Ethnical week

In and around Kotel there are living four groups of people: ethnic Bulgarians, Gypsies, Karakachani and villages with 100% Sunnis and Shiites ethnic Turkish residents, each with their own traditions, culture and style of life. With this program we want to show you them intensely, with their history, style of life, traditions, food, music and dance. Each day begins with a short introduction of about 30-45 minutes, as far as possible by a representative of the ethnic group itself. The rest of the day you are following our practical program what brings you in direct contact with these people. We can proudly say that this is a unique program, both for Bulgaria and for you as a guest it is a special experience.

Day 1: Afternoon arriving and being lodged in one of our guest houses, followed by introducing dinner.

Day 2: The Bulgarians. Introduction about the origin of the population, on Thracian, Slavs and Proto-Bulgarians, about the 1st and 2nd Bulgarian Empire, the language and the Cyrillic alphabet, the Byzantine and Turkish domination, the revival time, the Royal Family, communism, revolution and new era. Also about Kotel: lying on the road from Istanbul to Bucharest and Moscow, about sheep farming and prosperity, the carpet industry, the revival time, and decay. Following a visit to the historical museum in the Pantheon of Rakovski with detailed explanations and the Galata-school, demonstration carpet weaving. After the typical Bulgarian lunch you are received in a Kotel home from the revival time where various short workshops will be given. At evening, dinner and Bulgarian live music, song and dance.

Day 3: The Karakachani. The roots of the Greek-speaking and until about 1955 still nomadic living people and their distribution between Bulgaria and Greece, the Karakachanic dogs and sheep breed, specific folk and traditions. We're going to see a Karakachanic family, enjoy a Karakachanic dinner and see a dance performance by a local dance group or hear the special songs of Baj Georgi. (Note: between June the 15th and September the 15th there can be only a little dance performance because a large proportion of members are residing in Greece for the summer). First Sunday of July a visit to Karakachanic festival Karandila in Sliven (recommended).

Day 4: The Turks. Distribution over Bulgaria, Turkish domination, the Pomaks and Gagauzi, Turkish community in and around Kotel: Shiites (Kăzălbashi-Alivi-Aliani) and Sunnis. Visit to the Turkish village Yablanovo, lunch with traditional dishes such as Kurban, tziger ashè, keshkek and more in traditional surroundings (costumes, dance and traditions). Visiting a Tourbè (prayer position) and to a tobacco plantation and drying (from mid-August), workshop Semah (traditional religious dance). In the evening a contemporary dinner (Kőftete, etc.), (sas)music, song performance, possibly followed by a visit to the local disco (One of Bulgaria’s most famous rock bands is from Yablanovo).

Day 5: The antiquity. Excursions to archaeological sites as Talim tash, Chobra tash, a Thracian grave mound and historical sites, like Velika Preslav (second Bulgarian capital) or Veliko Tarnovo (third capital)

Day 6: The Gypsies. Roma history: when spread out in Bulgaria, when in Kotel and their socio-economic situation. Visiting the Roma Gypsy district (magala) and a Gypsy family. Watch the black smith and learn to play the Tarambuka. Evening dinner and rousing music.

Day 7: Rounding up. Bulgaria as part of the Europe Union. How the four groups of people live together now, what is their current socio-economic situation, how they perceived their cultural identity and how they see their future in Kotel and region? Bulgaria as the “new Tuscany”. Farewell lunch and departure.

Times and prices, season 2015

May 20 until October 10, 7 days. Price € 545,- all-in, based on a minimum of 4 participants.

Extra stay on accommodation + breakfast per day € 16,- per person, including your contribution to the “Clean Kotel Fund”.

You will stay in one of our guest houses based on single or double rooms, or in one of the private pensions depending on the agreements which we have made.

Registration: The Ethnical week is offered during the period May 20 until October 10. Go to Contact for information and reservations.

Kotel is on the road 55 km north of the town of Sliven - a city on the highway Sofia-Bourgas - and 38 km south of Omurtag - a town at the highway Sofia-Varna. Distances to airports: Bourgas - 125 km, Varna – 200 km and Sofia – 375 km.

We are pleased to advice and assist you with your flight and travel arrangements to Kotel.

We hope to welcome you in Kotel, already more than 1,100 guests came before you! Read their comments.

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