Banya, Razlozhko - the richest village in mineral springs in Bulgaria
Updated: Aug 27
I have the great pleasure of being a guest of the village with the largest number of hot mineral springs in Bulgaria - Banya, Razlozhko.
An incredible village is Banya - ancient, hidden between Pirin, Rila and near the very slopes of the Rhodope Mountains. The beautiful views here are endless, and apparently so are the hot mineral springs.
Today there are more than 70 hot mineral springs in the Banya region. Currently, about 1/3 of all mineral springs in Southwestern Bulgaria are concentrated here.
A natural healing factor in Banya is the climate, which is moderately continental with a low-mountain characteristic. Winter is very cold, spring is cool, summer is moderately warm, and autumn is dry and warm.
Thanks to the wealth of hot mineral springs, the climate in the area and its location, Banya becomes a perfect spa location and an excellent winter resort.
The old name of the village is Guliina Banya.
Health springs here since ancient times. People knew it and built their houses near the springs. That is why Banya is one of the oldest settlements in the area.
Near the Old Bulgarian Bath, built in Roman style, about which I will tell you more in a moment, traces of an ancient Thracian settlement were found. Similar remains have been found in several different places and outside the present-day outline of the village.
Around the 4th century BC, the settlement was under the rule of Philip II, father of Alexander the Great.
Near the Old Bulgarian Bath, there was a sanctuary from that time, evidence of which is the preserved stone with an inscription in ancient Greek.
Ancient coins with the images of Philip II and his son - Alexander III of Macedon were found during the mining of the mineral springs in the area of the Old Bulgarian Bath.
With the death of Alexander the Great (in 323 BC), the slow disintegration of the Macedonian state began, the political balance of the Balkans was disturbed, and the wars of the Diadochi shook it even more. This also contributes to the economic weakening of the lands belonging to the Macedonian state. This situation greatly expanded the possibilities for the Celts to penetrate into the interior of the peninsula.
The great Celtic invasion of Macedonia, Greece, Thrace and Asia Minor began in the early 80s of the 3rd century BC.
The Celtic invasion of the Balkans consisted of a series of migrations of Celtic tribes in the 4th and 3rd centuries BC during the time of the Latin culture southeast to the Balkan Peninsula.
The Celts inhabited the western half of the Pannonian plain, but invaded in two directions - south of the Carpathians along the Danube, and also into Italy along the Adriatic coast. According to legend, 300,000 Celts set off for Italy and Illyria.
At the same time, the Thracians inhabiting these lands did not have a unified and strong state, but lived in separate independent tribes.
The lush green meadows, the numerous and clear rivers and the shady forests on the ridges of the mountains surrounding the valley appealed to the Celts very much and they lived together with the Thracians, preserving their faith, way of life and culture.
In the 2nd century BC, the Romans gradually conquered these lands.
In the 7th century AD along the valley of the Struma River and across the Predela in this extremely beautiful valley, the Slavs gradually settled, taking advantage of the weakness of Byzantium. Strongly attracted by the region's rich endowments for cattle breeding, the Slavs settled here permanently. They live in peace with the local Thracians and Celts. Their multitude gradually imposed forever their language, way of life and culture. The names with which they gave places, mountains and rivers are preserved even today.
The joining of these lands to the Bulgarian state, established in 681, took place during the time of Khan Presiyan, grandson of Khan Omurtag, who ruled from 836 to 852.
In 1201, during the reign of King Kaloyan during the Second Bulgarian State, these lands were freed from the Byzantine invasion.
After this period, the Bulgarian language was strongly established here.
On September 21, 1378, it is evident from the Rila charter that the settlement was a feudal dependency of the monastery.
The Rila charter is a chrisovul*, issued by the office of Tsar Ivan Shishman (1371 - 1393) of the Rila Monastery.
The certificate is stamped with the golden seal of Tsar Ivan Shishman. It is written on parchment measuring 130 cm x 22 cm with a semi-inset.
With the Rila charter, the monastery was given as feudal possessions more than twenty settlements and metos in the southwestern Bulgarian lands together with their lands. The certificate is a valuable source for the fiscal regulation and administrative structure of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom.
*Chrysovulus (Greek: χρυσόβουλο) is a gold ornament representing a seal (bulla aurea or golden seal in Latin) attached to the edicts issued by the Byzantine emperors and later by other monarchs in Europe during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.
At first the term referred only to the seal, but later came to be used as the name of the entire decree.
Laws, international treaties and the most important deeds of gift were published in chrysovule form.
530 hard, dark and evil years of Banen people experienced the Turkish yoke.
The representative of the Turkish authorities in the whole of Razlozhko lived in Banya.
The majority of the population hid in the forests of Pirin, thereby laying the foundation for today's Bansko. Another part of the Christians fled to Rila - in the direction of the villages of Gorno and Dolno Draglishte.
The Christian church was destroyed, and the cemetery around it was deserted. A mosque and a new Mohammedan cemetery were built. A new religion was imposed on part of the population of Banya, but the language remained Bulgarian. The surnames of the post-Mohammedan population also remained Bulgarian.
The old Bulgarian bath
The old Bulgarian bath in the village was probably built somewhere around the 16th - 17th centuries. It was built in a typical Roman style - a row of stones, three or four rows of flat baked bricks and has a separate vaulted bathroom.
In 1735, it was repaired by master Zaho.
The old Bulgarian bath has small openings in the vault - with a lamp with a chimney above the vault.
The bathroom has hypocaust heating. The walls have built-in wall channels through which hot water flows and thus additionally warms the bath, creating a pleasant atmosphere even on cold winter days.
Niches were built into the walls where the bathers left their belongings. Even today, the old hangers are preserved. A fire was lit in a small alcove for lighting.
Several openings can be seen on the dome that had the same purpose.
A water mixer has been preserved to this day. The hot (54 degrees Celsius) and cold water pass through it, thus mixing to obtain the ideal bathing temperature.
The pool has its original flooring on the bottom.
The bathroom sinks are not authentic, but are made after the restoration in marble to show the contrast between the bathroom in the past and today.
How do you get to the Old Bulgarian Bath?
The numerous signposts will also point you in the right direction and guide you quickly and easily to this definitely very interesting village landmark.
The Old Bulgarian Bath is currently located between 2nd Street and 16th Street.
In the village of Banya, one more old bathhouse can be visited.
A city is only perfect when it has a bathroom!
Abu Sir, one of the first Arab historians
Murtina Bath (Ottoman Hammam)
The building of baths was so important in the past that it was recommended that if someone had a sin, he should build a bath, which would atone for his sin. In this way - with a donation from a wealthy Turkish family, the Turkish bath was built in the village of Banya.
The bathhouse is typical of Ottoman public baths in the Balkans built during that period.
Murtina bath is believed to have been built sometime in the 17th century, due to its similar architecture to the old Bulgarian bath.
It was built with two entrances, because the Ottomans had a belief that before bathing, one enters the bathroom with the left foot through the left door, and then exits through the right.
For the warm waters of the Turkish bath, they used mild water, which has a temperature of 54 degrees Celsius. The hot mineral water mixed with the cold water from the river, which flowed directly under the bath.
The Turkish bath was used until the middle of the 20th century, and after its restoration in 2012, every tourist can feel the authentic atmosphere of the bath.
How do you get to Murtina Bath (Ottoman Hammam)?
The Turkish bath is currently located at the intersection of 2nd Street and 13th Street.
Opposite the Old Bulgarian Bath, today I find a monument erected to Neophyte Rilski.
It is noted on the monument that the writer was born in the house erected on this site in 1790.
In Bansko, I had the pleasure of visiting Neophyte Rilski's native house, now turned into an interesting museum.
I will not take sides in the dispute concerning his birthplace and will leave that to the historians.
How do you get to the monument of Neophyte Rilski?
The monument, erected on the place where Neophyte Rilski's birthplace is supposed to have been, is located opposite the Old Bulgarian Bath between 2nd Street and 16th Street.
In 1801, the first burning of the village occurred by the hordes from Kardzhali who looted and looted everything.
The period from the beginning of the 19th century to the Kresna-Razlozh uprising was a period of economic and cultural upsurge. Handicrafts, trade and educational work are experiencing rapid development.
In 1870, there were between 40 and 50 artisan workshops, ten soap makers, ten iron smiths, many tailors, rope makers, coppersmiths, shoemakers, etc. working here.
Agricultural production was also on the rise. A lot of flax was grown, linen threads were produced, which were exported outside the borders of the empire. During this period, there were also large merchants in Banya. The most famous was Stoyko Mudev, who traded in goods from the White Sea.
During the preparation of the April Uprising, the Razlog Region was included in the IV Plovdiv Revolutionary District.
After the decisions of the Congress of Berlin, which left Macedonia outside the borders of the newly formed Principality of Bulgaria, in 1878 the Kresna-Razlozh uprising broke out.
Bulgarians from Macedonia sent petitions, memoirs and requests to the governments of the Great Powers and the Provisional Russian Government protesting against the decision to keep their lands within the Ottoman Empire. Along with the peaceful protests, the Chetnik actions continue.
Banya, a village on the E from Bansko 1 hour, from Mehomiya 1 1/2 hours. Captures the center of all Razlog villages; it is located oblong on a level, near Glaznya. The arable land is sandy, so agriculture does not thrive; abroad here and throughout Razlog is a common thing. Before 1879, this village was one of the most flourishing. During the unrest, an entire neighborhood burned down, the ruins of which are still visible today. New church and school with 60 students and 1 teacher. About 300 houses, half Pomashki and Bulgarian. Of the Bulgarians, 5 houses are Protestants.
Hot mineral water springs in Banya, a whole stream. At the source itself, the temperature is so high that it cannot last. The water is then cooled with cold in separate tanks called "baths".
Georgi Yanakiev Strezov for the village of Banya, 1891
Bulgarian scientist, historian and lawyer, born in Ohrid.
In 1897, the community center "Prosveta" was founded.
Liberation came in October 1912.
The village of Banya and Razlozhko were freed from Turkish slavery by the 27th Chepinsky Regiment commanded by General Kovachev.
The first mayor of the newly liberated village was Angel Darakchiev. Thanks to him, to this day, Banya has wide streets and a European layout.
Today in Banya there are preserved old Renaissance buildings of the Razlozh-Chepin house type and a variety of the Rhodope house, eleven of them are marked as cultural monuments.
"Guliina Banya" mineral springs - the wealth of health
The "Guliina Banya" deposit is one of the largest in the country. Geothermal waters are associated with granites of the Rilo-Western Rhodope massif.
Before the start of the drilling studies, there were two groups of natural water sources - in the valleys of the Pihla River in the west and the Koneshtitsa River in the east, and also a total of 27 springs.
Since 1956, eight boreholes have been drilled with depths ranging from 85 to 500 meters.
Initially, the flow rate increases almost two and a half times, but gradually decreases to approximately the original water quantities.
All water sources show a strong interaction with each other. Many of the natural springs greatly reduce their flow rate or dry up after drilling the wells, which operate on a self-flow basis.
The group of 72 springs, of which 8 are captured, is located in the eastern part of the Razlogh hydrothermal basin. They are divided into two thermal zones, about 700 to 800 meters apart.
The latest hydrogeological studies show that the natural resources of the "Guliina Banya" deposit in the village are in the amount of Qest = 51.61 liters per second, with the water temperature varying between 37°С and 59°С.
The water gushing from the hot mineral springs of Banya, Razlozhko is suitable for drinking balneotherapy, external balneotherapy and for sports and health purposes.
Drinking balneotherapy is applied in a certain individual dosage and under medical supervision.
Detailed chemical composition, characteristics, indications and method of treatment of the living water gushing from the springs of the village of Banya:
Water temperature: between 37°C and 59°C
Colloidal metasilicic acid
Contains oxidizable sulfur compounds
Gases – radon and hydrogen sulphide
Detailed chemical composition:
Fluorine ions: 8.5 mg/l
Chlorine ions: 9.1 mg/l
Sulfate ions: 47.48 mg/l
Hydrogen phosphate ions: 0.02 mg/l
Hydrogen carbonate ions: 34.2 mg/l
Sodium ions: 87.26 mg/l
Calcium ions: 1.6 mg/l
Magnesium ions: 0.49 mg/l
Iron ions: 7.48 mg/l
Metacremic acid: 74.8 mg/l
Total mineralization: 361.71 mg/l
Indications for drinking balneotherapy:
Chronic non-specific diseases of the gastrointestinal tract: gastritis, gastroduodenitis, enteritis, colitis and others
Diseases of the liver-biliary system: non-infectious chronic hepatitis in the compensated stage, chronic cholecystitis, gallstone disease, conditions after cholecystectomy and others
Metabolic diseases: obesity, gout, diabetes mellitus in the compensated stage - insulin-independent type
Chronic diseases of the urinary system: kidney stone disease, chronic non-specific pyelonephritis, urethritis, prostatitis and others
Inhalations in non-specific diseases of the upper and lower respiratory tract
Diseases of the musculoskeletal system - degenerative joint diseases, inflammatory joint diseases in remission, post-traumatic diseases of the joints, muscles and ligaments, post-fracture conditions
Diseases of the peripheral nervous system - discopathy, disc disease, post-operative conditions in disc disease, radiculitis, plexitis, polyradiculoneuritis
Occupational diseases associated with damage to the joint-muscular apparatus and the peripheral nervous system
Skin diseases - chronic non-specific dermatitis, eczema and others
Gynecological diseases - chronic adnexitis, oophoritis, endometritis, ovarian hypofunction and others
Diseases related to overstrain and stress - neuroses, initial hypertension, vegetative dystonia and others
Renal and urological diseases
They are recommended in the treatment of some occupational intoxications with heavy metals
Main biological effect of mineral water:
Enhancement of diuresis
Stimulates gastric secretion
Improves liver functions
Inhalations with water are effective for lung diseases
Sports and health purposes
Probably the most characteristic quality of mineral water from the miraculous springs of Banya is its energization!
What does that mean? This means that after the various water treatments the effect is toning and stimulating, and not the usual relaxing one.
A similar effect of mineral water is found only in the world-famous alpine resort of St. Moritz - the heart of winter tourism in Switzerland, but there it has a much lower degree and flow rate.
How does the composition of mineral water affect the human body?
Hydrogen carbonate ions maintain the acid balance in the body.
Hydrogen carbonate ions and sodium ions help normalize bile secretion.
Chlorides increase the decreased secretion of bile juice and increase its acidity.
Sulfate and magnesium ions slightly irritate the mucous membrane of the bile and cause a laxative effect. This is very useful for the elderly and also for people leading a sedentary lifestyle. They are useful for the cardiovascular system.
Calcium ions are especially important for building teeth and bones.
Fluoride contributes to the strength of teeth and bones.
Metacremic acid has a beneficial effect on the nutritional system and acts as an antioxidant.
Where to stay in the village of Banya, Razlozhko?
Grand Hotel Therme took care of my amazing stay in the village of Banya, Razlozhko with exceptional care.
Dear friends, if you follow the given link, you will access my post, here on my site "Photo Moments", which will reveal to you the emotions that my stay at the hotel managed to seal in me.
How do you get to the village of Banya, Razlozhko?
Banya is a village in Southwestern Bulgaria. It is located in Razlog municipality, Blagoevgrad district.
It is located in a mountainous area at 801 meters above sea level. in the center of the Razlog valley between three mountains - Pirin, Rila and Rhodopes.
The village is located very close to both the city of Bansko and the city of Razlog - only 5 (five) kilometers to each settlement.
The village of Banya is entered from the north on the Republic road II-84**.
*Republicanski path II-84 is a second-class road, part of the Republic road network of Bulgaria, passing through the territory of Pazardzhik and Blagoevgrad districts.
Its length is 104.8 kilometers.
From here passes the Septemvri - Dobrinishte railway line, which was built in the 1930s.
Banya is 52 kilometers away from the regional town (about 53 minutes by car).
The climate in the area is mountainous and allows the retention of the snow cover from December to April, and the alpine character of Pirin Mountain provides excellent conditions for professional and amateur skiing.
The bathroom is located at:
156 kilometers (about 1 hour and 51 minutes by car) from the capital
146 kilometers (about 2 hours and 30 minutes by car) from the city of Plovdiv
512 kilometers (about 6 hours and 23 minutes by car) from the city of Varna
396 kilometers (about 4 hours and 30 minutes by car) from the city of Burgas
What can be visited nearby?
Only 5 kilometers south of the village of Banya (about 8 minutes by car) is the city of Bansko, where it is possible to:
to walk around the Old Town
to walk Gotse Delchev Street
to take a picture in front of the city's sundial
to look at the stone pages of the "Slavic Bulgarian History" unfolded around the monument of Paisius
to sit in the shade under the majestic crown of the ancient tree
to learn the history of Khachkar monument
to hear the bells of the bell tower of the Holy Trinity Church
to take a sip of fresh Pirin water from the numerous stone fountains of the Old Town
to visit together the temple "St. Venerable Paisius Hilendarsky"
to visit the house-museum "Neofit Rilski"
to walk the old narrow cobbled streets of the Old Town
to breathe in the aroma of the blooming roses in the courtyard of the Velyanova house
take a look at the museum complex "Nikola Vaptsarov"
to honor Vaptsarov's poems in front of his monument and on the square bearing his name
to visit the poet's native house
to see the accurately recreated cell of Paisius in the spiritual-historical center "St. Paisius Hilendarski"
to enjoy amazing panoramas towards Pirin from the panoramic platform of Bansko
In Bansko there is the Bansko Gondola.
The most popular ski resort in Bulgaria - Bansko has comfortable and safe lifts that guests of the city can use all year round.
At the disposal of the residents and guests of the resort are two six-seater, six four-seater, two two-seater lifts and one cabin lift, which is also the most attractive and preferred lift in the city.
The cabin ropeway "Bansko - Banderishka Polyana" has a route length of 6,233 meters, which ranks it in second* place in length.
*The championship is held by the Simeonovska ropeway on Vitosha, which has a track length of 6720 meters.
The gondola, as the Bansko gondola lift is also called, was manufactured by the Austrian company Doppelmayr in 2002 (today's Austrian-Swiss company Doppelmayr-Garaventa) and was put into operation in 2003.
The route through which the lift passes has a height difference of 597 meters, and the capacity of the facility is about 2,000 people per hour.
The stations of the eight local Bansko cable car are three - lower (initial), intermediate and upper (final).
The lower (initial) station is located 998 meters above sea level and is about 2.5 kilometers from the center of Bansko.
At the bottom station of the lift, there are also the cash desks, where tickets and cards for using the lift can be purchased.
The intermediate station is located in the area of Chalin Valog at 1468 meters above sea level.
Here, tourists have two options – either get off the lift to walk or descend the slopes of Chalin Valog, or continue to the upper station of the lift.
The last part of the cable car route starts from the intermediate station "Chalin Valog" to Banderishka Polyana.
The Banderishka Polyana area, where the upper (end) lift station is located, is one of the most attractive places for summer and winter tourism in the Pirin Mountains.
How do you get to the Bansko Gondola?
8 kilometers east of the city of Bansko (about 9 minutes by car) is the charming jewel of Dobrinishte.
In Dobrinishte, I suggest you take another incomparable walk and visit the town's Balneolechebnitsa, next to which a wonderful and green park has been built.
The Church of St. St. Apostles Peter and Paul is exquisite, beautiful and I suggest you take a look at it during your walk.
The center of Dobrinishte is beautiful and offers tranquility, charm and beauty to its visitors.
Only 7 kilometers northwest of Banya (about 11 minutes by car) is the wonderful Razlog.
In Razlog, I suggest you take the "Steps".
From the place, you will have the magnificent opportunity to enjoy an amazing view of three mountains – the beautiful Pirin, the exquisite Rila and the proud Rhodopes.
The green, orderly, colorful, fresh and incredibly beautiful city park of Razlog is also a place you should not miss to visit.
A walk around the city will calm, amaze and impress you, so just do it.
Only 14 kilometers north of the village of Banya (about 18 minutes by car) you will find the picturesque Rila village of Dobarsko. A walk here is an immense pleasure and you should not miss it!
In the village there is a unique national cultural monument - the Church of St. St. Theodore Tiron and Theodore Stratilatus in Dobno, which I think is too famous to invite you to visit, because you probably already have.
And perhaps you are looking for attractions and daring entertainment?! If so, the bear park above Belitsa, nestled in the beautiful Rila forests, is just for you!
Just 14.5 kilometers northeast of the village of Banya (about 18 minutes by car) is beautiful Belitsa.
About 12 kilometers northeast of the village of Belitsa (about 22 minutes by car) along a narrow and in some sections rather dusty road in the bottom forests of Rila, there is a bear park that I invite you to visit.
Certainly, around the village of Banya and the city of Bansko, you can visit all the high-quality and very interesting sites, eco-paths, routes and places. I will advise you to take the road leading to Vihren hut.
At the side of the road, look around for a detour by the incredibly beautiful, fresh and impressively beautiful river Demyanitsa.
Demyanitsa is a river from the Mesta basin, which collects the waters of six lake groups - Vasilashki, Valyavishki, Prevalski, Tipitski, Kirkamski and Gazeiski lakes. Under the name Valyavitsa, it originates from the Valyavish Lakes at 2,400 meters above sea level. It initially flows west, but after passing through the Tiyatsite area, it heads straight north. Its catchment area is estimated at 37 sq. km. The average slope is 102 per mille, that is, for every kilometer of linear length, the river descends by more than one hundred meters. Near the Demyanitsa hut, it receives two large tributaries - the Vasilashka river on the left, and the Gazeiska river on the right. After that, two more rivers flow into it - Kirkamska on the left and Yulen on the right. This makes it a relatively full-water river with a flow rate of about 1.5 cubic meters per second.
Above Bansko Demyanitsa, it merges with the Bunderitsa river and the two together form the Glazne river. The total length of the Demyanitsa river to the confluence with Banderitsa is about 14 kilometers.
Here, enjoy it and feel the freshness of the mountain!
Only 14.5 kilometers from Bansko (about 34 minutes by car) on the road winding through Pirin in the direction of Vihren hut, there is a strange and very, very old tree.
Tree of the years of Bulgaria!
Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the Baykusheva mura!
And as a finale, my dear friends,
you shouldn't miss a look
the special album with photo moments –
discovered, experienced, captured and shared with you!