IOL 2023

About Bansko


Bansko is a small town located at the foot of the beautiful Pirin Mountains at an elevation of about 1,000 m. The population of the town is estimated to be around 9,000 people. In the past, Bansko has been a stockbreeding spot but nowadays its economy relies mainly on recreation. Today Bansko is a popular place for winter and summer tourism. The ski area offers 75 km of ski runs and includes 14 lifts and drags that can reach an elevation of 2,600 m above sea level. During the winter season, the lifts can handle more than 24,000 people hourly. So we totally believe that Bansko can comfortably handle our IOL crowd in the summer.


There are several legends about the foundation of the village of Bansko including theories that it was founded by the blinded army of Tsar Samuil, or an Italian painter named Ciociolino, or some Slavic tribes. However, the oldest examined archaeological artefacts are dated to the early stages of the Roman Empire. According to testimonies of American missionaries, the population of Bansko was 4,000 people back in the 1870s and has doubled since then. Bansko is known for being the birthplace of several historical figures in Bulgaria – Paisiy Hilendarski, Neofit Rilski and Nikola Vaptsarov (and they were all men of the pen, as we know all our contestants are, in a way).


Being one of the most popular resorts in Bulgaria, Bansko hosts numerous events throughout the year. In the winter, the resort is home of many ski and snowboard competitions, including stages of the FIS Alpine Ski World Cup. In the summer, the town provides a stage for multiple folklore festivals, cycling races and digital nomad gatherings. However, the most important events for Bansko this summer will be part of the 20th Anniversary International Olympiad in Linguistics – a couple of competitions, some funny games and great talks, several party spots, an awarding ceremony, and a bunch of excursions, such as the IOL excursion, the mountain hike, the Post-IOL excursion, and your own favourite self-planned excursion (maybe you could still make it to the beach).