Dupnitsa (Bulgarian: Дупница (previously Дубница), sometimes transliterated Dupnica) is a town in western Bulgaria. It is at the foot of the highest mountain in the Balkan Peninsula – the Rila Mountain, and about 50 km south of the capital Sofia. Dupnitsa is the second largest city in Kyustendil Province.
A nickname of the town is "the town of pharmacy".
Dupnitsa is referred to as "The Green and Shady Town", because of its location which makes it quite shady in summer and due to the abundance of trees in the town. Dupnitsa is that is often called "The Little Italy of Bulgaria". This nickname comes from the fact that many inhabitants have gone over the years to work and live in Italy and every summer they return to their hometown.
The town has existed since Antiquity. The German traveler Arnold von Harff visited Dupnitsa in 1499 and described it as a "beautiful town". The names Tobinitsa, Doupla and Dubnitsa are mentioned throughout history, the last one used until the Liberation of Bulgaria, when the official name was changed to Dupnitsa. In 1948 the town was renamed Stanke Dimitrov; for a short period in 1949 it was called Marek; the name was changed to Stanke Dimitrov in 1950. After the democratic changes, the old name Dupnitsa was restored.
On 15 October 1902, around 600 women and children fled to the vicinity of Dupnitsa from Macedonia from the attacking Turkish troops.
On a hill overlooking the town there is a giant cross, commemorating the Bulgarians who perished in the Balkan wars and World War I. On the same hill there lay the ruins of a medieval fortress.
During the World War II, even though there was no deportation of Bulgarian Jews of the former Bulgarian territories, over 4,000 Jews from parts of Greece and Yugoslavia annexed by Bulgaria were arrested on 4 March 1943 and deported to an internment camp in Dupnitza. After ten days in the Dupnitza camp, on 18–19 March they were transferred by train to Lom on the Danube.
Nowadays Dupnitsa is a fast-developing town combining new buildings with modern architecture with all itse historical monuments. Because of its beautiful location at the foot of the Rila mountain, the town is marvelous holiday destination. One of the main branches of industry is the pharmaceutical company Actavis (formerly HeFeKa, in Bulgarian ХФК), which gives employment to about 30%–40% of the citizens. Small business is developing rapidly due to the city's economic growth.
Dupnitsa is famous for its cultural festivals. From 1 May to 2 June many festivals are held in the town due to the richness of the Bulgarian holiday calendar. The nightlife is very well developed. There are a lot of local pubs and clubs where young people meet and have fun. A few other popular places for socializing are the recently refurbished City Park and the Town Garden (Градска градина, Gradska gradina).
In recent years the town has become notorious due to the activities of an organised crime group led by pair of Bulgarian gangsters, former policemen Angel Hristov and Plamen Galev, known as the "Galevi brothers". Using intimidation and extortion, and with the help of corrupt policemen, they controlled Dupnitsa to the extent that they have been described as "the owners of the first private city in Bulgaria". Hristov and Galev are fugitives after having been sentenced to five and four years respectively but are still believed to control the town.
According to the latest 2011 census data, people who chose to declare their ethnic identity were distributed as follows:Bulgarians: 29,099 (92.0%)
Gypsies: 2,333 (7.4%)
Others: 102 (0.3%)
Indefinable: 106 (0.3%)
Undeclared: 1,879 (5.9%)
Marek Dupnitsa is the football club, representing the town. Marek was a dominant force in Bulgarian football in the mid-late 1970s, finishing 3rd in the domestic league.Sir Alex Ferguson made his debut as a coach with Aberdeen F.C. here in 1980, where Aberdeen lost to Marek by the score of 3:2. Ferguson said that he still remembers the town with the then name Stanke Dimitrov. Marek's most memorable victory by the score of 2:0 was against the current UEFA Champions League holder - FC Bayern Munich at Marek's home stadium - Bonchuk Stadium as part of the 1977–78 UEFA Cup. The goalkeeper Sepp Maier gave his gloves to Marek's goalkeeper Stoyan Stoyanov as a gift. The victory over Bayern Munich and the joy is still remembered by the senior citizens of the town.
Marek has also won the National Cup in 1978 by defeating CSKA in the final by the score of 1:0.
Currently, the football club is playing in Bulgaria's Third Division, V Grupa.
The Volleyball club, Marek Union-Ivkoni is a powerhouse in the Bulgarian volleyball league, and the team won the Bulgarian men's volleyball league for 4 consecutive seasons, between 2012 and 2015. The team has also competed in the European Volleyball Champions League group stages for 2 years in a row.
Dupnitsa also has strong traditions in chess, kick-boxing, baseball, etc.
The names Tobinitsa, Doupla and Dubnitsa are used throughout its history. Dubnitsa survived until the Liberation of Bulgaria, when the official name was changed to Dupnitsa. In 1948 the town was renamed Stanke Dimitrov; in 1949 it was called Marek; the name was once again changed to Stanke Dimitrov in 1950. After the democratic changes, the name Dupnitsa was restored.
Dupnitsa is located at an altitude of 500 m in a valley, surrounded by hills. Its location, as seen from above, resembles a hole (дупка, dupka in Bulgarian), hence the name Dupnitsa. There are five rivers flowing in the vicinity. Bryansk, Bryansk Oblast, Russia
Dupnitsa Point on Smith Island, South Shetland Islands is named after Dupnitsa.Plamen Oresharski, the former Prime Minister of Bulgaria, was born in Dupnitsa.
Other famous people born in Dupnitsa include:Aaron Aaronov, an opera singer;
Leo Conforti, an actor
The Bulgarian writer Dimitar Dimov spent years living in Dupnitsa
Lea Ivanova, a pop singer;
Nevena Kokanova, an actress;
Yane Sandanski, Bulgarian revolutionary and political activist