In a small valley among the northern slopes of the Balkan Mountains, near Gabrovo и Tryavna, is the cozy village of Bozhentsi. According to legend, it was created in the late 14 century, when the capital of the Second Bulgarian State - Veliko Tarnovowas under Ottoman rule. To save their faith and honor, many Bulgarians seek refuge in hard-to-reach parts of the Balkans. Among them is the young boy Bozhana - a widow with nine sons, whose name was later named after the village.

"Bojana's widowed boyfriend goes with her children to seek asylum. The only way to salvation and freedom is the road to the Balkans. There, at the sparkling streams, in the mountain debris, near a cold spring, far from the view of the ensign, Bozhana stops and builds the first stone of the settlement, which will bear her name. Since then, daily miracles have begun to happen in Bozhentsi: girls and boys were born, married, lived in labor and joy, and left this world to rest in peace. "

Bozhentsi Photo: Ventsi Dyankova

Bozhentsi / photo: Ventsi Dyankova

Over time, Bozhentsi grew, gradually becoming a major crossroad for trade during the Renaissance. In dozens of craft workshops they create blacksmiths, leather workers, abaggers, cutters, wood carvers. During the 18 - 19 century, their production was traded not only in Bulgaria, but also in the Ottoman Empire, in Russia, Austria - Hungary, Italy.

After the Liberation, with the establishment of Gabrovo as an industrial center, crafts in Bozhentsi began to decline. With the entry of cheaper factory goods, it lost its popularity and faded away. This is also the reason why many of the Divine families move to larger cities, where the chances of a good and rich life are greater.

However, it is this depopulation of Bozhentsi that helps to preserve the authentic spirit of the Renaissance and its architecture. In 1962, a complete reconstruction of the village began and many of its buildings were restored. The church "St. Prophet Elijah 'from 1839, erected in the highest part of the village. It is characterized by the vaulted ceilings, inspired by the Gothic and Baroque, the original woodcarving, as well as the icons made by icon painters from the Tryavna School. The Old Church School (1840), as well as the Old School (1872), one of the first modern secular schools in the Gabrovo region, are also preserved.

Bozhentsi Photo: Ventsi Dyankova

Bozhentsi / photo: Ventsi Dyankova

In Bozhentsi, original 100 houses and workshops have been preserved from the end of the 18 and the beginning of the 19 century:

- The House - Baba Raina Museum

- The House - Doncho Popa Museum, owned by the wool trader Doncho Popov, founded the first textile factory in Gabrovo at the beginning of the 20 century.

- The knife workshop - from the beginning of the 19 century, in which even today the 100 types of knives are offered, most of which are modeled on the typical Gabrovo jay knives.

- Mengema Wax Refinishing Workshop - it retains the original, only in the area mechanism of operation.

Following the declaration of the Bozhentsi Architectural and Historical Reserve in 1964, the construction of buildings which are not in the preserved style of the village is forbidden. Visiting contemporary exhibitions and expositions are changing at the Cellar and the Old School. Traditional customs are organized for the national Bulgarian holidays - lasagna, caroling, making martenitsi. In many small taverns, typical Balkan buns are prepared in a pot, as well as the famous Bozen pearls.

Also, do not miss to visit this picturesque place and enjoy its authentic spirit and atmosphere.

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