Memorials of the Culture in BERKOVITSA

Berkovitsa is a small town which is situated in the northwest flanks of the Balkan, 90 km away from the capital city of Bulgaria Sofia, by the road via the Petrohan passage.

This region was inhabited by men since hoary antiquity. On the historical maps Berkovitsa is marked as an old settlement and an inner town of the Bulgarian state.

During the Ottoman rule it was an important administrative centre. The population made a living from agriculture, fruit growing, pottery, trade.

In the beginning of the 20th century the town transformed itself in a “summer resort”, attractive for people from near and more distant places. They were arriving here mainly for the moderate climate with sunny and cool summer, curative mineral springs in the surrounding country because of the tasty and fragrant gifts of the nature – berries, chest nuts, and herbs.

Here you could rediscover one of the most beautiful corners of our native land, to have a walk in the century-old Beach and Chestnut forests, skiing or snowboarding on the tracks under peak Kom, prepare for himself jam from raspberries and blueberries, which you had collected by yourself and take away a portion of the fascination of this land incorporated in a small ocarina or a “Dyavolska kana” (A Devilish jug), the pride of the Berkovitsa’s potters.

In the Mountain nearby the town there are many tourists routs and pathways leading to the peak Kom, peak Sdravchenitsa, the Sinya Vir site (the Blue Pool), Samarite, peak Shturkovitsa. Some of the traditional rest places near the town are the picturesque surroundings of the Haidoushki Vodopadi (The Haidouc Waterfalls). This is also the name of the newest pedestrian footpath.

There are few interesting things to see in Berkovitsa. I will represent them to you:

The Clock Tower – It was built during the period of 1762 -1764. The tower is the most distinctive architectural monument in the centre of Berkovitsa and it has been the town’s symbol. Even today the tower keeps on counting the time with the clang of its copper bell.

“Ivan Vazov” House-Museum – This is an interesting monument with an unique Bulgarian architectural tradition. It is characterized by beautiful engraved ceilings, which are pieces of work mastered by Bulgarian craftsmen. Besides its ceiling the House-Museum is famous for its authentic means of heating. The House was built during the 19th century. During 1879 -1880 Ivan Vazov – a famous Bulgarian author of poetry and prose lived there. He wrote also the first Bulgarian novel. In 1940 the House was declared as a national cultural monument.

Sarbinska House – This is a typical one-story house from the Renaissance with an authentic balcony looking south. The house was built during the 19th century. It is characterized by fascinating door and cupboard woodcarving. Since 1992 an ethnographic exhibition has been held there. You can see some national cloths, carpets, some small things which were used by our old grossmothers and grossfathers.

“Birth Of The God Mother” Church – The Church is a contemporary of the Bulgarian Renaissance, a center if men’s and girl’s schools, as well as a spiritual source for the people of Berkovitsa. The church was reconstructed in 1843. The icon stills are skillfully made by the woodcarving master from Samokov – Stoycho Fandakov and the icons are painted by Dimitar Zograff.

“St. Nikolai Chudotvorets” Church – The temple was built by Georgy Dzhongar in 1871. Later the building went through a couple more reconstruction periods, which improved its architectural forms. It is assumed that the icon still, the bishop’s stall and the pulpit are made by Dimitar Fandakov, and the icons are painted by Konstantin Angelov and Daniel Shtipliata.

Antique and Medieval Fortress “Kaleto” is used to be the headquarters of diocese in Christian Byzantium. That is why in one of the two basilicas there is a synthrone for the priests and a throne for the bishop. “Kaleto” stands up immediately atop the town. It is a place for relaxation and a glance in every destination.

“Krasteva” House was built during the middle of 19th century. It is characterized by the typical Bulgarian Renaissance architecture. There is a balcony on the south side of the house. In 1986 the house has been entirely reconstructed keeping the unique architectural style. Today the house functions as a restaurant-club.

For being information and photos in the Museums I would like to thank to Mrs. Dora Izatovska -  ex direktor of the Museum Complex in Berkovitsa. If you would like to visit and see Sarbinska House and “Ivan Vazov” House-Museum you could phone her for visit: ++359 953 88 045. Spoken languages: English and Russian.