Important dates

1780–1790 the village has been established
1883– First school with headmaster Ivan Strinski was opened
1889– Headmaster Sotir is in charge of children’s’ education for the next 30 years
1904– Mineral water of the area first been examined by dr. Nikola Dobrev
1911– Public mineral water bath being reconstructed
1913– “Chitalishte” (or literally book club) Prosveta being opened along with the library
1914– First cooperative establishment is a fact
1928– Building of the first official school
1932– The church St Gorge opens doors
1949– The village starts using electricity
1960– A sewerage and water pipes for hot mineral water is being built
1965– Water-main for Rila mountain water is built
1965– Opens SPA centrum with 80 person capacity
1968– Post office and First-Aid service

History notes

The first population of the area of PCHELIN takes place in XV s. in the southern outskirts of Karabair, Ihtimanska Sredna Gora where mountain slopes are south oriented and thus suitable for agriculture and farming.

The whole region between the neighbouring village of Gorna Vasilitsa and the Ochushnica river was previously called Vakavska and was owned by Turkish mosque in Dolna Banya. It was also known as Yrukiezdra, meaning “owned by the yruks”.

The Yörüks, also Yuruks are a Turkish tribe by their ethnic origin, yet nomadic and primarily inhabiting the mountains of Anatolia and partly the Balkan peninsula. As Turkish tribe, they were part of the Turkish administration and acted as the occupiers whilst also receiving many tax concessions.

In this very region starts the establishment of Kovanlak, the first name of contemporary Pchelin.

The local Yruk village was established around the dawn of the XVIII century and was situated around the hot mineral springs, mainly in it’s westbound parts. Even nowadays the site is called “The Village”. Its houses did not count more than 40 to 50 but they were widely scattered around. Taking lands from the forest near their village, the yruks managed to enlarge their estates and their fields around.

It is said that “Yuruks were bad people, eager to do whatever they wanted, without considering the local Bulgarian population, assassins and thiefs”. Some records also mention they were highly superstitious.

After the Liberation (taking place in 1878) the yurucs left their village and it was looted by the neighbouring Vaselica villagers.
South of the current location of Pchelin, near the Parda site and the river valley of Ochushnica, the Samokov bey Balaban has hadowned a farm with large fields and taking advantage of the suitable farming conditions, he planted orchid trees. Using the labour of the occupied nation of the Bulgarians, he focused on building a large apiary. His bee-garden had many bee-hives and was located at the side of the Ochushnica river where Pchelin (or literally the Bee-garden) is situated now.

His main watchman, taking care of the bee-garden was called Mitar. In order to serve full-time, the guardian took his wife and children with him and together they built the first shack in the area, thus starting the Bulgarian village. Slowly he added more fields to his tiny first farming spot and was pleased with the fruit of the land. Today Pchelin people consider Mitar as founder of the village. Soon his brother George with his two sons Stefan and Stoyan came along, built their own houses and settled there. George Balaban was a widower but soon married a woman whose son Christo was also one of the first to live in Pchelin.

Among the first also known settlers are Ilya Shopov and his son from Jilianci village (Turnovo city), Peter Grivin, Grandpa Stoica with his 3 sons, Mitar Bradela, Stoyan Mladenski from Gorna Vaselitzsa, Grandpa Ane from Vakarel, Vucho Kazapa from Gabrovitsa and many others. The village was now a fact in 1780-1790 and its founders officially consisted of 21 families – 10 coming from Gorna Vaselitsa, 2 from Dolna Vaselitsa, 4 from Vakarel and one family from Dolna Banya, Gabrovitsa, Slavovica, Shipochan and Jilianci.

Initially the area was called The Farm and people used to live around the Turkish estate, were also working for the Turkish owner. Their settlement was called the village of Kovanluk, which is the Turkish name for Pchelin.

After the Liberation all houses within the village were reduced to 17.

Since 1959 the village of Pchelin is assigned as administrative part of the Kostenets municipality. Its population was occupied in agriculture and cattle-breeding. The orchid gardens were also taken care of. By this time the number of people living in Pchelin was 600.

During the second part of the XXI century the mass economical migration in the area takes toll here and slowly the village is reduced to 300 people.

This information is gathered and given by Georgi Dimitrov Gadganov. Hereby we would like to thank him for his efforts and enthusiasm.