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  • Writer's pictureStefan Ivanov

Architectural-historical reserve Koprivshtitsa

Updated: Dec 13, 2023

What is Koprivshtitsa to me?


Monument to Todor Kableshkov in Koprivshtitsa
Monument to Todor Kableshkov in Koprivshtitsa

For me, Koprivshtitsa is a place where I like to return again and again.


View over the Oslekova house in the town of Koprivshtitsa
View over the Oslekova house in the town of Koprivshtitsa

Excuse me, did I say love?! Love, in fact, is too weak a word by which I could describe and convey the feelings raging in me - in my soul, in my heart, in my head, when it comes to my Koprivshtitsa.


My God, a village like a box, where only rye is grown, where the winter is nine months, where the busiest roads are only two paddies wide, where distinguished guests are considered pilgrims, where neither Blanki nor Ami has set foot Bue, not to Cyprian Roberta, not to Louis Leger, etc., etc. - and such a clamor from activists and patriots!

Inexplicable!

Zahariy Stoyanov


To this day, the emotions that overwhelm me every time I set foot on this very Bulgarian land, walk through its narrow cobbled streets, look at these colorful Renaissance houses, hear the bells of the Koprivshten churches, step Do you see the doors of the native homes of Benkovski, Kableshkov, Karavelov and Debelyanov and feel the impressive panorama revealed by the monument "The Man Who Gave the Fatal Sign" towering over this unique Bulgarian town.


Here is my Koprivshtitsa.


Panorama towards Koprivshtitsa from the memorial complex "The Man Who Gave the Fatal Sign"
Panorama towards Koprivshtitsa from the memorial complex "The Man Who Gave the Fatal Sign"

I start my walk from the memorial complex "The Man Who Gave the Fatal Sign" - a symbol and emblem of the city.


Memorial Complex "The Man Who Gave the Fatal Sign"

The huge grayish granite block rises in the eastern part of the city, and from the place reveals a unique panorama of the entire Koprivshtitsa, located at 1060 meters above sea level. in the middle of the wonderfully beautiful Sashtinska Sredna gora.


Get up slaves, I do not want to be a slave!

From "Benkovsky"

"Epic of the Forgotten"

Ivan Vazov


Memorial complex "The Man Who Gave the Fatal Sign" (Monument to Georgi Benkovski) in the city of Koprivshtitsa
Memorial complex "The Man Who Gave the Fatal Sign" (Monument to Georgi Benkovski) in the city of Koprivshtitsa

The monument of Georgi Benkovski is located above his native house. It was designed by sculptor Hristo Tanev and architect Petko Tatarov and was opened on April 30, 1976.


Memorial complex "The Man Who Gave the Fatal Sign" (Monument to Georgi Benkovski) in the city of Koprivshtitsa

The 11-meter-high monument depicts Benkovski on horseback, standing on five stones, with a sword in his right hand.


Memorial complex "The Man Who Gave the Fatal Sign" (Monument to Georgi Benkovski) in the city of Koprivshtitsa

The five huge stones symbolize the five centuries of slavery. One of Vazov's words is written on each stone.


Memorial complex "The Man Who Gave the Fatal Sign" (Monument to Georgi Benkovski) in the city of Koprivshtitsa

Benkovsky is represented astride his horse, his gaze directed in the southwest direction - towards the city of Panagyurishte, the center of the Fourth Revolutionary District during those memorable days of the summer of 1876.


I don't know how, but every time I stand in this place, right here - under the hooves of Benkovsky's horse, the song "You're beautiful, my dear forrest" fills my chest and I start singing!


You are beautiful, my dear forrest,

you smell like youth

but you dwell in our hearts

only sorrow and pity:

who looks at you once

he always regrets

that it cannot under yours

shadows to fade

and whoever needs it

to leave you already

he can't, he's still alive

to forget you

You are beautiful, my dear forrest,

you smell like youth

but you dwell in our hearts

only sorrow and pity

your beeches and oaks,

your noises thick

and the flowers and the waters,

fat lambs

and the peony and the grasses,

and your coolness

everything, I say, sometimes

like a bullet falls

of the heart that is

always ready

to cry when he sees

in nature new

when he saw how the spring

old age sends

and under the cold and under the snow

life takes hold.


In 2014, the song "You're beautiful, my dear forrest" with lyrics by Lyuben Karavelov and music by Georgi Goranov was announced as the official anthem of the city.


Suddenly, from the nearby grove comes cheerful children's laughter, mixed with enthusiastic shouts - isn't it the voice of young Benkovski?! I realize that he must have done this hundreds of times when he was a young child and criss-crossed these places far and wide, playing chase with his friends, a wooden sword slung around his waist.


Memorial complex "The Man Who Gave the Fatal Sign" (Monument to Georgi Benkovski) in the city of Koprivshtitsa

Very close by you will find unique vast green meadows where you can relax, have fun, have a picnic or just enjoy the silence and the magnificent nature.


The brook along the steps merrily hums and sings songs.


Memorial complex "The Man Who Gave the Fatal Sign" (Monument to Georgi Benkovski) in the city of Koprivshtitsa

From Benkovski's monument, I take the stone steps in the direction of his native home, which is very close by.


Here I am in front of the doors and high stone walls of his native house.


House-Museum "Georgi Benkovski"

The Hluteva House is a cultural monument of national importance and is located at the foot of the memorial complex "The Man Who Gave the Fatal Sign" at 5 Georgi Benkovski Street.


House-museum "Georgi Benkovski" in the city of Koprivshtitsa
House-museum "Georgi Benkovski" in the city of Koprivshtitsa

It was built in 1831 and is a typical representative of the so-called guild houses. It has a symmetrical construction, the center of which is the heavily forward open veranda, continuing in depth into the spacious lounge on the second floor of the house - a room used in the summer for work or relaxation.


Hlutevi's home has been preserved and was expropriated for a museum in 1924 by decree of Tsar Boris III.


House-museum "Georgi Benkovski" in the city of Koprivshtitsa

In the middle of the yard stands a bust-monument of Georgi Benkovski, made by the sculptor Minkov in 1962. The bust is carved from Aytos andesite (bullet stone), and the pedestal, which is made of granite, was made by the Koprivshtitsa stonemason Atanas (Tancho) Yurukov.


The rebellious glory and heroic feat of Georgi Benkovski

Appreciative Stinging Hive

1971 year


The fountain in front of House-museum "Georgi Benkovski" in the city of Koprivshtitsa

This inscription impresses me from a memorial fountain in honor of Georgi Benkovski, made of granite moraine and placed in 1971 in front of the revolutionary's birthplace. The fountain is also the work of Koprivshtitsa stonemason Atanas (Tancho) Yurukov.


Opposite the fountain is the entrance to the Museum of Enlightenment in Koprivshtitsa.


Museum of Enlightenment

This is where the permanent exhibition "Koprivshtitsa - an enlightened center during the Renaissance" is housed.


Museum of Enlightenment in the city of Koprivshtitsa
Museum of Enlightenment in the city of Koprivshtitsa

This exhibition presents important details of the history of the city, which became in the 19th century one of the most significant centers of the Bulgarian revival in the field of enlightenment and revolutionary activity.


The exhibition, presenting the history of revival education in Koprivshtitsa, was opened on November 1, 2012 after refurbishing the home of Koprivshtitsa teacher Yako Dorosiev. It was built in 1840, and until 1989 it housed a museum named after the teacher, opened in 1958.


Museum of Enlightenment in the city of Koprivshtitsa

Today, the view of a cell school and separately of a Bell-Lancaster method co-educational school is recreated here in vivid detail.


On the stone steps, past the tall stone walls of the Museum of Enlightenment, I enter a narrow cobblestone street that takes me to the middle of the riverside park "Topolnitsa".


Topolnitsa Riverside Park

Spring, summer, autumn, winter - regardless of the season, "Topolnitsa" park is designated as the main place for sports and recreation on the territory of the municipality of Koprivshtitsa.


Riverside park "Topolnitsa" in Koprivshtitsa
Riverside park "Topolnitsa" in Koprivshtitsa

As its name suggests, the park is located around both banks of the Topolnitsa River, flowing through the entire city from its northern end to its southern end.


Riverside park "Topolnitsa" in Koprivshtitsa

Riverside Park "Topolnitsa" is a complex of alleys, gazebos, benches, flower gardens, playgrounds, entertainment and sports facilities.


Riverside park "Topolnitsa" in Koprivshtitsa

The seasons change, and the pure pleasure of walking through this wonderful park remains and is imprinted deep inside me.



I head in the direction of the tall bell tower of the revival church "St. Nicholas".


On the right on the way to the temple is Bratska mogila.


Bratska Mogila Memorial Complex

"Bratska Mogila" memorial complex was created in memory of those who died in the anti-government armed activity before 1944 and during Bulgaria's participation in the war against the Third Reich. It was built according to the project of the sculptors Georgi Gergov and Ivan Kesyakov. It was opened in 1958 in the small park created on this occasion.


Memorial complex "Bratska Mogila" in the city of Koprivshtitsa
Memorial complex "Bratska Mogila" in the city of Koprivshtitsa

To the right of the sculptural composition of a partisan and a little girl is a large granite moraine with the names of those who died fighting the political regime before 1944.


Soon I am in front of Moravenova chesma, also called Moravenekova chesma or Morovyanka.


The Moravian fountain

The Morave fountain is embedded in the eastern wall of the revival church "St. Nicholas" and is a cultural monument with local ensemble significance.


It has a crossroads location – on the border between Sredna and Toroman hamlets.


Moravenova fountain, also called Moravenekova fountain or Morovyanka, in the town of Koprivshtitsa
Moravenova fountain, also called Moravenekova fountain or Morovyanka, in the town of Koprivshtitsa

It is the second largest fountain in the city after Mirchova.


It was built in 1843 by the then-famous Usta Gavrail from Edirne with the funds of the founders Rashko and Petko Moravenovi during the restoration of the older Morovyanka fountain, when it acquired its present appearance.


Moravenova fountain, also called Moravenekova fountain or Morovyanka, in the town of Koprivshtitsa

During the restoration, undertaken after the construction of the temple, it was inspected and approved by the master from Edirne, who completely changed its appearance, changed the original founder's inscription and placed a new one - with the names of the donors who ensured the restoration. The names of the original donors thus remain unknown, and this is a reason to believe that a new fountain was built in 1843.


Moravenova fountain, also called Moravenekova fountain or Morovyanka, in the town of Koprivshtitsa

The fountain is decorated with Christian and pagan symbols. In the middle of the cornice there is a relief figure of a dove spreading its wings over the fountain. This symbolizes the Holy Spirit, forever watching over the building. The fish is associated with the name of God's Son Savior (from Greek: ichthys - Jesus Christ).


Pagan symbols are linked in a composition depicting a moving snake that has caught a frog and bit its leg. In this case, the image of the snake is not associated with evil, but with wisdom.


I take a sip of water and enter the temple.


Revival Church "St. Nicholas"

St. Nicholas Revival Church is a Christian church located about 800 meters south of the city center, at the very southern end of Sredna mahala.


Revival Church "St. Nicholas" in the town of Koprivshtitsa
Revival Church "St. Nicholas" in the town of Koprivshtitsa

The temple has been declared a cultural monument of local ensemble significance.


The bell tower of the revival church "St. Nicholas" in the city of Koprivshtitsa
The bell tower of the revival church "St. Nicholas" in the city of Koprivshtitsa

It is known as the "New Church" because it was built after the old church of the city, which at a certain point began to become cramped for the growing population.


The temple occupies a central part of an architectural ensemble, which includes a courtyard space surrounded by a massive stone wall, two buildings located to the west and north of the temple, the bell tower and two fountains - one (the Pallaveeva) is located in the courtyard (northwest of the church). , and the other – Moravenova fountain, outside to the eastern entrance to the churchyard.


The Pallavian fountain in the courtyard of the revival church "St. Nicholas" in the town of Koprivshtitsa
The Pallavian fountain in the courtyard of the revival church "St. Nicholas" in the town of Koprivshtitsa

The Pallave fountain in the courtyard of the revival temple "St. Nicholas" was built with the funds of Hadji Nencho Palaveev - the benefactor of Koprivshtitsa, in 1932.


The fountain is embedded under a wide canopy on the west wall of the church and is considered one of the richest fountain constructions in the city in terms of form and detail.


The Pallavian fountain in the courtyard of the revival church "St. Nicholas" in the town of Koprivshtitsa

Its upper part resembles a bay window and strongly protrudes forward. The building is mainly supported by two stone columns, wider in their middle part, which are placed on ornamented stones, having the appearance of a truncated cone.



In the place of the missing traditional dovetail arch, there is a flattened horizontal vault, and above it is an elaborate cornice built of three stones. Its lower part is decorated with arc-like relief forms. The center stone has an embedded marble tile with a black and white photograph of the fountain's founder. Under the bay window is mounted on a dark gray slab an inscription with the blessing text of the pilgrim.


I leave the church and go back, taking the "Lyuben Karavelov" street at Bratska mogila, leading to the "Lyuben Karavelov" high school in Koprivsto and currently the municipality building.


Municipality of Koprivshtitsa

The municipality of Koprivshtitsa is currently housed in the building of the old "Lyuben Karavelov" school, known as the Koprivshtitsa high school.


Koprivshtitsa Municipality (Koprivshtitsa High School)

In 1889, the Koprivshtitsa School Board and the Municipal Council decided to build a new school building, because the boys' school building built in 1858 was becoming cramped for the students of the primary and grade school, and the building housing the girls' school was dilapidated. Thus, a new, modern building was built for the purpose, which received its first graduating class in 1895. Lyuben Karavelov was elected patron of the Koprivshtitsa high school.


Municipality of Koprivshtitsa
Municipality of Koprivshtitsa

On the small square in front of the municipality building stands a monument to Anton Ivanov, a native of Koprivshtitsa, shot on July 23, 1942 together with the poet Nikola Vaptsarov.


Monument to Anton Ivanov in front of the Koprivshtitsa municipality building
Monument to Anton Ivanov in front of the Koprivshtitsa municipality building

I cross the Topolnitsa river on one of the beautiful Koprivshtitsa bridges and find myself in front of the monument to Lyuben Karavelov.


The bridge over the Topolnitsa river opposite the monument to Lyuben Karavelov in the town of Koprivshtitsa
The bridge over the Topolnitsa river opposite the monument to Lyuben Karavelov in the town of Koprivshtitsa

In 1968, the "Kyril and Methodius" primary school, the "Lyuben Karavelov" high school and the climate high school were united into the "Lyuben Karavelov" secondary school and moved to the new purpose-built building in 1973.


The school is located on the eastern bank of the Topolnitsa River


Monument to Lyuben Karavelov in the town of Koprivshtitsa

I love you, my dear fatherland!

I love your Balkans, forests, screes, rocks and their clear and cold springs!

I love you, my dear land!

I love you with all my soul and heart, even if you are doomed to severe suffering and troubles!

All that is left in my orphaned soul Good and holy—all is thine!

From "Bulgarians of Old Time"

Lyuben Karavelov


Monument to Lyuben Karavelov and SU "Lyuben Karavelov"

The monument to Lyuben Karavelov, made by Nadezhda Petrenko and Ivan Sivrev, is erected in the middle of a small flower garden, next to which a modest fountain gushes.


Monument to Lyuben Karavelov in the town of Koprivshtitsa
Monument to Lyuben Karavelov in the town of Koprivshtitsa

The main entrance of "Lyuben Karavelov" Secondary School is located directly opposite the monument of the famous writer.


Secondary school "Lyuben Karavelov" in the city of Koprivshtitsa
Secondary school "Lyuben Karavelov" in the city of Koprivshtitsa

"Lyuben Karavelov" Secondary School is a worthy successor of the best educational traditions in the Bulgarian lands, dating back to the Renaissance.


The old grade school "St. St. Cyril and Methodius" in the town of Koprivshtitsa
The old grade school "St. St. Cyril and Methodius" in the town of Koprivshtitsa

From the "Lyuben Karavelov" secondary school, I head to the old Koprivshto grade school "St. St. Cyril and Methodius", which is located on the west bank of the Topolnitsa river.


Grade School "St. St. Cyril and Methodius"

Grade school "St. St. Cyril and Methodius" has been declared a cultural monument of local ensemble significance.


The school was consecrated on September 27, 1837, and its leadership was entrusted to Neofit Rilski.


The old grade school "St. St. Cyril and Methodius" in the town of Koprivshtitsa

Since 2011, the old "St. St. Cyril and Methodius" Koprivshtitsa grade school has been functioning as a "Living Museum - a monument to the educational work in Bulgaria".


In the courtyard of "St. St. Cyril and Methodius" I find a vast stage with numerous benches arranged in a perfect arch, in front of which are placed letters - colorful embroidery, forming the beloved word KOPRIVSHTITSA.


Central stage

The summer folk festivals "With Nettle in the Heart" are an annual cultural event, part of the municipality's cultural calendar.


Central stage and colorful inscription "Koprivshtitsa"
Central stage and colorful inscription "Koprivshtitsa"

They are organized by the Municipality of Koprivshtitsa, the People's Community Center and the Directorate of Museums in the city. Participants in the festivities are both local singing and dancing ensembles, as well as touring artists from all over the country.


People's community center "Hadji Nencho D. Palaveev – 1869" in the city of Koprivshtitsa
People's Community Center "Hadji Nencho D. Palaveev – 1869"

Opposite the stage is the national community center, whose motto is:


Read tirelessly!


People's Community Center "Hadji Nencho D. Palaveev – 1869"

According to memories of old people, it is clear that since 1860 there has been a public library in the city.


People's community center "Hadji Nencho D. Palaveev – 1869" in the city of Koprivshtitsa

Using the experience gained in Svishtov, in 1869 Nayden Popstoyanov drew up the charter of the community center, and all the book property of the school library was transferred to it for general use.


People's community center "Hadji Nencho D. Palaveev – 1869" in the city of Koprivshtitsa

Then the Koprivshtitsa Community Center received the name "Neophyte Rilets". It currently bears the name of the Benefactor of Koprivshtitsa.


A small monument stands to the left of the community center building.


Monument to those who died in the Balkan Wars

In memory of the Koprivshtian heroes who died gloriously in the Liberation and Inter-Allied Wars in 1912-1913.


The nation that remembers the past and lives with its history has a great future.


Monument to those who died in the Balkan Wars in the town of Koprivshtitsa
Monument to those who died in the Balkan Wars in the town of Koprivshtitsa

The monument was made by At. Petrov in 1914 and is located in the yard of the old school.


The truncated four-sided pyramidal obelisk is carved from black polished granite. On both sides of it are inscriptions with the names of 53 of the Koprivshtitsa residents who died in these wars. In height, the monument ends with a Christian cross.


I continue along the small street in the direction of the merchant Petko Lyutov's house.


The Lyutova House in the town of Koprivshtitsa

Since 1965, the Lyutova house has been turned into an ethnographic museum. It is located at 2 Nikola Belovezhdov Street.


Lyutova house

The Lyutova House has been declared a cultural monument of national importance.


The Lyutova House in the town of Koprivshtitsa

It was built in 1854 and is a monument of Revival architecture, wall painting, wood carving and life.


The Lyutova House in the town of Koprivshtitsa
The Lyutova House in the town of Koprivshtitsa

Built by Plovdiv craftsmen for the Koprivshtitsa Jelepin and the fugitive Stefan Topalov. In 1906, the house was sold to the merchant Petko Lutov.


I continue along "Nikola Belovezhdov" street and with every step my heart beats harder and harder in my chest.


Kalachev Bridge (Bridge of the First Rifle) in the town of Koprivshtitsa
Kalachev Bridge (Bridge of the First Rifle) in the town of Koprivshtitsa

The White river looks like a thin silver string, which it cheerfully plays.


I stop. The heart does not stop!


Kalachev Bridge (Bridge of the "First Rifle")

There he is! The bridge connecting the two banks of Byala Reka. The bridge where it all began!


Kalachev Bridge (Bridge of the "First Rifle") in the town of Koprivshtitsa
Kalachev Bridge (Bridge of the "First Rifle") in the town of Koprivshtitsa

In front of my eyes, all those memorable events that started from here and echoed in eternity are racing in a super fast cadence!


Kalachev Bridge (Bridge of the First Rifle) in the town of Koprivshtitsa

Georgi Tihanek, the first shot, the bloody letter, Kableshkov, Georgi Salchev, Panagyurishte, Benkovski, Nikola Karadjov, Klisura, Vasil Petleshkov, Bratsigovo, Raina Knyaginya, Verigovo, Batak...


The April epic! Year 1876!


Kalachev Bridge (Bridge of the First Rifle) in the town of Koprivshtitsa

Directly next to the bridge, a bas-relief was erected in memory of the announcement of the April Uprising, made by architect Anastas Dudulov in 1928.


The monument is a granite block with a stepped base. A bronze bas-relief cast of an insurgent with a rifle is built into it, and above it – a pealing church bell. On one side of it are carved the names of the Chetniks from the detachment of Georgi Tihanek, whose shot marked the beginning of the April epic. On the other side of the depicted insurgent is placed a text in celebration of the events of 1876.


Kalachev Bridge (Bridge of the First Rifle) in the town of Koprivshtitsa
Bas-relief commemorating the announcement of the April Uprising

Kalachev bridge was built in 1813. It was built with the trust (expenses) of Hadji Nayden Kalachev, who gave his name.


Kalachev Bridge (Bridge of the First Rifle) in the town of Koprivshtitsa

The year and name of the donor are inscribed on one of the two stone slabs that rise on either side of the bridge.


Kalachev Bridge (Bridge of the First Rifle) in the town of Koprivshtitsa

On the other plate it is written that a century later - in 1913, the great-grandson of Hadji Nayden Kalachev - Petar G. Kalachev, renovated it.


Kalachev Bridge (Bridge of the First Rifle) in the town of Koprivshtitsa

The bridge is located at the crossroads of "Pirva Pushka", "Dimcho Debelyanov", "Nikola Belovezhdov", "Tumangelova Cheta" and "Rayna Katsarova" streets.


Kalachev Bridge (Bridge of the First Rifle) in the town of Koprivshtitsa

Kalachev Most (Bridge of the "First Rifle") has been declared a cultural monument of local ensemble significance.


The Bozov's house

Bozov's house was built for Pavel Bozov in 1859.


Bozov's house in the town of Koprivshtitsa
Bozov's house in the town of Koprivshtitsa

Its style is typical of the symmetrical Bulgarian Revival houses of that time - with a wooden loggia and carved ceilings.

The Boza house has been declared a cultural monument of local ensemble significance.


And I continue my walk through history.


Monument to Todor Kableshkov in the town of Koprivshtitsa
Monument to Todor Kableshkov in the town of Koprivshtitsa

Here is Kableshkov's native house! Here is the monument to Kableshkov!


Monument to Todor Kableshkov

The monument to Todor Kableshkov was made by Yordan Gavrilov and Georgi Papagalov in 1980. The authors of the project are Yordan Gavrilov, Professor Georgi Papagalov and Ivan Nikolov.


Monument to Todor Kableshkov in the town of Koprivshtitsa

It is dedicated to Todor Kableshkov and is located near the home of the revolutionary on "Todor Kableshkov" street in a small green corner in the shape of an irregular pentagon.


Monument to Todor Kableshkov in the town of Koprivshtitsa

The foundation is made of granite blocks. The figure of the hero is turned in the direction of the rising sun – with a gaze fixed on the light. It is cast from bronze and has a height of 2 meters and 90 centimeters.


"Todor Kableshkov" Street in the city of Koprivshtitsa

I continue along the quiet "Todor Kableshkov" street, while the majestic posture of the revolutionary's birthplace slowly emerges in front of me.


House-Museum "Todor Kableshkov"
House-Museum "Todor Kableshkov"

This is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful and impressive houses in Koprivshtitsa.


House-Museum "Todor Kableshkov" (Kableshkov's house)

House-museum "Todor Kableshkov" (Kableshkov's house) has been declared a cultural monument of national importance.


House-Museum "Todor Kableshkov"

It was built in 1845 by master Gencho Mladenov for Todor Kableshkov's grandfather.


In 1954, it housed the "Todor Kableshkov" house-museum.


House-Museum "Todor Kableshkov"

The house is one of the most finished examples of neo-baroque architecture in the Bulgarian Revival. It is a two-story small palace with a symmetrical plan and oval rooms, staircases, walls, bay windows and ceilings.


House-Museum "Todor Kableshkov"

The columned entrance portico with a symmetrical two-armed staircase, a lower hall with a symmetrical oval staircase at its bottom, an upper oval hall, six rooms and a kiosk alternate successively. The upper oval hall is covered with a wooden pseudo-dome, which is decorated with wood carvings.


House-Museum "Todor Kableshkov"

After the pogrom of the April Uprising, the Kableshkovi house was not only ransacked, but even the window panes, the tiles on the gutters and the roof, the flower pots around the yard, and the flower beds were dug up.


House-Museum "Todor Kableshkov"
Bust-monument of Todor Kableshkov in his native home

The bust-monument in the yard of his native home was made by Petar Balabanov.


I continue in the direction of the oldest church of Koprivshtitsa.


Pigeons in the yard of "Assumption of the Virgin Mary" in the town of Koprivshtitsa
Гълъби в двора на "Успение Богородично"

The door is open and I step into the churchyard. It's a weekday. I'm alone. There is absolutely no one around. Dozens of pigeons peck grass in front of the bluish temple. When they notice me, they shoot in the sky - up to the waist.

I seal this moment.


Church of the Holy Mother of God ("Assumption of the Virgin Mary") in the city of Koprivshtitsa

"Holy Mother of God" ("Assumption of the Virgin")

"Holy Virgin", also known as "Assumption", has been declared a cultural monument of local ensemble significance and was built on the foundations of an older church.


It is located at 26a "Dimcho Debelyanov" street, directly above the city center.


Church of the Holy Mother of God ("Assumption of the Virgin Mary") in the city of Koprivshtitsa
Temple "Holy Mother of God" ("Assumption of the Virgin")

The inscription on the pediment above the main entrance to the temple reads:


Храмъ Успенѝе Пресветѝя Богоро̀дицы


Church of the Holy Mother of God ("Assumption of the Virgin Mary") in the city of Koprivshtitsa

The current temple building is partially dug into the ground due to height restrictions imposed by the Ottoman authorities.


Church of the Holy Mother of God ("Assumption of the Virgin Mary") in the city of Koprivshtitsa

It is a three-nave basilica with an inner balcony (women's section). It is assumed that its altar apse is a remnant of the old, burnt down temple.


Church of the Holy Mother of God ("Assumption of the Virgin Mary") in the city of Koprivshtitsa

On the outer wall of the vestibule there is a construction inscription dated July 8, 1817.


Church of the Holy Mother of God ("Assumption of the Virgin Mary") in the city of Koprivshtitsa

In 1876, the church bells announced the beginning of the April Uprising. However, today's bell tower was built later, in 1896, with donations from the Benefactor of Koprivshtitsa, whose grave is located in the church yard.


The grave of Hadji Nencho Palaveev - the benefactor of Koprivshtitsa
The grave of Hadji Nencho Palaveev - the benefactor of Koprivshtitsa

The grave of Todor Kableshkov is also located here.


The grave of Todor Kableshkov in the city of Koprivshtitsa
The grave of Todor Kableshkov in the city of Koprivshtitsa

I climb the few steps and there I see a mother resting her head with her hand tiredly.


And in meek rapture she waits

for her child to come...


Grave of the Dimcho Debelyanov

I place a flower in her lap.


Grave of the Dimcho Debelyanov

Dimcho Debelyanov - one of the most sensual Bulgarian poets - was laid to rest here.


Bust-bas-relief of Dimcho Debelyanov

The bas-relief bust of Dimcho Debelyanov is located in the small garden on "Gereniloto" street.


Bust-bas-relief of Dimcho Debelyanov in the city of Koprivshtitsa
Bust-bas-relief of Dimcho Debelyanov in the city of Koprivshtitsa

It was made by the Serbian sculptor Djoko Radivojevic and was opened on April 7, 1965.


Bust-bas-relief of Dimcho Debelyanov in the city of Koprivshtitsa

The relief figure of the poet is carved in a granite fragment.


I embellished Dimcho a little. He was fuller, rounder. That is why he liked to be photographed and to be drawn more in profile. That's why I softened his face a little, lengthened his beard, lowered his gaze...

Joko Radivojevic


In a minute I'll be in front of Dimcho Debelyanov's home.


House-Museum "Dimcho Debelyanov"

The building was built by his grandfather Dincho Debelyan (whose name he also bears) in 1830.


House-museum "Dimcho Debelyanov" in the town of Koprivshtitsa
House-museum "Dimcho Debelyanov" in the town of Koprivshtitsa

By the 1950s, the house was in extremely poor condition and deserted. The credit for restoring it as a Dimcho Debelyanov museum goes to architect Velyo Debelyanov, who transferred the ownership and prepared the restoration plans. The native home of the poet was restored in 1957, and the following year it was turned into a museum with an organized exhibition of photographs and documents related to his life and poetry.


House-museum "Dimcho Debelyanov" in the town of Koprivshtitsa
The original of "Mother"

In 1967, the original of the sculptural figure "Mother", the work of Professor Ivan Lazarov, moved from the cemetery park of the Church of the Assumption, was placed in the well-kept yard.


The Pallaveevi Houses Art Gallery is located on Dimcho Debelyanov Street, right across from the poet's home.


Art Gallery "Pallaveevi Houses"

Gallery "Palaveevi Houses" is housed in the large Palaveev House, which, together with the adjacent yard, is part of the will of Hadji Nencho Palaveev, with which he designated his hometown of Koprivshtitsa as his universal bequest in 1932.


Art gallery "Palaveevi Houses" in the city of Koprivshtitsa
Art gallery "Palaveevi Houses" in the city of Koprivshtitsa

The gallery was officially opened in 2012, but functioned before that. Here there is a permanent exhibition related to the life and activities of the Hajji.


View of Oslekova house near "Gereniloto"
View of Oslekova house near "Gereniloto"

I'm going back to "Gereniloto".


"Gereniloto"

"Gereniloto" is a cobbled street located in Lambovska mahala.


The street starts from "20th of April" square and winds in the west direction. This is where the informative and touristic tour of the city begins.


Gereniloto Street in the city of Koprivshtitsa
Gereniloto Street in the city of Koprivshtitsa

On April 20, 1876, according to "Gereniloto", Todor Kableshkov sent the famous "Bloody Letter" to the revolutionary committee there and Georgi Benkovski in Panagyurishte.


Every year, during the celebrations on the occasion of the events of 1876 and the reenactment of moments from the announcement of the April Uprising, on the steps of the "Gereniloto" the horseman with the "Bloody Letter" heads towards Panagyurishte again.


Oslekova house in the town of Koprivshtitsa

I go down "Gereniloto" and on the left I see Oslekova house.


Oslekova's house

Oslekova house, also known as Gornooslekova house, is a revival house, declared a cultural monument of national importance. It was built in 1856 for the Koprivsht merchant and manufacturer of Abadji goods, the Abadji Nencho Oslekov.


Oslekova house in the town of Koprivshtitsa
Oslekova house in the town of Koprivshtitsa

The house was built in baroque style near the city center. It is located in a fenced yard with a picturesque flower bed. The interior of the house is richly decorated – figured ceilings made of boards and profiled slats, alafrangs and baskets above the hearths, long skirting boards covered with exquisite fabrics. The murals are the work of masters Mincho and Kosta Zograf from the Samokov School of Art.


The facade of the house is covered with plant and geometric motifs, and between the windows and above the arcade of the entrance gate – with landscapes.


Each room has a different name depending on the base tone of the walls - Blue Room, Red Room, Yellow Room. The most valuable frescoes preserved from this era are found in the Blue Room and the Red Room.


Oslekova house in the town of Koprivshtitsa

Since 1956, the Oslekova house has been turned into an ethnographic museum, presenting the life of Koprivshten from the second half of the 19th century.


Central Square "April 20"

"April 20" is the central historical square of Koprivshtitsa. It has been declared a cultural monument of local ensemble significance.


April 20 Square in the city of Koprivshtitsa
April 20 Square in the city of Koprivshtitsa

In the past it was a small street with buildings built around it. Around the beginning of the 20th century, the place was cleared, the bed of the Byala Reka was moved and the newly built mausoleum-ossuary in honor of Aprilians according to the project of arch. Pantelei Tsvetkov was opened in 1928.


Directorate of Museums (Headquarters of the insurgents) in the city of Koprivshtitsa
Directorate of Museums (Headquarters of the insurgents) in the city of Koprivshtitsa

The bas-reliefs with the texts of "Bloody Letter" and the monument to the events of 1944 are located on "April 20" Square.


Monument to the "Bloody Letter" in the town of Koprivshtitsa
Monument to the "Bloody Letter" in the town of Koprivshtitsa

The complex of two moraines was built in memory of what were considered at the time to be two of the most significant events in the recent history of the city.


Monument to the "Bloody Letter" in the town of Koprivshtitsa

In this square, Todor Kableshkov wrote his famous letter informing the revolutionaries of the measures taken in the city on the occasion of the arrival of the Turkish units.


Mausoleum-ossuary in honor of Apriltsi in the town of Koprivshtitsa

The ossuary mausoleum in honor of the people of April is a monument in the center of the city, built to perpetuate the feat of the people of Koprivshten and residents of surrounding villages who died during those memorable events.


Mausoleum-ossuary in honor of Aprilians

In 1883, the mortal remains of Todor Kableshkov were brought from Gabrovo and later laid in the ossuary.


Mausoleum-ossuary in honor of Apriltsi in the town of Koprivshtitsa
Mausoleum-ossuary in honor of Apriltsi in the town of Koprivshtitsa

On the side of the entrance to the funeral chamber and on the church chapel above it, there are memorial inscriptions with the names of the villages and insurgents who participated and died in the liberation cause.


The villages that took part in the uprising on April 20, 1876 in the city of Koprivshtitsa - Klisura, Staro Novo Selo, Gorno Kiselere, Panichere, Eleshnitsa, Sinjirlii, Tsaratsovo, Strelcha, Aivadzhika, Sarugyola, Erelii, Krasnovo, Dalgi Geren, Stroevo.


Mausoleum-ossuary in honor of Apriltsi in the town of Koprivshtitsa

For centuries, Koprivshtitsa was a republic without a senate and ministers, without charters and presidents, ten times more liberal than the French one and a hundred times more democratic than the American one.

Zahari Stoyanov


April 20 Square in the city of Koprivshtitsa

House-museum of Lyuben and Petko Karavelovi

The complex of houses of Lyuben and Petko Karavelovi was built by local masters for 25 years.


House-museum of Lyuben and Petko Karavelovi in the city of Koprivshtitsa
House-museum of Lyuben and Petko Karavelovi in the city of Koprivshtitsa

The house is a historical-ethnographic museum, opened in 1954. It is located at 39 H. Nencho Palaveev Blvd.


The complex of houses of Lyuben and Petko Karavelovi has been declared a cultural monument of national importance.


House-museum of Lyuben and Petko Karavelovi in the city of Koprivshtitsa

The house and cell school of Hadji Gero Dobrovich-Mushek are located on the west bank of the Topolnitsa River opposite the Karavelovi house.


House and the cell school of Hadji Gero Dobrovich-Mushek

The first cell schools appeared as early as the 18th century, and the most famous of them in the city was that of Hadji Gero Dobrovich-Mushek, which opened its doors as early as 1810.


House and cell school of Hadji Gero Dobrovich-Mushek in the city of Koprivshtitsa
House and cell school of Hadji Gero Dobrovich-Mushek in the city of Koprivshtitsa

Hadji Gero built the two side-by-side wooden buildings after his return from Rousse in 1810. Lived in the Danube city during his attempt to emigrate to Wallachia. Here he meets Stoika, the other fugitive from the Bashiboz pogroms. When the situation in the empire calmed down, the two started a family and returned to Koprivshtitsa in 1810.


House and cell school of Hadji Gero Dobrovich-Mushek in the city of Koprivshtitsa

Gero's father is a prison school teacher and his son takes up his father's profession. Besides being a good and strict teacher, Hadji Gero is also a good master builder. He participated with funds and personal labor in the construction of the Peiovska fountain in 1826. It is embedded in the fence wall of Evlampia Vekilova's native house, opposite the Surlya dere bridge, bearing the same name - Peiovski bridge.



In the house built by Hadji Gero, the educators Konstantin and Nayden Gerovi were born, and their sister Ivana Hadjigerova taught in the cell school as the first female teacher in Koprivshtitsa, and even lived there for a while.


The house and the cell school of Hadji Gero Dobrovich-Mushek have been declared cultural monuments of national importance.


Architectural ensemble Dogan houses in the city of Koprivshtitsa

I went to the Dogan Houses Architectural Ensemble, which is located on "Konstantin Doganov" Street - the big one is at number 8, and the small one is at number 9.


The houses are not museums and are not open to the public.


Dogan Houses architectural ensemble

The architectural ensemble of Dogan Houses includes the large Dogan House, that of Petko Doganov - a real estate fugitive from Koprivshten, a generous founder, whose image finds a place among the frescoes of the Rila Monastery. It was built in 1815 with an entirely wooden structure.


Architectural ensemble Dogan houses in the city of Koprivshtitsa
Architectural ensemble Dogan houses in the city of Koprivshtitsa

The picturesque complex is complemented by the nearby small Dogan house, that of Todor Doganov, built in 1837.


Architectural ensemble Dogan houses in the city of Koprivshtitsa

The mural and wood carving decoration of the large Dogan house is the work of the same masters who created the frescoes in the Church of St. Nicholas (the new church). The craftsman felt the special spirit of the place and skillfully turned the architectural environment into a given, creating a new artistic form to complete the layout of the architectural street ensemble.


Architectural ensemble Dogan Houses has been declared a cultural monument of national importance.


How do you get to the city of Koprivshtitsa?

Koprivshtitsa (old alternative form Koprishnitsa) is a city in Western Bulgaria, Sofia Region.

The city is located in the picturesque valley along the Topolnitsa River, in a mountainous area, central part of the Schtinska Sredna Gora.


It is located near the towns of Zlatitsa, Pirdop, Klisura, Strelcha and Panagyurishte. The city is the center and the only populated place in the municipality of Koprivshtitsa.


Architectural-historical reserve Koprivshtitsa is a city-museum with exceptional cultural and historical monuments.


Here you will see a number of pre-Renaissance and Renaissance houses, twenty of which are in the "National Significance" category. Other categories in this area are "Folk Antiquities", "Cultural Monument of Local Ensemble Significance" and "For Information".



Many prominent Bulgarians were born in Koprivshtitsa. The city had a primary role in the era of the Bulgarian Renaissance. The cell space has existed here since the 18th century.


The houses that are not museums can be viewed from the street, with the exception of the Pavlikyanska house, due to the fact that it is located inside the courtyard of Nedko Kableshkov's house.


The town of Koprivshtitsa was declared an Architectural-Historical Reserve in 1971.



Architectural-historical reserve Koprivshtitsa is number 75 of the Hundred National Tourist Sites of Bulgaria.


Koprivshtitsa stands at:


  • 108 kilometers (about 1 hour and 56 minutes by car) from the capital

  • 88 kilometers (about 1 hour and 46 minutes by car) from the city of Plovdiv

  • 430 kilometers (about 5 hours and 25 minutes by car) from the city of Varna

  • 320 kilometers (about 3 hours and 30 minutes by car) from the city of Burgas




And as a finale, my dear friends,

you shouldn't miss a look

the special album with photo moments –

discovered, experienced, captured and shared with you!



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