Main street in Parvomay
Coat of arms
Location of Parvomay within Bulgaria
|• Mayor||Angel Papazov|
|• Total||75,485 km2 (29,145 sq mi)|
|Elevation||134 m (440 ft)|
|• Density||0.19/km2 (0.48/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+2 (EET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+3 (EEST)|
Parvomay (Bulgarian: Първомай) is a town, part of the municipality of the same name (Parvomay Municipality) in southern Bulgaria. It is located in Plovdiv Province, close to the towns Sadovo and Chirpan. The word literally means First of May, i.e., May Day, in English and is sometimes transliterated as Parvomai or Purvomai.
As with many places in Bulgaria, the town has other names, such as its old name (up until 1947) of Borisovgrad (after Bulgaria's last Tsar, Boris to celebrate his birthday on 30 January 1894), as well as Borisovgrad, Borissograd, Borissovgrade, or Borissowgrad. Until 1894, it was known by its Turkish names of Hadzi Ejles (Bulgarian Хаджи Елес), Hadzi-Ele, Hadzi-Jeiles, Khadzhi Eiles, or Khadzhi-Eles ("Hacı İlyas" in Turkish).
The municipal centre town Parvomay is situated at 134 meters above sea level, with geographic coordinates 25о13`30`` East longitude and 42о06`00`` North latitude. The town is 180 km to the east of Sofia, 39 km to the east of Plovdiv city, 50 km to the southwest of Stara Zagora, 34 km to the west of city of Haskovo and 360 km to the northwest of Istanbul, the northern edge of the town is 700m south of the Maritza River. The topography of the Parvomay Municipality is predominantly a flat plain with the exception being the fields of the Voden and Bukovo villages and the rolling hills around Iskra, Bryagovo, Dragoinovo and Ezerovo which are from the foothills of Dragoyna. The name of the ridge comes from a legend about Dragoy, prince of the Slavonic tribe that inhabited the region and his daughter Dragoyna, who built a white stone castle on the peak but the Byzantines conquered and destroyed her residence. This range is in turn the foothills of the Rhodopi mountains, passing to the South-West into the Novakovski Balkan mountain. In 1926, the population of the town was 4425 people, and in 1946 the town was 5050, by 1985 the population had risen to 17,136, by 1992 it had dropped to 16,826. The population of the town in 2009 was 16,630, by the end of 2010 it had fallen to 13,733. The settlement ranks the 57th largest cities of Bulgaria.
The Parvomay Municipality has its administrative centre in the town of Parvomay. The town is formed of three areas, Parvomay in the centre, Debar to the South and Liybenovo to the North east. The municipality is situated in the most Eastern area of the Plovdiv Pazadjik plain– part of the Upper Thracian lowlands, with total area of 470,057 decares. The Municipality encompasses 17 settlements with population of 32,131 people. Villages in Parvomay Municipality in the Plovdiv Province are; Bryagovo (789 inhabitants to 02/05/2006), Bukovo, Byala Reka, Dalbok Izvor, Dobri Do, Dragoynovo, Ezerovo, Gradina, Iskra, Karadjalovo. Iskra being the largest in the area with a population of 1829 (to 02/05/2006) in the Dragoyna foothills to the south of Parvomay.
Fossils of sea shells have been found in the limestone rocks near the village of Ezerovo (to the south east of Parvomay town) a full skeleton of a prehistoric Deinotherium was also found in this area which is on display in Asenovgrad Paleontological Museum.
Sometime from the 5th century BC to the 3rd century BC, this area became part of the Thracian Odrysian kingdom. In the quarters of Debar and Liybenovo on the outskirts of Parvomay town, archeologists have found Thracian mounds. By the 1st century AD, this part of Thrace was annexed by the Roman empire, and later it remained a part of its Eastern Roman Empire. Roman graves dating to the period of the 1st–4th centuries have been also discovered around Parvomay. Through the history of Bulgaria the area has been Thracian, Greek, Roman, Byzantium, Slav, Bulgar and Ottoman. There were archaeological finds in 2004 2005 and 2006 relating to a Thracian cult complex of a collection of tribes known as the Odrysian kingdom in an area to the south of Dragoynovo at the Goliama Dragoyna peak. The peak of Goliama Dragoyna is the highest point in the area at 813,60 m. The sub region of Dragoyna is believed to have been a local centre of the Thracian aristocracy within the Odryssian kingdom, possibly linked to Perperikon. A high concentration of Thracian tumulus (burial mounds) have been found in the area. A well known golden ring was found in Ezerovo, near to Dragoyna archaeological site. The ring has an inscription in Thracian Language with Greek letters. It indicates that the relatives dedicate the ring to the deceased. Also found were numerous dice that resemble the modern dice used for playing. Playing dice has an ancient history and it seems that the inhabitants of Thrace were well acquainted with the game.
A settlement, most probably related with the sanctuary, was located close to the village of Dragoynovo near to Iskra. This religious complex is one of the many sacred places, established by the Thracians on high mountain peaks. Sanctuaries of this type originated and developed as religious centres in the period between the Late Bronze Age and the end of the Roman Empire. The sanctuary complex on Dragoyna peak was first studied and recorded in the first half of the 20th century since when the site has suffered at the hands of numerous treasure hunters. No formal archaeological excavations were conducted until 2004. Two periods of occupation have been identified from the archaeological evidence:
In recent years archaeological excavations near village of Iskra four churches were discovered, this has increased speculation about the existence of a sizable religious centre.
The oldest documented reference to the city Parvomay of 1576 it is in the register of Ottoman Taxes in Bulgaria. In 1671 the famous Turkish travel writer Evliya Celebi mentions Village Iskra to the South. Parvomay was for a time part of Eastern Rumelia an autonomous province within the Ottoman Empire after the Treaty of Berlin in 1878. After the revolution of September 6, 1885, the province was annexed by the Principality of Bulgaria. On 14 April 1928, a sequence of two earthquakes of a magnitude of approx 7 hit central Bulgaria which resulted in 74,000 buildings being destroyed and 114 people were killed in the nearby city of Plovdiv, Chirpan (to the north) and Parvomay. A newspaper at the time reported 1000 buildings in Parvomay as collapsed.
Just after the opening of the Post Office in 1881, in 1882, the first hospital in Parvomay opened with one doctor and 10 hospital beds, and in 1886 the first doctors clinic. Today, Parvomay hospital is located just to the southwest of the town centre and a sizable medical centre just to the north of the centre. Parvomay Theatre (also the St. Cyril and Methodius Community Center) is located in parkland in the centre of the Town. Following the 1928 that destroyed many buildings including the Court House, a fund was set up to construct a new building. Justice Kachakova Jordan, who was born in Byala Reka, near Parvomay assisting in the fund raising. The small but impressive building was constructed in the centre of Parvomay in 1932 and has jurisdiction for the whole of the Parvomay Municipality.
Parvomay town has two secondary schools – the School of Professional (economy, ecology, machinery) agriculture called "Vasil Levski" to the northeast of the centre, on Bratya Miladinovi street and "School Prof. Dr. Zlatarov " on Kocho Chestimenski street to the west of the town centre. There are 2 main schools: the School "St. Cyril and Methodius" and "PS Georgi Karaslavov". 2 primary schools: "Hristo Botev" on Hristo Botev St, just south of the town centre and "Vasil Levski" and four kindergartens (nurseries)- "Kindergarten 8th of March", "Kindergarten Maritsa", "Kindergarten Spring" and "Kindergarten Radost". All of the schools in the Town of Parvomay were extensively renovated in 2010 by the municipality. The village of Iskra to the south of Parvomay has Otets Paisiy Primary school, "Ivan Vazov" Community Center and "Iskra" Kindergarten. The Village of Bryagovo has "Razvitie" Community Center and the Village of Dragoynovo "Petar Delchev Orlovski" Community Center.
In addition to the water and electrical infrastructure, in 1994 Bulgaria began the gasification of the country. The city of Parvomay had the honour of having the first cubic meter of natural gas sold.
There are limited charter flights to the nearby Plovdiv International Airport just to the east of the Plovdiv Asenovgrad highway (12 km SE of Plovdiv). There has been considerable investment in this airport by the Bulgarian government and local municipalities. In 2010, scheduled flights began to London and Moscow in 2011 routes were expanded to Frankfurt.
The international European road Е-80 passes through the southern edge of the town and a branch of the Trakia highway (A1) passes very near on the way to Burgas. The section branching off currently (2010) under construction to the Southeast towards Turkey known as the Maritza motorway A3. The Maritza motorway designated A3, which will branches off from east of Plovdiv just west of Chirpan at the Orizovo Interchange and 5 km north of Parvomay, at the Orizovo Interchange runs south east to the Turkish border. As of Summer 2015 all sections are in operation to the Turkish border other than a small section around Chirpan.
In Parvomay town in 2011, two new road bridges over the railway line were opened forming part of a southern and northern ring road of the town. The railway line from Belovo to Dimitrovgrad, runs through Parvomay officially opened in 1873.
The municipal territory is crossed by a high-speed railway, first opened in 1873 now run by the Bulgarian State Railways part of the line from Sofia to Istanbul. The upgrading of the Plovdiv-Svilengrad line was the biggest local project financed by EU's ISPA program at a cost of 340 mln euro. The European Investment Bank has lent 150 mln euro to the venture with 153 mln euro coming from ISPA and 37 mln euro from Bulgaria's state budget. The doubling of 150 km of track from Plovdiv to Parvomay was completied in November 2009 with the renovation of Parvomay Railway Station and the closure of road level crossings in Parvomay Town were replaced by a road flyover in 2011. Although this train route is open, it will have a limited service until further sections being constructed are completed.
At the end of 2012 a scheme was selected for a new underpass to access the railway station from the southern half of the town.
The Maritsa river runs to the East through the Municipality with the Mechka, Byala and Kayaliyka rivers running North into the Maritsa with thermal mineral springs in Dragoinovo, Byala Reka and Lenovo. The Mechka River runs through Lenovo, Poroyna and along the southeastern edge of Parvomay Town. Falling from the Mechkovets Hills, the Kayaliyka River runs North through villages of Iskra, Bryagovo, Dragoinovo, Ezerovo and Bodrovo joining the Marista 8 km to the east of Parvomay Town. The Byala River runs through Byala Reka village and Karadzhalovo. The main crops in the region of Municipality Parvomay are grain production, with 75 000 decares of wheat, barley 7,500 decares, and sunflower 13,200 decares. Agriculture and especially vegetable growing are of great importance for the Parvomay region it is one of the biggest producers of tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and aubergine (egg-plant)in the Country. There are over 500 acres (2.0 km2) greenhouses and over 60% of the arable land is irrigated. There are considerable crops of commercially grown grapes in the south around the village of Iskra, also Oriential (often known as Turkish Tobacco) and Large Leaf Tobacco in the area. The soils are predominantly black humus. There are also vast areas of oak and conifer forests on higher ground in the south. The lowland of the Maritsa river are mainly meadows with cinnamon soils.
The territory of Municipality Parvomay belongs to the area of transitive Mediterranean climate. The average temperature in January is 1˚С, and about 25˚ С in July. The summer is dry and hot and the winter is comparatively mild. Unlike the nearby winter resort of Pamporovo to the south in the Rhodope Mountains the snowfall in the north of the area is thin and does not last being a little heavier in the south, although the snow of the Winter of 2009 was unusually heavy (50–60 cm). The total precipitation is below the average for the country, about 532 l/м2. The precipitation is highest in December and May and lowest in August and February–March. The relative humidity is particularly low– up to 60%.The strongest wind comes from the North-West, mainly in May and June, when it blows for weeks with average velocity of about 3 м/s. Short thunderstorms and hailstorms are quite common in summer and you may get some thick fogs in the North of the District along the Maritsa river but this is quite uncommon.
Parvomay town contains G. Karaslavov museum house and St. Dimiter Church (built in the period 1841–43) displays iconostasis and mural paintings of the Debar school. In the churchyard is one of the first secular schools in the country. Both are monitored by UNESCO. St. Archangel Michael (Архангел Михаил) church sits in the heart of the district of Liybenovo on the northeastern edge of the town and restored golden domed St. Georges Church (Църквата Св. Георги) in the centre. In contrast the Debar district of Parvomay is a modern designed Evangelical Catholic Church. The village of Iskra in the south has St. Georges Chapel (църквата Св. Георги,) built in 2010, St. Mary Church (църквата Св. Богородица) restored 2006.
On the north western edge of the town Parvomay has a stadium with a capacity to seat 5,000 and nearby 'Fiesta' swimming complex, with "Hristo Boltev" football stadium (Стадион "Христо Ботев) on the south eastern edge.
Preserved ancient relics are displayed in a museum in the town the Primary School St. Cyril and Methodius and also the House of Culture in the village of Iskra.
For the fifth year in February 2009 the Municipality of Parvomai and Exemplary People Community Center “St. St. Kiril and Metodii” organized a Wine and Wine-Production Fair together with a prize for best home-made wine. It was attended by a panel of technologists from visiting wineries – Asenovgrad AD Winery, Wine Cellar Reggina Estate Iskra, winery Zagreus AD Parvomai. The date is not chosen randomly. Beginning of February is the time when the vines and abandon Trifon's Day celebrates the feast of-grower. St. Trifon, as patron saint of vineyards is unique to the Balkans and mainly where Bulgarians and Greeks live.
During the month of May the May Cultural Festival is held in the town of Parvomay, where the people of Parvomay and their guests gather at the halls of the People Community Centre to meet the art of the visiting theatres, the local dramatic and music-folklore teams, national favorite and local artists and a lot more interesting additional events. In May 2010 Parvomay Rock Fest was held in the centre of the town, a one-day event of rock music sponsored by the Municipality and local company, EcoGas.
As well as the Dragoynovo Festival in June and Iskra Festival in August, the city of Parvomay Festival takes place in September which is a celebration of Thracian Music and Songs. Many national orchestras, folklore groups and single artists take part in the centre of Parvomay town.
October is Poetry month.
Tourism in the Municipality is somewhat underdeveloped but growing, with new hotels opening such as the 'Tzargrad' in Debar south of Parvomay town and 'Finest' in the centre. Local attractions include thermal mineral springs in Dragoinovo, Biala Reka and Lenovo. The surroundings of Vinitsa village is almost unique place in Bulgaria as it is where the rare summer snowflake can be found, Latin name Leucojum aestivum. It has been spotted in the village of Iskra which is the home in August to the фестивал Искра (Iskra Festival), which is a celebration of Folk Music, dancing, food and wine drawing as many as 2000 from afar a field as Plovdiv. A dam of the river Kajalijka between Iskra and Bryagovo forms Briagovo Lake. Briagovo Lake is the site for local hunting clubs pre hunting season with a clay pigeon shooting competition every September close to a Hotel overlooking the lake. There has been recent development of water-motor sports and fishing tourism at this lake and others nearby and on Mechka River. A second dam of the Kajlijka river at Ezerovo forms a sizable lake which is a popular summer spot for local visitors and fishing. Growing from vine-cultivation and wine production in Iskra and Tatarevo villages there has been the development of business tourism related to production and tasting of local wines.