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  • Writer's pictureStefan Ivanov

Malko Tarnovo

Updated: Feb 16, 2023

My dear friends, welcome to the city of Malko Tarnovo!

Malko Tarnovo
Malko Tarnovo

In this travel blog journey we will walk through the streets of Malko Tarnovo and we will experience its old houses.

An old house in Malko Tarnovo
An old house in Malko Tarnovo

Malko Tarnovo is very beautiful Bulgarian city!

It is located in southeastern part of Bulgaria, in Strandzha mountain, near the border with Turkey.

The people of Malko Tarnovo and the settlements of Strandzha are descendants of an old Bulgarian population.

For a long time they lived in small villages in the area around today's Malko Tarnovo.

Today's city dates back to around the 16th century.

In 1903, during the events around the Ilindensko-Preobrazhensko uprising, Malko Tarnovo suffered greatly.

If you are in Malko Tarnovo, do not miss to visit the beautiful Assumption church, located in the city center near the city park.

The Assumption church in Malko Tarnovo
The Assumption church

It was built on the site of an old church dating from 1754.

The Trinity church in Malko Tarnovo
The Trinity church

The second church that you should not miss to visit is the extremely beautiful Holy Trinity Eastern Catholic church.

The walk through the green park in the center of Malko Tarnovo is an incomparable pleasure!

My dear friends, there is no way we can visit Malko Tarnovo and not see these Malko Tarnovo's symbols.

Golemiat vriz in Malko Tarnovo
Golemiat vriz in Malko Tarnovo

Golemiat vriz and Malkiat vriz are two fountains, located opposite each other in the park in the central part of Malko Tarnovo and are its symbols.

Malkiat vriz in Malko Tarnovo
Malkiat vriz in Malko Tarnovo

If you talk to a inhabitant of Malko Tarnovo about these fountains, he will tell you that if a stranger drinks water from Golemiat vriz, he will definitely get married here and will stay in the town forever.

A legend has it that long, long ago, the source of Golemiat vriz was inhabited by fairies who lured men who came to quench their thirst here.

Golemiat vriz in Malko Tarnovo
Golemiat vriz in Malko Tarnovo

Here is the legend itself:

"There was wild fairy women in Strandzha mountain. These women did not know clothes and were always naked, with hair to the ground and made swings for their children from the povitaka (a plant). They did not show themselves to people.

Before the town of Malko Tarnovo was built, the Strandzha people used to call the "wild fairy women tersulka" here (with the word "terzulka" Strandzha people call the enveloping subtropical plant with thorns (Smilax exela) and small red fruits gathered in a tuft).

The spring of the Golemiat vriz did not look like today, but was surrounded by a whole forest of small and large thorns, reaching ten or even more meters. They were so dense and so tangled with twigs and wild vines that they made the place inaccessible to humans.

In this mysterious and inaccessible area lived the spirit of water (called topak) - the naked woman. It was shown only when someone tried to confuse or contaminate the spring.

There were also those who wanted to cut down the dense forest, but from the trunks immediately grew young shoots, one or two meters high.

The people guarded the sacred spring. The water in it never dried up.

It is said that when they covered the spring and walled up its pool with large stone blocks, the spirit of the water - the naked woman, left the place.

Or maybe it's still there...

If you visit the city and drink from the enchanted water of the Golemiat vriz, you may want to stay in Malko Tarnovo.

Who knows?"

Until 1862, before it was covered with a stone fountain, the spring also served as a ayazmo. A few years later - the basin of the Golemiat vriz is walled with large stone blocks and lined with marble slabs taken from the Thracian sanctuary at Pazlaka.

In the whole of Strandzha it is known that in Malko Tarnovo "The Golemiat vriz ruffles (in other words it flows strongly), and the small one - silma tsitsiritsa (otherwise only a spout)".

It is believed that at the site of the spring there was a Thracian sanctuary of Apollo or Dionysius-Sabazios.

Later, the spring was revered as a holy spring of St. Barbara and prayers for rain were held here.

Today, the locals still consider this place sacred.

Candles were lit on the surrounding stones, on nailed iron crosses, unleavened bread was brought and prayers were said.

To this day, on Epiphany, the basin of the Golemiat vriz is flooded and the cross is thrown there for the health and prosperity of the city.

One of the hypotheses about the origin of the name Malko Tarnovo is connected with this source.

On the opposite site of the two springs is the large main square.

The municipality building in Malko Tarnovo
The municipality building in Malko Tarnovo

Take a sit on a bench, relax, talk to a local person, listen the great stories about the city history.

How to get to Malko Tarnovo?

I wish you an exceptional and impressive walk!

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