Narrow cobbled streets, coulourful houses with unique architecture in Bulgarian Revival Period style, numerous small museums, craft shops, cool mountain fresh air – that’s Koprivshtitsa for me and it’s always worth a visit.
How to get there: If you are driving from Sofia you have to take Botevgradsko Shosse which eventually becomes E79 and E871. At the intersection where these two split, you need to take Е871 road (also known as the Under-Balkan Road) on your right just after Lukoil gas station. Koprivshisa is only about 110 km from Sofia but for the last 15 kilometres you should be prepared for a winding road so the whole journey takes almost 2 hours. See google map.
You can get to Koprivshtitsa by bus or by train. The buses stop right in the centre of the town. Note that the train station is far from the town’s centre – about 8 kilometres. Although there are shuttles and taxis they are not 100% reliable.
What to see: Just take your camera and one of the narrow cobbled streets… All the houses are built in this specific architectural style of the National Revival Period. Thanks to the local construction law all new or renovated buildings are designed in the same style. Whether it’s a private house, the tourist information centre, or a souvenir shop… they all look like they’ve been built in the 1850s.
You’ll run into different museum houses – all of them unique but at the same time very much alike. The taxes for visitors are quite low.
You have to see the Oslekov’s House – a beautiful, original house which will give you a good idea of how a well-off Bulgarian family lived in 1850’s – 1900’s. The house was built by a rich local merchant Nencho Oslekov. In his tailor shop were made the uniforms of the participants in the Uprising of April 1876.
I am not going to get deep into history here. It is much better to get a local tell you the stories of Koprivshtitsa. Ask about how the town got its name, about the 3 times Koprivshtitsa has been burnt down, about the first gun shot of the April Uprising, about Kokon mahala (the Dame neighborhood)… I don’t know another Bulgarian town with so many stories to tell.
Where to stay: We’ve stayed at two different hotels (Kozlekov Hotel and Todorini Kashti) and they both have the same problem – thin walls. Hotel Kozlekov has one big advantage – a great terrace with a wonderful view of the unique town of Koprivshtitsa.
Where to eat: the best meals are prepared in 20 April Restaurant right on the main square. I can’t say that the place is too cozy but the food is excellent. They have the best Shkembe Chorba and Lamb Soup! It is not by chance that locals dine there – they know best where they can have good food in town. And if you can get the owner, George, to tell you some Koprivshtitsa history you can’t ask for more from your Koprivshtitsa visit.
Interesting Events: About once every four years the National Folklore Fest takes place in Koprivshtitsa. Performers from all over the world come to Koprivshtitsa to participate. If you are planning to be there you need to reserve a place to sleep way in advance. This year I’ll be there to feature the event. 10th National Folklore Fest – Koprivshtitsa 2010 coming soon…