Koprivshtitsa and Panagyirishte historical tour

About

This tour is focused on Bulgaria’s Liberation movement, and the many revolutionaries active in the towns of Panagyurishte and Koprivshtitsa.

It starts with a visit to Koprivshtitsa and its Old Town – a place strewn with countless cultural landmarks, including houses, churches, museums, water fountains, an ossuary, bridges and monuments. It is home to a large number of historic house-museums that once belonged to important revolutionaries and historical figures. One of its most fascinating features is the Old Town’s architectural style – a kind of Revival Period style specific to this region. The house-museums today house exhibitions dedicated to historical figures, art galleries, and authentic reproductions of what the Bulgarian home of the past looked like.

The next stop is Panagyurishte, a revolutionary hub where Rayna Knyaginya stitched the flag used during the April Uprising – one of the most significant events in Bulgarian history. The town is known for its historic houses, and as the location where the famous Panagyurishte treasure was discovered.

Highlights

• Visit historic house-museums and learn about the history of Bulgaria

• See the unique architecture typical of the region

• Try traditional Bulgarian dishes

• Enjoy the picturesque view of Sredna Gora Mountain

• Learn about the town of Panagyurishte and its revolutionary past

• Explore the historic house-museums that once belonged to notable freedom fighters

• Enjoy recreational activities like target shooting and wine tasting

Description

Koprivshtitsa is a unique town-museum with fully preserved architectural monuments from the Bulgarian National Revival Period (also known as the Bulgarian Renaissance). Despite its small size and population, Koprivshtitsa is the birthplace of many prominent historical poets and revolutionaries, whose houses are now museums containing exhibitions dedicated to their lives and achievements, including personal possessions that once belonged to them, historical documents and authentically furnished rooms that show what these homes looked like during their lifetime.

The sightseeing tour starts with the house-museum of Petko Karavelov and Lyuben Karavelov – two brothers, respectively a politician and poet. The house consists of three buildings – the winter home, business home and summer home. The winter home was built in 1810 and belonged to Lyuben Karavelov. It houses an authentic reproduction the domestic environment during the time it was inhabited and personal possessions that once belonged to the poet. The "Business building" (built in 1820) showcases Karavelov’s original printing press imported from Bucharest and used to print revolutionary newspapers and magazines crucial to the Liberation movement. The two-storey summer building added in 1835 is dedicated to the notable politician Petko Karavelov.

Next is the Lyutovata house-museuma late Revival architectural masterpiece. It was built in 1854. While its façade is unornamented, its internal walls are decorated in intricate murals. The so-called "Blue Room" is particularly interesting, with exquisite ceilings and a niche in the wall that is painted to resemble a theater scene. The museum also showcases clothing, household objects and furniture that offer insight into the life of the higher echelons of society in the past.

The "Oslekovata kashta" house-museum was built in 1856 and is now the most visited house in Koprivshtitsa. It is an exceptional example of late Bulgarian Revival residential architecture, decorated in the Baroque style, with an colourfully painted ground-floor façade. Its courtyard is narrow and the house itself consists of a basement, a ground floor and an upper floor. The ethnographic exposition showcases a collection of original women's clothing and ornaments, hand-knit socks, and more. The original owner of the house was Nencho Oslekov, who participated in the organisation of the April Uprising in 1876.

After that we’ll be stopping for lunch at a one of Koprivshtitsa’s traditional Bulgarian restaurants, where you can get a taste of Bulgarian national cuisine.

We’ll continue our tour with a visit to the Georgi Benkovski house-museum – a house that once belonged to and commemorates the life of a revolutionary and leading figure in the organization of the April Uprising. The exhibition features documents related to his life and revolutionary work, as well as his personal rifle. This building from 1831 recreates the authentic home setting of a reasonably wealthy citizen of that time.

The Todor Kableshkov house-museum is the historic home of the prominent revolutionary T. Kableshkov, built in 1845 in the Revival Period style more typical of the Plovdiv region. It was the first of Koprivshtitsa’s monuments to be restored. It now houses an exhibition dedicated to his life’s work.

The Dimcho Debelyanov house-museum presents the life and literary works of the great Bulgarian poet Dimcho Debelyanov. It has two floors, a beautiful courtyard and a furnished restoration of the Debelyanov family living room. The ceilings inside are unusually low.

Our next stop is Panagyurishtea town with a deep historical significance from ancient times all the way to Bulgaria’s Liberation movement. The town was central to the April Uprising – one of the most important and tragic events in Bulgarian history. Most of its houses were destroyed as retaliation for the Uprising, leaving it with fewer Revival Period houses than its fellow revolutionary towns. Here we’ll visit historic house-museums that once belonged to famous historical figures and revolutionaries.

We’ll start with a tour of the Tuteva House – the house from which the start of the April Uprising was declared for the entire town. It belonged to Ivan Tutev, but was used as the last headquarters of Georgi Benkovski, one of the most important participants in Bulgaria’s Liberation efforts at the time. The house survived the uprising and is still standing to this day, untouched as the days when it was inhabited.

The House of Rayna Knyaginya is one of the most important historic houses in the town. Raynya Knyaginya was a revolutionary who stitched the flag used in the April Uprising and carried it herself into battle. She later became an activist and midwife, who helped impoverished women give birth for the rest of her life without asking for any compensation. The main flag used in the Uprising is on display in the house, and Rayna Knyaginya’s remains are buried in its yard.

The Lekova House once belonged to a wealthy merchant and active participant in the April Uprising. Aside from its historical contributions, the house interior is lavishly painted. It was restored in 2004 and once again showcases the strikingly beautiful art style of the past, its most notable mural - the Wheel of Life – on full display.

The St. George Church is a beautiful example of Revival Period church architecture. Impressively large, with spacious windows, and its two bell towers (one of which serves as the town clock) are gorgeous architectural achievement. It was built in 1856, but almost completely destroyed during the April Uprising in 1876 – only its walls remained standing. It has since been restored.

In 1949, the world-famous Panagyurishte treasure was discovered near the town. The treasure is an impressive display of ancient Thracian craftsmanship and belonged to a Thracian ruler in the 4th century BC. Once a year, the treasure is taken out of its vault in the capital and taken back to Panagyurishte to spend some time in the place where it originated.

Panagyurishte presents the chance to engage in many fun pastimes. The local shooting range lets you test your aim on holographic moving targets, bringing an element of authenticity and excitement.

The local Serbian BBQ place is a great place to stop for lunch – we can personally vouch for the cooking. The Rumelia Wine Cellar has the best Mavrud in the area – a local red wine sort with roots in the Ancient Thracian culture.

After our tour of Panagyurishte, we’ll head back to Plovdiv.

Price per person

• For a group of 6 or more: 40 €

• For a group of 2-5: 60 €

• For individual tourists: 100 €

Inclusions / exclusions

The price includes

• A tour guide

• Transfers

The price does not include

• Lunch

• Museum entrance fees

40 €

per person

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Excursions

Panagyurishte, България

Starting point - Plovdiv, Bulgaria

1 day

Spring, Summer, Winter, Autumn

Live tour guide available in English

Maxiumum number of participants - 10 people

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