Road Trip Round Up: Koprivshtitsa

The small museum-filled town of Koprivshtitsa was the first stop on our trip across the country. Koprivshtitsa’s claim to fame is its huge amount of preserved National Revival-era houses (built anywhere from 1762-1878) and the role it played in the uprising against the Turks on April, 20th 1876-known as the April Uprising. On that date, it is said that Todor Kableshkov fired the first shots from a small bridge in the town, now known as Kalachev or Kableshkov Bridge.

I had heard so much about this quaint little village and, thankfully, it did not disappoint in the slightest. Vince and I, along with one other couple, were the only people (that I saw) touring the town’s house museums on the day we visited. It was easy to see how such a small village could be so massively popular with tourists in the warmer months. The 400+ preserved structures set along narrow cobblestone alleys, combined with charming little shops selling homemade preserves, honey, crafts, and traditional clothing, make the town a must-see.

As we visited on a Tuesday, 3 of the 6 house museums were closed. We were able to purchase a ticket that covered the other 3 which were open: Oslekov House, Debelyanov House, and Kableshkov House. Luckily, these are the 3 best examples of architecture from the period (or so we were told), especially the Oslekov and Kableshkov Houses.

Oslekov, a rich merchant who was killed in the April Uprising, built a grand house and outfitted it with many items collected during his travels.  Oslekov House is considered the bet example of Revival-period architecture in Koprivshtitsa and is now an ethnographic museum. Conveniently, nearly all of the exhibits and plaques are translated into English.

Gorgeous examples of handmade lace

Dimcho Debelyanov was very well known Bulgarian poet who died during WWI. Debelyanov House itself was built in 1830 and is dedicated to his memory. On display are many of his handwritten poems, photographs, paintings, and other memorabilia.

Vince sitting in the garden of Debelyanov House

Painting of Debelyanov by Georgi Mashev

Next up, we visited Kableshkov House, which was built in 1845. This was my favorite of the 3 houses we visited due to its curved gables, richly painted interior, and large amount of antique items/staged rooms.

Kableshkov was part of the Amazing Mustache Club!

The staff at each house was really helpful in giving directions to the next museum and they also overlooked my taking photographs inside the houses, even though photography isn’t permitted (Bulgarians never seem too strict with the rules). Along the way, we stopped at the Church of Uspenie Bogorodichno and visited its graveyard, where Debelyanov and Kableshkov are buried. I have a huge fascination with old graveyards, so making my first visit to one in Bulgaria was a highlight.

The last stop on our tour of Koprivshtitsa was Kableshkov Bridge–the alleged site where Todor Kableshkov fired the shot that started the April Uprising. As such, I made Vince do a gun pose!

Whew! You made it to the end! I promise the rest of my road trip posts will not be near this long. Koprivshtitsa was just a highly anticipated and long-awaited trip, so I went a bit nuts with the photos.

More to come in the next few days (and weeks, probably!).


P.S. Please forgive any grievous spelling or grammatical errors. After writing this behemoth, I have no energy left for proofreading!

73 Comments on Road Trip Round Up: Koprivshtitsa

  1. sabinasagi
    February 28, 2013 at 11:58 pm (2 years ago)

    Hey, i know this was like a year ago but do you happen to remember if the museums are open during the fairly usual 9-5 times even in winter, as well as during saturday or sunday?

    • whitneybg
      March 1, 2013 at 12:00 am (2 years ago)

      I think they are. We visited during the day on a weekday in March. Ourselves and one other couple were the only tourists around but the staff at each house was happy to open them up and let us in.

  2. lindabkatz
    July 30, 2012 at 1:25 pm (3 years ago)

    I was in Koprishvista more than 30 years ago and found myself here for a folk music festival – accidently! Loved it and all of Bulgaria – very good and interesting experiences back when visiting was behind the Iron Curtain. Hope to come back soon

  3. laviera
    March 25, 2012 at 7:11 am (3 years ago)

    Never been there, but the color, life and culture oozed from your photos effortlessly!

    The difference between seeing photos of a place when researching it online and reading a blog with personal photos is that…, you feel the place through the experience of a real individual. Somehow, if only for a moment, their photos and stories transport you there and you even think to yourself “i can’t wait to go back”. Because momentarily, you were there.

    Thanks for the trip!

  4. godschick
    March 21, 2012 at 7:24 pm (3 years ago)

    LOVE your photos. Breathtaking! Really enjoyed my virtual day trip to Bulgaria via your post! Blessings!

  5. learningbuzz
    March 21, 2012 at 7:09 pm (3 years ago)

    I am glad to see you like my home country. Beautiful pictures. I haven’t been to these places in years. I live in Vancouver, BC at the moment. Hopefully next time I’m there, I’ll have the time to travel around a bit and visit them again. Cheers!

    • whitneybg
      March 22, 2012 at 4:35 pm (3 years ago)

      Thanks! I do like it very much! It is so easy to travel in Bulgaria and, thankfully, the prices are conducive to lots of exploring. Do see more of the country when you visit, I am so glad that I did!

      • learningbuzz
        March 22, 2012 at 7:01 pm (3 years ago)

        Thanks for the reply. I should travel around more – you’re right. :) I’m very impressed that you decided to live in Bulgaria. That’s wonderful! I am from Sofia originally. My family is still there and I love going back to visit.

  6. momofsam
    March 21, 2012 at 6:46 pm (3 years ago)

    Beautiful pictures! You have captured the soul of Bulgaria! I love the smell in these old houses.. it’s a mix of mirth and smoked wood.. it almost takes you on a magic carpet ride back in time if you close your eyes and just breathe in history..
    You need to visit Russe too, and see the neo-baroque and neo-rococo style buildings by the Danube.Enjoy your stay there!

    • whitneybg
      March 22, 2012 at 4:34 pm (3 years ago)

      Thank you! I would love to visit Ruse some day. Actually, there really isn’t anywhere in the country I wouldn’t love to see. It’s just so diverse and beautiful. Thanks for stopping by!

  7. michaelangelowrites
    March 21, 2012 at 4:50 pm (3 years ago)

    Beautiful photos. Everything here is such a perfection definition of culture and tradition. Gotta love.

  8. rococonnor
    March 21, 2012 at 1:54 pm (3 years ago)

    Fantastic place, Bulgaria. Loved your pictures. We go there every year in March, as my partner has a place near Samakov, perfect for the skiing at Borovets. ( … if you want to take a look)
    Bulagarians are incredibly warm, friendly people, and the history is astounding. I’m hoping to make to to Varna one day, to see the first examples of gold jewelry from the Varna necropolis.
    Thanks for the lovely pictures! :)

  9. dkaneva
    March 21, 2012 at 11:19 am (3 years ago)

    Congratulations on getting ‘Freshly Pressed’, I love your photos and your effort to tell the stories of Koprivshtitsa national heritage. Posts like yours make me proud to be a Bulgarian. Thank you!

    • whitneybg
      March 22, 2012 at 5:53 pm (3 years ago)

      Thank you! I always love when Bulgarians find my blog (and comment)! Please stop by again. W.

  10. Nadia Alzayat
    March 21, 2012 at 10:41 am (3 years ago)

    Hi guys!! I am Bulgarian and I am so proud and happy to see how you enjoy my country!!! :))))))))) Thank you for this post!! Hope that you enjoy living here!! Everyone is very welcome to Bulgaria. Once again, great post :)))))
    btw Yesterday I thought I should write a post about Koprivshtzica!!

    Best regards, Nadia.

  11. Wayne
    March 21, 2012 at 7:11 am (3 years ago)

    Nice photos.

    Did you blow in the snow?



  12. xoxoseoul
    March 21, 2012 at 5:05 am (3 years ago)

    wow your post made me wanna visit the places in the photos :)

  13. Mars
    March 21, 2012 at 4:34 am (3 years ago)

    Lovely photossss!

  14. andy1076
    March 21, 2012 at 1:28 am (3 years ago)

    Beautiful photos! what a trip :)

  15. postcardguy26
    March 20, 2012 at 6:09 pm (3 years ago)

    Amazing photos :) gorgeous. makes me feel like travelling :)

  16. dfmw
    March 20, 2012 at 5:19 pm (3 years ago)

    Reblogged this on crisp clean clear and commented:
    fabulous. colours, textures, shapes, spaces & places.

  17. Lotto
    March 20, 2012 at 4:22 pm (3 years ago)

    Beautiful pictures! And thanks for sharing your experiences.!

  18. Rustic Recluse
    March 20, 2012 at 4:20 pm (3 years ago)

    Wow! I’ve always wanted to look at Sofia town, never been to Bulgaria so this post really motivates to plan a trip asap! Nice pictures and definitely an enjoyable trip? So much history that I wish to explore, thanks for sharing!

  19. Dukooth
    March 20, 2012 at 3:42 pm (3 years ago)

    Wow these photos are amazing! It’s nice to see such architecture. We feel as though here in America, we have lost that since of style and pride in our buildings. You go just about anywhere else in the world and you notice that there is a unique since of style present.

  20. sam
    March 20, 2012 at 2:37 pm (3 years ago)

    Wow! I can’t get over the amazing colours in your photographs!
    Thanks for sharing.

  21. Olivia Mair
    March 20, 2012 at 1:02 pm (3 years ago)

    Looks like I have somewhere else to add to my list! Thanks for taking me there

  22. purplepolitico
    March 20, 2012 at 12:35 pm (3 years ago)

    Congrats on being freshly pressed AGAIN!!

  23. elaineoliveirarte
    March 20, 2012 at 11:57 am (3 years ago)

    Amazing pics! Where do I can find more? Do you have Flickr?

  24. travellingmo
    March 20, 2012 at 7:58 am (3 years ago)

    You have no idea how much I love stuff like this! I am a huge nerd, so interesting old buildings with artifacts = amazing to me! I also are really into graveyards too. I’m not sure what it is, I’m simply fascinated. It is not unheard of for me to demand that my boyfriend pull over to go explore some crumbling headstones and statues. :)

  25. starlight
    March 20, 2012 at 2:12 am (3 years ago)

    beautiful post.. i love the chandelier and the handmade lace.. they are gorgeous! thanks for sharing.

  26. roberto88264
    March 20, 2012 at 1:02 am (3 years ago)

    Great post with interesting information. Beautiful photos. Excellent work. Thanks for sharing. Greetings from north-east of Italy!

  27. patricemj
    March 20, 2012 at 12:55 am (3 years ago)

    Wow…what an adventure and thanks so much for sharing it. You are one lucky Girl getting to meet Bulgaria face to face. Say “hi” for me!

  28. Aidyearts
    March 20, 2012 at 12:44 am (3 years ago)

    Nice ! Love the artichitecture and old styles !!! I followed you and cant wait to see new blog !

  29. Chica Andaluza
    March 20, 2012 at 12:16 am (3 years ago)

    Apologis if this is a duplicate comment – technical problems! I saw this on Freshly Pressed and I just had to come and visit as I too have been to this amazing village. I went about 10 years ago with some friends who lived for about 3 years in Bulgaria. It was stunning, so beautiful but I can´t find my photos so I really enjoyed reliving the memories and looking at your beautiful photos. Thank you!

  30. Apocrypha
    March 19, 2012 at 11:18 pm (3 years ago)

    Love photos and envy you this opportunity to start a new life in Europe. I’ve had several friends move back to their native countries recently and they all agree that life on the other side of the ocean is so much more social and interactive. Hope you enjoy every moment and look forward to following you on your journey! Oh, and having an ebook reader is definitely a big help with the transition.

  31. wholisticme
    March 19, 2012 at 10:51 pm (3 years ago)

    Wow, Bulgaria sure is worth visiting, thank you for sharing!

  32. etexbill
    March 19, 2012 at 9:58 pm (3 years ago)

    Beautiful photos. I would like to travel to Bulgaria after seeing them.

  33. etexbill
    March 19, 2012 at 9:57 pm (3 years ago)

    Beautiful photos! I would like to travel to Bulgaria after seeing your blog.

  34. annie
    March 19, 2012 at 9:49 pm (3 years ago)

    Great photos, I love pictures of stand-out architecture and this seemed to be the place for that :-)

  35. sandraconner
    March 19, 2012 at 8:55 pm (3 years ago)

    Congratulations on being “Freshly Pressed!” I wanted to hop over and visit because my father’s family is from Bulgaria. My grandfather came to the U. S. in 1914. He actually married twice and had two families here. But about 15 years ago, my dad received some letters from family who were still in Bulgaria — including a sister he had never known existed. It was exciting for him and all his relatives to finally get to connect, and my dad then made a trip to Bulgaria to spend some time with them. He is a minister as well, and the Lord opened doors for him to minister in some of the churches. He wants very much to return and spend more time with his family. I will tell him to come and view your blog, because he will love the photographs. They are gorgeous.

  36. The Hook
    March 19, 2012 at 8:53 pm (3 years ago)

    Sounds like one heck of a road trip!
    Have fun!

  37. punkpanky
    March 19, 2012 at 8:41 pm (3 years ago)

    Beautiful colors in the pics !! lovely !

  38. Ryan Sprout
    March 19, 2012 at 8:39 pm (3 years ago)

    Beautiful photographs!

  39. Ryan Sprout
    March 19, 2012 at 8:38 pm (3 years ago)

    Very colorful and beautiful photographs! Congrats on your trip and freshly pressed!

  40. Jerry Bryant
    March 19, 2012 at 8:08 pm (3 years ago)

    What camera and lens do you use? These are amazingly sharp. Great work.

    • whitneybg
      March 19, 2012 at 8:11 pm (3 years ago)

      Thanks, Jerry! I use a Nikon D90 and an 18-200 mm Nikkor.

  41. bnichefix
    March 19, 2012 at 7:59 pm (3 years ago)

    So attractive! What a lovely place to be and be enriched by.

    Thank you for sharing Whitney!

  42. aFrankAngle
    March 19, 2012 at 7:58 pm (3 years ago)

    I love buildings in Europe … thanks for sharing.

  43. davidmalta
    March 19, 2012 at 7:51 pm (3 years ago)

    Wow, great photos. Can’t say I’m too jealous of the snow & cold though, will stick with the warmth of a Maltese spring I think!

  44. anaslense
    March 19, 2012 at 7:46 pm (3 years ago)

    Beautiful pictures and very colorful! Love it!

  45. broadsideblog
    March 19, 2012 at 7:36 pm (3 years ago)

    The colors! Love that blue exterior and the lace-trimmed red sofas inside. You have a great eye for detail.

  46. Kathryn McCullough
    March 19, 2012 at 7:31 pm (3 years ago)

    Gosh, the lace is lovely! And the place is packed with quaint. Great post, and congrats again on FP!

  47. Mikalee Byerman
    March 19, 2012 at 7:20 pm (3 years ago)

    Quaint indeed! I wish more modern architecture revealed this same sense of character — gorgeous and timeless…

    Thank you for sharing, and what an ADVENTURE! :)

  48. copycatmom
    March 19, 2012 at 3:24 pm (3 years ago)

    The architecture is amazing! I enjoyed the photos quite well!


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