From Laughter's Kingdom to a Shell from the Past

Novinite Insider » DESTINATIONS | March 9, 2007, Friday // 00:00| Views: | Comments: 0
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Bulgaria: From Laughter's Kingdom to a Shell from the Past Bozhentsi - picturesque Bulgarian houses with high stone fences, gates and workshops, built by people, who were far more modern and progressive that we think. Photo by Petya Sabinova (Sofia News Agency)

Legend has that it was founded by a woman with a name of a gift sent from heaven above. Yet it was not Bozhana, but a colourful and witty citizen, who made his way to Bulgaria's folklore and became one of its best known and most loved characters. A man, who walked from the picturesque village of Bozhentsi to the nearby town of Gabrovo barefooted, with his shoes under his arm - not to wear them out!

By Milena Hristova

Minyo Popa, a famous trader, who claims to have amassed his wealth by eating string beans for years on end, is the personality that has left an indelible mark on Bulgaria's humour. And on the village, where he was born back in 1827. Practicality, frugality, but also wisdom are the assets that secured his place in Bulgaria's history, one of the reasons for hundreds of tourists to come to his birth place, the village of Bozhentsi.

It is not a series of hilarious events that they expect to find here, in this historical, architectural and cultural heritage, a real shell from the past, nestling in the northern sides of the Central Balkan Range, just sixteen kilometres from the town of Gabrovo.

The town of Gabrovo, located some 220 km north-east from the city of Sofia, is known as the biggest kingdom of laughter on earth. It has seen the birth of many famous inventions - the fashion of narrow trousers, short skirts and one-stotinka coins. And this is no big surprise since the inhabitants of Gabrovo are famous for their unique sense of humour! These are the people who clip the tails of their cats to keep the room warmer and stop their watches at night to save hard wear on the cog-wheels.

The locals from the village of Bozhentsi are no different. But they are also the only people, who fully committed themselves to trade - at the beginning of the XIXth century there were no fewer than 32 shops in the small village! The villagers progressed thanks to the important road, crossing the Balkan Range that passed through it.

A stroll along Bozhentsi's cobbled streets shows all these characteristics embedded in the houses, taverns, workshops and the famous ancient cafe. Picturesque Bulgarian houses with high stone fences, gates and workshops, built by people, who were far more modern and progressive that we think.
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