The municipality of VILINGRAD is located in the best part, the western, of the largest mountain in Bulgaria – Rhodopes. It is situated in the valley of Chepino, at altitude of 700 to 1800 meters, on the surface of 816,510 acres. The population is 44,250 inhabitants. It is at 135 km from Sofia and at 81 km from the second biggest city of Bulgaria – Plovdiv. It is the perfect place for cultural tourism, since within a short distance are the most important cultural, historical, archaeological and natural points of reference of Bulgaria. There are good conditions for all types of active tourism – hiking and biking, ski slopes, lakes and dams for fishing, dense forests with wild animals for hunting, and beautiful landscapes – guarantee for great holidays and unforgettable memories.
Velingrad is one of the sunniest towns in Bulgaria, with over 250 days of sunshine a year. The region has abundant water resources – rivers, karstic sources and mineral water. They determine the economic activity of the population and the development of tourism as a whole. The main tourist product is the balneo tourism. The small villages of the region develop the “rural tourism”, too much appreciated by foreign visitors.
The geothermal field in Velingrad is the largest in southern Bulgaria. The total flow of the sources is 160 l / sec. The sources of mineral water (80 in total), the mild climate and the beautiful landscape are the main wealth of the town. Velingrad is one of the largest spa complexes in Bulgaria and on the Balkan peninsula. That is why it has been unanimously chosen to be “THE SPA CAPITAL OF THE BALCANES.” It has many sanatoriums, spas and modern hotels.
The numerous streams and clear mountain rivers merge into the river Chepinska reka. The most important tributaries are Grancharitsa, Lukovitsa, Lepenitsa, Matnitsa and Trebetushtitsa. The dams in the region diversify the environment, positively change the microclimate and significantly increase the attractiveness of the landscape. Velingrad has a large number of karstic springs, the largest of which is the town’s emblematic lake, Kleptuza.
In Europe and in the world more and more popular becomes the health tourism, in combination with a favorable climate and balneological treatments. The resort of Velingrad has significant resources for balneological tourism:
– Huge mineral resources
– Great variety of mineral waters
– Significant healing effects of mineral water
– Modern base of equipment and apparatus for diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation.
The balneological hotels and the rehabilitation centers in the tourist complex have modern specialized SPA equipment. A wide range of medical services is offered. It is well approved the convergence of traditional and modern methodology, combining treatment with mineral water, physiotherapy, inhalations, good climate and rational nutrition.
SPA hotels offer various and interesting programs for relaxation and wellness: balneological weight reduction programs, anti-stress relaxation and rehabilitation programs, medical cosmetic procedures and a great range of health and beauty procedures.
HISTORY OF THE HEALING WATERS OF VELINGRAD
The information of the balneological treatment here goes back to the ancient times. Many hot springs have been well known and used by the Thracians, Romans, Slavs and Pra-Bulgarians. At the beginning of the first millennium BC, when the Thracians settled in the Balkan Peninsula, in its religious conception there was already a cult of water, of the Gods of wáter and of the running water and fountains. Later, under the influence of Greek mythology, this cult has transformed step by step to worship the nymphs. In honor of the nymphs they erected temples near the rivers, the mineral wáter springs and the springs of water to drink. The use of the warm and temperate hot springs flourished during the Thracian period until the fourth century BC. Many Thracian populations and balneological centers have been transformed according to Roman models. The inscriptions preserved in the ruins of ancient buildings express gratitude to the healing power of mineral water and to the Gods, guardians of the baths. Many ancient records prove the use of mineral waters during The First and Second Bulgarian Kingdom. The fall of Bulgaria under the Ottoman yoke leads to the stagnation of the development of SPAs. In any case the balneological traditions of the ancient Bulgarians are preserved. After the liberation of Bulgaria from the Ottoman yoke begins great revival of balneology. The resorts have opened their doors wide, new bases have been created, many hotels have been built, modern balneotechnological equipment has been introduced, human resources of high qualification have increased.
The richness of mineral springs, the presence of a modern base of diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation, as well as highly qualified specialists, are the main factors for the development of Velingrad as a national and international first-class tourist complex. In the new democratic conditions and free economy the resort rapidly changes its image and becomes more and more attractive. Many new hotels and resorts are being built in the city. The characteristic of balneological hotels has changed considerably; now they are more modern, attractive on the outside and inside, corresponding to European standards.
The mineral water of Velingrad influences many diseases. Balneological treatment has many advantages compared to medicinal treatment for the following reasons:
– Balneotherapy is not harmful, has no lateral, allergic or toxic actions, as it is with some medicines. The curative factor is the strong chemical composition of water. The constructive elements, minerals and microelements in it directly affect the structure of the cell.
– Chemical ions in mineral waters act more actively compared to medicines.
– The curative action of mineral waters is multilateral; not in one direction, as it is with medications. Balneotherapy can effectively act on diseases (renal, biliary, etc.), and the improvement is over a longer period.
– Mineral water bottling allows you to use it at home. The mineral water is clean, clear and sterile, since it arises from the deep layers of the earth.