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Samokov Historical Museum with the statue of Zahari Zograf

Coat of arms
Samokov is located in Bulgaria
Location of Samokov
Coordinates: 42°20′N 23°33′E / 42.333°N 23.55°E / 42.333; 23.55
Country  Bulgaria
 - Mayor Angel Nikolov
Elevation 960 m (3,150 ft)
Population (2008)[1]
 - Total 28,150
Time zone EET (UTC+2)
 - Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3)
Postal Code 2000
Area code(s) 0722
A 1892 painting by Nikola Obrazopisov of the Samokov School

Samokov (Bulgarian: Самоков) is a town in Sofia Province in the southwest of Bulgaria. It is situated in a kettle between the mountains Rila and Vitosha, 55 kilometres from the capital Sofia. Due to the suitable winter sports conditions, Samokov, together with the nearby resort Borovets, is a major tourist centre.

In the past, Samokov was a centre of handicrafts and art, with notable figures like Zahari Zograf, Hristo Dimitrov and Nikola Obrazopisov. The town's name is a compound word of "samo" and "kov", respectively meaning "self" and the root of the verb "forge, hammer", and comes from the samokov, a mechanical forge powered by water, since the town of Samokov was a major iron producing centre during the Ottoman rule of Bulgaria.



It is thought that Samokov was founded in the 14th century as a mining settlement with the assistance of "Saxon" miners. It was first mentioned in 1455 and in Ottoman registers of 1477 as Vlaychov Samokov. In the 16th and 17th centuries, it grew into the greatest iron extraction centre in the region, with western travellers describing it as 'a fairly large city'. In 1565-1566, Samokov had to produce and deliver to Belgrade 20,000 horseshoes and 30,000 nails for the Ottoman army. Samokov also produced anchors and other materials for the shipyards of the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast, particularly Anchialos (Pomorie). As the logging industry was also well developed, in 1573 the people of Samokov had to deliver 300 beams as far as Mecca.[2].~


Bulgaria's only ski jumping hill is located in Samokov. It's a fairly small hill, K-40 metres where you can jump down to 45 metres. The hill is very old and needs to be renovated. A large modern sports arena was opened on 8 March 2008. Basketball, volleyball, boxing, wrestling and judo. It cost 16 million lev. There is also a skiing centre in Samokov for Cross Country skiing, a small alpine hill and a snowboard park.


Samokov Knoll on Livingston Island in the South Shetland Islands, Antarctica is named after Samokov.

Notable persons

External links


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel


Samokov is a town in Sofia Province, 70 km south of Bulgaria's capital Sofia.


The town serves as the main shopping area for many local villages and the famous ski resort of Borovets which is 10km to the south east.


The town itself is attractive in and around its centre but there's a few ugly tenement blocks that remind you of the communist past. The town is nicely isolated from the surrounding villages which include Dospei, Reliovo, Rayovo, Shipochene, Beli Iskar, Govedatsi and the spa village of Belchin Banski.


A daily fresh produce market and a big monday market selling clothing, hardware, bric a brac, hooky watches and designer gear are well worth going to.


The town is well served with restaurants serving traditional Bulgarian cuisine such as Kavarma which is a delicious mildly spicy meat stew with peppers and onions.

  • Rila - 1.5 hours away, home to a UNESCO-listed monastery
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