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The 14 Museum Towns of Bulgaria - page two

 

Nessebur

Located on a small peninsula in the Black Sea which is linked with the land only by a long and narrow isthmus.

Nessebur is best known for its old town. Beautiful architectural ensembles flank the narrow streets and heavy gates hide cosy small yards with box shrubs and fig trees. The houses have two stores with the ground floor made of stone. Wooden staircases lead to the second timbered floor with broad eaves giving shade to the windows. The centre of the houses often have a living room, the remaining rooms off this. Interiors are simple with white walls, decorative ceilings and wooden floors.

 

Old Plovdiv

During the 19th century Bulgarian master builders erected the National Revival city of Plovdiv (the Old Town) with steep cobbled lanes, lovely houses with large bay windows and slender columns, latticed eaves and heavy oak gates, quiet green yards and rippling marble fountains.

Every house here has its own style and atmosphere (see left). An architectural phenomenon, blending splendour in the houses with modest cobble streets. Symmetrical houses where the interior is dominated by a central square or oval living room. Many carved wooden ceilings and oval niches in the walls.

Shiroka Luka

A village in the valley of Shirokolushka River, 20 kms north-west of Smolyan; architectural and ethnographical reserve. Population of 910. 90 buildings are monuments of culture.

The oldest houses date back to the beginning of the 19th C. (1802, 1829). The houses built towards the middle of the 19th C. are bigger, varied in design by the introduction of overhanging bays and forthcoming protrusions. These resemble fortresses - the ground floors of economic importance are built of stone, levelled by means of wooden girdles (santrachi); topmost one will see the residential quarters - glazed, with protruding bays, white-washed and framed in wood. The roofs are stone-tiled, and the chimneys - of original multiform design. The houses developed in height because of the lack of space in the village.

Sozopol

The Bulgarian National Revival period left its own vivid marks on the appearance of this unusual town, some 30 kms south of Bourgas, fine architectural ensembles of solid wooden houses.

The unapproachable stone houses resemble fortress with secret stores and only through secret entrances one can get into them. Lanes wind along stone walls and lead right up to the shore. Sozopol’s houses preserve the spirit of their inhabitants. The solid ground floors represent security, whilst the timber faced upper floor is an expression of space. Windows have wooden shutters and vines shade the verandahs.

Tryavna

Tryavna is a town preferred by tourists for its clean mountain air and unique architecture. A good road and railroad network connects the town with all further spots of the country.

The Tryavna masters gain popularity in the field of building, woodcarving and icon painting, which they handle to perfection and transform into art. Two storey houses with open terraces, carved eaves covered with heavy stone tiles.

Veliko Turnovo

The Bulgarian National Revival times are embodied in the architecture to be found in Gurko Street and the Samovodene marketplace.

The distinct Turnovo building tradition is influenced by the terrain. Stately buildings with bay windows and garrents are built one above the other into the rocks (see right)

 

 

Zheravna

The village of Zheravna is spread over the southern slopes of two small hills. The village houses with their broad eaves peak out behind high stone walls, The majority are well preserved. All are modeled on the ‘wooden type’ house prevalent in the entire region of the Eastern Balkan Range.

A characteristic feature is that all Zheravna houses, without exception, face south - with extensive facades in the yard’s northern part, far from the street when it passes south of them, and houses turned the other way, but close to the street if it runs to the north.

The older houses are single storeyed and made entirely out of wood. Later houses, with two stories, have their ground floor built of stone. The facades have clearly horizontal lines, emphasized by the forward brought second floor and the strongly jutting out eaves.