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Bulgarian Revival Architecture, Houses & Homes Part II

Revival residential construction goes through three time periods, subject to the general economic development:

  • the end of the 18th to the 30s of the 19th century,
  • from the 30s of the 19th to the 60s of the 20th century,
  • from the 60s the 20th century until the Liberation in 1878.


During the first period Bulgarian Revival houses are built mostly in mountainous regions, in several flourishing Bulgarian villages (now towns) like Tryavna, Zheravna, Kotel, Borovets, Koprivshtitsa, Sopot, Bansko, Melnik).


Plovdiv's symmetrical houses

Plovdiv’s symmetrical houses

The second period is shorter than the first, but is characterised with diversity of styles. At that time, Plovdiv has become an important cultural and economic centre in Bulgaria. The structural truthfulness of the early Revival house shifts towards a more decorative representation, which is a reflection of the confidence of the emerging bourgeoisie. These Bulgarian properties become more spacious and symmetrical. The symmetry is expressed by a longitudinal axis of symmetry or by two mutually perpendicular axes of symmetry.


The third and shortest period of the Revival Houses in Bulgaria witnesses the development of the symmetry and decoration of the Plovdivian houses (more elaborate decorations and classic influences can be observed), while Bulgarian homes in other parts of the country remain almost unchanged over the aforementioned stages.


During the Revival Period, Bulgarian architecture grows not only in size, type and implementation of the houses, but architects are also given access to build and renovated various public buildings that were previously under the the monopoly of the Ottomans.


Bulgarians have a significant share of trade in the middle of the 19th century, which leads to the building of large houses with large basments/groundfloors. Typical example would be the Konstantsalieva House in Arbanasi and the Sarafkina House in Veliko Tarnovo.

News, Property News

Bulgarian Revival Architecture, Traditional Houses & Homes Part I


The architecture of the Bulgarian Revival (from the late 1780s to 1878) reflects the general economic, political and cultural progress in the life of the Bulgarian people.


The development of crafts and trades causes the migration of many Bulgarians to towns and cities (Sofia, Plovdiv, Varna, Ruse, Vidin, Sliven, Veliko Tarnovo, etc.). gradually changing the urban landscape.


Typically, such crafts and trades towns have non-geometrical development plans and picturesque spatial compositions, organically related to the peculiarities of the area and the concentration of crafts and trades sectors distributed around the main street (bazaar), e.g. the Samovodska Charshia in Veliko Tarnovo.


The appearance of some settlements (like those in Tryavna) is determined by the joining of the two-level development of the main street, while others (like in Koprivshtitsa) are characterised by high-wall enclosed properties with large gates.


Due to being under the Ottoman rule, Bulgaria was in complete cultural isolation during that time. The Revival Period puts an end to the “anonymous” building and art-making. Names of master-builders and artists start to appear on church walls and buildings – the walls of the Rila Monastery are signed by Alexi Rilets and Master Milenko, the Hadjidimitrov House in Karlovo by Masters Spas, Ivan and Non; the Dzhambazova House in Karlovo by Master Patyo, and others). Widely acclaimed during the late Revival Period are masters Gencho, Nikola Fichev (aka Kolyu Ficheto, see the House with the Monkey) and his teacher Master Velyo, each with their own architectural style.


Housing construction takes up a significant part of the revival residential architecture, which in turn influences the types of houses built during this period. Depending on their geographic location, experts usually distinguish between Western, Teteven, Koprivshtitsa, Tryavna, Zheravna, Rhodope, Stranddzha, Black Sea, Plovdiv style of traditional Bulgarian houses.


Such Bulgaria homes are also grouped by different features, depending on:

  • the topographical nature of the area – mountain houses and “field” houses (those in flat areas)
  • the prevailing building materials – stone, wood, adobe (sun-dried brick), wattle and mixed;
  • the construction – with bearing walls, beamed, half-timbered and mixed
  • the planning – with or without chardak (chardak is a traditional spacious non-windowed balcony; the term is used to describe the balconies on traditional Bulgarian properties)
  • the composition – symmetric and asymmetric, and the like.

To be continued…


Veliko Tarnovo hosts International Folklore Festival


The 16th edition of the International Folklore Festival will convert Veliko Tarnovo into a colourful  and hot venue, engulfed in the magic of folklore art and dance.


The festival will be held from 20 to 27 July on the newly opened stage of the Summer Theatre in Veliko Tarnovo, Marno Pole Park.


The folklore fiesta will feature participants from Brazil, India, Columbia, Russia, Salvador, Togo, Hungary, Czech Republic and Bulgaria. The organizers promise a sea of colour and dance – from hot Brazilian samba to exotic Columbian mapalu, from the voodoo magic of Togolese shamans to Russian kazachok and Indian rhythms of Punjab.


The festival has been staged in Veliko Tarnovo since 1998 and is a member of CIOFF – the international Council of Organisations of Folklore Festivals and Folk Arts.


Hotnitsa Waterfalls, Veliko Tarnovo Area

Hotnitsa Waterfalls

Hotnitsa Waterfalls

This is one of those places that reveal the unique beauty of the Bulgarian nature. Hotnitsa Waterfalls are also known as Kaya Bunar –  a natural phenomenon that flows down along the beautiful river valley and forms a number of natural landmarks that visitors can enjoy.


Kaya Bunar is located near Hotnitsa village, 15 km north of Veliko Tarnovo. Although not very high or large, the waterfall is one of the most interesting and beautiful in the northern part of Bulgaria.


The road to the waterfalls starts two kilometres before the village itself. The parking lot is not very far and from it starts the picturesque Hotnitsa Walking Trail. The waterfalls are approximately 30 metres high. The water flows down into a clear and ice cold pond. The walking trail is only 1.5 km long, but it winds along the Bohot river bed and reveals quirky rock formations, small waterfalls, bridges and green hills.


The Emen Canyon is not far from Hotnitsa Waterfalls.


Looking for a property near this gorgeous location? Check out our Bulgarian properties in Hotnitsa


Sixth Edition of Dixie Jazz Festival Veliko Tarnovo

Dixie Jazz Festival logo

Dixie Jazz Festival logo

The sixth edition of the Dixie Jazz Festival will be held from 11 till 13 July at the square in front of the Asenevtsi Monument.


The festival is organised by the Veliko Tarnovo Municipality and the “Dixie-Jazz Fest Veliko Tarnovo” Foundation.


The festival will focus on old time jazz and swing this time.


All festival concerts are admission free.


The official opening is at 20:00 on July 11. An exhibition dedicated to Jazz in the Old Capital will be open half an hour earlier.


On 12 July concerts begin at 19:30 pm, and on July 13 – from 20:00. Traditionally, all after parties and jam sessions after the concerts are held in Melon Live Music Club. For detailed information and festival programme, please see the festival website, which has an English version.



Art-Nature Symposium Veliko Tarnovo

Nature Symposium VT

Nature Symposium VT

Authors from Israel, Hungary, Belgium, Italy, Germany, USA, Turkey and Bulgaria will participate in the second edition of the eco-art symposium „ART – NATURE 2013”, which will take place from 3 to 16 July in Gabrovtsi village. The event is organized by the artists from the local Duppini Art Group with the support of Veliko Tarnovo Municipality.


Fifteen artists will work outdoors using natural materials. The symposium will also feature participants from Duppini Art Group, five assisting students from the Sculpture department of the Faculty of Arts and volunteers.


One characteristics of “the art in nature” concept is that works created using natural materials remain at the place of their creation and thus become part of the landscape. Part of this years work will remain at their place of creation and contribute to the unique open air museum in Gabrovtsi, which was established last year with the first edition of the only Bulgarian land art forum „ART – NATURE“.


„ART – NATURE 2013“ is one of the initiatives in support of Veliko Tarnovo’s application for European capital of culture in 2019. See Key to VT for detailed information about this event.


Geocaching Veliko Tarnovo

Geocaching official logo

Geocaching official logo

If you ever find yourself bored on a weekend with no particular plans or you have just moved to Veliko Tarnovo area, then you should definitely try geocaching.


Geocaching is a game, a treasure hunt of sorts, where participants use a GPS or other navigational techniques to hide and find different sized containers called geocaches or simply caches practically everywhere.


A typical geocache is a small waterproof container containing a logbook (logbook) and “treasure” – usually toys or any small items of little monetary value. There are hidden geocaches in over 100 countries around the world and all seven continents, including Antarctica.


a container

a container

We have recently joined the geocahing community only to find out that the game is actually popular among outdoors-y Bulgarians and Tarnovians, too.


There are some interesting georoutes and caches in Veliko Tarnovo and the area – e.g. On the Streets of Tarnovo, Walking with the Bolyars, Rulers of Mediaval Bulgaria and Tsarevets Cache – that will help you learn more about the town and its history and walk you through its most scenic parts, while you’re looking for your geocache.


So next time you need a small adventure or want to spice up your walk, try geocaching. And don’t forget to TFTC!