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Sarafkina House in Veliko Tarnovo

Sarafkina House facing the Yantra

Sarafkina House facing the Yantra

The Sarafkine House is one of the crown jewels of the Veliko Tarnovo houses from the Revival Period and is part of the architectural ensemble of the Old Town. The House was built in 1861 for the needs of a wealthy merchant named Dimo Sarafina (saraf comes from Turkish, meaning someone who deals with money, a broker of sorts).


Much like other Bulgarian houses of wealthy merchants from that time (see Konstantsalieva House), the house was designed to serve as a residence and a workplace. Before its completion, however, Dimo Sarafina passed away and the property never got the chance to serve its original purpose.


Sarafkina House facing the Gurko Street

Sarafkina House facing the Gurko Street

The house then was inherited by merchant’s wife, Anastasia Sarafkata, thus the name of this beautiful building. It is built over 5 floors – all 5 facing the Yantra and the top 2 facing the Gurko Street, where it is also entered from. One enters a spacious vestibule, surrounded by four rooms and other small spaces, illuminated indirectly from the windows upstairs. The lower floors are used for basements and warehouses, which also lead to a large scenic terrace, today overlooking the Yantra and the Boris Denev State Art Gallery.


A steep wooden staircase leads from the lobby to the top floor. It is decorated with a small folding door and a lovely wrought iron railing, which then transforms into the inner balcony. Wooden columns, hand-carved wooden ceiling (resembling the sun) and dark shutters contrast with white plaster and create a feeling of warmth and comfort.



Sarafkina House served a variety of purposes. It was home of the Bishop of Kyustendil, home to the Orthodox Christian brotherhood “St. Petka” house for the poor, an amusement hall of the White Guards and others.


After its restoration was completed in 1981, the house went under the management of the Regional History Museum – Veliko Tarnovo. It is now a house-museum with permanent ethnographic exhibitions, which introduces the visitor to the main events of the national artistic characteristic of Veliko Tarnovo region in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.



66 km of the South Stream pipeline will pass through Veliko Tarnovo District

South Stream

South Stream

66 km of the South Stream pipeline will pass through Veliko Tarnovo. The pipes will go through the municipalities of  Pavlikeni, Polish Trambesh, Gorna Oryahovitsa. Pipeline data were presented during a public discussion of the presentation of the environmental impact assessment report, which was held in the municipality of Gorna Oryahovitsa.


In Pavlikeni pipeline will be nearly 26 km long and will pass through the villages of Gorna and Dolna Lipnitsa Patresh, Nedan and Butovo.


In Polski Trambesh its length is less than 23 km long and will pass through the land of Orlovets, Radanovo, Petko Karavelovo, Polski Senovets, Ivancha and Obedinenie.


In the municipality of Gorna Oryahovitsa, the pipeline is planned to be between 3 and 5 kilometres and will pass through the villages of Strelets and Paisiy.


Throughout the municipality Gorna Oryahovitsa the pipeline route will consist of two tubes. In Strazhitsa, the length of the pipeline will be 13 km and will pass through the villages of Varbovka, Lozen and Vinograd.


The project “South Stream” on the territory of Bulgaria is the ground part of the whole pipeline system. Its length on Bulgarian land is expected to be 540.8 km. The Bulgarian section of the pipeline is the transition part going to the countries of Central and Southern Europe.


The economic impact of the construction of the pipeline in Bulgaria will strengthen the stability and energy sector and improve energy infrastructure. In terms of social impact, it will create new jobs during construction and during the continued operation of the pipeline. The positive environmental impacts will be expressed in the reduction of pollutant carbon emissions and greenhouse gases.


New visitor attraction at Tsaravets Castle, Veliko Tarnovo



Archery, crossbow and spear throwing will be the new attractions for tourists visiting Tsarevets in Veliko Tarnovo. Now, tourists from all over the country and the world will be able to test their skills with medieval weapons starting 19 July, which coincides with the start of the “Stage of the Ages” Summer Opera Festival.


Target shooting will be located in the palace of Tsarevets towards Skull Rock. Weapons – bows, short spears and crossbows are replicas of the original weaponry from the Bulgarian Middle Ages. If you hit the target a few times you will receive a special certificate with wax seal. The price of the attraction will be 5 lev and it will be available until October from 8am to 7pm.


Next year shooting events will be even more interesting, informs the local TIC. Visitors will be able to dress up in costumes and use a 3D background for photos. Shooting tournaments are also planned.

News, Property News

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…