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Kyustendil (Bulgarian: Кюстендил [kʲustenˈdiɫ]) is a town in the far west of Bulgaria, the capital of the Kyustendil Province, a former bishopric and present Latin Catholic titular see.

The town is situated in the southern part of the Kyustendil Valley, near the borders of Serbia and North Macedonia; 90 km southwest of Sofia, 130 km northeast of Skopje and 243 km north of Thessaloniki. The population is 44,532, with a Bulgarian majority and a Roma minority. During the Iron Age, a Thracian settlement was located within the town, later known as Roman in the 1st century AD. In the Middle Ages, the town switched hands between the Byzantine Empire, Bulgaria and Serbia, prior to Ottoman annexation in 1395. After centuries of Ottoman rule, the town became part of an independent Bulgarian state in 1878.

Names

The modern name is derived from Kösten, the Turkified name of the 14th-century local feudal Constantine Dragaš, from Latin constans, "steadfast" + the Turkish il "shire, county" or "bath/spa".[1][2] The town was known as Pautalia (Greek: Παυταλία) in Antiquity and as Velbazhd (Latin Velebusdus) in the Middle Ages.

Eponymy

Kyustendil Ridge in Graham Land, Antarctica is named after the city,[3] and Pautalia Glacier on Livingston Island in the South Shetland Islands, Antarctica is named after Pautalia (its Thracian ancestor settlement).[4]

History

Prehistory and Roman era

A Thracian settlement was founded at the place of the modern town in the 5th-4th centuries BC and was known for its asclepion, a shrine dedicated to medicine god Asclepius.

Under the name Pautalia (Ancient Greek: Παυταλία or Πανταλία) it was a town in the district of Dentheletica. Its position in the Peutinger Table places Pautalia at Kyustendil; and the situation of this town at the sources of the Strymon agrees remarkably with the figure of a river-god, accompanied by the "legend" Στρύμων ("Strymon"), on some of the autonomous coins of Pautalia, as well as with the letters ΕΝ. ΠΑΙΩ. ("En. Paio"), which, on other coins, show that the inhabitants considered themselves to be Paeonians, like the other inhabitants of the banks of that river. On another coin of Pautalia, the productions of its territory are alluded to, namely, gold, silver, wine, and corn.[5] In the reign of Hadrian, the people both of Pautalia and Serdica added Ulpia to the name of their town, probably in consequence of some benefit received from that emperor. Stephanus of Byzantium has a district called Paetalia (Παιταλία), which he assigns to Thrace, probably a false reading.[6]

Plan of the fortress Velbazhd

In the 1st century AD, it was administratively part of Macedonia. Later the city was part of the province of Dacia Mediterranea and the third largest city in the province.

The Roman fortress of Pautalia of the 2nd to 4th century had an area of over 29 hectares (appr. 72 acres). The fortress wall was built mainly of granite blocks and unusually its façade was supported with pillars and arches behind. The wall was 2.5m wide allowing small catapults to be mounted atop.

A second, smaller fortress of area 2 hectares was built in the town in the 4th century (known by its later Ottoman name Hisarlaka).

Many Thracian and Roman objects are exhibited in the town's Regional History Museum, most notably an impressive numismatic collection.

Recent excavations have revealed an early Christian, late Roman monumental bishop's palace.[7]

Middle Ages

The town was mentioned under the Slavic name of Velbazhd (Велбъжд, meaning "camel")[8] in a 1019 charter by the Byzantine Emperor Basil II. It became a major religious and administrative centre of the Byzantine Empire, and subsequently the Second Bulgarian Empire after Kaloyan conquered the area between 1201 and 1203.

In 1282, Serbian king Stefan Milutin defeated the Byzantine Empire and conquered Velbazhd.

In 1330, the Serbs defeated the Bulgarians in the vicinity, effectively keeping the region to the Serbian Kingdom. Serbian magnate Dejan, one of the prominent figures of the Serbian Empire and its subsequent fall, had initially held a large province in the Kumanovo region under Dušan, and was later as despot under Uroš V assigned the Upper Struma river with Velbuzhd.[9][10] Upon Dejan's death, his possessions in Žegligovo and Upper Struma were given to his two sons, Jovan Dragaš (d. 1378) and Konstantin (d. 1395). The Dejanović brothers ruled a spacious province in eastern Macedonia,[11] in the southern lands of the Empire, and remained loyal to Uroš V,[12] until 1373, when Orhan Gazi's Ottoman army compelled Jovan to recognize Ottoman vassalage.[13]

Ottoman era

Kyustendil Valley, near the borders of Serbia and North Macedonia; 90 km southwest of Sofia, 130 km northeast of Skopje and 243 km north of Thessaloniki. The population is 44,532, with a Bulgarian majority and a Roma minority. During the Iron Age, a Thracian settlement was located within the town, later known as Roman in the 1st century AD. In the Middle Ages, the town switched hands between the Byzantine Empire, Bulgaria and Serbia, prior to Ottoman annexation in 1395. After centuries of Ottoman rule, the town became part of an independent Bulgarian state in 1878.

The modern name is derived from Kösten, the Turkified name of the 14th-century local feudal Constantine Dragaš, from Latin constans, "steadfast" + the Turkish il "shire, county" or "bath/spa".[1][2] The town was known as Pautalia (Greek: Παυταλία) in Antiquity and as Velbazhd (Latin Velebusdus) in the Middle Ages.

Eponymy

Kyustendil Ridge in Graham Land, Antarctica is named after the city,[3] and Pautalia Glacier on Livingston Island in the South Shetland Islands, Antarctica is named after Pautalia (its Thracian ancestor settlement).[4]

History

Prehistory and Roman era

A Thracian settlement was founded at the place of the modern town in the 5th-4th centuries BC and was known for its asclepion, a shrine dedicated to medicine god Asclepius.

Under the name Pautalia (Ancient Greek: Παυταλία or Πανταλία) it was a town in the district of Dentheletica. Its position in the Peutinger Table places Pautalia at Kyustendil; and the situation of this town at the sources of the Strymon agrees remarkably with the figure of a river-god, accompanied by the "legend" Στρύμων ("Strymon"), on some of the autonomous coins of Pautalia, as well as with the letters ΕΝ. ΠΑΙΩ. ("En. Paio"), which, on other coins, show that the inhabitants considered themselves to be Paeonians, like the other inhabitants of the banks of that river. On another coin of Pautalia, the productions of its territory are alluded to, namely, gold, silver, wine, and corn.[5] In

Kyustendil Ridge in Graham Land, Antarctica is named after the city,[3] and Pautalia Glacier on Livingston Island in the South Shetland Islands, Antarctica is named after Pautalia (its Thracian ancestor settlement).[4]

History

A Thracian settlement was founded at the place of the modern town in the 5th-4th centuries BC and was known for its asclepion, a shrine dedicated to medicine god Asclepius.

Under the name Pautalia (Ancient Greek: Παυταλία or Πανταλία) it was a town in the district of Dentheletica. Its position in the Peutinger Table places Pautalia at Kyustendil; and the situation of this town at the sources of the Strymon agrees remarkably with the figure of a river-god, accompanied by the "legend" Στρύμων ("Strymon"), on some of the autonomous coins of Pautalia, as well as with the letters ΕΝ. ΠΑΙΩ. ("En. Pai

Under the name Pautalia (Ancient Greek: Παυταλία or Πανταλία) it was a town in the district of Dentheletica. Its position in the Peutinger Table places Pautalia at Kyustendil; and the situation of this town at the sources of the Strymon agrees remarkably with the figure of a river-god, accompanied by the "legend" Στρύμων ("Strymon"), on some of the autonomous coins of Pautalia, as well as with the letters ΕΝ. ΠΑΙΩ. ("En. Paio"), which, on other coins, show that the inhabitants considered themselves to be Paeonians, like the other inhabitants of the banks of that river. On another coin of Pautalia, the productions of its territory are alluded to, namely, gold, silver, wine, and corn.[5] In the reign of Hadrian, the people both of Pautalia and Serdica added Ulpia to the name of their town, probably in consequence of some benefit received from that emperor. Stephanus of Byzantium has a district called Paetalia (Παιταλία), which he assigns to Thrace, probably a false reading.[6]

In the 1st century AD, it was administratively part of Macedonia. Later the city was part of the province of Dacia Mediterranea and the third largest city in the province.

The Roman fortress of Pautalia of the 2nd to 4th century had an area of over 29 hectares (appr. 72 acres). The fortress wall was built mainly of granite blocks and unusually its façade was supported with pillars and arches behind. The wall was 2.5m wide allowing small catapults to be mounted atop.

A second, smaller fortress of area 2 hectares was built in the town in the 4th century (known by its later Ottoman name Hisarlaka).

Many Thracian and Roman objects are exhibited in the town's Regional History Museum, most notably an impressive numismatic collection.

Recent excavations have revealed an early Christian, late Roman monumental bishop's palace.[7]

Middle Ages[<

The Roman fortress of Pautalia of the 2nd to 4th century had an area of over 29 hectares (appr. 72 acres). The fortress wall was built mainly of granite blocks and unusually its façade was supported with pillars and arches behind. The wall was 2.5m wide allowing small catapults to be mounted atop.

A second, smaller fortress of area 2 hectares was built in the town in the 4th century (known by its later Ottoman name Hisarlaka).

Many Thracian and Roman objects are exhibited in the town's Regional History Museum, most notably an impressive numismatic collection.

Recent excavations have revealed an early Christian, late Roman monumental bishop's palace.[7]

The town was mentioned under the Slavic name of Velbazhd (Велбъжд, meaning "camel")[8] in a 1019 charter by the Byzantine Emperor Basil II. It became a major religious and administrative centre of the Byzantine Empire, and subsequently the Second Bulgarian Empire after Kaloyan conquered the area between 1201 and 1203.

Stefan Milutin defeated the Byzantine Empire and conquered Velbazhd.

In 1330, the Serbs defeated the Bulgarians in the vicinity, effectively keeping the region to the Serbian Kingdom. Serbian magnate Dejan, one of the prominent figures of the Serbian Empire and its subsequent fall, had initially held a large province in the Kumanovo region under Dušan, and was later as despot under Uroš V assigned the Upper Struma river with Velbuzhd.[9][10] Upon Dejan's death, his possessions in Žegligovo and Upper Struma were given to his two sons, In 1330, the Serbs defeated the Bulgarians in the vicinity, effectively keeping the region to the Serbian Kingdom. Serbian magnate Dejan, one of the prominent figures of the Serbian Empire and its subsequent fall, had initially held a large province in the Kumanovo region under Dušan, and was later as despot under Uroš V assigned the Upper Struma river with Velbuzhd.[9][10] Upon Dejan's death, his possessions in Žegligovo and Upper Struma were given to his two sons, Jovan Dragaš (d. 1378) and Konstantin (d. 1395). The Dejanović brothers ruled a spacious province in eastern Macedonia,[11] in the southern lands of the Empire, and remained loyal to Uroš V,[12] until 1373, when Orhan Gazi's Ottoman army compelled Jovan to recognize Ottoman vassalage.[13]

The city was a sanjak centre initially in Rumelia governorate-general, after that in the Bitola and Niš vilayets (province). It was a kaza centre in the Sofia sanjak of Danube Province until the creation of the Principality of Bulgaria in 1878.

Modern

The residents of Kyustendil took an active part in the Bulgarian National Revival and crafts and trade flourished. The town was liberated from Ottoman rule on 29 January 1878.

Demographics

Population and ethnicityThe residents of Kyustendil took an active part in the Bulgarian National Revival and crafts and trade flourished. The town was liberated from Ottoman rule on 29 January 1878.

Demographics

The archdiocese was nominally restored

The archdiocese was nominally restored in 1933 as Latin Metropolitan Titular archbishopric of Velebusdus (Latin) / Velebusdo (Curiate Italian) / Velesdien(sis) (Latin adjective).

It has had the following incumbents, so far of the fitting Metropolitan (highest; perhaps some merely of intermediary Archiepiscopal) rank :