preserve the heritage of their civilizations. There are 20 Thracian, Thracian-Roman, Byzantium and Slav fortresses as well as more than 10 churches and monasteries and many Thracian mounds, Roman bridges, mines, mills and other archaeological findings registered in Batak region.

Until the 1st century BC, when the Romans conquered the Balkan Peninsula, the Northern Thrace and Western Rhodopes were inhabited by the warlike Thracian tribe of the Bessae. According to the father of history – Herodotus, the Bessae possessed the well-known sanctuary of God Dionysus. The holy place of the Bessae became famous when Alexander the Great, as well as the father of the great Roman emperor Octavian Augustus – Gaius Octavianus, both passed by these territories.

During the Slav invasion, Byzantine Empire lost the stable direct control over the Western Rhodopes, though the strategic roads in the northern and southern mountain foot (from Salonika through the Aegean Sea to Constantinople) were still in its hands.

When the Ottoman Empire strengthened its positions, the mountainous villages like Batak attracted many Bulgarians with rebellious temper who settled here in order to preserve the Christian faith of theirs. This led to the significant material and spiritual development of the village. The home crafts and especially timbering, wood processing and trade flourished. About 280 wood-processing workshops were registered here in 1871. The wood was of high quality and the Empire used it for shipbuilding. The merchants from Batak went about all market places. These relations of Batak people with the world bred the freedom-loving spirit of its inhabitants.

During the Bulgarian Revival period, many prominent spiritual figures as the Abbot Archimandrite Yosif, who had restored the Rila Monastery to its present form; the Abbots Kiril and Nikifor; the author of the remarkable Bulgarian ABC Book (printed in 1814) Georgi Busilin and the publisher Dragan Manchov lived here.

During the April Uprising against the Ottomans in 1876, after a two-week unequal battle against the Turkish army of many thousands, 5000 people died and the town was burned down. About two thousand people, who had gathered in St. Nedelya Church, defended heroically their honour and faith for three days and nights and all of them died after the church was burned.

The brightest intellect of mankind raised a voice of protest and indignation against this outrageous occurrence - Viktor Hugo, William Gladstone, MacGahan, Dostoevski, Lev Tolstoy. The world came to know about Bulgaria and its will to be free.

The town of Batak The town of Batak
The town of Batak
One of the most imposing churches in the region - the Holy Virgin church.
The town of Batak The town of Batak
The town of Batak
Behind those nice-looking trees was writen one of most heroic and fiersome pages of Bulgarian history.
The church sign The church sign
The church sign
The old church "St.Nedelya" was built in 1813 by the hands of all the citizens for only 75 days and nights  - thanks to the hard efforts of the then mayor Peter Balinov the constructing permission issued had a three-month validity (which was a special kind of benevolence by the Plovdiv Ottoman Administration – any construction of Christian churches was strictly forbidden).
The churchyard The churchyard
The churchyard
The yard of the St. Nedelya Church.
The small chapel The small chapel
The small chapel
The small chapel St.Nedelya. It was built in accordance to the Ottoman Administration laws - the highest point of the church roof with the cross should not exceed the fence's height.
The last shelter The last shelter
The last shelter
The St. Nedelya church was the last shelter of the citizens of Batak during the 1876 April Uprising. Two thousand children, women and elderly people barricaded themselves inside trying to escape from the Turkish atrocities. But alas  - the Turks slaughtered everyone, and then burned down the church… 
The well The well
The well
In order to quench their kid’s thirst, the mothers dug with their nails that well in the narthex of the church…
Close to history Close to history
Close to history
Getting close to the history…
The Balinov House The Balinov House
The Balinov House
One of the richest museum exhibitions - the Balinov House. (Peter Balinov was the mayor of Batak in that important period of our history).
The book of MacGahan The book of MacGahan
The book of MacGahan
The book of MacGahan
The town of Batak The town of Batak
The town of Batak
The town of Batak
The town of Batak The town of Batak
The town of Batak
The town of Batak