In the valley of the Kanina river, surrounded by the high hills of the Rhodope ridge Dabrash, lays the Bulgarian village of Kovachevitsa. It is at a distance of about 24 km from the city of Gotse Delchev. The village started forming after 1656 when some of the Bulgarians living in the lower parts of the Rhodope Mountain sought shelter from the Ottomans, who tried to force them convert to Mohammedanism. The name of the village comes from the Bulgarian word ‘kovach’ – a blacksmith. Kovachevitsa is a vulgar word meaning ‘the wife of the blacksmith’.
The local inhabitants made a living out of agriculture and cattle-breeding. With the expenditure of the village of Kovachevitsa, different crafts and professions began to spring up and soon the village became a centre of a unique culture and customs. During the period of the Ottoman reign, in the village there was no Ottoman administration, which contributed to the turning of the village into one of the Macedonian national-liberation movement centres. For 34 years (from 1878 to 1912 when Pirin Macedonia was liberated), the village of Kovachevitsa has been located on the border between the Ottoman Empire and the Principality of Bulgaria and all its inhabitants were devoted to the patriotic campaign.
The village of Kovachevitsa was liberated from Ottoman slavery on October 17, 1912. During the Bulgarian Renaissance the village was the centre of the cultural and church campaigns in the area. One of the unique architectural landmarks is the church ‘St Nicola’ built in 1847. However, one of the factors that contributed greatly for the popularity of the village is its being used for the shooting of more than 20 Bulgarian films. This and the fact that in 1977 the village of Kovachevitsa was given the statute of historical and cultural reserve attract a lot of tourists and investors in the village.
One of the interesting characteristics of the village of Kovachevitsa is its architecture. The typical house is with two or three storeys and protruding upper part. In the first floor the owners bred the cattle and stored their food. The second or/and the third floors were designed for living. Nowadays most of the houses are covered with the traditional stone slates, above which are erected unique chimneys, called ‘kukla’ (which means ‘a doll’ in Bulgarian).
If you want to visit the village, there are different ways to go there. If you are going to travel by car, you should drive to the town of Bansko and from there to the town of Dobrinishte. Near the village of Garmen you will see the road for the villages Leshten and Kovachevitsa. If you prefer to use the public transport, first go to city of Gotse Delchev. From there you can catch one of the buses for village of Kovahevitsa. There’s no railway station in the village – the nearest one is in the town of Dobrinishte. If you love climbing, you may match your visit to the village with climbing of mount Beslet – the highest peak of the ridge Dabrash.