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Bansko is an important cultural centre for the region. According to historic records, the settlement was first established about 9th -10th century A.D. on the site where ancient Thracian settlements had existed. In the 18th century it was mentioned as a large and prosperous village of thriving crafts and trade reaching as far as the Aegean and Europe.
Bansko is the centre of a historically important arts school. In the 18th and early 19th century talented painters and woodcarvers created works of art in the houses and churches of Bansko, the Rila Monastery, the monasteries on Mount Athos, Serbia and Macedonia. The most famous painters belonged to the Molerovi clan, starting from its founder Toma Vishanov. During the second half of the 19th century another group of painters lead by Usta (Master) Ognyan Ognev made the decorative elements in the "Sveta Troitsa" church, Velyanova Kashta etc. Also famed were other craftsmen and painters such as Angel Velyanov, Mihalko Golev, Dimitar Sirleshtov , Ivan Terziev, Nikola Benin. Bansko gained renown for its woodcarving and local masters.
A monastery school was opened in Bansko in 1817 or 1838 and in 1848 a "mutual school" was founded. Bansko is the birthplace of nationally admired enlighteners, revolutionaries and poets such as Paisii Hilendarski - the author of "Istoriya Slavenobolgarskaya" (History of Slavo-Bulgars)(1762), Neofit Rilski - the founder of secular education and the first Bulgarian encyclopaedist, Nikola Vaptsarov - a remarkable Bulgarian poet of international renown.
Original fortified and artistically decorated houses have been preserved from the 18th and 19th century, built almost entirely of stone, with small barred windows, tall walls, heavy metal-plated gates and interconnected by narrow and winding cobble-stone streets. Remarkable as architectural monuments and examples of fine art are the Velyanova, Benina, Sirleshtova, Todeva, Molerova, Dragostinova, Sharkova houses. The Sveta Troitsa church, the bell tower with the big clock, the midlevel church "Assumption of the Virgin Mary" with its remarkable wood-carved iconostasis make for fine accents in Bansko's atmosphere. Also noteworthy are the museum houses and collections, souvenir shops and romantic holiday residences, hotels and taverns cuddled in the narrow and picturesque streets.

Read some curious information about Bansko folklore group "Star Merak".

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