Koprivshtitsa, Bulgaria

TravelBulgariaSeries: The town of revolutionaries

Written by Scott Green, edited by Mila Boshnakova, photos by Unsplash

Koprivshtitsa is a historical town in Bulgaria and was home to many of the revolutionaries who fought for Bulgarian independence from the Ottoman Empire. The town is appreciated for its beautiful and well-preserved Bulgarian National Revival architecture and its role as the center of the April Uprising in 1876.

How to get there

Koprivshtitsa is located around 120 kilometers east of Sofia, 90 kilometers north of Plovdiv, and is nestled among the Sredna Gora Mountains, running along the Topolnitsa River.

From Sofia
The road to Koprivshtitsa is easily accessible by car, but the last bit coming up the hill should be taken carefully due to the poor condition of the road. The trip is just over 2 hours and is quite pleasant. There is a parking lot on the left as you enter the town, and limited street parking is available further into the town.

Another way to get to Koprivshtitsa is via train from Sofia Central Railway Station with multiple trains leaving daily. The trip ranges from 1.5 to 2.5 hours depending on the train’s final destination. It costs around 5 BGN each way and is a perfect way to watch the beautiful scenery as you pass by. The train, however, stops about 10 kilometers outside of Koprivshtitsa. From there, a regular shuttle comes at certain times to take you into town and costs 3 BGN. You can check the schedule here.

From Plovdiv
The road from Plovdiv is also easily accessible by car and takes just under two hours. You will arrive on the south side of the town, so the parking lot is located on the other side of the town. 

You can also take a train from Plovidv Railway Station with multiple trains leaving daily, but the train doesn’t go directly to Koprivshtitsa. There will be a transfer at Kazichene, Karlovo, or somewhere else depending on which train you catch. The trip varies in length from just over two hours to around four hours. Again, you will have to catch the shuttle from there to the town center, as mentioned previously. 

Where to stay and what to eat

As Koprivshtitsa is a historic town, all of the places you can stay in reflect this history. There are no hotels, only beautiful and traditional guest houses that give you an old-world feeling of stepping back in time. Many of these places offer a traditional Bulgarian breakfast, freshly cooked for you each day. 

As for restaurants, there are several around the town center and they all offer tasty and traditional meals at reasonable prices. Our personal favorite is Mehana Lomeva Kushta (Механа Ломева къща), thanks to its great service and delicious food.

What to see

As we mentioned in the beginning, Koprivshtitsa is best known for its well-preserved Bulgarian National Revival style, essentially making the entire town a museum of 18th and 19th-century architecture. This is why we recommend just wandering around the entire town, finding quaint little streets and hidden treasures.

There are also many different museums in the town dedicated to the history of the April Uprising and the Bulgarian National Revival, as well as several monuments and memorials dedicated to the heroes of the April Uprising.

You can buy a ticket from the Tourist Centre for 15 BGN and it gives you access to the following six museums, most of which are dedicated to the hero revolutionaries: Lyuben Karavelov Museum, Dimcho Debelyanov House, Todor Kableshkov House Museum, Lyutova House Museum, Museum of Bulgarian Revival Education, and Georgi Benkovski House Museum.

Some other notable places worth seeing are the Church of Sveta Bogoroditsa, Georgi Benkovski Monument, Oslekov’s House - Ethnographic Museum, Mausoleum Ossuary of the 1876 April Uprising, and the Bridge of the First Shot (Parva Pushka) which, although prematurely, set off the April Uprising.

Overall, Koprivshtitsa is not only a charming town with a rich history and ample cultural heritage, but also a place well worth a visit for anyone interested in Bulgarian history and architecture. A town full of mystique and tales that everyone is happy to share with you. A town that is incredible to visit no matter the season.

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