Historical and Architectural Reserve “Bozhentsi”
Bozhentsi – a pretty village in the area of Gabrovo, is one of the most beautiful architectural reserves in Bulgaria. It is located 15 kilometers east of Gabrovo and impresses with its well-preserved houses and public buildings from the time of the Bulgarian Revival.
According to an ancient legend, the village was founded by a noblewoman from Tarnovo, called Bozhana, who settled in the town after her husband died during the conquering of the capital Turnovo by the Ottoman Turks. Thence came the name of the village.
The legend tells how rich people from Tarnovo came with Bozhana and brought along their rich culture and traditions.
In the 18th and 19th century, the local people were earning their living mainly by trading and crafting. However, nowadays the town shows no signs of liveliness. The time has stopped somewhere in the 19th century. The unique architecture of the magnificent two-and three-story houses arouses visitor’s admiration. More than 100 houses in Bozhentsi are preserved according to their original appearance. Nowadays the village is one of the preferred ecological and country tourism destinations.
Several of the houses in Bozhentsi have been transformed into museums. The museum house of Baba Rayna presents an ethnographic exhibition of the 18th century. The livelihood of the local people from the 19th century can be seen in the museum house of Doncho Popa.
Visitors can learn more about the history of the village, the reserve and the big families in Bozhentsi in the exhibition called “Only the daredevils and generous donators remain in the history”. An authentic press for wax cleaning from the beginning of the 19th century is exposed in the Mengemata – a wax cleaning workshop.
Another interesting exhibition is presented in the Monastery school – there visitors can see the typical layout of a classroom of the nineteenth century. The temple “St. Prophet Elijah” is also located on the reserve territory. The temple was built in 1839.
A photograph with an authentic village costume is among the attractions, offered in Bozhentsi. There are several paths in the area, which are suitable for hiking – a Roman road and a road leading to Tryavna. The village also offers reproductions of Traditional Bulgarian Festivals such as Gergyovden, Christmas, Lazarovden. Accommodation is available for tourists in the authentic 19th-century atmosphere houses of Bozhentsi.
If you visit Bozhentsi, be sure to try the local white sweets. Those, who have tried them once, never forget the taste.
The village was declared a historical and architectural reserve by issue 8 of the State Gazette in 1964.
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