Culture and Tradition near Plovdiv
The town of Panagyurishte is located in a mountain area in Central Bulgaria 80 km northwest of Plovdiv. Just like Koprivshtitsa, it played an important part in the development of Bulgarian culture and the liberation of the country from the Ottoman Rule. Today guests of the town will see many 18th and 19th-century houses and administrative buildings, two big Orthodox churches, a nice park and several historical monuments. The famous Panagyurishte Gold Treasure was discovered 2 km south of the town. It dates back to the end of the 4th century BC and comprises a phiale, an amphora and seven rhytons, all made of 24-karat gold. According to experts they belonged to Seuthes III, a Thracian king who reigned in the period from 331 BC to 300 BC. Today the treasure is displayed in the National Museum of History in Sofia. Ah, and if you end up in one of the town’s taverns for lunch or dinner, try the local specialty: Panagyurishte-style poached eggs. It is simply delicious!
The village of Shiroka Laka is an architectural and folklore reserve buried under the hills and forests of the Central Rhodopes 80 km south of Plovdiv. It is most famous for its 19th-century church and its old buildings with beautiful bay windows and secret chambers designed by local masters in the characteristic style of the region.
If you like the sound of bagpipes you are going to love Shiroka Laka. Every year the most talented musicians in the country go there to take part in the village’s big folklore festival. This is also the place where the unique kaba gaida (basically meaning big bagpipes) was invented. Shiroka Laka is one of the spots in Bulgaria where kuker traditions are still highly praised and celebrated. Essentially, the kuker ritual is performed by a bunch of men dressed up in scary monster costumes going around houses and chasing evil spirits away. It is a really fun scene to watch and you can actually participate, if you are up for it. The village’s surroundings have a lot to offer to tourists as well. Trigrad Gorge and the Devil’s Throat Cave are just down the road, while the popular spa town of Devin is 22 km away. Pamporovo Ski Resort lies 16 km southwest of Shiroka Laka.
Photo by A.Alexov