Smolyan is a town in southern Bulgaria. It is located in the Perelik-Prespa part of the Western Rhodopes at a high altitude - 1035 m. The town was formed on June 18, 1960 by the two towns of Smolyan and Ustovo, and the villages of Raykovo and Ezerovo. It is the administrative center of Smolyan municipality and Smolyan district. According to NSI data as of 31.12.2019 its population is 27,092 people, which makes it the smallest regional city in Bulgaria. Smolyan is one of the longest cities in Bulgaria - nearly 25 km, which is due to its linear construction along the Cherna River.



Saint Visarion of Smolyan

St. Visarion of Smolyan is an Orthodox church in the town of Smolyan, Bulgaria, consecrated on July 2, 2006. It is named after the so-called Bishop Visarion of Smolyan, whose personality was composed during the Renaissance.

The construction of the church began in 2002 and was financed by private donations worth about BGN 3.5 million, about 2/3 of which were donated by the entrepreneur Todor Batkov. The main room of the building has an area of ​​382 m2, the central dome has a diameter of 17 m and the height of the bell tower is 32 m. The church has 11 bells manufactured by the Russian company ZIL, the largest of which weighs 2 tons.

The building was built according to an architectural project by local architects Anton Todorov and Nikolay Bechev, and the designer is Angel Bedrov. The church is covered with copper sheet from Cyprus. The main iconostasis was made by Kancho Tsanev, and the icons were painted by a group of icon painters, under the direction of Elena Decheva and Dechko Dechev.


Saint George
Holy Light of the Virgin
Saint Theodore Stratilates
Holy Week
Historical Museum



Antiquity and the Middle Ages
The name of Smolyan comes from the Slavic tribe of Smolyan, who inhabited this area. It is believed that the village dates back to ancient times. It was named Ezerovo, Aha Chelebi, Pashmakli, etc. According to the ancient Greek historian Herodotus, this area was inhabited by Thracians about 2500 - 3000 years before the beginning of our era.

Remains of a late antique Christian complex, used in the V-VII century and including a basilica and outbuildings located north of it, have been found in the Mogilata area.

Ottoman period
After the fall of the Bulgarian state under Ottoman rule with a sultan's decree in 1519, the Middle Rhodope was given to the court physician Aha Chelebi, which is why these lands are known as Aha Chelebi. In Ottoman documents from the 17th century, the settlement, which existed on the site of today's Smolyan, is mentioned as Ezerovo. It was later renamed Bashmakli and later changed to Pashmakli and Pashmakli. It remained with this name until 1934.

In the period 1871 - 1872, the Aha Celebi kaza with the central settlement of Pashmakli included 14 villages with a total of 4191 households: 2961 of Bulgarian Muslims, 1500 of Bulgarian Christians and 240 of Gypsies. Between 1896 and 1900 the Christian population in the village passed under the rule of the Bulgarian Exarchate.

In 1912, 8,252 families already lived in the Aha-Celebi kaaza, of which 2,815 were Bulgarian exarchists, 140 Bulgarian patriarchs and 5,297 Bulgarian Muslims (Lubomir Miletic, "The Destruction of the Thracian Bulgarians in 1913").

In 1912, 320 Bulgarian Muslim families, 80 Bulgarian exarchist families and 40 Bulgarian patriarchal families lived in Pashmakli.

In Ustovo in 1912 lived 420 families of Bulgarian exarchists, and in Gorno and Dolno Raykovo - a total of 700 families of Bulgarian exarchists, 100 families of Bulgarian patriarchs and 70 families of Bulgarian Muslims.

After the Liberation
Pashmaklii was renamed Smolyan by Order 2820, which renamed a total of 1043 settlements in Bulgaria in 1930. In 1936, excavations were made around the preserved ruins of the old fortress Aetos (Eagle) above Smolyan, revealing stone and mortar fortress walls. , nearly 2 m thick, and the old Slavic village of Mogilata.

On June 18, 1960, the towns of Smolyan and Ustovo and the villages of Raykovo and Ezerovo merged into the town of Smolyan. Smolyan was an old administrative center, Raykovo was a craft center, and Ustovo was a trade center.