The history and culture of this small town in central Bulgaria is at least as rich and long-established as its name. Crowds are attracted to this small and isolated centre for many reasons, including the festival we will focus on.

The city of Koprivshtitsa

The city was created by the populations fleeing from the Ottomans, who were invading Bulgaria in the 14th century. The city is located at an altitude of 1060 m, in a valley shaped by the Topolka River and surrounded by the high peaks of Sredna Gora. Since its establishment, it quickly became a major trading centre, which attracted traders as well as writers and politicians. The refined architecture of the well-kept city embodied its prosperity.

This small town also had an impact on the history of the 19th century because it was the starting point of the rebellion against theOttoman invasion and consequently of the liberation of Bulgaria. In 1952, Koprivshtitsa became a City Museum, in 1971, it was labelled National Historical Reserve and later, in 1978, National Architectural Reserve.


Its festival

The first Bulgarian folk music festival took place in August 1965, in several locations surrounding Koprivshtitsa. 4000 Singers, musicians, dancers and storytellers, all dressed in costumes, came from all over Bulgaria for the event.


From then on, in August, every five years, the same festival is held again. Three days of Bulgarian dances and songs fill the green meadows of the valley with the shimmering colours of the costumes. Moreover, since 1965, the next festivals have welcomed more traditions, more countries and more visitors, reaching in many cases more than 10,000 participants.

This folk music festival is a true national celebration, which gathers generations around traditions and arts. More and more Bulgarian as well as foreign dancers, musicians and singers are thus perpetuating the Bulgarian folklore. It is about rediscovering ancient dances, customs and songs, highlighting artists still unknown and restoring the importance of folklore as a permanent source of artistic inspiration.


Author : Estelle Pautret

Translated by :  Laurane Mandin

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