During the Ottoman rule it was exempt from the ruining taxes. This allowed its residents to dedicate themselves to craftsmanship and trade and, so, to live comfortably. As constant plunders were typical for that period, most of the two-storey houses had hiding places, barred windows and no terraces.
Nowadays the houses are still very well preserved together with their high walls and spacious yards, full of greenness. But what really surprises a visitor are the skillful hand-made pieces of woodwork, goldsmith's, blacksmith's, coppersmith's crafts, pottery and carpet weaving. The rich houses did not remain unnoticed and in XVIII century the whole village was plundered and then ruined. In the following years it remained completely deserted.
Today tourists can visit two of the most interesting houses called Konstantsalieva and Hadzhiilieva, which are typical representatives of that epoch. There are exhibitions of pieces of craft in both houses. And what is more from all the 80 preserved houses, 36 are national monuments of culture.
There are five churches with beautiful wall paintings which are national monuments, too. The oldest one is The Birth of Christ (1637) which is dug into the ground and has a hidden cupola and no belfry. It is a genuine art gallery with over 3 500 stunningly realistic figures and Biblical scenes, painted by unknown artists.
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Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria
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