Exploring the Museum Village of Koprivshtitsa
August 31, 2015Amy Trumpeter
*Sponsored by Traventuria travel
It’s a mouthful, isn’t it? Kop-riv-shtit-sa! You’ve probably never heard of it, so I am here to introduce you to this secluded historical museum-village set in the Sredna Gora Mountains of Bulgaria.
What is Koprivshtitsa?
Koprivshtitsa is a small unique historical village that has been successfully preserved and turned into a museum.
It’s location is the valley of the Topolchitsa River, in the Sredna Gora Mountains. People originally settled there in 14th Century.
Today, there are only around 2500 residents left living in Koprivshtitsa. It has a primary school, but not a secondary school, and the majority of the population are the elderly who have spent their lifetime living in the village.
The mountainous scenery combined with the preserved historical buildings really makes you feel that you are going back in time. It’s clear that the Bulgarian’s are extremely proud of it.
And so they should be.
Symmetrical houses built from a combination of bricks and wooden beams have been preserved both inside and out, perfectly demonstrating the Bulgarian revival period architecture of the 19th Century.
We managed to see three houses and walk around most of the village within a couple of hours.
Historical Significance of Koprivshtitsa
Koprivshtitsa is historically significant as the centre for the start of the April uprising against Ottoman rule. It was inhabited by the initial instigators of the revolution. You can tell, as you will see many statues of revolutionaries and you can read about them in the museum houses.
Visiting the House Museums of Koprivshtitsa
The best thing to do is buy a combined Museum ticket for just 5lv from the Tourist Information office on the main square. There are 6 houses that you can go inside with this. Alternatively, you can pay per house which costs 2lv each, but the combined ticket is much better value.
Sites of Koprivshtitsa
While you are on the main square, take a look at the April Uprising Mausoleum. This was built between 1926 and 1928 to remember those who lost their lives in the revolution.
As you walk around Koprivshtitsa, you will see examples of a still traditional lifestyle. Look out for the Turkeys!
Make sure that you stop to look inside the Blue Theotokos Church. You can enter for free, but it is still a practicing place of worship – remember to cover up and no talking or cameras/phones.
You will also see very picturesque scenery and bridges over brooks, with reminders of the revolution.
Kableshkov House Koprivshtitsa
The first historical house we visited was Kableshkov house, a stunning example of the symmetrical architecture characteristic of Kobrivshtitsa (similar to those of Plovdiv).
Kebleshkov studied in Plovdiv but later returned to Koprivshtitsa due to ill health, where he became a revolutionary. Kableshkov was the first to declare the revolution on 20th April 1876. He was imprisoned in Velieko Tarnovo and sadly committed suicide at the young age of 25.
Inside, you can see how the house has been left as an example in the for of a living museum. You can also see weapons and documents from the revolution.
Lyutov House Koprivshtitsa
The second house that we visited was Lyutov’s house. Notice the stunning courtyard and well as you enter the grounds.
Lyutov was a trader who bought the house and painted the ceilings to show scenes of his travel. The main exhibition downstairs is a felt exhibition.
Liuben Karavelov House Koprivshtitsa
The third house we visited was the summer house of Liuben Karavelov. He was a journalist and printer. The impressive display downstairs is the oversized original printing press.
Finishing the Day with Traditional Bulgarian Food
We were lucky to be taken to a local restaurant by Nikolay (Traventuria) to try some traditional food. We were treated by Philip, our Canadian companion and his wife Ann. How lovely it was – many thanks Philip 😉
I tried the Bulgarian Sirene Po Shopski for my starter, which is feta cheese cooked in tomato sauce in an earthenware pot. Mains was kofte (meatball pattie) and a meat sach (clay plate with meat and vegetables cooked at a high temperature).
All in all, we had a really impressive day. With Traventuria, it was possible to visit both Plovdiv and Koprivshtitsa all in one day from Sofia. It was also much more informative and easier with a personal guide. If you want to find out more or book on this trip, click here.
I’d love to hear your comments. Have you ever visited Koprivshtitsa? If not, would you be interested in exploring this historical museum village?