The town of Pernik is home to 93,
000 people and it serves as a municipal and administrative center.
The oldest traces of human settlement in the area date back to the 6th millennium BC. Historians estimate that Pernik was founded roughly at the same time as Troy, which makes it older than the city of Rome!
Later, the ancient Thracian fortress was destroyed in the invasions of Celts and Goths but in the 3rd century Pernik was resurrected from the ashes to become a thriving Roman town and a trade center.
The Slavs arrived here in the 7th century. It is widely believed that the name Pernik is a derivative of the name the Slavic people used to refer to one of their gods, namely Perun.
Pernik became part of the Bulgarian Kingdom in the 9th century and developed as a major military and administrative hub.
Located at crossroads, Pernik retained its central role all the way up to the 14th century.
Pernik was again revived in the 19th century when the coal deposits underneath it fueled a thriving mining, steel, and machine building industry.
Today, Pernik is a town with well developed infrastructure and established cultural traditions.
The hospitality of its people, its natural beauty, the places of historic interest, and the fact that it is a convergent point of the roads leading to Greece, Macedonia, and Serbia make Pernik ever more attractive for Bulgarian and foreign visitors alike.
Pernik is a
town situated in Central Western Bulgaria. Lying mere 30
kilometers away from the city of Sofia, Bulgaria’s capital,
it is easily accessible by car, bus, or train.
If you are in Pernik, getting to Sofia Airport, Sofia Grand Central Railway Station, or Sofia Central Bus Station is a snap. From here you can get to Sofia in 20 – 30 minutes by car, 30 – 40 minutes by Bus, and 40 – 60 minutes by train.
Several highways of major importance for Europe and the Balkan Peninsula pass through Pernik. These are the Е-79 International Highway from Vidin via Sofia and Kulata to Thessalonica, the Е-871 International Highway from Bourgas via Sofia and Gyueshevo to Skopje, and the ІІ-63 Road from Pernik via Breznik to the Serbian border. Pernik is a railway hub along the Sofia-to-Kulata International Railway Line and the Sofia-to-Gyueshevo Domestic Line.
Pernik is 842 km away from Athens, 412 km from Belgrade, 457 km from Bucharest, and 588 km From Istanbul.
The town is not far away from the ski slopes of some of Bulgaria’s finest winter resorts in Vitosha and Rila mountains (Borovets) and in Pirin (Bansko). Pernik lies at an elevation of 720 meters above sea level. The climate here is moderate with daily average temperatures of + 0.2° С in January.
Several hotels category two and three stars in downtown Pernik offer good accommodation. The Rudartsi Hotel in the near-by resort of Rudartsi can provide accommodation for up to 48 people. Also in Rudartsi there is an indoor mineral-water swimming pool. The Vitoshko Hunting Lodge offers excellent opportunities for recreation through sporting and hunting tourism. It is only 15 km away from Pernik and can accommodate 25 people.
There are numerous fine dining establishments in Pernik. Food buffs will be pleasantly surprised by the traditional meals of the region adding to the well-known international dishes offered here. Most of the restaurants here have live Bulgarian folklore music.
The Regional Museum of History and the Krakra Fortress will be open for visitors during the XXV Jubilee International Festival of the Masquerade Games of Surva to be held in Pernik. Krakra Fortress near downtown Pernik is a major attraction and testament to Pernik’s medieval glory. Buried underneath it are historical layers spanning the time between the 4th century BC and the 14th century AD. The fortress is accessible all year round. The medieval Krakra Fortress is one the eastern side of Pernik. Its preserved ruins form a majestic fortress with an area of 45 decares. Byzantine chronologists recorded two unsuccessful sieges of Pernik by the armies of Emperor Basil II, in 1004 and 1016. The fortress helped the town maintain its strong strategic position of an administrative centre during the Second Bulgarian Empire. Nowadays, visitors can buy small-scaled models of the fortress in most bookstores in Pernik. Pernik is also a centre for coal production. The Underground Mine Museum is housed in an authentic, 630m-long mine gallery in the first developed pit in Pernik (1891) – Starite Rudnitsi (“The Old Pits”)
The collections of the Regional Museum of History give visitors a taste of Pernik’s rich history. The museum is opened for business between 8.00 AM and 5.00 PM. Private tours are organized by request.
The villages around Pernik where the custom of Surva is still alive are not far away. There you can experience Pernik’s masquerade games in their natural environment.