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Settlements: Teteven

Teteven - Pictures Of Bulgaria
The town of Teteven (12 581 inhabitants, 410 metres above sea level) is picturesquely nestled along the two banks of the Beli Vit River between Teteven Balkan Mountain and Vassiliovs Mountain (sub-part Troyan Balkan Mountain). It is 116 km to the north east from Sofia, 74 km to the south-west from Lovech, 60 km to the west of Troyan, 23 km to the south-east from Yablanitsa and 54 km to the east of Botevgrad. The peoples poet Ivan Vazov said about it: Unless I had come to Teteven, I would have been a foreigner for Mother Bulgaria, too...

History: The region has been inhabited since the remote past. The tribe of the Serds lived in these places at Thracian times due to which the Romans later on included the region in the Serdica strategy. Saint Iliya Monastery dates back to Medieval Bulgaria. The oldest information about the settlement in writing is contained in a document of 1421. The name mentioned there was Tetevyan. An artistically elaborated cross, a gift from Tsar Ivan Shishman, was preserved in Saint Iliya Monastery up to the year 1930 (at the moment it is in the London Museum). Evidently the Monastery existed during the 13th - 14th centuries and probably the settlement developed around it. During the Ottoman Rule, the inhabitants of Teteven were voinutsi, i. e. they were assigned some military and guard duties against which they obtained certain rights and independence. Teteven developed as a prospering handicraft settlement. During the 16th and the 17th centuries the Turks carried out forcible conversion to Islam within the region but they did not dare touch the town. The popular haidouts (armed revolutionaries grouped in detachments) were Kostin, Deli Palo, Dancho, Anguel, and Niagol. In 1800 there were about 3000 houses in the town of Teteven. The town merchants traded with Sofia, Bucharest, Brashov, Vienna, Thessaloniki, and Anadola. Over 60 of its inhabitants were Hadzhii (they had gone to the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem). In 1801 the town was completely devastated by kurdzhalii (Turkish brigands). Half of the inhabitants was slaughtered, the survivals left Teteven. Of the 3 thousand buildings only four survived... Although the settlement rehabilitated with the elapse of years, it never reached its previous heyday and welfare. The inhabitants of Teteven kept abreast with the cultural and political upsurge during the Bulgarian Revival. Churches and schools were built and bulgarian spirit was kept and strengthened. In 1872 Vassil Levski organised the most numerous revolutionary committees in the Bulgarian lands (51 people) with a chairman and a cashier both of them outstanding and influential wealthy men Stanio Vrabevski and Petko Miliov - Strashniya (the Terrible). Dimitur Obshti (a close associate of Levski) worked in the town, too under whose guidance the robbery of the Turkish postal service in the Arabakonak Pass was carried out on 22nd September 1872. This act, kept in secret from Levski, unfortunately led to tragic consequences for the whole revolutionary organisation and for V. Levski in person all revolutionary committees founded by Levski during the years were now broken and the Apostle was caught and hung on 18th February 1873 in Sofia.

The final drama of the April Uprising took place at the distance of 15 km to the south-east of the town. Georgi Benkovski (the factual leader of the peoples riot), Zakhari Stoyanov (who left for Bulgarian people the priceless Notes on Bulgarian Uprisings), Father Kiril (the cashier of the 4th Revolutionary District) and Stefo the Dalmatian fell victims to a repulsive betrayal. They were caught in a Turkish ambush in the locality of Kostina in which Benkovski and Father Kiril were murdered and Z. Stoyanov and S. the Dalmatian survived by a miracle after incredible narrow escapes. Teteven inhabitants slaughtered the traitor on the day when he was to receive his recompense.

11 members of Botevs detachment of armed volunteers, 4 members of Panaiot Hitovs detachment as of 1876 and 48 volunteers in the Russo-Turkish War were born in Teteven. The liberation of the town is related to the name of the inhabitant of Teteven Banio Marinov, who guided the squadron of Colonel Orlov through the Vassiliovska Mountain. The Turks were taken by surprise and rendered harmless. Later on the same inhabitant of Teteven participated in the liberation of the town of Orhanie (Botevgrad), too and became its first town governor. Banio Marinov organised a detachment of volunteers and took part in the Kresna Uprising in Macedonia where he was wounded. He died of his wound in Sofia Hospital. Sava Mladenov (one of the close assistants of Hr. Botev in the last tragic days of the poet and revolutionary and his detachment of armed volunteers) was born in Teteven, too. He found his death at the distance of 8 km to the south of the town.
After the Liberation Teteven developed as a centre of tourism.

Landmarks: The Town Museum of History (3, Sava Mladenov Sq., tel.: 0678 2005). Working hours: 9.00 a.m. - 12.00 a.m. and 2.00 p.m. - 5.00 p.m. (all the week round in summertime). Saint Iliya Monastery built up during the 14th century is one of the 4 buildings, which survived in the sinister year of 1801.

All Saints Church (situated in the central part of the town). It was built from 1834 to 1846 and is an exception among the churches built up during the years of the Ottoman Rule due to its large dimensions it is 31.1 m long, 14 m wide with thickness of the walls of 1.5 m. Its two large bells were cast in Moscow. The pulpit is decorated with woodcarving from Debre and the iconostasis is with woodcarvings from Teteven. The ancient housemuseums from those, which survived in 1801 are remarkable Bobevs house (tel.: 0678 3205), Tuikovs (tel.: 0678 3097), Hadzhi Ivans (with Levskis hiding-place in it) and Iorgos house. Teteven has a Picture Gallery, too. The monuments of Petko Strashniya (the Terrible) (at the beginning of the town), of Banio Marinov and others are erected here, too.
Teteven is famous for its rakiya (plum brandy). Every year at the beginning of the May the biggest mountain cycling race on the Balkan Peninsula is held here organized by the Bulgarian Extreme Sports Club Boundless.

Accommodation: The Zdravets Hotel. Koznitsa Tourist Hostel (in the southern part of the town, along the banks of the Koznitsa River, a left tributary of the Beli Vit River). It has 50 beds in double rooms and in 3- and 4-bed rooms. The town offers private lodgings as well. There are good public catering establishments in Teteven with an original local cuisine and pleasant entertainment. Two of the most preferred ones are the Sinchets Restaurant and Manuel Restaurant.

Tourist information at the Regional Tourist Information Bureau, 5700 Teteven (Sava Mladenov Sq, tel./fax: 0678 4217). You can obtain information here about the tourist sites in and around Gabrovo, Tryavna, Troyan and Apriltsi (participating along with Teteven in the Stara Planina Tourist Association). At Vezhen Tourist Association (7, Hr. Botev Street, tel.: 0678 3110, 2372). At the Holiday House and at the Tourist Hostel.

Transport: Teteven has regular bus connections with Sofia, Vratsa, Roman, Loukovit, Cherven Bryag, Oryahovo, Pleven, Lovech, and Veliko Turnovo as well as with almost all the settlements within the region. The bus station (54, 3rd March Str., tel.: 0678 2557) is located on the left bank of the Beli Vit River next to the stadium. There are two town bus lines, too.

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