Favorite thing: At some places renovation works are being done, so they are not open to public. A ticket costs 4 leva wich allows you to visit the paces that are open. They are officially open from 9 am till 12.00 and from 1 pm till 8 pm, also on Sundays. But better check before, because in the early morning many of them are still closed and these openinghours only are for the summer season. You can buy tickets at the kiosk at the busstop. Since the kiosk is also not always open you better check, before going to Arbanasi, the Museaum Department in Veliko Târnovo, or TIC. Inside the churches and houses officially photographing is forbidden, but they don’t make a problem of it if you “per accident” took a few pictures…”a friendly “sazhalyavam” will help. Not much is signposted, and if, then in german. Also streets have no names. In Veliko Târnovo you can ask for several small and cheap guidebooks on the village at the TIC.
Famous historical locals
Favorite thing: Amongst the village most famous locals is Dragostinov, an outstanding man of the central revolution commission, main leader of the revolution district of Sliven. He did in a battle in 1876 in Vratnika. Another important local was Toma Kurjievi, a revolutionist who coordinated the Chervenovod squad.
Favorite thing: There are 7 churches that are in schema basilicas. They are from stone, have small windows and brick floors. All the churches’ interior consist of a separate men’s department and a women’s department. In the front of the church there is a gallery and a chapel. The paintings go back to Renaissance style. The five churches build in the 15 till 17 th century reflect the economic wealth of these days and show the previliged status of the village in these days. Most impressive are the wall paintings of the Holy Archangels and Birth of Christ Church, but The interior of St Dimiter is also beautiful.
Favorite thing: An Arbanasi house is closed from the outside. The groundfloor is stone. At the first floor the walls are wooden. The interiors of the rooms are richly decorated with ornaments and wood-carving. the ceiling is wood-carving, cabinets, doors, plaster decorations of ceilings and friezes. The house has an open veranda, no balconeries and grids on the windows and covered gates. The basement is build from stone, having cellars and places to hide. Here the servants lived. At the second floor there is a drawing room, the room for the lying-in woman an oven and kithen, and bathroom. These rooms are located on both sides of the hallway where you get by a double staircase. The house was build on the idea that it was possible to stay inside as long as possible without goung out, except for getting water. Therefor the houses are surrounded by a high stonewall and an entrance, two big thick oak doors under a little roof. In the yard is a water well. The idea of having nearly fortifified houses could be a sighn how insecure the times must have been, as living in the old days. But this then, contradicts the documentary on the village as a wealthy place with flourishing trade, even with privileges under the Ottomans. I think it is just, like it is these days, a matter of protecting the private wealth. A very rich village, like a sort of premodern Beverly hills, large villa’s with high walls. Bullywood. NB, to be more specific. houses in Arbanasi come from 3 different periods, the discription above is about the 18 th century ones, however, you find these the most. There are a few other types, f.e. gouses without wood -- completely in stone.
history of Arbanasi
Favorite thing: Arbanasi was already existing in the 13 th century as it was called the land of the Albanians, which was conqured by Assen the second. The land then was then given by sultan Suleiman to his son in law in 1538. Settlers originated form the westlands but also from Greece and Albania. In the middle of the 16 th century there were around sixty households and at the end of that century there were near 300 households. The settlement had a Christian character and got prosperous in the 17 th century. In the 17 th century a bishop Stefanov witnesses the existence of the village as a greek speaking village whereas surrounding villages didn’t speak Greek at all. There were greek schools and the mass was in Greek. Allthough, this didn’t have impact on the national awareness of the Arbanasian population. In the 17-18 th century the village had over 1000 houses with eminent merchant families that traded in Sibiu, Brasov, Russia, Poland. The homes of the rich merchants show the economical prosperity. In the middle of the 18 th century Wallachian nobles settled in Arbanasi. In the ninetheenth century cholera epidemics and a fire damaged the town and Arbanasi never reached it glory after that again. After 1839 the village lost its privileges that the Ottomans had given to the village, and it handcraftmenship ceased. Nowadays, Arbanasi is a quiet village, although still much in interest of scientists such as archeologes, historians, and the village lives from tourism.