The present publication is preparated with the support of the European Union. Responsibility for the content of this publication is borne solely by the Municipality of Malko Tarnovo and "Development Foundation of Malko Tarnovo town" and in any case it cannot be considered that the content of the current publication reflects the opinion of the European Union.
The architecture of Strandzha
A Strandzha house from the third type
A Strandzha house from the third type
The Strandzha house is an original creation of the local masters
The Strandzha house is an original creation of the local masters

The villages of Strandzha long distanced by the large centers and roads lived through more undisturbed days during the slavery. By reason of this in the region the preserved folk traditions as in the means of life or in the building are permanent.

The wood house in Strandzha is detached in the one of the largest territory groups in Bulgaria and is characterized in three typological groups:

  • West – with a corner fireplace (Gorno, Dolno Yabalkovo, Zhelyazkovo, Tagarevo, Bogdanovo, Fakiya villages)
  • Middle – wall fireplace (Stoilovo, Brashlyan, Vizitsa, Byala voda, Zvezdets, Grammatikovo, Kondilovo villages, Malko Tarnovo town)
  • East – with a combined plan (Kosti, Brodilovo villages, Ahtopol town)

The earliest building in Strandzha region is the grounded house, built by plank oak-walls upon stone foundations. The type is dated back from the beginning of XVII till the end of XVIII century. The house consists from a room where is entered through a low door. The fireplace is put on the wall near the door or in the external corner. The fireplace has a wide chimney which came out over the roof that’s why except light also rain and snow penetrated through it. Later small triangle or rectangle openings have been cut off in order to be lightened the plank room. The domestic animals gave the additional heat to the premises. That’s why they usually were sheltered in the very room.

When a newly wed couple appeared over the beams had been thrown a rug in order to become one premises more. Later this place was partitioned off with boards.

The out look of the grounded house is low plank building without openings with a sunshade in the front part, wide covered roof and a large stone chimney built up over it.

The houses from the first and second groups are wooden with stone foundations or a stone ground floor with a wooden floor. The walls, floors and the ceilings, trimmer joists and roofs are made by wood. Basic building component of these houses is the large house (a room) with dark premises (a granary).

A combining feature of Middle and West Strandzha houses is the prolonged plan scheme – all the premises are arranged one behind other in depth and the rooms are entered one after another.

The two-storey Strandzha house with prolonged plan appeared in its early form because of the incline of the ground. Entering to the floor becomes from the very ground or through a wooden stairs. The ground floor is stone but the storey is with plank walls. In the early grounded houses the floors between the two storeys are left not tight in order the warmness from the cattle-shed to penetrate. Later the house gets isolation through plastering of the walls and floors and putting of an antechamber and a circular corridor and the chimney has had a special lid in order to be closed in bad weather.

The interior in the houses is mean. The floors and the walls are plastered, the trimmer joists are open. Seldom are seen wood benches and loops, primitive shelves, goat’s hair rugs, rugs, copper and tinned utensils. The artistic decoration is seen in the frame of the upper threshold and on the doors.

The most important architectural component is the fireplace which is built up from stone in its foundation wide up to 2 m and deep up to 1 m. It is narrowed in height and takes the shape of a cut off pyramid. On an inner wall is built up a furnace with an egg-shaped form.

The outer look of the West and Middle Strandzha houses is simple and unpretending. The two-storey house has a more different facade broken up from the bow-windows of the fences and the rooms from the open wide stairs and the plank-bed.

In the town of Malko Tarnovo are still met wooden houses which reminde about the far distance past of the Strandzha region. The houses of Vassil Karzhev and Irina Lyutova demonstrate the two-storey house with the peculiar prolonged plan scheme and a wall fireplace. The external stairs lead into a narrow vestibule and into the first premises of the small house. Behinds is the large house with a wall fireplace and a cupboard and in the very end is situated the dark premises.

Last updated: 26.04.2006