Known as Mehomiya before, the town of Razlog is named after the valley of Razlog, in which it is situated. The old town has amazing architecture that is typical for the period of Renaissance, so people who visit the town will be transferred in the previous centuries – about 100 years ago when most houses have been built. Many of them are cultural monuments that are worth to be seen.
The town of Razlog is located in Southwestern Bulgaria between three mountains – Rila, Pirin and Rhodopes. You can imagine the natural beauty that can be seen here. It is not a surprise that this small town is one of the popular holiday destinations both during the summer and winter seasons.
Razlog is in 145 km southeast from Sofia and only 6 km south of the world popular resort of Bansko. It is located in a mountainous area, about 830 m above the sea level. Its population currently is about 12,000 people.
Nature and Nature Sites
With a panoramic view toward three mountains, Golak Hill is located above Razlog. It is a favorite place to visit for relaxation and walks not only by the local people, but also by the tourists. From the top of Golak Hill, the beautiful Razlog valley can be seen. The nature lovers will definitely enjoy the immense views of the Rhodope, Pirin, and Rila Mountains. Golak features an eco-track called The Stairs that has 54 stops for rest and 30 stops for observation. The 12-meter tower is the most attractive facility for sightseeing and recreation.
History and Cultural Heritage Sites
Being nestles among the mountains, Razlog is a town with a rich history and culture. This area has been inhabited since ancient times from Thracian tribes, who are the first known settlers here. There are multiple archaeological sites in the area that testify for their presence, such as remains of a Thracian sanctuary dedicated to the sun along with 2 large marble embossed slabs, ruins of brick-built walls, etc.
About 2 km from the town, a grave of an ancient necropolis was found with a number of artifacts in it, which include 2 knives, an iron sword, 6 torches, bracelet, and a ring.
During the Roman-Byzantine era, due to its strategic location there was a settlement here as well. It is close to the road passing along the Mesta River. Some remains have left from that time. They include remnants of an ancient settlement 10 km west from the town, a fortress on the Pirin’s northern slopes, a few early Christian churches, which testifies that this place has been a spiritual center.
St. Iliya early Christian church built in V-VI century is located 11 km north-west of the town. Another early Christian church is located in the Betolovoto area, which has been rebuilt during the Middle Ages and is currently known as the “Written Church”. This church is called so because of the frescoes, parts of which are preserved till today. The foundations of a late medieval church called the “White Church” are located nearby, as well as the ruins of the small church known as St. Nicholas. About 2 km south from Razlog tourists can find the ruins of the St. Trinity Church.
Razlog has joined the Bulgarian state in the first half of the 9th century, during the reign of Khan Presian, the Bulgarian ruler. This is confirmed by an inscription found on a stone in the village of Philippi.
The region of Razlog has fallen under Turkish yoke in 1382. In a number of Ottoman documents, the town is named Mehomiya or Mehom. During the Renaissance, the population of Mehomiya took an active part in the struggle for Bulgarian education, independent Bulgarian church and national liberation.
Culture, Entertainment and Night Life
There are multiple cultural attractions in Razlog and vicinities.
Historical Museum of Nikola Parapunov
The historical museum of Nikola Parapunov is one of the Renaissance houses in the town. It is built in 1957 declared as a cultural monument. Over 5,500 exhibits of different epochs can be seen in it by the guests. The collection includes old books and documents, weapons, traditional and ritual clothing, as well as works of local artisan craftsmen.
Among the most interesting things to be seen in Razlog by the tourists are the local events and festivals included into the cultural calendar. These include:
Exhibition of the local producers
This event is one of its kind and brings together the local producers from Razlog municipality for one day. It is interesting to see what the local masters produce here, as they share their ideas about their future business initiatives.
Pirin Sings Festival
This is a fairy tale that combines songs, dances, and multiple Bulgarian colors.
This event is aimed at preserving the rich traditions, and melodies in the region. This popular folk art festival offers unique experience for all attendees and is a gathering place for people of different regions, generations and cultures.
Razlog Sword Competition
This is a competition that cannot be seen elsewhere in the world. It takes place in June at Razlog’s central square. It brings together participants from all the country who are here to show off their skills working with a chainsaw. There are three types of competitions that each participant should take part in – preparing a chainsaw, combined cutting and precise cutting. The one who made it fastest has the chance to win a professional STIHL chainsaw. The competition raises adrenaline of both the audience and the participants themselves.
1000 Folk Costumes in One Place Festival
This event takes place on the second day of Easter and reveals the folklore richness and diversity gathering more than a thousand people in folk costumes on the Razlog’s central square. These ritual costumes are kept and given from generation to generation. These folk costumes have 100-year-old history. New costumes are sewed here all year round by masters, whose greatest joy is to recognize their particular costumes on someone.
In the last century, Razlog has expanded and several enterprises have been established and operate currently. In the recent years, tourism has become a priority and there are abundant tourist facilities in Razlog offering excellent opportunities for all kinds of tourism: eco, cultural, ski, golf and spa.