Girl Meets Bulgaria

Musings of an American expat in Bulgaria (with detours in Utah and Alaska)

Road Trip Round Up: Koprivshtitsa


The small museum-filled town of Koprivshtitsa was the first stop on our trip across the country. Koprivshtitsa’s claim to fame is its huge amount of preserved National Revival-era houses (built anywhere from 1762-1878) and the role it played in the uprising against the Turks on April, 20th 1876-known as the April Uprising. On that date, it is said that Todor Kableshkov fired the first shots from a small bridge in the town, now known as Kalachev or Kableshkov Bridge.

I had heard so much about this quaint little village and, thankfully, it did not disappoint in the slightest. Vince and I, along with one other couple, were the only people (that I saw) touring the town’s house museums on the day we visited. It was easy to see how such a small village could be so massively popular with tourists in the warmer months. The 400+ preserved structures set along narrow cobblestone alleys, combined with charming little shops selling homemade preserves, honey, crafts, and traditional clothing, make the town a must-see.

As we visited on a Tuesday, 3 of the 6 house museums were closed. We were able to purchase a ticket that covered the other 3 which were open: Oslekov House, Debelyanov House, and Kableshkov House. Luckily, these are the 3 best examples of architecture from the period (or so we were told), especially the Oslekov and Kableshkov Houses.

Oslekov, a rich merchant who was killed in the April Uprising, built a grand house and outfitted it with many items collected during his travels.  Oslekov House is considered the bet example of Revival-period architecture in Koprivshtitsa and is now an ethnographic museum. Conveniently, nearly all of the exhibits and plaques are translated into English.

Gorgeous examples of handmade lace

Dimcho Debelyanov was very well known Bulgarian poet who died during WWI. Debelyanov House itself was built in 1830 and is dedicated to his memory. On display are many of his handwritten poems, photographs, paintings, and other memorabilia.

Vince sitting in the garden of Debelyanov House

Painting of Debelyanov by Georgi Mashev

Next up, we visited Kableshkov House, which was built in 1845. This was my favorite of the 3 houses we visited due to its curved gables, richly painted interior, and large amount of antique items/staged rooms.

Kableshkov was part of the Amazing Mustache Club!

The staff at each house was really helpful in giving directions to the next museum and they also overlooked my taking photographs inside the houses, even though photography isn’t permitted (Bulgarians never seem too strict with the rules). Along the way, we stopped at the Church of Uspenie Bogorodichno and visited its graveyard, where Debelyanov and Kableshkov are buried. I have a huge fascination with old graveyards, so making my first visit to one in Bulgaria was a highlight.

The last stop on our tour of Koprivshtitsa was Kableshkov Bridge–the alleged site where Todor Kableshkov fired the shot that started the April Uprising. As such, I made Vince do a gun pose!

Whew! You made it to the end! I promise the rest of my road trip posts will not be near this long. Koprivshtitsa was just a highly anticipated and long-awaited trip, so I went a bit nuts with the photos.

More to come in the next few days (and weeks, probably!).


P.S. Please forgive any grievous spelling or grammatical errors. After writing this behemoth, I have no energy left for proofreading!

73 thoughts on “Road Trip Round Up: Koprivshtitsa

  1. Pingback: *Re-post* Road Trip Round Up: Nessebar, Burgas, and Sozopol | Girl Meets Bulgaria

  2. Hey, i know this was like a year ago but do you happen to remember if the museums are open during the fairly usual 9-5 times even in winter, as well as during saturday or sunday?

    • I think they are. We visited during the day on a weekday in March. Ourselves and one other couple were the only tourists around but the staff at each house was happy to open them up and let us in.

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  5. I was in Koprishvista more than 30 years ago and found myself here for a folk music festival – accidently! Loved it and all of Bulgaria – very good and interesting experiences back when visiting was behind the Iron Curtain. Hope to come back soon

  6. Pingback: Bulgarian Revival Architecture « The ALZ blog

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  8. Pingback: Road Trip Round Up: Nessebar, Burgas, and Sozopol « Girl Meets Bulgaria

  9. Never been there, but the color, life and culture oozed from your photos effortlessly!

    The difference between seeing photos of a place when researching it online and reading a blog with personal photos is that…, you feel the place through the experience of a real individual. Somehow, if only for a moment, their photos and stories transport you there and you even think to yourself “i can’t wait to go back”. Because momentarily, you were there.

    Thanks for the trip!

  10. LOVE your photos. Breathtaking! Really enjoyed my virtual day trip to Bulgaria via your post! Blessings!

  11. I am glad to see you like my home country. Beautiful pictures. I haven’t been to these places in years. I live in Vancouver, BC at the moment. Hopefully next time I’m there, I’ll have the time to travel around a bit and visit them again. Cheers!

    • Thanks! I do like it very much! It is so easy to travel in Bulgaria and, thankfully, the prices are conducive to lots of exploring. Do see more of the country when you visit, I am so glad that I did!

      • Thanks for the reply. I should travel around more – you’re right. 🙂 I’m very impressed that you decided to live in Bulgaria. That’s wonderful! I am from Sofia originally. My family is still there and I love going back to visit.

  12. Beautiful pictures! You have captured the soul of Bulgaria! I love the smell in these old houses.. it’s a mix of mirth and smoked wood.. it almost takes you on a magic carpet ride back in time if you close your eyes and just breathe in history..
    You need to visit Russe too, and see the neo-baroque and neo-rococo style buildings by the Danube.Enjoy your stay there!

    • Thank you! I would love to visit Ruse some day. Actually, there really isn’t anywhere in the country I wouldn’t love to see. It’s just so diverse and beautiful. Thanks for stopping by!

  13. Beautiful photos. Everything here is such a perfection definition of culture and tradition. Gotta love.

  14. wow..wonderful pics. Nikon is d90 is great!. My canon 500d needs to replace it with Nikon.
    If you need some tricks in your photography:

  15. Fantastic place, Bulgaria. Loved your pictures. We go there every year in March, as my partner has a place near Samakov, perfect for the skiing at Borovets. ( … if you want to take a look)
    Bulagarians are incredibly warm, friendly people, and the history is astounding. I’m hoping to make to to Varna one day, to see the first examples of gold jewelry from the Varna necropolis.
    Thanks for the lovely pictures! 🙂

  16. Congratulations on getting ‘Freshly Pressed’, I love your photos and your effort to tell the stories of Koprivshtitsa national heritage. Posts like yours make me proud to be a Bulgarian. Thank you!

  17. Hi guys!! I am Bulgarian and I am so proud and happy to see how you enjoy my country!!! :))))))))) Thank you for this post!! Hope that you enjoy living here!! Everyone is very welcome to Bulgaria. Once again, great post :)))))
    btw Yesterday I thought I should write a post about Koprivshtzica!!

    Best regards, Nadia.

  18. Nice photos.

    Did you blow in the snow?



  19. wow your post made me wanna visit the places in the photos 🙂

  20. Lovely photossss!

  21. What unusual architecture! What style would you call these buildings? Anyone?

  22. Beautiful photos! what a trip 🙂

  23. Amazing photos 🙂 gorgeous. makes me feel like travelling 🙂

  24. Reblogged this on crisp clean clear and commented:
    fabulous. colours, textures, shapes, spaces & places.

  25. Beautiful pictures! And thanks for sharing your experiences.!

  26. Wow! I’ve always wanted to look at Sofia town, never been to Bulgaria so this post really motivates to plan a trip asap! Nice pictures and definitely an enjoyable trip? So much history that I wish to explore, thanks for sharing!

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  28. Wow these photos are amazing! It’s nice to see such architecture. We feel as though here in America, we have lost that since of style and pride in our buildings. You go just about anywhere else in the world and you notice that there is a unique since of style present.

  29. Pingback: Road Trip Round Up: Hisarya and Kalofer « Girl Meets Bulgaria

  30. Wow! I can’t get over the amazing colours in your photographs!
    Thanks for sharing.

  31. superb pics.

    i’ve started a new blog ….. pls visit ur comments are precious

  32. Looks like I have somewhere else to add to my list! Thanks for taking me there

  33. Congrats on being freshly pressed AGAIN!!

  34. Amazing pics! Where do I can find more? Do you have Flickr?

  35. great pics. I enjoyed looking at them.

  36. You have no idea how much I love stuff like this! I am a huge nerd, so interesting old buildings with artifacts = amazing to me! I also are really into graveyards too. I’m not sure what it is, I’m simply fascinated. It is not unheard of for me to demand that my boyfriend pull over to go explore some crumbling headstones and statues. 🙂

  37. beautiful post.. i love the chandelier and the handmade lace.. they are gorgeous! thanks for sharing.

  38. Great post with interesting information. Beautiful photos. Excellent work. Thanks for sharing. Greetings from north-east of Italy!

  39. Wow…what an adventure and thanks so much for sharing it. You are one lucky Girl getting to meet Bulgaria face to face. Say “hi” for me!

  40. Nice ! Love the artichitecture and old styles !!! I followed you and cant wait to see new blog !

  41. Apologis if this is a duplicate comment – technical problems! I saw this on Freshly Pressed and I just had to come and visit as I too have been to this amazing village. I went about 10 years ago with some friends who lived for about 3 years in Bulgaria. It was stunning, so beautiful but I can´t find my photos so I really enjoyed reliving the memories and looking at your beautiful photos. Thank you!

  42. Such unique architecture! Fabulous pics!

  43. Love photos and envy you this opportunity to start a new life in Europe. I’ve had several friends move back to their native countries recently and they all agree that life on the other side of the ocean is so much more social and interactive. Hope you enjoy every moment and look forward to following you on your journey! Oh, and having an ebook reader is definitely a big help with the transition.

  44. Great photos. You can learn so much by traveling in other countries and meeting people from different cultures.

    “Road Journal”

  45. Wow, Bulgaria sure is worth visiting, thank you for sharing!

  46. Beautiful photos. I would like to travel to Bulgaria after seeing them.

  47. Beautiful photos! I would like to travel to Bulgaria after seeing your blog.

  48. Great photos, I love pictures of stand-out architecture and this seemed to be the place for that 🙂

  49. Thanks for sharing this interesting information. Connie

  50. Congratulations on being “Freshly Pressed!” I wanted to hop over and visit because my father’s family is from Bulgaria. My grandfather came to the U. S. in 1914. He actually married twice and had two families here. But about 15 years ago, my dad received some letters from family who were still in Bulgaria — including a sister he had never known existed. It was exciting for him and all his relatives to finally get to connect, and my dad then made a trip to Bulgaria to spend some time with them. He is a minister as well, and the Lord opened doors for him to minister in some of the churches. He wants very much to return and spend more time with his family. I will tell him to come and view your blog, because he will love the photographs. They are gorgeous.

  51. Sounds like one heck of a road trip!
    Have fun!

  52. Beautiful colors in the pics !! lovely !

  53. Very colorful and beautiful photographs! Congrats on your trip and freshly pressed!

  54. What camera and lens do you use? These are amazingly sharp. Great work.

  55. So attractive! What a lovely place to be and be enriched by.

    Thank you for sharing Whitney!

  56. I love buildings in Europe … thanks for sharing.

  57. Wow, great photos. Can’t say I’m too jealous of the snow & cold though, will stick with the warmth of a Maltese spring I think!

  58. Beautiful pictures and very colorful! Love it!

  59. The colors! Love that blue exterior and the lace-trimmed red sofas inside. You have a great eye for detail.

  60. Gosh, the lace is lovely! And the place is packed with quaint. Great post, and congrats again on FP!

  61. Quaint indeed! I wish more modern architecture revealed this same sense of character — gorgeous and timeless…

    Thank you for sharing, and what an ADVENTURE! 🙂

  62. The architecture is amazing! I enjoyed the photos quite well!

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