Revival era (Danovo) school in Perushtitsa
Updated: Mar 10
All this was happening at the end of October. At that time the irons arrived from Plovdiv, so I nailed the semicircles around the walls and arranged the ranks in the middle of the school. When all this happened, I called the priest, so that, in the presence of the chiefs and some others, he might sanctify the school by water-sanctification, and call upon the Holy Spirit to enlighten the disciples.
Hristo G. Danov
Built in 1850, St. Cyril and St. Methodius school remains in history as a glamorous symbol of the passion for education, culture and patriotism of the great Bulgarian people!
With the rest of the funds raised by the honest, good and heroic people from the village of Perushtitsa for the building of the church "St. Archangel Michael", a decision for building a school in the churchyard was made. It was built by craftsmen from the town of Pazardzhik with the voluntary work of the people of Perushtitsa.
As an architecture, the school building resembles a "Plovdiv symmetrical house" with a trunk-beam construction.
The mixed construction healed the structure, protecting the building from collapsing and burning during the battles described by Ivan Vazov and Zahari Stoyanov here during the events of April Epic from 1876.
It is said that the choice of color of the facade is influenced by the Orient and has a symbolic meaning.
Columns typical for the Bulgarian Revival era are painted on the building. Above the entrance you will see a mural composition, similar in appearance to the Samokov school.
The holy brothers Cyril and Methodius are depicted holding a scepter and opening the holy gospel of the evangelist John.
Until the construction of St. Cyril and St. Methodius school the children of Perushtitsa were taught to read and write the Word with the priest at that time - Kostadin Penov.
About seven kilometers south of Perushtitsa, high on a peak in the Rhodopes are the remains of the monastery St. Theodore Tyrone and St. Theodore Stratilat, also called St. Theodorovtsi or St. Todor. Until 1850, some of the people of Perushtitsa even sent their children to this remote Bulgarian fortress to study reading and writing, what Paisius wrote in his "Istoria Slavianobalgarska", because the abbot of the monastery, Father Leontius, had a copy of it.
They lived quite comfortably and no one owed anyone anything. With the exception of 15-20 people of Perushtitsa, former priest students, who in the beginning of July 1850 were engaged in groceries and pubs, all other peasants were illiterate. In practice, it turned out that a mediocre level of training and education satisfied their understandings and needs, because the desired "lavish daily life" was the result of the well-being of their agricultural work and merriment.
Hristo G. Danov
The first teacher in the school was Hristo Gruev Danov (1828-1911). Known for his publishing and literary activities, for the first time here he applied class education by the mutual teaching method, opened a Sunday school and fought for the education of the girls. That is why the school is still known as the Danovo School, although he remained a teacher here for only three years - from its establishment until 1853.
All classes were conducted in Bulgarian literary language.
After 1853 the following people taught at the Danovo School: Dragan Manchov - The Grandfather (later also a publisher of fiction), Petar Bonev (student of Hristo G. Danov and later leader of the April uprising in Perushtitsa), Dimitar Lachkov (the first ethnographer and publicist of Perushtitsa), Father Stoimen Atanasov, teacher Bota Boteva and many other prominent Bulgarians.
From 1862 the building of the Danovo school began to function as a community center.
In 1869 Vasil Levski founded a secret revolutionary committee at the school.
During the tragic events of the April Epic, part of the roof of the school collapsed due to the detonations of the artillery shelling of the church St. Archangel Michael.
During the visit of the English journalist Lady Strangford (a prominent Bulgarianphile) in the summer of the same year, with the collected 30,000 pounds from donors in England, she restored the building of the Danovo school.
In November 1876, the school was turned into a temporary hospital where survivors with dysentery and typhus were treated.
After the Union, a military garrison was stationed here.
Today the school is fully restored.
It hosts an art gallery and museum.
Entering the second floor on the right side of the building, you will find yourself in an authentic classroom with desks, teaching aids, abacus, school boards and you will feel the awake Revival era spirit and the constant desire for knowledge of the Bulgarian people.
To the left is the municipal room, where Petar Bonev established the First and Second Private Rural Revolutionary Committees in 1869 and 1876 with the help of Levski and Benkovski.
My dear friends, come with me for a walk through this authentically preserved Bulgarian Revival era school and feel that strong Spirit that has warmed the hearts of our ancestors during the extremely difficult long centuries of slavery.
I wish you an exceptional and impressive walk!