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  • Writer's pictureStefan Ivanov

The village of Raduil

Updated: Nov 30, 2022

I have never seen such wild nature anywhere, the village is hidden somewhere in the clouds among picturesque nature. Mountains to the left and to the right press against him, striving to gather in the south, where a wall blocks their sky. Right below it, in a delightfully charming corner, immersed in greenery and freshness, is the village of Raduil. A strategic village with a new church. The picture around had a majestic enchantment of mountain peace, the poetry of colossal green wafted from it.

Nowhere in Bulgaria have I seen a village in a more charming area in a more magnificent solitude at near-cloud heights in the arms of the forest.

Ivan Vazov visiting Raduil on his way to the Great Rila Desert

Wooden sign "Raduil" with a wooden eagle on the sign

Vazov is deeply impressed by the place!

An information board in the village of Raduil, dedicated to Ivan Vazov

And I can safely say that not only the great writer was deeply impressed by this amazing place!

How to get to Raduil?

The village of Raduil is located in a mountainous area on the northern slopes of Rila, 9 kilometers from the resort of Borovets, 22 kilometers from the town of Samokov, 16 kilometers from the town of Kostenets.

A well-maintained second-class road from the Republican road network passes through it, which is always passable even in severe winter conditions with a good asphalt surface. The village is the second largest in Samokov municipality.

The green branches of Rila near the village of Raduil

In the center of Raduil, you can explore the beautiful town hall building, which also houses the forestry department.

The town hall building in the village of Raduil, which also houses the forestry department

Raduil is located at 833 meters above sea level.

A fountain in the center of the village of Raduil

The climate is moderate-continental, relatively mild with the influence of warm air currents that come along the valley of the Maritsa River. It is the first settlement through which the river passes.

The village is located at the sources of the great and very famous river Hebros (Maritsa), which flows full and mighty into the Sea of ​​Marmara. The peak under which it springs can be seen from the village all covered in snow. I think that if Allah decides to come down to earth sometime, then he will appear from there. The river passes through the village, and along its two banks, representing spacious meadows and fertile orchards, decorated with fruit, are arranged the houses about three hundred in number.

The population professed Christian error, there are no believers.

Raduil is more than Heaven!

Evliya Celebi – Turkish researcher in Bulgaria


No written documents or historical data have been found to show the exact time of the settlement of the village. Historian-researcher Rositsa Angelova writes based on the stories of local residents, centenarians and old people that the village had its beginnings 150 years before the foundation of Samokov, which appeared in the 14th century after the fall of Bulgaria under Ottoman rule.

Flowerbeds in front of the Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the village of Raduil

During the Ottoman rule, Raduil was under the protection and privilege of the law of mining settlements in the Turkish Empire. It had no Turkish population except for the owner of the madans (iron forges). He hired the people working at "Vidni", where the iron was melted, and at "Madani", where the finished iron was forged into "Rasovici" - bars, and thus transported to Turkey. The main part of the population of the village was engaged in making charcoal - kyumur.

The last madan in Raduil was also the last one to work on the Balkan Peninsula, he died in 1900. The livelihood of the population remains logging and wood processing. Dozens of bullwhips are being built for whipping logs.

The liberation of Raduil from Ottoman rule took place after the Unification of the Principality of Bulgaria with Eastern Rumelia. Until that moment, Raduil was a border village.

An information board in the center of the village of Raduil, dedicated to the poet Hristo Smirnenski

The writer Hristo Smirnenski lived in Raduil for a year, sent to the fresh air to be treated for tuberculosis. Here he wrote many of his stories, one of them being "Fire in Rila".

Monument in the center of Raduil village

Another famous person who lived there for more than twenty years is the sculptor Hristo Lozev.

The monument in the center of the village was made by his hand in honor of the people of Raduil who died in 1912-1913.

Memorial plaque to the writer Nikolay Haitov, placed on a fountain in the village of Raduil

The great Bulgarian writer Nikolay Haitov lived and worked in Raduil.

He started working as a forestry engineer in the Raduil section of Borovets forestry in 1952, where he worked until 1954.

He entered into a conflict with his superiors because of the sagging dry and fallen wooden table for the needs of the local population.

He describes the years spent in the village in his book "Diary" - book one, published in 1988.

A fountain in the village of Raduil with a commemorative plaque of the Bulgarian writer Nikolay Haitov

On the occasion of the 90th anniversary of Nikolay Haitov's birth, in 2009, the grateful citizens of Raduil erected a memorial fountain with his bas-relief and set up a park with a gazebo next to the house where he lived.

Many plots of his stories are immortalized there.

Church "Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary" in Raduil village, Samokov municipality

Today, only Orthodox Christians live in Raduil. The village is known as the small Holy Forest because it has two churches and twelve chapels.

The old church "Saint Nicholas" was built during the Ottoman rule and, contrary to all Turkish laws, was erected on the highest point of the village and high above the ground. A special decree was made for her by the Pasha.

Church "Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary" in Raduil village, Samokov municipality

The Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which I will show you today, is located in the center of the village. It was built in 1900.

Church "Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary" in Raduil village, Samokov municipality

In her yard there is a Social Home to help the poor.

Both churches are richly illustrated. Some of the chapels and the "Pokrov Bogorodichen" monastery are also richly illustrated.

What can be seen nearby?

25 kilometers from Raduil (about 31 minutes by car) is the green village of Kostenets.

Kostenets village, Kostenets municipality

At the end of the village, on the northern slopes of Rila, you can visit the charming and full of water throughout the year Kostenets falls.

Kostenets falls

9 kilometers from Raduil (13 minutes by car) is the resort of Borovets. The trail to the Black cliff starts from here.

You must visit the "Transfiguration of the Lord" church - this is a unique wooden church of its kind in Bulgaria, which you will find in the resort of Borovets.

2.5 kilometers from Borovets (6 minutes by car) you will find Tsarska Bistritsa - a palace of the rulers of the Third Bulgarian Kingdom (1878 - 1947).

The town of Samokov is located 20 kilometers from Raduil (26 minutes by car).

In Samokov you can see the beautiful church "St. Nicholay the Wonderworker".

And you must visit the magical park "Kraiiskarets".

I wish you an exceptional and impressive walk!

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