GEOGRAPHICAL FEATURES OF THE REGION:
The village of Gabrovitsa is located in the Municipality of Belovo, District of Pazardzhik. The entire municipality occupies an area of 346.356 square metres and makes for 7.77% of the territory of the District of Pazardzhik. The municipality has 9,645 residents. It covers parts of the Rila Mountain, the Rhodopes, Sredna Gora mountain range, divided by the ravine of Maritsa River and the deeply jutting valley on the brink of Yadentisa River, as well as parts of the Upper Thracian Plain.
The municipality includes a total of 8 settlements – the town of Belovo and the villages Akandzhievo, Menenkyovo, Gabrovitsa, Golyamo Belovo, Dabravite, Momina Klisura, and Sestrimo.
The village of Gabrovitsa is located at the northeastern foot of the Rila Mountain, on the right bank of Maritsa River, about 12 km to the northwest of the municipal centre Belovo, and 8 km to the southwest of the town of Kostenets. The population of Gabrovitsa is 559 people. The village sprawls along Maritsa River and the Momina Klisura Ravine. The terrain is mountainous. The settlement consists of two parts (Gabrovitsa and the Gabrovitsa Inns known today as the Upper and Lower Village) situated about 1 km from each other. The elevation of the village is about 500 m.
The Gabrovitsa Inns (Lower Village) were situated in the ravine of the old Bosnian Road, and today they are right next to the international motorway and roadway Belgrade — Sofia — Istanbul. The railway station at the Inns is named Boyka. These are also the roads by which one gets from the Inns to Pazardzhik which is 40 km away.
The earliest evidence of human presence in the region dates back to the Neolithic Era (VІ – ІІІ c. BC). These were territories of the autochthonous Thracian tribe Bessi. The dynamic times of the late Antiquity and the early Middle Ages had an impact on the area, with various new influences interfering with the local culture, such as Thracian, Slavic and Roman influences. In 813, after the victory of Khan Krum in the Battle of Versinikia, the district was included in the territory of the Bulgarian state.
All residents of the village are Orthodox Christians. The first church of Gabrovitsa was built in 1858, and St. Cyril and Methodius (built in 1900) and the chapel Ascension of Jesus in the St. Spas area are still functioning to this day.
The first school building dates back to 1881, and in 1931 a new modern school was built. Today it houses the Comprehensive School St. Cyril and Methodius. The Hristo Botev Community Centre was founded in 1929.
The average elevation of the Municipality of Belovo is 1,263 m, with its lowest point at 293 m, and its highest peak at Slavov Mount – 2,306 m. The territory of the Municipality of Belovo covers parts of the Rila Mountain, the Rhodopes, Sredna Gora mountain range, divided by the Yadenitsa Ravine, as well as parts of the Upper Thracian Plain. The main part of the municipal territory is in the easternmost parts of the Rila Mountain (some of the Belmeken part of the range and most of the Slavovo part). The mountain huts Milevi skali are located in the area – the village of Kostenets, with the Kostenski Waterfall.
Other alternatives for ecotourism and hiking are offered in the village of Kostenets and the resort Kostenets Villas, as well as the Kostenski Waterfall. This option may be combined with ATV, motor or bicycle tours.
Gabrovitsa is the exit for the upward climb to the mount called Aramliiski Kamak – a rocky peak in the eastern part of the Rila Mountain, mount Shpanyovitsa (crossed by the path from Sestrimo to Pomochena Polyana and mount Belmeken).
To get to the Gabrovishka Rock, one has to go upstream Gabrovshtitsa River. Then there is the Laobore area, followed by the Kamilata area until one gets to the gully coming down from Sovatya. At that point you have to turn left and about 400 m later the jagged top of the rock comes into view. It is surrounded by a thick forest and has a descending terrace-like shape. There is a huge recess in one of the terraces.
There are a few forest parks with rich flora and fauna in the region: Baira, Rakovitsa, Azovo, Levke.
Borovets Resort is only 37 km away, and Belmeken a mere 31 km ride away.
MINERAL SPRINGS AND SPA THERAPY:
In the territory of the Municipality of Belovo and the village of Kostenets there are a few mineral springs with widely recognized therapeutic properties.
The temperature of the thermal water of Belovo is 40˚С. It contains sulphates, sodium, calcium, with mineralization of 0.58 mg/l, and is suitable for treatment of musculoskeletal, gynaecological and nervous diseases and disorders.
Just outside the town there is a public Olympic-size pool, a kids’ pool and a slide.
The temperature of the mineral water of the village of Kostenets is 46–73˚С. It contains sulphates, hydrocarbons, fluorine, sodium and radon. Its debit is 12 l per second. It has beneficial effects in the treatment of musculoskeletal, gynaecological and nervous diseases and disorders.
FISHING AND HUNTING
There are vast woodlands and natural forests. The hunting grounds of Belovo cover 21,472.9 ha. They host a large variety of game.
One of the advantages of Tandov House is its close proximity to Maritsa River.
CULTURAL AND HISTORICAL LANDMARKS
– Prokopat (The Trench) is located west of the village of Sestrimo, between Kriva Reka (the Crooked River) and its tributary Oshlyak River. These are the remains of an old border trench about 2.5 km long and 3 m wide.
– St. Petka Chapel is embedded in a rocky massif overlooking the village of Sestrimo. This site is a natural and architectural landmark.
– Gradishteto Medieval Fortress is located north of the village of Momina Klisura (Maiden Ravine). The fortress was a security measure for the road passing through Momina Klisura.
– Rakovitsa Medieval Fortress is located on the border of the villages Momina Klisura and Golyamo Belovo. Rakovitsa River is named after it. The fortress was a safety facility for protection from the Turkish invaders. You can get to the fortress by taking a 30-minute hike along a well discernible path starting from the village of Golyamo Belovo.
– Momin Skok (Maiden Leap) is a natural landmark located close to the village of Momina Klisura, related to the legend of a heroic girl who jumped off the rock after a battle of a few days to defend Ihtiman.
– The village of Golyamo Belovo is an important economic and spiritual centre dating back to the latter half of the 19th c. and the Bulgarian Revival era. There were about 50 to 60 students taught at the small church school. In 1874 Todor Kableshkov, back then Head of the railway station, founded Iskra (Spark) Community Centre, which played an essential role in the preparation of the April Uprising. The local population welcomed solemnly the detachment of Georgi Benkovski and participated actively in the uprising. The village has preserved a rich architectural heritage – 80% of the houses were built during the Revival Era, and 50 of them have been designated as cultural monuments. The St. George Church dating back to 1813 features unique iconostasis, woodcarving pieces and icons. A rock monastery is located in its yard, built after Bulgaria was overtaken by the Ottomans. In the village you can take a tour around the houses where Ivan Vazov and Aleko Konstantinov used to stay before they set off for the Alabashka Meadow where the cherrywood cannon of the Belovo rebels was built.
– Belovo Basilica is located 1.5 km to the south of Golyamo Belovo, on top of St. Spas mount. Its remains date back to 6th c. AD.
With the kind assistance of their courteous hosts, the guests of TANDOV HOUSE may get acquainted with the authentic local customs and traditions, folklore, cuisine, dialect – typical of Gabrovitsa and the surrounding region.