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KOPRIVSHTITSA

Koprivshtitsa is situated in the main section of the Sredna Gora Mountains, on both banks of the Topolnitsa River.
The town emerged during the 14th century, at the beginning of the Turkish invasion. Its first emigrants were boyars (feudal nobles) fleeing from the Tarnovo region, villagers from the Rila mountain region, Albanians, and Macedonians. The inhabitants of Koprivshtitsa became famous as good stockbreeders, craftsmen (producers of thick woolen fabrics and clothing from such, tanners, painters, etc.) and traders. The wealthy and well-laid-out town was very attractive to the violent Turkish troops (circali), who burned and looted it three times. Koprivshtitsa reached its zenith during the 19th century. Many homes, schools, churches, fountains and bridges were built - mostly via private funding; modern schools were opened; a cultural club was founded, along with a students' society. The inhabitants of Koprivshtitsa took part in all of the larger incidents of the struggle for national liberation. On April 20, 1876 the first rifle shot at the oppressor was here and the April uprising was declared, which prepared the way for the construction of a modern Bulgaria. Koprivshtitsa gave Bulgaria: Lyuben Karavelov - a creative genius, educator and fighter for national and church independence; the fiery revolutionaries, Georgi Benkovski and Todor Kableshkov; Petko Karavelov - politician and statesman; one of the most gentle Bulgarian lyricists, Dimcho Debelyanov; leading National-Revival scholars and educators, Nayden Gerov, Yoakim Gruev, and many other national activists.

The town has preserved the vision of the Bulgarian Revival period. In 1952 Koprivshtitsa was declared a museum town; in 1971 it became an architectural and historical reserve and since 1978 it has been a national architectural reserve of international importance and a place of international tourism. Everything here is imbued with a strong tinge of history. Even today, wile crossing the Kaluchev Bridge, where the first gun against the 5-centuries-long Ottoman oppression fired, one feels the rebellious fervour hanging in the air, as was the case almost a century and a half ago... The special air and atmosphere could not be conveyed, one has to immerse in it. The old houses of the period of the National Revival, the courtyards overbrimming with flowers, the solid wooden gates and stone walls, the drinking fountains and the bridges, all these tell the story of a glorious past, of days of great decisions and actions.

LANDMARKS
• Bi-level National-Revival houses - one of the few wholly preserved architectural ensembles of the Revival - Desyovska, Garkova, Mlachkova, Yotova, Madzharova, Doganova, Pavlikyanska, Vakarelska, the homes of Nayden Gerov, Gencho Stoykov and others. Part of them have been turned into museums - Oslekova, Doganva, Lyutova, the homes of Georgi Benkovski, Lyuben Karavelov, Dimcho Debelyanov, Todor Kableshkov and others.
The Assumption of the Virgin (1817) and St. Nikola (1842) churches with precious woodcarvings and icons.
The mausoleum-ossuary of the participants of the April Uprising.
• Monuments to Todor Kableshkov and Georgi Benkovski along with one of the most touching Bulgarian monuments - the mother waiting for her son - at the grave of Dimcho Debelyanov. The sculpture is the work of Ivan Lazarov.
• The First Rifle Monument near the old, stone Kalachev Bridge, from which the first bullet was shot - ushering in the April Uprising.
• Numerous (over 380) architectural and historical monuments, which make up part of the cultural heritage of Bulgaria. For example, the first intermediate school, Sts. Cyril and Methodius, in which the art gallery is situated.
• National-Revival stone fountains - Peevska, Moravenova, Kerekova.

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