Kovachevitsa: a trip back in time

more than a year ago

The journey is via Bansko, Dobrinishte, and Ognianovo before one starts on a treacherous road uphill, signposted to Leshten and Kovachevitsa. Past a gypsy settlement one starts the climb, the scenery alternating between breathtakingly beautiful, to scary and depressing (the rubbish what else?). One cannot help but wonder what on earth makes people choose to settle and live in such a remote place?

The answer is these were people trying to escape from the Ottoman regime and the subsequent enforced conversion to Islam.

Situated at 1020 metres above sea level, the spacious pastures, mild climate and abundance of drinking water made the basin area of the Kanina River a wise choice for the refugees. Separate hamlets formed around the spring, known nowadays a tsiganchitsa. Refugees came from as far as Tarnovo (the Bolyars) and what is nowadays Albania (the Arnauts) and with them they brought a wealth of skills and knowledge that led to the prosperity of the region. In the 1950s there was a mass migration from Kovachevitsa to Batak, Pazardjiik and Velingrad. The village became neglected and dilapidated till it got a new lease of life thanks to Bulgarian film makers, who have shot over twenty movies in this village.


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