Its well-preserved half-timbered houses evoke the mid-19th Century when its commercial significance provided the upsurge of national consciousness. It was at the centre of the 1876 April Uprising against the Ottoman Turks, a revolt that ended in failure but is considered one of the most courageous stands in modern Bulgarian history. Its importance started to fade after the liberation, and since then the town has been getting increasingly fossilised. Fewer than 3,000 people live in it today, as opposed to about 12,000 in the 19th Century, and tourism is the largest source of revenue.
Now largely a museum town, it provides some interesting insights into the ways of the Revival Period Bulgarians. Curiously, some of them have not changed that much: you are bound to note that some of the most beautiful houses belonged to... tax collectors.
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