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Bansko

Bansko is a town in southwestern Bulgaria, located at the foot of Pirin at an altitude of 1936 m above sea level. Today it's the most popular skiing resort in Bulgaria.

There are several legends about who founded Bansko. According to one of them, Bansko was founded by people who lived in Dobarsko, a village in Rila, itself according to a legend founded by the blinded army of Tsar Samuil. Another legend claims that Bansko was founded by an Italian painter by the name of Ciociolino, thus the existence of the name Chucholin in Bansko.

Still according to another legend it was a Slavic tribe called the Peruns, who lived in Pirin and worshiped Perun, that founded the village later to become a town. There are a number of ethnographic texts, legends, prayers and oratories, which lend credence to this legend.

The archeological traces of the inhabitants of Bansko and the Razlog Valley in general date to the early periods of the Roman Empire.

Bansko, once mainly a stockbreeding and travelling merchant community, has nowadays become a center of winter and summer tourism. The mountain peaks near the town, the numerous lakes and the old pine woods make it a popular site for recreation. In recent years, the town has gained international popularity after the start of the annual Bansko Jazz Festival and consequently the annual Bansko pop-star concert featuring top pop stars. The nearby village of Banya, located only 5 km from the town, is known for its 27 thermal mineral springs.

A new gondola lift was built in 2003 to replace a minibus ride up to the ski slopes of Todorka. Several other gondolas and ski lifts are in the process of being built. These developments, along with the construction of extensive housing and recreational facilities around the gondola (which is on the southwest end of the town by the river), have made Bansko a popular and growing destination.

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