Koprivshtitsa is a historic town in Koprivshtitsa Municipality in Sofia Province, central Bulgaria, lying on the Topolnitsa River among the Sredna Gora mountains. It was one of the centers of the April Uprising in 1876 and is known for its authentic Bulgarian architecture and for its folk music festivals, making it a very popular tourist destination.
Koprivshtitsa is one of the characteristic Bulgarian towns, still preserving the atmosphere of the Bulgarian National Revival period of the 19th century (sometimes called the Bulgarian Renaissance, was a period of socio-economic development and national integration among Bulgarian people under Ottoman rule.
The period is remarkable for its characteristic architecture which can still be observed in Old Bulgarian towns such as Tryavna, Koprivshtitsa and Veliko Tarnovo, the rich literary heritage of authors like Ivan Vazov and Hristo Botev that inspired the Bulgarian struggle for independence and an autonomous church.
The Bulgarian National Revival is traditionally divided into three periods, an early one from the 18th until the beginning of the 19th century, a middle one from the Ottoman reforms of the 1820s to the 1850s until the Crimean War and a late one from the Crimean War until the Liberation of Bulgaria in 1878.).
The town is huddled in the mountain folds 111 km east of Sofia. The town boasts a large number of architectural monuments from the period, 383 in all, most of which have been restored to their original appearance. Collections of ethnographical treasures and old weapons. It was here that the first shot of the April Uprising against the Ottoman domination was fired in 1876.
Some of the famous landmarks in Kopritshtitsa:
The house of Georgi Benkovski, a Bulgarian revolutionary and leading figure in the organization and direction of the Bulgarian anti-Ottoman April Uprising of 1876 and apostle of its 4th Revolutionary District. Todor Kableshkov and Georgi Benkovski – organizers and participants in the April Uprising which broke out in Koprivshtitsa on April 20, 1876. The Uprising gave voice to the desire and efforts of the Bulgarian people to win back its freedom after five centuries of Ottoman oppression. A lot of foreign journalists reported the events of the spring of 1876 and showed the world that there was a people on the Balkan Peninsula which had not lost its identity and strive for independence. Eventually, in 1878 Bulgaria won the freedom it had so long yearned for, at least partly helped by the publicity of the April Uprising and its subsequent brutal suppression.
The house of Liyben Karavelov: After an abortive attempt on the life of Russian emperor Alexander II at 1866 – Russian authorities starts to pursue the radical Russian intellectuals. Because of Karavelov’s closest relations with them, soon he’s compelled to run, and in 1867 he departed to Beograd. There – among young and newly created intelligentsia Karavelov’s revolutionary ideas finds perfect soil. Those young men and women are ardent listeners and Karavelov easy “fires” them with his speeches about social inequality in Balkan Peninsula and for mutual help and general war against Ottomans Empire. After quite a while he became one of the reputable people in Beograd. This fact isn’t became unnoticed by the Bulgarian revolutionary committee in Bucharest. In 1869 Karavelov was called there to lead the committee. There he met one of the biggest and greatest Bulgarian poets and revolutionary – Hristo Botev who became his closest associate and they started to publish Bulgarian newspaper “Independence”. Ljuben Karavelov tries and managed to lead a whole new way of revolutionary campaign. After the fails of the small bands of Panaiot Hitov, Hadji Dimiter, Filip Totio, Karavelov knows that only organized, well prepared Bulgarian (or even Balkan) revolt can solve the problem and crash the Ottoman Empire.
Nayden Gerov’s house: His house is one of the houses immortalized in Ljuben Karavelov’s novel Old Time Bulgarians. It still preserves the atmosphere and the spirit and of the past so well described in the book. In this house Gero Mushek opened the first monastery school. Nayden Gerov loved Bulgaria and the Bulgarian language and after long years of research gave his country the first Dictionary of Bulgarian language.
Dimcho Debelyanov’s house, famous with the sculpture of his mother, waiting for him. He was a Bulgarian poet and author whose death in the First World War cut off his promising literary career. In 1906, he began to send poetry to Bulgarian literary magazines at the urging of Pencho Slaveikov, where he saw his first printed works, which were well received. He moved from job to job during the next six years, unable to settle and seeing employment as a junior clerk for the central meteorological station and as a freelance journalist, before joining the army in 1912 to fight in the Balkan Wars. In 1914 he was discharged from the army and took up a post in an office, a position he hated so much, that he rejoined the army in 1916, but was killed near Gorno Karadjovo during a battle with an Irish division. His body was buried in Valovishta, today Sidirokastro, Greece. His mortal remains were carried in his native town Koprivshtitsa in 1931.
Todor Kableshkov’s house-museum: was a 19th-century Bulgarian revolutionary and one of the leaders of the April Uprising.
He was the first to proclaim the April Uprising on 20 April 1876 and is the author of the famous Bloody Letter to the Panagyurishte revolutionary district. (The Bloody Letter is a letter written by Bulgarian revolutionary Todor Kableshkov which is symbolically accepted to be the start of the anti-Ottoman April Uprising of 1876. Kableshkov writes this letter upon proclaiming the revolt in his home city of Koprivshtitsa and adresses it to the revolutionary committee of Panagyurishte and specifically to Georgi Benkovski. The letter’s name comes from the fact that it is signed with the blood of a local Ottoman governor (müdür), shortly after he was killed by revolutionary Georgi Tihanek. It was transported by 19-year-old Georgi Salchev for a record time of 2 hours, having his horse passing out just before reaching Panagyurishte because of the strain.) Kableshkov was the head of the military council in Koprivshtitsa.
Oslekova House: One of the most beautiful houses in the town. It is the symbol of the unique architecture of the town. Build in the early 1856. Some of the tree ornaments in the house are special made and delivery from Livan. From 1956 is a museum and once enter into this house, we can feel the life of the aristocratic people in Koprivshtitsa.