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  • Writer's pictureStefan Ivanov

The old school in Brezovo - the third secular four-grade school in the Bulgarian lands

I am visiting Brezovo again and you know, it seems that I have fallen in love with this city - there is a lot of beauty here, a lot of history.


The old school in Brezovo - the third secular four-grade school in the Bulgarian lands

I am again visiting the old secular four-grade school of Brezovo and now I will tell you its story.


The old school in Brezovo - the third secular four-grade school in the Bulgarian lands

The old secular four-grade school

It was erected in the distant 1837 on Dimitrovden and has been authentically preserved in its original form to this day.


At that time, Brezovo was called Abraşlare - this is the Turkish equivalent of the word "Brezovo".


Probably most of you, like me, would think that the area is full of white birch trees, because that is where the name of this cute little town comes from, but you would be wrong.


It turned out that the name Brezovo actually has nothing to do with white birches. The settlement got its name - Abrashlare, from the fact that the so-called birch buffaloes, also Abrash* buffaloes, were bred here.


*Abrash - from Turkish - patterned, marked.


These woolly buffaloes, raised in large herds in the area many, many years ago, also gave the village its name. They are so named because they are black in color and have only one white spot on the forehead.


Their temper was terrible - they were extremely wayward, quite aggressive and stubborn animals.


Now you already know that it is not the birches that are the reason why Brezovo bears this name.


The old school in Brezovo - the third secular four-grade school in the Bulgarian lands

On my first visit here, I didn't get to see the old grade school from the inside because it was a public holiday and there was no one to open for me, that's why I decided on my next visit to Brezovo to call in advance to make sure that this time I would have the pleasure of opening the old authentic wooden gate of the school, just as Levski did back in the day.


Yes, you understood correctly, even Levski was here, as reflected in his personal notebook, and organized a revolutionary committee here. He opened the old wooden door of the school, which is completely preserved in its original authentic form, as I am doing today.


The old school in Brezovo - the third secular four-grade school in the Bulgarian lands

I push open the heavy wooden door, duck my head to step over the low threshold, and enter.


Brezovci were thirsty for knowledge and erected the building of this school even before the church with which they shared the same yard.


After the Aprilov High School in the town of Gabrovo and after the Koprivshten School, this is the third secular four-grade school in the Bulgarian lands.


The building has two floors with four classrooms and a teacher's room.


I am surprised!

Although it's an incredibly hot sunny summer day outside, it's surprisingly dusky and kind of cool in here.

I move on, stopping in front of each object on display and studying it very carefully and in detail, because I am endlessly impressed by such authentic objects preserved through the generations.


I capture everything - for you!


The old school in Brezovo - the third secular four-grade school in the Bulgarian lands

An authentic classroom has been preserved on the first floor.


When paper was a value,

elementary school students learned to write on this sand.


I write with a pen in the sand:


photomoments


The old school in Brezovo - the third secular four-grade school in the Bulgarian lands

I look around!


The rules of the Bulgarian language are arranged and hung on the walls - tables that were once used for studying spelling.


The old school in Brezovo - the third secular four-grade school in the Bulgarian lands

An old map of the world also hangs - I discover North and South America.


The old school in Brezovo - the third secular four-grade school in the Bulgarian lands

Among the first teachers at the time were daskal Stoyko Minevski and daskal Manol Valev.


The old school in Brezovo - the third secular four-grade school in the Bulgarian lands

To the left of the entrance is the old wooden staircase leading to the second floor.

I step carefully on each wooden step, which (expectedly) distinctly creaks under my weight.


The old school in Brezovo - the third secular four-grade school in the Bulgarian lands

On the second floor is the main exhibition - tools and photos related to educational activities in Brezovo over the past years. Everything is very interesting!


Old diaries and also pictures of teachers can be seen. There is even a model of the school!


The old school in Brezovo - the third secular four-grade school in the Bulgarian lands

An old and now faded black-and-white photo moment captured a visit of students from Brezovica to the monument erected in the historical area of Oborishte near Panagyurishte.


The old school in Brezovo - the third secular four-grade school in the Bulgarian lands

Thus, the carefully arranged exhibition authentically recreates the local way of life and culture - pots, paralia, baklitsa, gourds, ojak, several traditional women's costumes, gega, hurka.


Pictures of the buffaloes that gave the city its name are also stored here.


I go out on the terrace and look at the Bulgarian tribagrenik blowing in the light wind.


The old school in Brezovo - the third secular four-grade school in the Bulgarian lands

Levski

In the spring of 1872, Vasil Levski created a revolutionary committee here in this place and since then visited the settlement and also the school several times.


The old school in Brezovo - the third secular four-grade school in the Bulgarian lands

The committee is sitting in the old teacher's room, where I am now as I try to feel what great thoughts filled that room a century and a half ago.


Here, together with the Deacon of Freedom, Stoyu Randelov**, Angel Danin, Daskal Manol Valev, Daskal Gancho Popnikolov, who later became a delegate to the assembly in the historical area of Oborishte, as well as Hadji Seraphim, made bold plans for the future battle.


**Stoyu Stoyanov Randelov is a prominent actor of the Liberation, a prominent participant in the Union, an industrialist and a politician.

He was born in 1852 in the village of Abrashlare (today the town of Brezovo, Plovdiv region).

He is a descendant of an old family from Birzev.

Before the Liberation, he was involved in committee affairs and Vasil Levski's visits to Brezovo.

He took an active part in the preparation of the Staro Zagora Uprising in 1875. His friendship and collaboration with Stefan Stambolov, Zahari Stoyanov and Ivan Andonov date from that time.


The old school in Brezovo - the third secular four-grade school in the Bulgarian lands

In the yard of the school there is a moraine with the face of Vasil Levski. I'm filming it for you all!


Very soon, however, this small school building proves to be cramped for the huge number of people who want to learn and succeed. That is why, after the Liberation in 1889, the people of Brezovica built a second school building - also on two floors, but already with eight classrooms.


Later in 1927, a new, even bigger, more spacious and massive building with a library and a gymnasium was erected. It also housed the secondary agricultural school.


The old school in Brezovo - the third secular four-grade school in the Bulgarian lands

The old secular four-grade school functioned until 1923 and then closed its doors. Forever!


In 1987, the old building was restored.


Currently, the old four-grade secular school functions as a Museum of Education.


Municipality of Brezovo
Municipality of Brezovo

Anyone who wishes to visit it should contact the information center of the Brezovo municipality in advance.


Church "Saint Dimitar" in the town of Brezovo

The common yard that the school and the church "St. Dimitar" share is green, colorful and quite cheerful.


Church "Saint Dimitar" in the town of Brezovo

Saint Dimitar Temple

Directly opposite the school building stands the church "Saint Dimitar", built in 1843.


The church is an incredibly vast and rather large building and is a three-nave basilica, at ground level.


How did the people of Birzev manage to build such a large Christian temple in that dark time?


Help came from a Mohammedan Bulgarian woman, bearing the Bulgarian name Donna and registered as Donna Hanum. So Donna interceded before the Sultan and helped to draw up a firman. This firman is still kept in Brezovo.


The church is very richly illustrated! All prominent, noble and wealthy families of Birzev have donated money for the painting of the temple. At the time, there were 146 biblical motifs on the walls of the temple, painted by master Traicho from the Debar school of painting.


A large community of Bessarabian Bulgarians lives in Brezovo, who also help a lot with the equipment of the church - the chandeliers, crosses, vestments and everything necessary for conducting the service were donated by them.


In Bessarabia (a historical-geographical region on the territory of Moldova and Ukraine), there are quite large emigrations of families from the municipality of Brezovo.


For example, in the neighboring village of Choba (only 4 kilometers south of Brezovo), after another Russo-Turkish war in 1829, more than a hundred families emigrated and founded the village of Banovka, where in 1863 General Ivan Kolev - the Liberator of Dobruja (Bessarabian a Bulgarian from the village of Choba).

On the monument of the general in Dobrich, people of Choben have placed a memorial plaque, on which it is stated that General Ivan Kolev, the liberator of Dobruja, has roots from the village of Choba, Brezovsko.


The symbol on the carts of Brezovo

And as a finale to today's educational-historical walk through this beautiful Bulgarian region, I have prepared another fun and interesting fact for you!


The carts of the city of Brezovo

In the courtyard of the old secular four-grade school, I saw this very interesting cart with curious African motifs.


It turned out that this motif has become a trademark of every cart in Brezovo! Very interesting indeed!


This African motif was drawn by the local zevzek Tanyo Ibrika, who never actually set foot in Africa, but nevertheless his drawing became a symbol of all the carts in Brezovo.


The carts of the city of Brezovo

On the drawing I notice a huge snake, probably a boa constrictor, wrapped in its deadly coils a giant lion, which, however, does not surrender, but fights with the snake.


Very interesting!


Palm trees and a pond can be seen in the background – a typical African landscape!


How do you get to Brezovo?

Brezovo is a city in southern Bulgaria. It is located in the Plovdiv region, near the town of Rakovski. The city is the administrative center of the municipality of Brezovo.


Birch stands at:

  • 175 kilometers (about 2 hours and 7 minutes by car) from the capital

  • 43 kilometers (about 49 minutes by car) from the city of Plovdiv

  • 348 kilometers (about 4 hours by car) from the city of Varna

  • 226 kilometers (about 2 hours and 10 minutes by car) from the city of Burgas



The first information about the settlement dates back to 1786.

The first settlers in these places were twenty families from Lyaskovets.

Even today, the Kospanevi and Kachamakovi families from Birzev can be found in Lyaskovets, as well as the typical male name Encho.

These families came as ratai to a large Turkish homestead, which was located near the current villages of Streltsi and Padarsko.


Immediately after the Liberation, the village received its sonorous Bulgarian name as an analogue of Abrashlare, as well as the status of a city.


But Petko Karavelov (who held various important positions at that time, including prime minister) pitied him in the village again - the story is actually very interesting and I will tell you now!


Once, Petko Karavelov had to come to visit the city of Brezovo.

His welcome was arranged, but do you see a huge storm brewing, heavy rain poured down from the pitch-black sky, heavy clouds disturbed all living things, gigantic lightnings frightened the people, loud thunders stole everyone into their homes.

Petko Karavelov came, walked around Brezovo - nobody from anywhere!

And he was very angry!

He went from one pub to another and there he got into a fight with some drunkard.


He returned the next day and with a decree reduced the city to a village again, and so on until August 1969, when by decree of the State Council Brezovo again received the status of a city.


How do you get to the municipality of Brezovo?

The Municipality of Brezovo is located at 25 Georgi Dimitrov Street.



In Brezovo, on a weekday, stop by the municipality to see the exhibition dedicated to Beethoven's best portraitist - Mincho Katsarov.


Mincho Katsarov – the best portraitist of Beethoven
Mincho Katsarov – the best portraitist of Beethoven

Another great Bulgarian artist is from Brezovo - Zlatyu Boyadzhiev. His house in the town of Brezovo is open for visits and anyone can see it.


Birthplace of Zlatyo Boyadzhiev in the town of Brezovo
Birthplace of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev
How do you get to the birthplace of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev in the town of Brezovo?

Entering the town of Brezovo from the town of Rakovski, turn right at the intersection with Dimitar Blagoev Street. Keep going straight.


Zlatyu Boyadzhiev's house is located on Dimitar Blagoev Street on the left, as shown on the map below.



What can be visited nearby?

12 kilometers north of the town of Brezovo (about 14 minutes by car) you will find the village of Babek. "Babek" dam is located nearby, near which you can take a wonderful walk.


"Babek" Dam in the skirts of Sarnena Sredna Gora
"Babek" Dam in the skirts of Sarnena Sredna Gora

Just 10 kilometers north of the village of Babek (about 16 minutes by car) you will find the Svezhen Architectural and Historical Reserve.


In the village of Svezhen, you can visit the church "Holy Apostles Peter and Paul".


Church "Holy equal apostles Peter and Paul" in the village of Svezhen
Church "Holy equal apostles Peter and Paul" in the village of Svezhen

You can visit the ruins of the old church "St. George", near which the foundations have been discovered - the remains of cells plastered with mud plaster on the walls, which are supposed to have been inhabited by the scribes-calligraphers of the Adjarian literary school.


The ruins of the old church "St. George" in the village of Svezhen
The ruins of the old church "St. George" in the village of Svezhen

15 kilometers southwest of the town of Brezovo (about 15 minutes by car) you will find the town of Rakovski.


In Rakovski, be sure to immerse yourself in the magic of Bulgarian folk tales by visiting the "Fairy Tale Forest" park.


Park "Fairytale Forest" in Rakovsky
Park "Fairytale Forest" in Rakovsky

Tales that the park will tell you:



An adapted playground is located nearby.


Adapted playground in the town of Rakovski
Adapted playground in the town of Rakovski

Taking the road Brezovo - Pavel Banya through Saint Nicholas pass, you can see several sights.


22 kilometers north of the town of Brezovo (about 26 minutes by car) is the junction leading to Kutela.


Kutela in Sarnena Sredna Gora
Kutela in Sarnena Sredna Gora

32 kilometers north of the city of Brezovo (about 38 minutes by car) you can enjoy the natural landmark "Hornbeam tree".


Natural landmark "Hornbeam tree" near Turia
Natural landmark "Hornbeam tree" near Turia

40 kilometers north of the town of Brezovo (about 47 minutes by car) is the village of Turia.


In the village of Turia, you can visit the birthplace of Chudomir.


Chudomir's native house in the village of Turia
Chudomir's native house in the village of Turia

On the square in front of Chudomir's house, you can see a monument to the Chetnik Tsanko Minkov Dechev, born in Turia Botev - Komitata.


Monument in the center of Turia village to Tsanko Minkov Dechev - Komitata
Monument in the center of Turia village to Tsanko Minkov Dechev - Komitata

In the village of Turia you can enjoy an authentic Roman bridge "Skoka".


Authentic Roman bridge "Skoka" in the village of Turia
Authentic Roman bridge "Skoka" in the village of Turia

4 kilometers north of the village of Turia (6 minutes by car) is the town of Pavel Banya - hot mineral springs and the aroma of roses.


The carved elm of Pavel Banya
The carved elm of Pavel Banya

3 kilometers east of Pavel Banya (about 5 minutes by car) you will find the village of Viden.


The proud ruins of the wonderful church "St. Anastasius" still stand near the village.


The ruins of the church "St. Anastasius" near the village of Viden
The ruins of the church "St. Anastasius" near the village of Viden

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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