Koprivchtitza, a heroic village

(continuer en français) – Published: March 19, 2022

Koprivchtitza, Bulgaria

In Bulgaria’s recent history, the liberation struggle against the Turkish occupation remains a tragic period in which the Bulgarian identity was affirmed. For almost five centuries it had been a neglected province of the Ottoman Empire, sparsely populated and with limited resources.

Koprivchtitza, a small mountain village, had a complicated relationship with the occupier, and was regularly raided by groups of bachibazouks, irregular Turkish troops who committed atrocities to frighten populations.

Eventually, in 1876, a new rebellion by Koprivchtitza led to a bloody repression that moved the emerging international public opinion. The great European powers, notably Czarist Russia, intervened militarily to help the Bulgarians to free themselves.

The first shot is considered to have been fired at Koprivchtitza.

Patriotic fame

During the communist period, Koprivchtitza was carefully maintained and used as a folklore showcase to perpetuate the memory of the heroic uprising of 1876. The old hillside quarter retained its cobbled streets and the houses regained their bright colours.

Merchants’ houses

The population included a number of merchants who became rich by trading in agricultural products and built beautiful houses from the 17th to the 19th century. The houses had curved shapes, bright colours and even some external paintings. The interior design is already reminiscent of the Orient, with sitting rooms with sofas all along the walls.

Ordinary houses

Ordinary houses make more use of wood. The dwelling is usually on the first floor, overhanging the supporting wall. The yards are surrounded by high stone walls with elaborate wooden gates.

The Oslekova House

Nentcho Oslekov was born in 1821 and became rich in the cattle trade, also holding official positions for the Ottomans. He had his house tastefully decorated and it became one of the most beautiful in the village. But in 1876 he joined the insurrection, was arrested and imprisoned, he was executed shortly afterwards.

Inspired by the patriotic background of the village, several writers and poets came to live there. Their statues are mixed with those of the resistance fighters.

Sveta Bogoroditsa

During the fighting with the Turks, the church was destroyed several times. The present church, Sveta Bogoroditsa, dates back to 1817. On the church’s portal are posted the death notices that can be found everywhere in the villages and small towns of Bulgaria.

Koprivchtitza has resumed its peaceful life, always welcoming visitors who want to know more about Bulgaria. The village is just over 100 kilometres, 60 miles, from Sofia.

Koprivchtitza, Bulgaria

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8 comments

    • This is the advantage of researching a country by looking at what matters to its people, it is easy to overlook this kind of place, although it contains a part of the country’s history.

      Liked by 1 person

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