In the 19th century it was a thriving town in one of the most progressive regions of the Bulgarian lands
It produced some of the brightest minds of the time. Since independence in 1878, however, it has been going downhill as its citizens sought their fortunes elsewhere and emigrated en masse. At present it is a pleasant backwater of a town tucked in the southern foothills of the Stara Planina mountain range. It is now known mainly for two things. It is the most popular gateway to hikers heading to conquer the Botev Summit (2,376 metres above sea level), the highest in the Stara Planina. And it is the birthplace of Hristo Botev (1848-1876), perhaps the most noted Revival Period poet and revolutionary, whom modern Bulgarians consider one of their national heroes.