Cultural Corridors of South East Europe

South East Europe / Western Trans-Balkan Road


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Corridor: Western Trans-Balkan Road
Country: Bulgaria, Kovachevitsa, Gotse Delchev
Type: Vernacular Architecture
Epoch: Modern Times
Theme: Vernacular Architecture
World Heritage:
Modern TimesVernacular ArchitectureVernacular Architecture

The village of Kovachevitsa is nestled in the foothills of the Rhodope Mountains, facing the majestic peaks of the Pirin Mountain. It is situated along the Kanina river (Bloody river), 23 km away from the town of Gotse Delchev.
The village was established at the end of the 17th century. Legends tell that at that time, refugees, most probably again from Veliko Tarnovo, were looking for shelter and rescue to the south-west in the Rhodope Mountains. Two hundred years later, the village hosted immigrants from Debar – Western Macedonia – excellent building masters, masons and prominent wood-carvers. Thus in Kovachevitsa were set two neighbourhoods. The upper one – which local people call “Tarnovska” and the lower one called “Arnaout”.
With the expansion of the village, various handicrafts developed for the needs of the population, common traditions and rituals were moulded in its spiritual life. In the 19th century, Kovachevitsa became a cultural centre of the whole region – in 1830 was opened the first school, in 1848 was erected the first church “St. Nicolas”, a bit later were built a civil library and a community centre.
Kovachevitsa has its own original unique architecture. It can’t be described; it has to be seen. The houses of Kovachevitsa were built in such a way that the roof eaves are nearly touching each other and one can walk around the village stepping on the roofs covered with stone slabs. The houses have usually two or three storeys, with sound foundations and stone ground floor. With its austerity and genuine beauty they weave harmoniously in the majestic mountainous outline, adding a special extra flavour to its beauty.

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