Bulgarian customs, traditions and culture in the village of Leshten
Do pay us a visit...Again...And sometime soon...
Leshten’s spirit is distinct and tangible... Centuries-old, but vivid and genuine…
Our ancestors obviously appreciated the living conditions here. About a century ago the little village was so developed that it used to be a major trading center. Local people mined auriferous /i.e. gold-bearing/ gravel; blacksmithing and masonry were well-developed as well. The then builders created the fancy houses that are still well-preserved in Leshten. From the very foundations, all the way to the top, they’re entirely and masterfully crafted of stone, wood and clay. The typical Kovachevitsa architectural style is inseparably bound up in Leshten’s history and appearance and definitely leaves no visitor untouched. In Leshten, you’ll definitely be amazed by the small, neat houses, scattered across the hills. They’re so authentic and vivid; one can almost make out the silhouettes of weary housewives on the porches… You’ll be astounded by the precise masonry, too – skillfully arranged stone slabs were used for roofing here. Similar roofs are highly unlikely to be seen elsewhere. Your steps, reverberating off the cobblestones paving the narrow streets, will surely be the only sounds breaking the infinite silence here.
But try to visualize something… Amid the silence you hear a voice that only a descendant of the brave and progressive National Revival men could hear. You hear yourself. Your heart beats stronger than ever by both excitement and exertion – climbing the steep pavement made your heart rate jump a few beats. Probably, it’s been a while since you’ve heard your own heartbeat so distinctly in the peace and quiet. The ineludible little flutter lasts while you enjoy peculiar and disarming sights alternating between high walls and bulky wooden gates concealing quiet courtyards, seemingly guarding something essential. Though, just say it and those shall be open for you….Maybe even give you shelter for a night or two, or more. Why not? Then you simply inhale the special centuries-old air of these houses. Either the hosts offer you a traditional treat – some age-old yummy dish, or you decide to step into their shoes – all cellars here have cooking fireplaces. If not, you trust the professionals – the dishes in the village tavern, prepared using time-tested recipes and fine mountain products, are served in authentic wooden plates. The pub building, with its unique appearance and history, is enchanting itself - centuries ago, it accommodated the monastery school and the then Bulgarian spirit and customs are still alive.
The original 1836 frescoes of the "St. Paraskeva" church are quite discernible and still enchanting. Light a candle there. Unique artwork is offered at the local gallery and art shop. Among the other almost 300-year-old houses, The Clay house truly stands out- an architectural creation resembling a peculiar movie set. But all in all, what is ever-present in Leshten is the view - unparalleled, ethereal, and captivating- both to the majestic silhouette of the Pirin Mountain and the valley of the Mesta River. That’s about everything you can possibly try to explain or describe. You need to feel the rest.
But do you actually need more reasons to come to Leshten? Pay us a visit….Again…And sometime soon. Only next time - bring some friends.