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Travel advice Eastern Europe

© 2013-2019

ZHERAVNA

Surrounded by sights

Located centrally in Bulgaria, 66 kilometres from Sliven and 116 from Burgas, Zheravna is conveniently located. If you come from Sofia, in the west, be sure to spend some more time in the region and include destinations such as Shumen, the old capitals Pliska and Veliki Preslav, as well as the Madara Horseman. Kotel, a town nearby Zheravna, is an interesting place to visit. Likewise, the Blue Rocks Nature Park near Sliven is right near Zheravna as well. You'll have so much to see in the direct surroundings that it doesn't make much sense to come for less than three days, unless you're just passing through. Then, definitely stick with Zheravna and pick what else you can see as well.

What's Zheravna about?

A well-preserved historical village that consists of about 200 wooden houses. Mostly, these were built during the Bulgarian National Revival Period. The architecture of the village is similar in other places constructed during this time. The one- or two-story houses can be seen in Koprivshtitsa, Panagyurishte and Elena, amongst several others. Zheravna is quite unique, as it does not seem to have any other structures disrupting the character of the town. If you look down from the hills, the wooden houses with red roofs seem to be about just as big and it makes for such a pretty picture. The town is truly one of the nicest in Bulgaria. We can prize ourselves lucky; actually many of the houses had gotten uninhabited. As people directly realized how attractive the place is for tourists, many were renovated and turned into guesthouses, seamlessly fitting into the landscape. It's really well-kept.

How to get to Zheravna

As said, it's really most convenient to come by car. Not because of the distance but there is just so much to see in the surrounding area, that you're better off having your own wheels. That said, there are trains/buses to Sliven. From there, three daily buses head for Zheravna. I find Rome2Rio to be a good website to plan itineraries. There are direct buses from Sofia to Kotel as well, I used BGRazpisanie for finding out about these. However, I have not found information about any connection between Kotel and Zheravna so I suggest trying to get there through Sliven first. Sliven is centrally located, on the railway line Sofia-Burgas and near the highway as well. If you travel by car, it's good to take the road past Tvarditsa, Kalofer, Karlovo, Klisura and Mirkovo instead. There's much for you to see. Although the road is quite straight, it might obviously take you a bit more time than taking the highway.

Where to sleep

Not just the outside of these houses are pretty. Once inside one of the many guesthouses, you just have to look up at the ceilings. They are true masterpieces of wood carving, a craft that's still practised in the area. If you ask, you might even look at the inside of other guesthouses as well. The places are equally pleasant to stay in so it's best to then focus on what place offers breakfast or, if you wish, dinner. Once you choose a place, have some tea with the owner, as I did. The people are proud of this town, even though owners don't necessarily come from Zheravna themselves. They have found their peace and quiet in the area and will definitely explain you what makes Zheravna so unique. I spent time with my friendly host, whose name I unfortunately do not recall. I stayed in the Sava Kupetsa guesthouse and it was good. It has a nice pool outside but so do several other places. The owner poured me a glass of wine and endlessly explained all about Zheravna and the proud history of the Bulgarians. He even let me take his picture.

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