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Samokov

Trip Planner Europe  /  Bulgaria  /  Sofia Region  /  Samokov
Samokov is a town in Sofia Province in the southwest of Bulgaria. It is situated in a basin between the mountains Rila and Vitosha, 55 kilometres from the capital Sofia. Due to the suitable winter sports conditions, Samokov, together with the nearby resort Borovets, is a major tourist centre.In the past, Samokov was a centre of handicrafts and art, with notable figures like Zahari Zograf, Hristo Dimitrov and Nikola Obrazopisov. The town's name is a compound word of "samo" and "kov", respectively meaning "self" and the root of the verb "forge, hammer", and comes from the samokov, a mechanical forge powered by water, since the town of Samokov was a major iron producing centre during the Middle Ages.HistoryIt is thought that Samokov was founded in the 14th century as a mining settlement with the assistance of "Saxon" miners. It was first mentioned in 1455 and in Ottoman registers of 1477 as Vlaychov Samokov. Some of the best craftsman, woodcarving masters and builders came from Samokov and were recognized for their skills in creating detailed and impressive woodcarvings, painting beautiful icons and building unique architecture. In fact Samokov was one of the then famous three woodcarving schools in the region, the other two being Debar and Bansko. Their work can be seen in many churches and cultural buildings throughout the Balkan Peninsula.
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