Samovodskata charsiya is a street in the old part of Veliko Tarnovo, famous for its beautifully preserved traditional houses, cobblestone paving, small workshops, antique shops, galleries, little squares and the emblematic Hadji Nikoli”s inn ( an imposing edifice from the period of the Bulgarian Revival, built by the prominent master builder Koliu Ficheto). Samovodskata charsiya was formed in the 19th century- a period starting in the 60s and stretching out to the 70s.
Back then Veliko Tarnovo was rapidly growing and the two narrow cobbled streets became the main trade center of the town. On market days people from the neighbouring villages would come and sell their produce–vegetables, milk, butter, cheese. Women from the nearby village Samovodene used to trade here-hence, the name of the market- Samovodska charshiya. There were no stalls, they covered the ground with colourful rugs on which their home-grown vegetables were displayed.
With the time, small workshops started to open around the market, where the skillful local craftsmen displayed and traded the art pieces they had created. A number of inns (hans) were built as well (the Dryanovski han, Hadji Davidoviya han, Hadji Velikoviq han-non of them has been preserved, unfortunately), offering shelter to the travellers that were coming from near and far.
Today Samovodskata charshiya has been declared an architectural reserve and it still keeps the atmosphere of the days long gone by. A short walk starting from Stefan Stambolov’s monument will take you along the impressive Hadji Nikolis”s inn- the only one that has survived nowadays- and will lead you through a maze of workshops and houses with high, solid stonewalls and balconies perched above the cobbled street, until you reach the end of the old charshiya and a little square.
to be continued
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