Monday, 27 February 2012

Bulgarian Revival Architecture in Veliko Tarnovo

This was the street in Veliko Tarnovo where you could find everything, particularly on Wednesdays and Fridays, which were market days and more like a fair. There were that many people that if one tried to throw an egg there would be nowhere for it to fall!
Bulgarian revival architecture in the heart of bustling Veliko Tarnovo

In the second half of the 19th century women from the nearby village of Samovodene used to come to Veliko Tarnovo on those market days, put down small rugs before them, pile up their vegetables and begin to sell them. This is where its name came from The Samovodene Market. Along the pavements from the bakery to Hadji Nikoli's Inn (now a fantastic renovated exhibition hall, restaurant and cloistered hotel),  village women from Belakovets sold milk, butter and cheese. On market days it was one of the most animated places in the town. It consisted of two streets bordered by shops, craftsmen's workshops, and inns. One of them began at a small square known as Oun (flour) Pazar . Today it is known as Samovodska Charshia bazaar and continued along the street which led to the Dryanovo Inn (at the place of the "Modern Theatre" Cinema which was recently demolished). There were many other inns close by; Hadji David and Hadji Veliko, Atanas Yonoolou's and Hadji Nikoli, a grocer's shop, a sandal maker, blacksmith and other craftsmen's shops and workshops. You can still see all these sites today a few doors away from Yantra Homes offices.

After the Liberation from Ottoman domination this part of the town kept its traditions as the craftsmen's market of the National Revival period. Its architecture is formed by stone walls with large double gates; the old Tarnovo houses had glazed balconies with lovely wrought iron parapets overlooking the market and the street.

Samovodska Charshia bazaar
The artistic principle of the Bulgarian art and craft masters were inherited from the traditions of ancient Thracians. They channeled their admiration of creating something out of nature into something unique. They would create art out of any material such as wood, clay, silk, wool, copper, silver and gold.

The unfading beauty of Bulgarian arts and crafts can still be seen today...


The textile art includes weaving bed covers, rugs and carpets. The most primitive evidence of such a craft was noted as early as the 9th century. Nowadays smaller textiles have a variety of aprons, wrist bands, towels, pillow cases, bags and belts.

Typical features of Bulgarian embroidery are the geometric patterns with the colour red always prevailing. With its intricate geometrical figures and geographically differentiated depending on decoration, finishing, colour and composition, it is used exclusively for dress decoration.

The most typical shape is the Bulgarian jug with its elongated neck and its top glazed commonly in green, yellow or red.

Etching and painting are the usual methods in painted ceramics. Circular drawing from straight lines continued up to the 19th century and later replaced by colour painting. 

Since time immemorial, the Bulgarians have carved wood 
 illustrated on shepherd’s pipes and crooks, tea chests, cradles, weaving looms as well as ceilings and doors. This material continues to be part of the household furniture and with skilful hands having become part and parcel of the interior.



There were three bakeries making different kinds of bread; special round flat loaves called pitti, bread rings, buns etc. The bakers also made kadaif, and a Turkish pastry; halva a sweet made from sesame seeds. 
Have a taste while you are there. 



This artistic craft was very popular during the 18th and 19th centuries and the more that were created the more fashionable it became. There was artwork on coffee pots, cauldrons, trays and dishes resembling a string of tiny beads or scattered stars which still continues today.

They are known for making beautiful gold and silver jewellery. Having inherited the rich traditions they achieve a finish to the highest standard. It's the sort of classic jewellery favoured by all people alike.


Only a few years ago an archaeologist team unearthed a gold mask belonging to a fourth century B.C. Thracian King.



If you are visiting Samovodska Charshia (bazaar), you should definitely try fresh Simidcheta which are tasty, colourful sugar cockerels. Masters who work in their small workshops will show you the old techniques that work today. You can enjoy the beautiful handmade items; buy a bottle of rose water or ceramic souvenirs and replicas of ancient jewellery or carving. There are many antique shops and several small art galleries. Nearby the bazaar are wonderful little restaurants who prepare delicious dishes from the Bulgarian national cuisine.

Bazaar
The author's wife on a shopping trip!
Whatever you chose to do in Veliko Tarnovo, dont miss out on a trip down memory lane or should I say Samovodska Charshia bazaar!

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