RESEARCHING OFFLINE (personal research)

Let’s get out of the UK and go to another place. Over the Christmas holiday, I have been to one of my favourite places in Bulgaria called ‘’Etara’’. Today I will try to ‘’take you there’’.

Etara captivates and enchants. Etara impresses and inspires. Etara carries past reality in real time and leaves an inheritance for the future. Etara is the authentic handicraft of Bulgaria – unique, unadulterated and spiritual.

” Etara”, Bulgaria

The main idea of Donkov (the founder of Etara) was to allow visitors to Etara to touch the Bulgarian Revival and to get an idea of the life, customs, architecture, household and economic past of one of the oldest Bulgarian cities – Gabrovo.

The architectural and ethnographic complex “Etara” is a “city in the city”. Why? It is located very close to Gabrovo and many consider it his neighbourhood. But it is something else – Etara is a miniaturized model of the former Gabrovo, its Renaissance copy, where the workshops, the original architectural structures and the narrow streets – preserved in time and still “alive” – can be seen.

”Etara”, Bulgaria

I have been many times to this incredible place and I enjoyed every moment spent there because in Etara you can follow the development of crafts and trade, touch the traditions of the Renaissance culture, get to know the specifics of the ancient technology, which for decades was a major source of livelihood in these places of Bulgaria.

In the next paragraph, I will give you a little information (based on https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Etar_Architectural-Ethnographic_Complex )  about where Etara is located. ( in case if someone would like to visit it 🙂  )

Etar Architectural and Ethnographic Complex is situated 8 km south of Gabrovo, in the northern wooded slopes of the Balkan Mountains. Occupying an area of 70 decares, this is the only one of its kind not only in Bulgaria but also in the whole South-East European Museum of the open air. It runs through the fast-flowing waters of the Sivek River, which are the main source for the propulsion of the water facilities in the complex. And even more impressive is the fact that these facilities are a model for folk techniques of water extraction.

Etara itself is an attraction. But this attraction consists of many components, each of which occupies a definite place and meaning for the overall appearance of the complex.

”Etara”, Bulgaria

The “exhibits” in Etara are conditionally divided into three strands. The first group brings together 10 objects representing the folk technique of water.

The second direction in the complex accentuates the architecture of the Renaissance houses,two-storeyed, with curved bay windows and consoles, with rosettes on the doors and spacious verandas.

I personally think that especially remarkable is the house of the Gabrovo merchant Petar Saka. (Please see the image below)

The house of the Gabrovo merchant Petar Saka

Its facade is dotted with painted columns with 21 windows. The open corridor passes into an indoor room called “kiosk”. In the shop on the first floor are sold articles made by craftsmen of folk crafts. On the second floor, there is an interior of a commercial dwelling. My opinion is that exactly this house is a great example of a sustainable design. The main materials that have been used are wood and bricks, which make me, think that probably in the past there were not many varieties of any stronger materials. These types of houses have been built in 1780’s and they still look impressive.

I could say that it is worth to visit and feel the spirit of the past time. By biting off the warm cakes with savoury and the sugar cake, it helps you to move imperceptibly at that time.

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