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The north-central Bulgarian town is located at the foot of the Shiplap pass in the Balkan mountains, on both banks of the Mantra River. Legend claims that an itinerant blacksmith and other craftsmen founded the town in the 15th century. It is noted as the site of the surrender of the Turks in 1878. One of Bulgaria's major industrial centers, it is home to a large leather and textile industry. Its 2003 estimated population was 143,800.
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