Information about Chitalishte / Cultural Center/ "Nikola Vaptzarov " - Blagoevgrad
Back in 1866, when enslaved Bulgaria was preparing for "rebellion" and "freedom" in the then town of Gorna Djumaya, patriotic citizens insisted that future generations might require well educated and spiritually uplifted people. This led to the idea of the foundation of   Chitalishte / Cultural Center/ - Gorna Djumaya - today's "N. Vaptzarov "- Blagoevgrad.
Founders of the Centre are patriotic people and local teachers like Dimitar Yanakiev Bisserov, a teacher from Dupnica who arrived in Gorna Djumaya in 1863. He was one of the founders of the Cultural Centre of Dupnitsa in 1858 - only eight years before our Community center was founded. 
Initially, the Centre was located in the then secular school in the city, located in the district "Varosha" near the church and consisted of two classrooms.On the door of one of these two rooms during holidays and in the evenings was placed a sign - "School for Adults".
The Sunday school part of the Cultural Centre was known and loved by the people, and this is not accidental. In his memoirs Kostentsev Arseny wrote: "We ordered a school illiterate to be established and so many masters and apprentices learned to read and write."
The Public Library was founded together with the Cultural centre. In issue 27 of the "Law" journal published on 21 August 1870 is written that Gorna Djumaya thanked the Rila and Zografski monasteries for their donation of books for the Library. This is evidence for the existence of the Library at that time.
After the turbulent years of the Ilinden Uprising and the Balkan War the Cultural Centre increased its activities. Immediately after the liberation of the city from Turkish rule in 1912 the Centre moved to the building of the central Turkish mosque, located where the Centre is situated today.
This building became the center of all cultural and socio-political events in the city. In 1898. the population of the city collected 300 grosha for the furnishing of the Library. In 1914. Ivan Conev donated three bookcases with 400 volumes of books. By 1923 the number of books available at the Library reached 6000.
Today the Library owns 130 thousand books, keeps old volumes of books and manuscripts, and many other valuable literature works. The Library loans out these books, has a reading hall in the central library building and 5 well-equipped branches in various districts of Blagoevgrad. In the year 2000 starts the Library fund’s automation with the introduction of an electronic library catalogue.
In 1916 the first theater group to the Cultural Centre of Blagoevgrad was formed, which later laid the foundations of today's Theatre "N. Vaptzarov ".
In 1923 was established the first choir, precursor of the choir "Macedonian song" and the first conductor of the choir in 1928 became Vasily Ivanovich Solovyov - an immigrant  from Russia. Today the choir is named "Alen Mak", winner of the medal "St. Cyril and Methodius "- 1st degree awarded on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of its founding.
In 1926 the citizens of the town, with donations and their own collective effort built a new, modern for its time stage with much better conditions for the theater groups to practice. In 1932 the round part of the library was build, which was preserved after the reconstruction of the building in 1986.
In February 1932 8 enthusiastic young guitarists and mandolinists get together at the sweetshop "Kokiche" Gorna Djumaya and formed a small orchestral group to the Community Center in Blagoevgrad, which is destined to go a long way to go through many trials, but to survive to the present day. Initiators of the group Asen Tasev and Mois Avramov, which were later joined by Vladimir Levkov Mincho Todorov, Ivan Dermendjiev, Tasko Tasev and others. This small group of enthusiastic singers and musicians launched a guitar-mandolin orchestra "Pirinski zvuci" at the Community center.
In 1946 library to formed a literature society with 60 people participants and high school students. The activity of the circle developed in two directions: on the one hand delivering lectures on literary and theoretical questions, on the other - a discussion of personal works.
In 1947 management of the library organized a 40-day course to eradicate illiteracy among the Roma population, which was visited by 80 people. This is the first course of its kind in the country and the initiative of Gorna Djoumaya Library was given as an example at the Community center Congress held in October 1947. More literacy courses were organized in the following years.
In 1951 guest writers of the literature society and Library were Svetoslav Minkov, Elisabeta Bagryana, Assen Bosev.
By the Decree № 773 of the Presidium of the National Assembly of People's Republic in 1964 the Library of Blagoevgrad was awarded the "St. Cyril and Methodius "- 1st degree. In 1967 along with the study of the native land and the history of the settlement started to maintain annals of the Centre.
In 1953 the Cultural Centre was declared "exemplary". In the same year, on the occasion posthumous award of the International Peace Prize winner, the poet N.Y. Vaptzarov, the Centre was named after him.
In 1992 started the International Competition for Young Pianists "Our children play Bach". The idea to organize such competition came from teachers in the Children Musical School to the Centre, thanks to the enthusiastic work of whom seven contests each year until 1998 library held. The contest was eventually terminated due to lack of financial resources.
Regardless of the vicissitude, the Community center distinguishes itself with noticeable stability and sustainable organizational life. Art groups to the Centre actively participate in the implementation of all major initiatives from national, international and local character and their participation is sizeable.
Today, the Community centre has 10 amateur art groups with over 350 participants, including two "representative" groups - Representative choir "Alen Mak" and Representative guitar and mandolin orchestra "Pirinski zvuci". In addition to the aforementioned, there is a Children's Choir, Cheerleaders, Mixed authentic folklore group, Children's choir "Dzhumaycheta", literature club "Ognishte", Literary Studio "Rhythm", club "Local History" and others.
In March 1954. with the initiative of Tasko Tasev, a Children's music school is created and works actively. One hundred children got enrolled since the inception of the School and they attend violin, accordion, piano, cello and tsugtrombon classes. With its ambitious and precise work Children's Musical School won high reputation in Blagoevgrad to reveal new classes body / single city / guitar, mandolin, percussion, folk singing, musical theory and others.
Today the Community Centre is not the only cultural center in Blagoevgrad. But its work is still relevant, enriching and has been improving every year. National Cultural Center "N. Vaptzarov "is a zealous guardian and distributor of traditions. It has the great merit in the search for, promotion and preservation of authentic folklore, folk customs, songs, legends and many more. Former "School for Adults" today is attractive cultural center of citizens of Blagoevgrad of all ages.
The excellent facilities of the Centre lay the ground of unlimited multi-cultural activity. Blagoevgrad Community Center has a visual organ concert hall with 250 seats, chamber rooms with 100 and 150 seats, rehearsal halls, offices, foyers with large exhibition area, club for cultural figures with 70 seats and others.
The excellent facilities of the Centre and renewed enthusiasm of its workers create favorable conditions for developing cultural and educational activities for its transformation into a true modern cultural center.