The municipality of Velingrad is located in the most beautiful part of the West Rhodopi - in the Chepinskata Valley. It is situated at 700 to 1800 meters above sea level. Its territories include 818 000 decars of land. The municipality comprises 2 towns and 35 villages.
The population is 44 250 residents, 26 500 of which live in the town of Velingrad.
The town itself is located in the picturesque valley of the Chepinska River at 750 meters above sea level. It is 81 km away from Plovdiv and 196 km from Smolyan.
The area is rich of mineral springs and lakes. More than 70 springs are available with different temperatures and mineral structure. The biggest Karst spring - the Kleptuza is located in Velingrad area.
The second biggest reservoir in Bulgaria - Dospat is located about 50 km from the town. Another big reservoir Batak is even closer 20 km away. Both lakes are a popular camping and fishing sites.
Summers in the region are warm and winters are mild. The average annual temperature is 10C, while the average July temperature is 19C. The annual duration of sunshine is 2,000 hours. The relative air humidity ranges from 65 to 75%. Surrounded by age-old pine tree woods, the town favors plenty of sunshine during the whole year. This exclusively rare and valuable combination has a beneficial influence on the process of ionization (negative ions are prevailing) and is of great therapeutic importance.
These are the main preconditions for turning Velingrad in the best balneological center in Bulgaria. The town has 43 balneo-medical facilities, 20 hotels, 300 private accommodations and 140 entertainment places.
The legends tell that once upon a time Orpheus lived in these lands. Other telling say that the Rhodopi area gave the strength to Spartacus - the leader of the slaves in ancient Rome.
The cultural layers give reasons to claim that Chepinska area has been inhabited 5- 6 century B.C by the Thracians. The remains from the tribe Besi are most visible. Archeologists have found mounds, necropolis, walls from settlements and fortress.
There are 7 mounds left by the Thracians in the Batak Swamp and another two in the Iundola area. Remains from Thracian settlement can be seen in the Pechkovets area, at the foot of the medieval fortress Tsepina.
In 46 A.C. the romans conquered the Rhodope Mountains. The mixed Roman- Thracian era continues till the arrival of the Slavs. Roman remains can be seen in the locales Bivolitchino Dere and Removo. Those are parts of a clay water pipes for mineral water, coins, marble plates and road pavements.
At the beginning of the VI century the Chepinska area was inhabited by Slavs from the tribe Dragovichi. Later on the Bulgarians join the Slavs. The area is added to Bulgarian territories during the reign of Khan Malomir. For centuries the region was part either of Bulgara or Byzantium. Finally it became Bulgarian during the rule of Khan Kaloian. Byzantine remains from that time can be seen in the area of Strazha - 2.5 km east from the town and the area Gradot - 2 km north from Velingrad.
The Tsepina fortress and the whole Chepinski area were conquered by the Turks in 1371- 1373.
A massive campaign for turning Christians to Muslims started. Nowadays 70% of the population is Christians. The villages in the area started to decay rapidly.
After the Liberation the area became popular for conifer tree processing. During the past decades the town of Velingrad was turned into a popular tourist destination because of the many mineral springs. For just a few years a number of SPA hotels were constructed.
- St Spas' Monastery, the St Nedelya's Church, the medieval fortress Gradishteto, in the Chepino area
- St George's Monastery, Belyova Banya, the small Nikulyova Church, st George's Chapel
- The medieval fortress Gradot and Tupanara in the Kamenitsa quarter
- The largest Karst spring in Bulgaria - Kleptuza
- The Yundola Recreational Center 16 km west of Velingrad
- The village of Dorkovo 14 km northeast of the town where the largest paleontological find of mastodons in Europe was discovered in 1985
- The Bulgarian medieval fortress Tsepina - 6 km northwest of the village of Dorkovo
- The Chepinsko watershed - the picturesque valley of the Chepinska River between the Alabak and Karkaria ridges of the Rhodope mountains, approximately 30 km in length.