Koprivshtitsa is an emblematic place for the Bulgarian people because the town was the center of the Bulgarian Revival and the Liberation of the country from the Ottoman empire started there. The town is located in 1.5 hours drive from Sofia and as locals say ”The summer lasts only 3 days there; if you get drunk you might miss it”.
Koprivshtitsa is an absolute must-visit for everyone who wants to know more about Bulgarian history, architecture, and crafts.
What to see in Koprivshtitsa?
The houses. Koprivshtitsa is well-known for its Bulgarian Revival Architecture houses that are nowadays turned to Museum-houses open to the public. You can buy a combined ticket from the Directorate of the Museums in Koprivshtitsa and visit them all with one ticket only. I managed to visit only 4 and left the last two others for another time. Locals say that Koprivshtitsa is like Jerusalem: If you visit the town once, you’ll be always tempted to come back again, again and again.
First stop: Dimcho Debelyanov’s museum – house
Dimcho Debelyanov is a Bulgarian poet from the Liberation period. He is considered being a symbоlist and having had few romantic affairs with famous Bulgarian ladies from aristocratic families that inspired many of his poems. He died at the age of 29 during a battle with an Irish division (WWI). There are two gravestones dedicated to Debelynov’s tomb – both representing his mother waiting for him to come back home. The first is located in the yard in front of his house and the second one covers his tomb put in the cеmetеry in the yard of the church of the Assumption.
Next stop: Museum – house of the revolutionery Todor Kableshkov
Todor Kableshkov is a well-known Bulgarian revolutionary and one of the leaders of the April Uprising. He was born in Koprivshtitsa in a wealthy family. He studied abroad and had a good social position, but decided to return back home and to dedicate himself to revolutionary work in Koprivshitsa. He was assigned the head of the local revolutionary committee in his hometown. He proclaimed first the April Uprising on 20th of April 1876 and is the author o the famous Bloody Letter. He died at the age of 25 and his house in Koprivshtitsa is turned to a museum-house.
Next museum – house: Lyutov’s house
Petko Lyutov was one of the wealthiest traders in Koprivshtitsa. His house is decorated as per the fashion at this period and you can immediately see that it’s a rich house when you enter it. As Petko Lyutov hasn’t had his own family, he donated his house and all his belongings to his hometown.
The last house that we’ve seen is Oslekov’s museum – house which is located at the beginning of the ”houses tour” near the Directorate of the Museums. It’s a very beautifully painted house from the outside and rich in typical objects from the Bulgarian Revival in the inside.
Fun time – ride with carts pulled by horses
After the cultural tour organized by the Directorate of the Museums for us, it was time to have some fun!!!! We had a ride with carts pulled by horses and could admire the surrounding nature. We went at the end of the town and could go for a hike in the woods and come back by walking on the way back. We had a very pleasant chat with the locals who shared a lot of interesting facts about their daily basis life in Koprivshtitsa.
After this long cultural immersion in the Revival Period in Koprivshtitsa it was time for delicious dinner. The Complex 20th of April welcomed us in a cozy atmosphere and offered us a three-course typical Bulgarian menu with a nice wine. After the dinner, we went back to our warm and cozy guesthouse Hotel Paradise to relax after the long day. As the guesthouse was located a little bit outside of the town center, we could stargaze before going to bed!!!! Priceless!!!!
Saint Nicolas church and immersion in the Bulgarian craft of wet and needle felting
The next day we visited the so-called new church – St Nicolas church. It’s bigger than the Assumption’s church and has very beautiful paintings in the inside. A funny fact about this church is that the paintings of the saints in the inside were restored by the Turkish population (mainly Muslims) in the 1980s.
Although I love sightseeing and visiting cultural monuments, the highlight of that trip was the wet and needle felting workshop organized for us by the Directorate of the Museums. The ladies who did the demonstration showed us the whole process of felting from the beginning to the end and explained to us the tradition of this ancient craft. We could take back home what they’ve done.
Best way of transportation: by car
Accommodation: Hotel Paradise
Restuarant/ meals: Complex 20th of April (town center)
Where to get tourist information and buy tickets: Directorate o the Museums in Koprivshtitsa
Bon voyage and thanks for reading!