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Bulgarian Folk Arts

& Crafts


The aesthetic principle of the Bulgarian masters, inherited the traditions of ancient Thracians, stems from the admiration of nature and is expressed in the attempt to resemble it. They create art out of any material - wood and clay, wool and copper, silk and silver. The desire for beauty that has let them through the millennia first grew up at home. Applied crafts have gradually increased and emerged from the narrow domestic frame and become an art which breeds art. At the end of the 14th century arts and crafts in Bulgaria amounted to about fifty.

The unfading beauty of Bulgarian arts and crafts has to be felt:

Bulgarian Embroidery
With its intricate geometrical figures and geographically differentiated depending on decoration, execution, colour and composition, it is used exclusively for dress decoration. Typical features of Bulgarian embroidery, however, are plant and geometric patterns and their skilful technical fashioning. The red always prevails.

Bulgarian Folk Arts and Crafts: Bulgarian embroidery

Bulgarian Textile Art
Includes the weaving of covers, rugs and carpets. There is evidence of carpet making in Bulgaria as early as in the 9th century, but large carpet industry were established in 18th-19th centuries in Kotel, Chiprovtsi, etc. The decorative diversity is different in the regions, but on the whole the Kotel carpets feature large and orderly patterns while Chiprovo

Bulgarian Folk Arts and Crafts: Bulgarian textile art - Chiprovtsi rugs

carpets tend to have small patterns. The Rhodope rugs have white, brown and yellow long woolen fringes. The smaller textiles are variety and the most numerous - aprons, waist-brands, towels, pillow-cases, bags, belts.

Bulgarian Pottery
Etching, colour painting and applications are the usual methods in painted ceramics. Etching, or the circular drawing-out of straight lines continued up to the 19th century in the old pottery centres of Troyan, Teteven and Gabrovo, has been replaced later by painting with colour. The most typical shape is the jug, with an elongated, delicate neck, its top glazed in yellow and green.

Bulgarian Folk Arts and Crafts: Bulgarian pottery - Painted pottery

Bulgarian Wood-carving
A craft, considered purely male. Since immemorial times the Bulgarians have carved wood, depicting nature on shepherd's pipes and crooks, on chest and cradles, on weaving looms - in fact, wherever possible. Wood was part of the house furniture, skilful hands brought it to life and gradualy became part and parcel of the interior.

Bulgarian Folk Arts and Crafts: Bulgarian wood-carving - Ceiling in a Tryavna house

Magnificent compositions may be seen in the National Renaissance houses in Tryavna, Kotel, Koprivshtitza, etc.

Bulgarian Wood-carving is also famous with small wood-carved products: spoons, spoon cases, shepherds cups, prosfory (bread seals), distaffs, nooses, crooks, stools, chandeliers, nut-crackers, etc. To this collection also belong the musical instruments kavals, gudoulki, bagpipes.

Bulgarian Coppersmithery
An artistic craft, which had its heyday during the 18th-19th centuries when methods of decoration became more numerous. The fashioning of the form itself is an art - depending on the size and destiny of the indentations, the decoration of coffee-pots, cauldrons, trays and dishes resembles a string of tiny beads or scattered stars. Copper vessels have their romantic place in today's modern interior.

Bulgarian Folk Arts and Crafts: Bulgarian Coppersmithery

Bulgarian Goldsmithery
An art, whose works are purely decorative. Having inherited the rich traditions of the ancient Thracians, Bulgarian Goldsmithery attained a perfection of the form and an executive finish. Although this art was most susceptible to outside influence - particularly that of West-European Baroque - the plant and geometric ornaments, as well as the composition, retained their National characteristics.

Bulgarian Folk Arts and Crafts: Bulgarian goldsmithery - Belt buckle

The beauty of the Bulgarian arts and crafts from the past explains the interest for it today. National exhibitions and festivals are now organized regularly.

Every year from June to September thousands of people flock to the Fair of Traditional Crafts at the Oreshak locality, near the town of Troyan. Articles of the modern masters of art crafts from all over the country are exhibited in the numerous halls there.

The Troyan Craft's museum with over 130,000 exhibits is the only specialized Museum of national crafts and applied arts in the country.

Bulgarian Folk Arts and Crafts: The Craft's museum in Troyan

A part of the exposition is a bazaar. The queen of crafts is the unsurpassed Troyan-style pottery - the warmth of the clay abounds in the gay colours of the Bulgarian land and gives expression to the cheerful character of its people.

Bulgarian Folk Arts and Crafts: National exhibition of artistic crafts and arts  - Oreshak

South-Eastern Europe's unique open-air museum, the Etura architectural and ethnographic estate is situated 8 km away from the town of Gabrovo.

Bulgarian Folk Arts and Crafts: The Etura

Master-craftsmen fashion beautiful gold, silver, copper, leather and wooden articles right before your eyes from early morning until late in the night. The waft of freshly baked bread drifts across from an old bakery and a tiny coffee shop serves steaming sweet Turkish coffee cooked in a copper pot. Pastry cooks offer delicious home-made cookies and cakes. And around this - lovely old houses, flowers on the window sills, small shops with wooden shutters and gas lanterns on the street corners.

Samovodene Market
Situated among architectural ensembles on Gurko Street in the old part of Veliko Turnovo - the capital of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom (1185-1393).

The Samovodene market place has been brought back to life, as in older times.

Bulgarian Folk Arts and Crafts: Folk gifts

Skillful master-goldsmiths, potters, wood-carvers, weavers and pastry cooks are busy with their craft. They sell exquisite objects in the small restored workshops.

The region’s main cultural and industrial centre, the town of Tryavna has been heavily involved in the development of crafts during the Bulgarian Renaissance. The Tryavna School is one of Bulgaria’s oldest Art Tradition institutions.

Bulgarian Folk Arts and Crafts: The Tryavna School

Every year, with the kind co-operation of the Swiss Government, the Summer Arts and Crafts Festival gives the opportunity to its guests and participants to get acquainted with traditional Bulgarian handicrafts, arts, music, dances, the richness of the authentic Bulgarian folklore.

With the help of skilled masters of handicrafts, the participants have the possibility to manufacture themselves some art pieces of wood-carving, leather articles, hand embroidery, tree peel weaving, coppersmith articles, icons.

All Bulgarian arts and crafts are famous far beyond the country's borders. Numerous people all over the world keep at their homes a piece of the Bulgarian soul!

Bulgarian Folk Art and Crafts Tour

This guided cultural tour will give you the opportunity to feel the unfading beauty of Bulgaria's folk arts and crafts.

Woodcarving, pottery and ceramics, coppersmithery and goldsmithery, embroidery and textile are conveyed from generation to generation, keeping the glory of their creators from ancient times.

You will be very much impressed by the town of Troyan and the Oreshaka locality, both famous with their pottery and ceramics, the Etura - the open-air museum near Gabrovo, Samovodene market in Veliko Turnovo, Tryavna - famous with wood-carving, a carpet factory in Kotel, the folk-art exhibition in Bansko, etc.

The rich collections in our ethnographic museums will acquaint you with the Bulgarian folk arts and crafts from different regions.

The guided tour is upon request, customizable, and recommendable for 2 or more travelers because of the better price for you. Special discounts apply for groups of minimum 6 travelers.

The tour price includes land services only. It may vary depending on the type of hotel accommodation, transportation and guide service. Guaranteed departures daily (March - November).

Tour operators, travel agencies or corporate clients, please, ask tour details or .

If you are private traveler(s), please, ask tour details or .

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Bulgarian folklore sites
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