Architectural gem huddles in a mountain
Koprivshtitsa is a museum town and a historical reserve 100 km east of Sofia
14 January, 2012
An architectural gem of Bulgaria, the town of Koprivshtitsa is located mere 100 km east of Sofia, in the heart of the Sredna Gora Mountain. The town has been an architectural reserve ever since the nineteenth century, preserving the spirit of the Bulgarian National Revival period. Koprivshtitsa is believed to have been established by boyars from Turnovo, who had fled the capital city after it was conquered by the Turks and had settled in the Sredna Gora Mountain. According to yet another legend, the town was a waqf (a plot of land for Muslim religious or charitable purposes) of the daughter of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent. Under the Ottomans, the town enjoyed a number of privileges allowing for its prosperity. Because of its wealth Koprivshtitsa was pillaged and reduced to ashes by Kircali brigands three times in the late 18th and the early 19th century. The town, however, was rebuilt. During the Bulgarian National Revival period, Koprivshtitsa was a centre of culture and education. The second school in Bulgaria, based on the monitorial system of instruction, opened doors here in 1837 and the first ever school with classes in this country was founded in 1846. On 20 April, 1876 the first gunshot was fired on the Kaluchev Bridge in Koprivshtitsa, proclaiming the beginning of the April Uprising, which, in the long run, led to this country's liberation from the Ottomans.Nowadays the Old Town is a well-preserved complex of architectural masterpieces. The most interesting of the houses are museums. The Oslekov's House built in 1856 is a typical example of domestic architecture of the late Bulgarian National Revival. The front of the building was painted by a master of the Samokov Icon-Painting School. Each of the rooms is in a different colour. Different geometric patterns are carved on the ornate fretwork ceilings. The Lutov's House, built in 1854, is a major achievement of the late National-Revival architecture in Koprivshtitsa. The building boasts lavish mural decorations, exquisite decorative wall niches, authentic built-in cupboards and couches. The town boasts some 40 white-stone drinking fountains with the earliest one built in 1751.The Dormition of the Mother of God church built in 1817 to replace an earlier church reduced to rubble by Kircali brigands is one of the Koprivshtitsa's landmarks. Its wooden iconostasis was carved in 1821 by masters of the famous Teteven School. The second church, that of St. Nicholas was built in the period 1842-44 mostly with the donations of the townsfolk.Every five years a fair is held here gathering performers of folk songs and dances both from Bulgaria and abroad. The town is a starting point of tourist routes, the most popular of which is that to Mt Bogdan, the highest of the Sredna Gora Mountain.
Lutov's House is among the most important masterpieces in the town.
Cobble-stoned streets preserve the charm of times long gone.
There over 40 fountains with drinking water in the town.
The imposing St. Nicholas church was built 170 years ago.