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Velingrad

Velingrad is a town in Pazardzhik Province, Southern Bulgaria, located at the western end of Chepino Valley, part of the Rhodope Mountains. The city is located 140 km from Sofia, and 80 km from Plovdiv. Velingrad is situated at 750–850 m above sea level. Beautiful nature and deposits of mineral waters make Velingrad one of the leading “balneological” resorts in the Balkans. The region was inhabited by the Slavs. According to Bulgarian academics, the Dragovichi tribe lived there. The Dragovichi accepted many Thracian customs, but gave them typical Slavic characteristics. Soon after the Bulgar invasion on the Balkans, the whole region was annexed to the First Bulgarian Empire by Malamir. Velingrad was founded in 1948 after the unification between the villages Chepino, Ladzhene and Kamenitsa. Whereas Chepino and Kamenitsa are older settlements, Ladzhene was founded after 1878 by Bulgarian refugees from Macedonia, because their region remained under Ottoman rule after the Treaty of Berlin. The town is named after Vela Peeva, a Bulgarian communist revolutionary, who gave up her life during World War II. There are more than 90 mineral water springs with curative and preventive properties in and around the town. The mineral waters (from springs and wells) vary considerably in temperature, mineralization, radon, silicic acid and fluorine content, and are suitable for treatment of a wide range of diseases. 9000 litres of water per minute spring from the five thermal and mineral deposits in Ladzhene, Kamenitsa, Chepino, Rakitovo and Kostandovo. Together with the numerous mineral waters, Velingrad boasts another natural phenomenon as well — the Kleptuza, the biggest Karst spring in Bulgaria, with an average discharge of 1200 litres of ice-cold water per second.