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Coordinates: 41°57′00″N 23°34′00″E / 41.95°N 23.566667°E / 41.95; 23.566667
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Белица (Bulgarian)
Belitsa train station
Belitsa train station
Belitsa is in southwestern Bulgaria.
Belitsa is in southwestern Bulgaria.
Coordinates: 41°57′00″N 23°34′00″E / 41.95°N 23.566667°E / 41.95; 23.566667
 • Total72.923 km2 (28.156 sq mi)
953 m (3,127 ft)
Postal code
Area code07444

Belitsa[1][2] (Bulgarian: Белица [bɛˈlit͡sɐ]) is a town in southwestern Bulgaria, located in the Belitsa Municipality of the province of Blagoevgrad.[1]


Belitsa is close to the municipalities of Razlog, Yakoruda, and Bansko. The municipality of Belinitsa is situated in the northeastern part of the Razlog Valley in the Blagoevgrad region, in the dale of the river Mesta, in between the southern slopes of Eastern Rila and the northern slopes of the Beliyshko-Videnishki part of the western Rhodopes.

It contains twelve settlements, eight of which are scattered in the mountainous area of the Rhodopes. The municipal centre, Belitsa, is located in the southern part of the Rila mountains and is connected to the Razlog-Velingrad route (with international E79 and E80) but off to the side by four kilometres. This makes for easy transportation from the town to Sofia (172 kilometres away) and Blagoevgrad (72 kilometres away).


The exarchal school in Belitsa, St. Cyril and Methodius

The area of Belitsa first fell into the hands of the Roman Empire. The Romans made many settlements larger in the Razlog valley and led Hellenized and Romanized colonists into them.

Belitsa is recorded for the first time in Tatarpazardzhiyska province (kaza) of the Ottoman Empire in 1516, under the name Belitsa, together with Little Belitsa (Bulgarian: Малка Белица, Malka Belitsa).[3]

In the 19th century, it was a Christian-Muslim village in the Nevropska kaaza of the Ottoman Empire. In The Ethnography of the Vilayets Adrianopole, Manastir, and Salonica in Constantinople (now Istanbul) in 1878 and statistics reflecting the male population from 1873, Belitsa (Bielitsa) is shown as a village with 303 households, 640 Bulgarian Christians, and 250 Pomaks.[4] In agreement with the statistics of Vasil Kanchov, c. 1900, Belitsa (in old Bulgarian orthography Бѣлица) is a mixed Bulgarian-Christian and Bulgarian-Muslim village. 2,700 Bulgarian Christians live in it, as well as 550 Pomaks and 50 Vlachs.[5]

During 1833–1855, under the control of Pope Iliya, the church of Saint George was built. Construction was unusually slow due to opposition from the local Turkish government, which would often destroy what progress the Christians had made. The church was built contrary to the laws of the empire, in a high and visible part of the village, its domes visible from everywhere. As a compromise, Belitsan Christians convinced the local authority to bring a clock face from Vienna, which would be mounted on the highest dome.[citation needed]

In 1903, during the Ilinden-Preobrazhenie Uprising, the church was burned down and the clock fell to the ground, stopping at 16:00. Its parts were collected by the Bulgarian Muslims and later handed back to the returning Christians.[citation needed]

During the Russo-Turkish War from 1877 to 1878, under the Samara flag, 19 Belitsan volunteers fought at Svishtov, Rousse, Sheinovo, and Shipka. They returned to their village with many medals and honors and were received with delight by their neighbours. Belitsan volunteers were also involved in the Kresna-Razlog Uprising as well as the training and fighting at Razlog. A large number of the volunteers were sent to prison or forced to leave the village.[citation needed]

In 1891, Georgi Strezov wrote of Belitsa:

Belitsa, a large village 3 hours northeast from Mehomia: located in a corner, which is formed from the Yakorudska river and [the] Belitsa. Below the village, at the tip of the corner, was the place of Old Belitsa. People say that the modern Belitsa was created 250 years ago by the citizens of Old Belitsa, who were forced to run from the citizens of Kardzhali. East of the village, above a slope is the consecrated "St. Elijah", visible everywhere. Above that area, up to 200 tall pine trees, which create a large copse above the church. In the village, two large towers stand out, each 9 stories tall, left from the Janissaries. The church "St. Georgi" is elevated and at the edge of the village; below the church is a small school, built in 1875. There are 3 teachers and around 150 students, girls and boys. The surrounding area is bare; the ground is the best in Razlog. Because of the scarcity of land, many leave the village and go to other areas, most of them going to Vlashko [an area on the border of Romania], where they make boza. There are 500 houses, of which 110 are inhabited by Pomaks.[6]

In 1903, in retaliation for its participation in the Ilinden Uprising, Belitsa was burned to the ground; over 475 people died.[citation needed]

After the beginning of the First Balkan War, 49 people from Belitsa took part in the Macedonian-Adrianople volunteer regiments.[7]

After the Second Balkan War in 1913, Belitsa remained in Bulgarian territory. According to Dimitar Gadzhanov, in 1916, Belitsa was a mixed Bulgarian-Pomak village, the Pomaks numbering around 400.[8]

In 1920, the Rila Planina forest labour production cooperative was formed. In 1935, it had 480 members.[9]


The economy of Belitsa is based primarily on small workshops in the wood processing and sewing industries. The NSI reports that in the territory of the municipality, there are 150 registered businesses, the largest being related to transportation, repair, and service (totaling 36.6%), followed by manufacturing (24.3%), and hotel and restaurant services (around 18%), primarily in the neighbourhood Semkovo. The lowest percentage is that of businesses involved with village, hunting, and forest economies, at 4.3%.

Arable land is 54.2% of farming territory and comprises a total of 34,203 decares. Its relative share of the total area of the municipality is 11.7%; about four times less than the national average ( 44.8% ). 3.6 acres of farmland are available per capita, while the country average is 6.3 hectares per capita.

Public institutions[edit]

The Georgi Todorov community centre has a history spanning over a century. It was created as a workshop in 1885 by returning war volunteers, who brought Russian books from free Bulgaria, with which to enlighten Belitsans. In addition to its workshop activities, the builders used it to develop the revolution against the Ottomans. The local Turkish authorities forbade its use, but books were still being provided by the local citizens.

Notable residents[edit]


Belitsa's population is mixed, with both Christians and Muslims.

Points of interest[edit]

  • The town's historical museum was opened in 1995 and contains an ethnographic exhibit and a shop with local fabrics and crafts.
  • The Bear Sanctuary Belitsa, a rescue centre for former dancing bears, is located just outside the town.


Belitsa Peninsula on Graham Land in Antarctica is named after Belitsa.


  1. ^ a b Town of Belitsa, Municipality Belitsa, District Blagoevgrad at Guide-Bulgaria.com
  2. ^ Belitsa, Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria at GEOnet Names Server
  3. ^ Бойков, Григор. Съдбата на Разложката котловина в условията на османска власт. // Разлог: история, традиции, памет. Благоевград, Ирин-Пирин, 2009. с. 57–58. Retrieved 10 June 2015.
  4. ^ Македония и Одринско. Статистика на населението от 1873 г.. II. София, Македонски научен институт, 1995, [1878]. с. 134–135. Retrieved 10 June 2015
  5. ^ Promacedonia.org Retrieved 10 June 2015
  6. ^ www.scribd.com Гаджанов, Димитър Г. Мюсюлманското население в Новоосвободените земи, в: Научна експедиция в Македония и Поморавието 1916, Военноиздателски комплекс „Св. Георги Победоносец“, Университетско издателство „Св. Климент Охридски“, София, 1993, стр. 245. Retrieved June 10, 2015
  7. ^ „Македоно-одринското опълчение 1912-1913 г. Личен състав“, Главно управление на архивите, 2006, стр.829. Retrieved 10 June 2015
  8. ^ Гаджанов, Димитър Г. Мюсюлманското население в Новоосвободените земи, в: Научна експедиция в Македония и Поморавието 1916, Военноиздателски комплекс „Св. Георги Победоносец“, Университетско издателство „Св. Климент Охридски“, София, 1993, стр. 245. Retrieved 10 June 2015
  9. ^ Списък на кооперативните сдружения, действали през 1935 година, по места, София 1936, с. 5 (не е отбелязана в изданието — околия Разлог). Retrieved 10 June 2015
  10. ^ "İbrahim Ethem Akıncı (1889-1950)". Atatürk Ansiklopedisi (in Turkish). 28 June 2021. Retrieved 14 February 2023.

External links[edit]