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What's new in 2023 in Bulgaria’s only open-air ethnographic museum Etara?‎

Photo: Facebook/@etar.gabrovo

The calendar of Etara, the only open-air ethnographic museum in Bulgaria in 2023 is saturated with a series of exhibitions, demonstrations, festivals and all kinds of events related to folklore, crafts and ethnography. Besides the traditional events recreating the tradition around Lazarovden, St. George's Day, New Year's Day, etc., the new moments this year will be dedicated to the water facilities, which are 10 in number in the museum. Their restoration and conservation will be completed by the end of April. On certain weekends during the summer season, these iconic exhibits will be shown to visitors, explains the director of Etara Ethnographic Museum, Prof. Svetlana Dimitrova, in an interview with Neli Angelova from BNR-Stara Zagora.

"The interesting thing is that the “bichkidzhiynitsa” /facility for whipping boards and planks/, which we have been operating for more than 35 years, will be shown to visitors. The “dolapkinya” - this is a water mill, the only one preserved in all its parts in our museum, will also be shown in action. It is a complex facility for grinding cereals. So far, only its wheel has moved, which used water to drive the mechanism, but now we will also operate the millstones.

Watermill of the dolapkinya type

The gaitandzhi workshop will also allow visitors to observe the mechanism that drives the wheels, as there will be new lighting that will make this part of it visible.


The "tepavitsa" (fulling mill) will also work and we will be able to show how the fulling was done, since the last time there were demonstrations in it was 10 years ago.''

For the first time this year, the "Megdan Nazaem" (borrowed square) initiative will be held in Etara. People from different towns and villages will be invited to the musem to present and show the characteristic rites of their region. In 2023, the 100th anniversary of the Carnival of Humor and Satire in Gabrovo will be celebrated. "It will also be attended by the living human treasures of Bulgaria, which were designated as such in 2022," says Prof. Dimitrova and adds:

As the most long-awaited event, Prof. Dimitrova defines the return to Etara of the International Crafts Fair after a nearly 3-year break due to the pandemic. Its 18thedition is coming in September. A serious participation from abroad is also expected.

Hristo Marinov, mutafchiya master

"Among them is our employee Hristo Marinov, a master mutafchiya (maker of goat’s hair rugs, bags) . ‎But there are other very interesting people who have received this honorary title of "living human treasure". Among them there are those who have skills in cooking, dancing, singing and music. I hope that the guests of the carnival will be able, after the event, on the territory of our museum to see demonstrations of all these people that we have invited."‎

"For the first time in this edition of the fair, there will be a master's competition in goldsmithery," says Prof. Dimitrova. “In addition to the master's competition, there will also be a competition of candidate masters during the fair days - these are all young people. We are expecting students from the National Academy of Arts and from the National High School for Applied Arts "St. Luka" in Sofia to participate in the youth competition. For the first time, our visitors will also be able to view the new museum centre, which will be located in the iconic building of the Krastnik-Kolchovia Inn”.

Also this year Etara will host the next edition of the educational program "In the world of Balkan Mountain Architecture", as well as the International Symposium on Landscape and Kinetic Art "Kevis". The carolling of the boys from the koledari school will also be part of this year’s calendar of events.

School for koledari (carol singers)

Compiled by Veneta Nikolova (based on an interview of Neli Angelova from BNR - Radio Stara Zagora) 

Photos: Facebook/@etar.gabrovo
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