Everyone who decides to learn more about Bulgaria should visit the village of Dobarsko. Situated in the valley of Razlog, it attracts thousands of tourists. For the first time the name of the village was mentioned in a document by Tsar Ivan Shishman from 1378, where it says the village is under the jurisdiction of the Rila Monastery.
The road to the village goes through the villages of Dolno Draglishte and Gorno Draglishte and is winding through meadows, forests, and lush gardens. The laborious farmers use water from local springs to irrigate the land in the hot days in August and that is how they have good harvest in this not so fertile region. The farms here are famous for the beans they produce, which is said to be unique when it comes to taste and quality.
The road ends in the village of Dobarsko where streets are steep and houses are lined on terraces on the southern skirts of Rila Mountain. Legends say that after the battle near Belasitsa in 1014 between the army of Bulgarian Tsar Samuil and that of Basil II Boulgaroktonos, the thousands of Bulgarian warriors blinded by the Byzantine emperor were heading towards the Rila Monastery and passed through the village called Nedobarsko back then. Winter forced them to stay there and they found out that the water of the village spring was good for easing their pains. Today the spring is in the yard of the church. Here they stayed and founded the renowned music school for blind children that existed until the beginning of the 20th century.
In the center of this small mountain village one can see the church of Sts. Theodore Tyron and St. Theodore Stratelates, which is the only one in Bulgaria dedicated to these two saints. It was built in 1614 according to Ottoman requirements – a church had to be indistinguishable from other buildings and should not rise above them. Part of the building, which is made of stone and mortar, is dug into the ground. There is neither a dome nor a bell tower. In its thick walls the builders have left a complex system of openings and passages that serve as a natural air conditioner. The temperature in it never falls below 0 degrees even in the harshest winter. In the past, the candles of believers were made of pure wax, and their smoke formed a natural protective layer.
Thanks to all this in the 70s of the last century, when the temple was restored, only the layer of saturated soot needed to be removed. It turned out that the original frescoes had preserved their fresh and bright colors. The church is a monument of culture and is under the protection of UNESCO and also part of the 100 Bulgarian Tourist Sites.
Dobarsko is the starting point for a number of interesting tourist routes. One of them is near a hut named Dobarsko, situated at 1750 m above sea level. To the east one seen the beautiful Rhodopes and to the south one sees the sublime peaks of Pirin. The trail is 10 km long and part of it is called “the goat's trail,” which is one of the challenges of the route because of its steepness. Efforts are rewarded with an easier stretch of the path that predisposes to relaxation. In the mountain tourist can see Tetrao urogallus - a large beautiful bird, as well as the Balkan chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra balcanica) - an endangered species included in the Red Book of Bulgaria and the world.
English: Alexander MarkovPhotos: Svetlana Dimitrova and wikipedia.org and archive