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Shipka Town

Shipka is situated immediately before the entrance of the Shipka Pass, amidst the unique beauty of the surrounding nature. Similarly to Krun and Enina, its history is also closely related to the Eltimir Fortress. The town is famous for its beautiful church with golden domes, built in the Moscow Baroque style. A big number of people from the sarakatsani ethnic group live in Shipka. Some historians believe that the sarakatsani are surviving descendants of the Thracians who retreated to the mountains after the settling of the proto-Bulgarians and the Slavs in these lands, engaging in stock-breeding. Indeed, until 1944 the major means of livelihood of the sarakatsani was sheep-breeding. Their mother tongue is Greek. The leading means of livelihood in Shipka is rose-growing. Very well-developed are also the crafts - knife-making, bagpipe-making, flute-making, smith craft, etc., while today fine arts, wood-crafting and woodcarving are also being developed.

History or Legend

The medieval fortress settlement Krun was situated here, being a significant strategic centre. During the Ottoman invasion of 1370 - 1374, Krun was destroyed and the survivors founded todays Shipka among the wild briar bushes (in Bulgarian, shipka means wild briar), which is where the name of the town comes from. It turns out to be quite suitable (the briar, in Latin Rosa Canina, is the "fore-bearer" of the oleaginous rose - Rosa Damascena). The main means of livelihood during the Ottoman rule was the so called "dervendzhiistvo" - providing security, guarding and maintaining the mountain pass. During the Russo-Turkish War (1878-1879) the town was burned and ruined. Only the church on St. Nikola Peak survived. The Shipka Pass, protected by the residents of Shipka, turned out to be decisive for the outcome of the Russo-Turkish War and for the independence of Bulgaria from Ottoman rule. The biggest and most desperate battles of the war, both for the Bulgarian and Turkish side, took place at Shipka.

Many Thracian tombs with especially important archaeological and historical artefacts have been discovered near Shipka. The most important are "Svetitsata" (where the golden mask of Teres was discovered), "Golyama Kosmatka" (where the bronze head of Seuthes III was found and which is said to be his tomb), "Helvetia" and "Ostrusha". There are also many remains of fortresses and Roman roads.

"Christs Nativity" Church

The golden-domed church of the Shipka monastery was built with Russian voluntary donations in the Moscow Baroque style. It has been recently renovated and now maintained by the Bulgarian Orthodox Church. This is the most remarkable architectural monument from the recent past (the end of the XIX century) in Shipka and one of the most significant in the municipality.

Craftsmen

Knife-maker
Bag-piper
Wood-carving
Wood-craft Workshop
Sabre-making/ Restoration
Tailor

The Chirpanlieva House

The Chirpanlieva house is a small ethnographic museum showing the lifestyle of the population in Shipka. The first floor exhibits instruments of the traditional and typical for Shipka crafts. The second floor has a wide room with old-time Bulgarian furniture from the age of the National Revival (second half of the XIX century).

Artistic Crafts

Artists
Iconography

Shipka is a starting point for:

  • mountain paths to Shipka Peak and Buzludzha Peak;
  • outings in the mountain near Shipka;
  • the Thracian tombs in the Valley of the Thracian Kings;
  • the wonderful Shipka monastery.

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