Podcast in English
Bulgarian National Radio © 2022 All Rights Reserved

Gatherings and festivals transform life in small Bulgarian towns

Photo: Veneta Nikolova

Summer is in full swing and that is the time when many people travel and rediscover life in smaller Bulgarian towns and villages. Gatherings dedicated to traditions, customs, local dishes or simply family gatherings attract guests from the country and abroad.

But in order to immerse yourself in the daily life of the local residents, you need to talk to them and get to know their way of life. People are rarely in a hurry and they enjoy conversations. When it comes to the tourists, the locals are more than happy to guide them to a good restaurant or attractive nearby places. 

The inhabitants of the mountain town of Panagyurishte are just like that - very friendly and hospitable. The town is located about 140 km away from Sofia and its history is linked with the brave heroes of the April Uprising (1876), who gave their lives for the Freedom of Bulgaria. Most local monuments and landmarks are dedicated to them and the area is visited by tourists all year round. 

"For the first time this year our town hosted an international fireworks festival and many people from the country and abroad came. There was huge interest,” Teodora Hristova from Panagyurishte says. She is a teacher by profession and in her spare time she works at a local information center:

"There is friendliness between people in the small town; they often gather with neighbors and friends and help each other. Anyone who wants to work can find a job in a town like Panagyurishte with many working enterprises and developed tourism. This is a place where one cannot get bored. You can visit the nearby village of Banya, or the town of Strelcha and their warm mineral springs. If you like hiking in the mountains, you should definitely go to the peak of Bratiya - 1516 m. From there one can see both Sofia and Plovdiv. The Buntovna mountain hut, which I often visit, is also nearby."

This summer, the National Folk Art Festival in Koprivshtitsa provided an occasion for people from various places to meet in the town. Local residents were waiting for the holiday with excitement and traders of traditional souvenir do not hide that such events encourage tourists to buy their goods.

  •  Traversing Bulgaria with the living human treasures

Plamen Petrov came from Veliko Tarnovo to offer souvenirs, flags and t-shirts with Bulgarian symbols:

Plamen Petrov

"This is my first time coming here to Koprivshtitsa. I like the setting and the people who come. You can feel a strong Bulgarian spirit and festive mood. It is good that there are now more organized tourist trips to such festivals. It was the same during the Cherry Festival in Kyustendil. There is interest in souvenirs. The prices have gone up but people are looking for them and buying them, especially during national holidays.”

Stavri Stavrev came to the festival in Koprivshtitsa from the village of Kaloyanovo near Plovdiv. He sells authentic folk costumes. He says that he has great love for Bulgarian folklore and traditions and he even plays the accordion and sings folk songs that he learned as a child. Both of his sons work abroad:

Stavri Stavrev

"I go around villages and towns and look to buy folk costumes through advertisements. Everything is handmade, they sewed them at night under candlelight. This is a national treasure that I have been collecting for over 20 years. But you have to love the folk costumes in order to do this. I have costumes from the Smolyan region, from Gabrovo, Pleven, from all over Bulgaria. After Koprivshtitsa, we would go to the festival in Zheravna. Everyone goes there because of the folk costumes."

Photo: Veneta Nikolova, Gergana Mancheva, panagyurishte.org, BGNES -library

English: Al. Markov

Listen to the daily news from Bulgaria presented in "Bulgaria Today" podcast, available in Spotify.

More from category

Radio Bulgaria vox pop: Civil society in this country must be the catalyst of the change it wants to see

A little over 6.6 million Bulgarians are eligible to vote today. For the fourth time within the space of 18 months, their votes will determine who is going to sit in Bulgaria’s 240-seat parliament. We asked members of the public what their attitudes..

published on 10/2/22 7:45 AM

Bulgarians in the country and abroad elect a new parliament

Polling day, on which Bulgarians are electing 240 men and women to represent them in the 48 th National Assembly, started at 7.00 AM. This is the 4 th election for parliament held in the country in the past 18 months. 22 parties and 6..

published on 10/2/22 7:15 AM

"Run for the Animals" with a call for more humane treatment of farm dwellers

On October 1, bird lovers gather in the South Park in Sofia to observe the native kingfisher. In Plovdiv, the invitation goes to the children who will visit the rowing base, where games and competitions are organized for them. The program in Veliko..

published on 10/1/22 4:05 PM