From earliest historical times, the location and physico-geographical characteristics of the territory determined its settlement. This is evidenced by the numerous archaeological sites found on the territory of the municipality, including in the land of BANSKO. In the Staroto Gradishte Area, about 4 km southwest of Bansko, as well as in the Yulen Area (along the Damyanitsa River), remains of ancient fortresses were found. Near the Staroto Gradishte Area, Thracian tombstones were also discovered. A medieval settlement is supposed to have existed in the St. Trinity Area. To the southeast of the town of Bansko, there are the remains of the late medieval St. George and St. Elijah Churches.

It is assumed that Bansko became a settlement after the unification of several neighbourhoods in the period from the 15th to the 16th century. The first documentary evidence about Bansko was found in the Ottoman Register of the Celepkeşans (sheep breeders) from 1576.

Until the 18th century, the people of Bansko were predominantly stockbreeders and craftsmen who relied on the vast pastures and rich forests. During the National Revival period, Bansko developed as an urban trade and craft center. Along the Glazne River, many water mills, sawmills, rollers, fulling mills, and tabahanas for leather tanning, etc. were built. The enterprising inhabitants maintained commercial connections with settlements from the Aegean coast, Central and Western Europe. Caravans with carpentry, leather goods, and hardware headed for Aegean, Serres, and Drama and brought back cotton, fish, tobacco, olives, rough and processed leather. In many cities in Europe – Budapest, Vienna, Leipzig, Marseilles, and London – commercial offices were opened by people from Bansko. Many children of wealthy families studied abroad.

gerb-banskoThe expanded contacts with the outside world since the 18th century became an incentive for national self-awareness and made Bansko and its region one of the focal points of the Bulgarian Revival. Bansko is the birthplace of its founder and author of Istoriya Slavyanobolgarskaya – Paisiy Hilendarski (1722-1773). During that period, in Bansko were born and lived the prominent Bulgarian enlightener Neofit Rilski (1793-1881) – a monk, teacher, and artist famous as the Patriarch of the Bulgarian Teachers and Bookmen; Toma Vishanov Hadjiikonomov – Molera (1750-?) – the founder of a painting school with a huge contribution to the development of the national traditions in religious art; and Marko Teodorovich Vezyov (1760-1840) – a trader, publisher, and enlightener. We should add that Bansko and the surrounding villages were the home of many people who left their mark in the national history and culture, among them Galaktion Hilendarets (1830-1894) – a clergyman and revolutionary, Georgi Kremenliyata (1840-1886) – a rebel and voivode from the Kresna-Razlog Rebellion, Dimitar Seizov – a revolutionary and voivode in Nevrokop and Melnik, Dimitar Penkov (1876-1925) – a revolutionary, the brothers Dimitar (1874-?) and Kostadin (1876-?) Molerovi – folklorists and ethnographers, etc. Bansko is the birthplace of Nikola Yonkov Vaptsarov (1909-1942) – one of the genius poets of Bulgaria.

The economic and spiritual progress in the 18th century and especially in the 19th century could be seen in the acts of the local self-government of the village of Bansko. In around 1850, the Bansko Bulgarian Municipality was founded as a continuation of the village council formed in 1833 for the construction and painting of the St. Trinity Church (sanctified in 1835). In the governing body of the municipality, there were influential representatives of the trade and crafts union. In 1838, a monastery school was built in the churchyard, which in 1847 grew into a New Bulgarian Secular School. At the initiative of the Bansko Bulgarian Municipality, a new school building was built in 1857, the mutual school was reorganized in a class one, and Revival newspapers and literature were distributed. The municipality organized the construction of the bell tower of the St. Trinity Church in 1850 and the installation of a clock mechanism in 1865. During the 1960s and 70s of the 19th century, the Bansko Bulgarian Municipality was the head of the fight against the Greek church authorities for the independence of the Bulgarian church and for the development of the educational work in the village. The municipality provided material assistance to the families that suffered in the suppression of the Kresna-Razlog Rebellion and the Ilinden-Preobrazhenie Rebellion and, after the Liberation from the Ottoman presence in 1912, undertook a series of other public initiatives.

The economic well-being also reflected in the characteristics of the residential architecture of the 18th and 19th centuries. Built of stone, the rich houses “had a monumental fortress appearance. This was the main difference from the residential architecture in the other villages of the region of Razlog” (R. Angelova). To these qualities, we should also add the remarkable woodcarving and mural decoration, which is evidence not only of the financial capabilities but also of the high artistic culture of the people of Bansko. Typical examples of the early local construction tradition are the Hadzhivalchova, Hadzhiruskova, and Velyanova Houses. The Sirleshtova, Todeva, Buynova, Zagorchina, Dzhidjevi, Zlatevi, Koyuvi, Stefanovi, and other houses are distinguished for their architectural merits and rich artistic decoration.

In the context of the spiritual development during that period, it should be mentioned that Bansko was the first Bulgarian town in which Protestant communities were established in the second half of the 19th century. As early as the 1960s, i.e. before the advent of Protestant missionaries in those places, there was an evangelical community there formed by the Orthodox priest Dimitar Mladenov and the local teacher Nikola Popfilipov. On 6 August 1868, a Bulgarian Evangelical Church Municipality was established in Bansko, which is also considered the birth date of the first Protestant church in Bulgaria.