Koprivshtitsa is a town in central Bulgaria, famous for the big number of revolutionaries born there. It is located about 111 km east of Sofia. Its name comes from the Bulgarian word for “nettle” – “kopriva”. Koprivshtitsa is a historical place where battles were fought, and lionhearted people lived and died. Although they are long gone, people who fought for the freedom of the country during the time Bulgaria was under the Ottoman rule are now considered immortal. Their glory lives after them. And their home, Koprivshtitsa, is one of the most famous Bulgarian sights.
The town has preserved the 19th-century atmosphere - the architecture of most houses has not changed. Those houses represent the heroic times, and in this way, the national self-consciousness keeps on living. Covered in ornamentation and symbols, today they are the museums of another era in the life of the Bulgarian people. Still, among those buildings, there are some which may sparkle your curiosity – the houses where the Bulgarian revolutionaries lived and where they had their secret meetings.
Established in 1965, the Festival of folklore in Koprivshtitsa is held every five years, in the second weekend of August. Organized by the Ministry of culture together with the Municipality of Koprivshtitsa, it shows to every visitor the beauty of the Bulgarian folklore, preserved in time, just like the stories of heroes, revolutions and battles. The festival participants include singers, musicians, folk-tale storytellers, dance-ensembles, and their number increases every year. Among them, there are local, Bulgarian groups and individuals, as well as foreign ones. Each participant has to present their region or country in the best possible way. But an interesting detail is that even the international contestants have to prepare and present traditional Bulgarian customs, dances, songs or tales. An example of folklore customs that are not necessarily the songs or dances is the Kukeri. They sing and dance as a part of their performance, but their costumes and the concept behind are also very interesting for the outside spectator.
Although this event is planned as a competition, the very idea behind the festival is to display the beauty of Bulgarian cultural traditions and customs, as well as that of foreign countries. The festival serves as a mean to popularize and celebrate not only Bulgarian culture but also the heroes who have kept it alive, as well as those who still are.
Throughout the history of Bulgaria, there were a lot of great battles, and hence a lot of heroes to be remembered and held in respect. In this line of thoughts, Koprivshtitsa is an immortal place, home of lionhearted Bulgarians not only because it has given Bulgaria some of its bravest revolutionaries, but also because it still is an important center of national and foreign heroes, who meet every five years and work hard to guard and protect the country's culture and history!
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