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Koprivshtitza’s emergence is considered to have taken place in newer times, despite the insufficient data from archeological studies and excavations. According to Gavril Katsarov, a prominent bulgarian historian, the land of Koprivshtitza has been inhabited by the thracians in ancient times. During the time of the First Bulgarian Kingdom (681-1018) and the Second Bulgarian Kingdom (1185-1396) these lands have been uninhabited, according to byzantine chroniclers. The town of Koprivshtitza is considered to have emerged by the end of the XVth century and the beginning of the XVI century after the fall of Bulgaria under Ottoman rule. Probably the first inhibitors of the town were romanized cattlemen and greek karakachans and the first bulgarian migrants came as late as the end of the XVIIth century from Southeastern Macedonia and Albania.

At the end of XVIIIth century Koprivshtitza reached the peak of its economic development with the town’s population equaling 12 000, a number, which has never been reached afterwards. During the XIXth century Koprivshtitza is a commercial and cultural center with highly developed cattle-raising, crafts and trade. This doesn’t remain unnoticed by the turkish hegemony and the kirdjalis, who plundered and burned Koprivshtitza three times in 20 years – 1793, 1804, 1809. Many families leave their homes forever, but there are few, who choose to remain in the town and be a part of its rebirth from the ruins, creating some of the chef-d-oeuvres of Bulgarian Renaissance – houses, churches, fountains, bridges, whose beauty and mastership make them perfect examples of bulgarian culture. The most beautiful houses, which even today astound their visitors with harmonious and splendid style, are build after the Crimean War.

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Koprivshtitza’s role as a cultural, educational and literary center during the Bulgarian Renaissance is well known to every enlightened bulgarian. As early as 1822, the first municipal school opened doors in the house donated by Valko Chalakov. Soon the school became too small for the knowledge-hungry children of Koprivshtitza. In 1837 near Topolnitza river a new school was build, whose donor again was Valko Chalakov. One of the first teachers at the school, which attracted many students from the surroundings of Koprivshtitza was Neofit Rilski. In 1846, Nayden Gerov, who had just came back from Russia, opened the first school with classes, where various disciplines were taught.

Koprivshtitza is a perfect example of a typical Bulgarian Renaissance town, carrying the spirit of freedom. In this context, we have to mention the establishment of the «chitalishte» (a unique institution with a special place in the history of Bulgarian society – something between a library and a community center), carrying the name of hadji Nencho Palaveev, whose financial support was crucial for its construction. The library of the chitalishte keeps priceless books, dating back to the Renaissance till nowadays and counting 34 000 volumes. Among them are the works of Koprivshtitza born poets and writers – Dimcho Debelianov, Lyuben Karavelov, Nayden Gerov, Mihail Madjarov, Anna Kamenova, archim. Evtimii, etc.

The prominent russian historian Grigorii Venediktov characterizes the state of the bulgarian literary school by stating that just the single town of Koprivshtitza with its 10 authors born here has contributed to bulgarian renaissance typography more books than all authors born in the western part of Bulgaria (87) or Macedonia (92). According to prof. Venediktov these 10 authors from Koprivshtitza have produced a total of 126 books.

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Despite the unruly rebellious hajduti and voyvods from Koprivshtitza – Doncho Vatah, Bogdan voyvoda, Mangar, Dragoy, despite the fact that in 1870 the town’s revolutionary committee is joined by teachers and craftsmen, merchants and priests, who give oath in the presence of Vasil Levski, despite the efforts of revolutionaries like Todor Kableshkov and Georgi Benkovski (Gavril Hlatev), after the April Uprising in 1876 the town is looted and most of its citizens killed, others – whole wealthy families – migrated to Filibe (Plovdiv) and Sofia…

In 1952 Koprivshtitza is declared a town-museum and in 1971 the town grants the status of architectural and historical reserve. In 1978 Koprivshtitza is declared national architectural reserve with international significance and a place for international tourism.

The old houses are restored and renovated, the stone bridges are rebuild, water flows again from the dried fountains, the renaissance atmosphere is recreated with the street ensembles, newer and more beautiful houses are build in the old renaissance style, offering the tourists the conveniences of the XXIth century.

 
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Koprivshtitza 2077,

“h. Nencho Palaveev” str. № 15,

Reception: 0887 398713, 07184 2123, 07184 2144

Manager: 0894 747263, 0889 070077, 0879 016171

е-мail:  info@hadjiite.bg

 

 

 

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