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Northwest Bulgaria > Chiprovtsi > History

History of Chiprovtsi

Chiprovtsi is a very old settlement, originating in Thracian time, when ore mining in these lands is dated back. There were ledges of copper, lead, gold, silver and iron. In Roman age the region around the village had beenamong the gold mining centres of greatest importance on the Balkans. The village is named after the Roman name of copper - cupprum. It was named Kiprovets first, then Chiporovtsi and finally the todays Chiprovtsi (renamed in 1956). In late antiquity ore minimg had been of great importance for the development of military production in the Rome Ritsaria (today Archar). Slav people had come here after 6th century and borrowed production experience in ore mining from the local inhabitants.

In 13th-16th century Chiprovtsi had been a busy mining village that enjoyed great favours. Here settled Saxon miners, who gave a further impetus to this activity. It is not accidental that right here in the flourishing feudal domains of the Bulgarian boyars Soimirovi a great part of the Bulgarian aristocracy settled after the Ottoman invasion. Chiprovtsi reached its economic, political and cultural boom in the first three centuries under foreign rule. Goldsmiths trade developed most in comparison to all other handcrafts. High artistic production had outlined the town as the biggest goldsmith centre on the Balkan Peninsula in 16th and 17th century along with Tsarigrad, Thessaloniki and Belgrade. Trade with the famous cups made in Chiprovtsi flourished not only on the Balkans and the Ottoman Empire but extended to Central Europe, too. Churches, monasteries, schools, rich and beautiful houses were built in this environment of considerable improvement and culture.

In 16th century the Literary School of Chiprovtsi emerged. Its heights are: Abagar by Fillip Stanislavov, the theological, philosophical and historical works of Petar Bogdan, Yakov Peyachevich and Krustyu Peikich. Petar Bogdan and Petar Parchevich headed the struggle for national independence in the middle of 17th century. In the beginning they relied on help from our western neighbours and the Pope, but were disappointed and began an independent preparation of a peoples revolt. In September 1688 broke the Uprising of Chiprovtsi that was headed by Georgi Peyachevich, Bogdan Marinov, the brothers Ivan and Mihail Stanislavovi and Petar Parchevich. The decisive battle took place in the area called Zheravitsa, where the troops of the Turkish vassal - the Magyar count Emerik Tekeli - defeated the Bulgarians. Those surviving fortified themselves in Chiprovtsi and in the Chiprovtsi (Gushovski) Monastery, but their defence was overcome, too. Outrageous slaughter and brutality occurred. More than half of the inhabitants were slaughtered. A great part of the survivors looked for refuge in Vlashko (Romania), Magyar and Croatia. The town was burnt down, devastated and ruined, after which it never reached its past glory. Chiprovtsi rebelled in 1836 (Manchovs buna) and in 1837 (headed by Varban Penev). Its inhabitants took part also in the uprising in Vidin in 1850.

In 19th c. carpet manufacturing developed very much. The famous Chiprovtsi carpets are handmade from pure wool on a vertical loom. Even today they find markets all over the world, and now in thousands Bulgarian homes the colours of nature in Chiprovtsi beam, collected and immortalized by the tender hands of the carpet masters in Chiprovtsi.

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