History of Crafts

Origin and Expansion of Kazanlak - First Crafts

Around 1370 AD the Ottoman Turks conquered the Kazanlak Valley. The first Turkish settlement was created at the right bank of the Starata Reka River, opposite the Bulgarian settlement. Its appointed governor was Saradzha Pasha, whose task was to protect the valley and the nearby mountain passes. Later the Turkish settlement expanded to include the inhabitants of two adjacent villages - Subashkyoi and Tomarsala. The oldest preserved document from those times is a Turkish gravestone dating back to 1420. However, the name of Kazanlak was mentioned already at the end of the XIV century in the books of the merchant from Dubrovnik Benedetto Resti. In 1652 the Turkish traveller Evliya Çelebi testified that the town had two medresa (schools), two hammams (Turkish bath) and 1060 houses, of which one third were Bulgarian.

With the expansion of the oldest neighbourhood in the town - the Kulata neighbourhood - another important quarter appeared, the Kalpakchiiska neighbourhood (from kalpakchia - a maker of fur hats). It was situated at the southeast part of the town. The main crafts developed here were the making of fur hats (which gave the name of the neighbourhood) and the fur-dressing. A little later, the Novenska neighbourhood came to exist as well, settled by Bulgarians coming from Koprivshtitsa, Kalofer, Karlovo and other towns from the sub-Balkan Mountain region and the region of Sredna Gora Mountain. The last neighbourhood originated on parts of the agricultural land of the town - in the fields.

Development of the Crafts during the Bulgarian National Revival (XVIII-XIX c.)

During the age of the National Revival there were over 50 different crafts being developed in Kazanlak. During the first half of the XIX century the town had over 2,400 masters and apprentices. The rose-production, characteristic for the region, gave impetus to the development of the coppersmiths trade, the tinsmiths trade, tin-coating and cooperage.

Development of the Crafts after the Independence from the Ottoman Empire (1878)

After the Independence of Bulgaria, the crafts in the Kazanlak region underwent a decline due to the loss of markets in the vast Ottoman Empire. The modern development of the town had started.

After the First World War new enterprises came to exist defining the future industrial development of the town even until nowadays. In 1924 a military factory was built in Kazanlak - "Arsenal" - with the support of the then military Minister, General Ivan Vulkov. Besides military production, the factory developed machine-building - producing cutters, lathes, drills, tools, hard alloys, springs, etc.

In 1924 a group of Bulgarian master-makers of violins, cellos and other such musical instruments, working after an Italian fashion of the town of Cremona, Italy, began to produce stringed musical instruments. This put the beginning of the "Bulgarska Kremona" factory.

In 1928 a French-Bulgarian company organised the production of silks in Kazanlak. Later, the "Rosa" factory continued to produce artificial silks, technical fabrics, etc. Again in 1928 the assembly of airplanes of the Czech firm "Aero-Praga" began. After that it was bought by the Italian firm "Kaproni-Milano" that assembled and manufactured the "Chuchuliga" and "Fazan" airplanes as well as engineless planes.

In 1931 the English trust "Coats" created in Kazanlak the only factory in Bulgaria for the production of threads for manual and machine sewing.

There were also several scientific institutes related to the main production industry in Kazanlak - the rose industry. In 1907 an experimental garden to grow roses and other oleaginous plants was established, which later grew into an institute.

From the end of the Second World War to Today

At the end of the 1940s and during the 1950s and 1960s several new enterprises were created in Kazanlak. The bread factory "Marko Chernev" for the production of bread and bread products started operation in 1947. From 1969 a new factory for bread, cereal products, sweets and fizzy drinks was established. In 1948 the "Purvi Mai" factory started producing spare parts for the textile factories - shuttles, cloth-beams, spools, spindles, etc. The "Bulgarska Roza" factory of 1949 produced Bulgarian rose oil, oleaginous products, concretes and perfumery produce. A factory for the manufacture of road and construction machines "Boncho Shanov" was opened in 1963. Today it is called "M+C Hydraulic" and produces hydraulic products. During the same period and the following decades several other enterprises were established, including:

  • The "Zino" factory for the production of non-standard equipment;
  • The "Georgi Kirkov" factory for the production of fire-extinguisher hosepipes, endless belts and bands for the tobacco industry;
  • The preserves factory "Petko Manolov" - today known as "Komplo" - for the production of fruit and vegetable preserves and canned food;
  • The "Vinprom" factory for the production of wines and spirits;
  • The "Rodopa" factory for meats and meat products;
  • The "Obedineni" factory for the production of metal constructions, furniture and spare parts, etc.;
  • The cooperation enterprise "Septemvri" for tailor services;
  • The cooperation enterprise "Edinstvo" for the production of shoes, sandals and slippers;
  • The professional combine "Buzludzha" for carton and paper products;
  • The professional combine "Rozova Dolina" for repair services of electric appliances, clothing, watches, etc.;
  • The combine "Dimitar Blagoev" - today known as "Katex" - was developed on the basis of the shareholder company "Rozova Dolina". The Stainovi Brothers created an enterprise for the production of threads and fabrics, which since 1965 has turned into one of the biggest producers of worsted threads and fine woollen fabrics in Bulgaria;

The "Bulgaria" factory - the heir of the factory created by the English trust "Coats" - exports threads for knitwear, shoe-making, saddle-making, fishnet-making and other industries all over the world. The factory "Kaproni-Milano", renamed to "Hidravlika" in 1967, specialises in the production of mitre-valves, cylinders, throttles, filters and other hydraulic products. There is also a Hydraulics Institute dedicated to the design of machines, assemblies and details of the hydraulics industry.

Contemporary Crafts

The contemporary artisanship marks its new rise in the first years of the XXI century. The reorientation of groups of people back to the roots of the crafts is defined by the political changes in Bulgaria since 1989 and based on a search of new means of livelihood after the economic collapse. More and more young people look for their self-realisation in this sphere.

The first associations of craftsmen also start to appear - luthiers (violin-makers), masters of artistic crafts and applied arts.

The array of different artisans gets richer and richer: luthiers, potters, masters of painted glass and painted silk, traditional representatives of arts, masters of wooden plastics and metal plastics, jewellers, etc.

In 2007 the first representational shop of the united master craftsmen was opened - the "Yahnata" shop (situated to the right of the entrance to the "Tyulbeto" Park).

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