The hunting home of tsars
Construction of Krichim Palace started with Tsar Ferdinand and was completed with Tsar Boris IIIAdelina Lozanova
The hunting palace Krichim, one of the pearls of Bulgarian architecture from the early 20th century, is situated close to the northern foothills of the Rhodope Mountains, about 25 kilometres to the west of the city of Plovdiv. The construction of the building was started in 1905, at the time of Tsar Ferdinand's rule, by arch. G. Fingov, and was completed in 1936 according to the final plan of arch. Yordan Sevov, at the time of Tsar Boris III.
The royal family's interest in the region was spurred by the prominent forester Konstantin Baykushev. He brought to the tsar's knowledge that the sultan's former property that was situated along the Vacha River was a remnant of the medieval Magnae Silvae Bulgarorum (The Great Bulgarian Forest), which once stretched from Plovdiv to Belgrade. The centuries-old oak trees, floodplain forest, and rich flora and fauna fascinated Ferdinand, and he decided to create a hunting ground there.
The first building - a small hunting lodge named Austrian House, was built in 1905 as a simple, functional facility, corresponding to its purpose. A small park was shaped too, around 0.2 hectares, which was extended by another 2.7 hectares in 1909. The park comprised sand-covered alleys, and various Bulgarian and foreign vegetation was planted there. Some of the existing oak trees were used as a mainstay of the park composition. Later, following the first construction, a new building in the ensemble of today's royal hunting palace was completed by Tsar Boris III, along with reconstructions in the garden. This palace presents a two-storey residence, each floor with an area of 750 sq m. It has a functionalist architecture, which features Bulgarian romanticism style with influence of modernism, as well as refined decorations.
The building houses 55 rooms, with just the bathrooms in the palace being 12. In the central dining room, along with the precious crystal and porcelain, the banquet table is remarkable, made with unique multifunctionality - from a set with four seats it can grow in capacity for 24 people. Next to the chambers of the tsar and the queen are located their study halls, where everything is still preserved untouched.
The salon with the tsar's trophies is also interesting. The exquisite sanitation is preserved to this day. There is also a cinema in the palace, which was something remarkable for the beginning of the last century. A lighted staircase leads to the second floor, where Queen Joanna's chamber was located. The study hall of Simeon II and Maria Louisa, as well as their bedrooms, were also restored. The complete furnishing of the manor was brought from Germany and has been carefully preserved in its authentic look.
Tsar Ferdinand stayed at the palace with his family for several times before abdicating in favour of his son Boris in 1918 and going into exile. Over the years, the palace has been occupied not only by the royal family but has been visited also by many high-ranking people and delegations from around the world. In 1943, in the tsar's cabinet, Boris III tore Adolf Hitler's order for the deportation of Bulgarian Jews.
After 1946 the palace was nationalised and the complex became a communist party residence. Over the years, the then party greats stayed there, as well as important foreign guests such as Ho Chi Minh, Fidel Castro, Yuri Gagarin, Josip Broz Tito, Indira Gandhi and others. For a long time the palace was run by the National Service for Protection, and it was opened for visitors only a few years ago.