Jeravna panorama view
Zheravna - art sign
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      Zheravna Village > History          
Old Jeravna wooden houses
  Zheravna Village still remains the most conserved architectural and historical reserve at the Balkans, featuring the largest number of well conserved lodging monuments of culture - more than 200 typical wooden houses in a monumental ensemble. The richness of architectural shapes distinguishes Zheravna as a center, where one can follow up the origin and development of wooden house in the region. Since the first years of the Bulgarian National Revival here have been built houses that present some of the most amazing models of the Bulgarian renaissance lodging due to their architectural conception and artistic decoration.      
      Away from noise and tense everyday city life, Zheravna has preserved the charm of the mountain site and the décor of renaissance architecture, created by a number of talented Bulgarian past- masters.          
Jeravna view
Jeravna - an old house inside

Zheravna, like some other towns and villages in the region, such as Kotel, Medven, Gradetz, Katunishte, Neykovo, and Ichera, is remarkable not only for its paragons of authentic Bulgarian architecture, but also for the spiritual power heritage left by some prominent revolutionaries and writers of the Bulgarian National Revival.

      In the National Revival Age Zheravna has endowed Bulgaria with the patriots Sava Filaretov, Todor Ikonomov, and Vasil Stoyanov, renowned for their struggles against the spiritual and political subordination of the country. In 1880 here was born and grown up the talented master of the pen - the great Bulgarian author Yordan Yovkov. One could see his main characters Shibil and Kara Feiz walking around in the surrounding hills, one could hear the patriotic songs of Kara Tanas and the appeals for liberation of Captain Mamarchev. Thus, besides its architectural merits Zheravna Village is also of great historical significance.  
Monument of Yovkov in Jeravna
Horses in Jeravna
  Here, in 811 Khan Krum has guarded the pass and defeated the Byzantine army of the emperor Nickifor I Genik. According to Pachimer's stories in the near vicinity of Zheravna the famous Ivailo defeated the Byzantine General Murin and his army of 10 000 people in 1280.      
Yard of the church in Jeravna
      In the Ottoman rule age Zheravna was turned into one of the first so-called 'military villages'. Its self-government was delegated to Bulgarian governor, whose duty was to provide the sultan's army with Bulgarian soldiers. During the Russian-Turkish war in 1828 many Bulgarians living in Zheravna have taken active part in the struggles for liberation of their homeland, under the leadership of Captain Mamarchev and Kara Tanas.        
Old Jeravna houses view
  Early chronicles testify that once upon a time the land of Zheravna was occupied by a town bearing the Slavonic name Potuk. Since the times of Byzantine domination (10-12 centuries) the village had gone by some names of Greek origin as Zarvona (i.e. left river), wherein the village's name 'Zhervona' has probably its roots. Within the ages of Ottoman rule the village was initially given the name 'Bashtina', and later on - Bashkariesi, Bashkyoi (i.e. main village) and Zheruna (from 'Zherina' - a kind of taxation). In 1835 Zheravna was given its present name for the first time by Rayno Popovich. The word's root can be explained with the Slavonic word 'zhernov', which means millstone, due to the large number of that time water-mills in the village.      

Sheep-breeding was an essential means of living for the population of Zheravna. Raw materials for manufacturing of homespun in Sliven were provided mainly from Zheravna. Besides the wool trade, great part of it was manufactured in the village itself. Zheravnamen weavers of frieze were famous even abroad, in Constantinople and Ismir, where they had opened workshops. Together with the manufacturing of homespun a number of other crafts prospered: shoe- and bootmaking and cobbling, soap-boiling, braid-making, goldsmith's & silversmith's handicrafts.

  Jeravna - exhibits      
      Jeravna - a street in winter        
        At the end of 18th century Zheravna suffered the attacks of Kardzhalimen, when many houses were ruined down. But the village's decline was most tangible after the Liberation, when the manufacture caused considerable damages to the means of living and most of the prospering till then shepherd's unions ceased their activity. People left their homes and many of the abandoned houses started to crumble down.      


      The powerful upsurge of handicrafts at the middle of 19th century, as well as the trading relations to many other towns in the country and abroad encouraged a new revival process. The grown rich landlords started to build new and larger two-storey houses featuring luxurious interior decoration, and also reflecting their economic power. The main street of Zheravna transformed into a trading center, which determined the designation of the new buildings here. They were accordingly arranged for manufacturing and trading. Thus, Zheravna gradually turned to be a village of urbanized type as well as a regional trading center, which the Ottomen reasonably called 'Kyuchuk Filibe' (i.e. Small Plovdiv Town).   Summer view of Jeravna      
      The Gallery of Jeravna   During the National Revival Age Zheravna has been a vivid example of Bulgarians' economic, political and spiritual prosperity. The economic upsurge exercises positive influence onto the cultural growth of the village, inciting the erection of many buildings of spiritual and educational significance.      
        Jeravna typical fireplace      
      The closer you get to Zheravna Village, the stronger you feel its attraction. Its spell, as well as the romance of the gone-by days grabs you at the very entering... It is really worth feeling that!        
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