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Peshtera ( , ) is a town in southwestern Bulgariamarker, part of Pazardzhik Provincemarker, located in the Upper Thracian Lowlandsmarker at the foot of the Western Rhodopes. It takes its name from the many caves (peshtera is the Bulgarian word for 'cave') found in the vicinity.

The first traces of human presence in the area date from the Neolithic. The Thracian tribe of the Bessi inhabited the area in Antiquity and the settlement in the Peshtera Valley emerged in the fourth century BC.

The earliest piece of writing documenting the town's name dates from 1479, when Peshtera was part of the fief of a certain Mustafa in the Ottoman Empire. During the Bulgarian National Revival, many churches, bridges, fountains, schools and houses were built. The first secular school in Peshtera was opened in 1848, while the Nadezhda ('hope') community centre emerged in 1873. Many local residents took part in the armed struggle for the Liberation of Bulgaria, the town itself being liberated during the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78, more precisely on 6 January 1878.

In 1876, the town had 800 households, of which 500 Bulgarian, 60 Aromanian and about 250 Turkish and Roma. The first official Bulgarian census in 1880 stated 758 households and 3,871 inhabitants, of which 2,618 Bulgarians, 856 Turks, 341 Greeks (most actually Aromanians), 53 Roma and a single Karakachan. Five years later, in 1885, Peshtera had a population of 4,704 and 876 households.

At a distance of around 5 km from the town of Peshtera (along the road to Batakmarker) one of the most popular caves in Bulgaria — Snezhankamarker. Nearby is the Peshtera HEP plant.

The town is also well-known for producing the alcohol beverage Mastika. The product is named after the town (Peshterska).






Image:Peshtera-court-hall.jpg|Peshtera court hall


Peshtera Glacier on Livingston Islandmarker in the South Shetland Islandsmarker, Antarcticamarker is named after Peshtera.

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