Koprivshtitsa is a small Bulgarian town in the mountains. It’s where the April uprising of 1876 started. It’s also pretty much frozen in the 19th century.
I’ve been there several times, most recently I took my boyfriend there when we were in Bulgaria this September. He thought the name was really fun, which fair enough, if you are foreign, it sounds pretty weird. The cool thing there is that for a cheap price you can get a ticket which lets you visit all 6 museum houses. Some belonged to notable revolutionaries, fighting against the Ottomans, others just display how people used to live back then, what they wore and what their homes looked like.
We started our visit with the house of Dimcho Debelyanov – one of the most famous Bulgarian poets. In front of the house, just as next to his grave, a couple of streets away, there is the same statue of his mother – sitting and waiting for her son to come back home – a reference to his most famous poem.
After that we continued strolling along the town, visiting the small blue church and some of the other museum houses, before sitting down to enjoy a drink and the scenery.
I was reminded of the previous time I was in Koprivshtitsa. I was celebrating New Years eve with my friends, some years ago. The guesthouse where we were staying had an extra room next to the house with just a fireplace and a table and our host didn’t stop feeding us for the whole time we were there. For New Years we went to the main square, which was full of people and a giant fire. The people were dancing in circle around the fire, enjoying themselves, celebrating that they lived through another year and hoping the next one would be better. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is the exact same way the town celebrated New Years a hundred years ago.
A couple of notes if someone is visiting the town for the first time – the train station is some way away from the city which apparently isn’t important enough to be noted anywhere, apart from a small mention on the official site of the town. Once you get off the train, you are supposed to find a magic mini bus, which fits 16 people in theory and in fact fits as many as it needs to fit. Don’t forget to check when the magic mini bus is going back to the train station for your journey back, because otherwise you are stranded. There is some information in English in the town, but it’s best if you are travelling with someone who speaks Bulgarian (generally true for most of Bulgaria, unless you are looking for an authentic lost in a foreign country experience).