Pernik is a large industrial city where the first coal mine in Bulgaria was opened at the end of the 19th century. The history of mining is recalled by the local Mining Museum, and the city can also boast a restored medieval fortress.
Situated in the mid-mountain valley of the Struma River, the city has a history that dates back to the Thracian era. It was the Thracians in the 4th century BC who began building a fortress on Mount Krakra. In later centuries it was rebuilt many times and today the Krakra Fortress is the most important attraction of Pernik. Items found during excavations carried out in the fortress can be viewed at the Museum of Regional History.
Until the second half of the 19th century, Pernik was mainly a trading and crafts town, but in 1881 hard coal mining began here. Mines are still operating here today, and the first Bulgarian mine is today the only underground Mining Museum in the country.
With the industrial development of the city, new buildings in the eclectic and neoclassical styles appeared here. They include a theater, administrative buildings and townhouses in the center. An interesting monument is the Orthodox Church of St. Jan Rilski.