History & Culture Visit Bulgaria

Kakrina | Photo Essay on a tragic episode in Bulgarian History

It is a cold December evening in 1872.

A young blue-eyed man walks inside the small inn in Kakrina. He greets politely and looks around, his eyes almost hidden underneath the thick winter yağmurluk cape.

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A stranger cannot go unnoticed in such a tiny place and the inn keeper Hristo “The Latin” Tsonev  (who is one of the most active supporters of the Lovech Revolutionary Committee) quickly lets him inside the back room.

 

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He is not just a stranger wandering into the night. His name is Vasil Ivanov Kunchev, better known as “Levski” (“the one who made the Lion’s jump”): one of the most well respected and cherished Bulgarian revolutionaries of all time. He has already encountered an ottoman military patrol on his way to the inn and has failed to convince them he is just a local minding his own business in the area.

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A patrol with reinforcements soon enters the inn and Levski recognizes the voice of the solder who had questioned him on the road. He sees he is outnumbered and tries to escape by making his way into the back rooms and the stables. The soldiers eventually capture him by the wooden fence at the back…

Historians argue whether the capture is due to a traitor inside the revolutionary organization or a series of events leaving clues to the authorities about his whereabouts. Regardless of the true reasons, his capture and subsequent death in the outskirts of the future capital Sofia leave a tragic mark in Bulgarian history.

Nowadays, in the village of Kakrina (Lovech Province) you can visit a renovated replica of the historical inn, turned into a museum. The real building was burnt down in a fire during the 19th century. The renovated inn is quite small but it is still bigger than the miniscule set of rooms which welcomed guests at the time.

Inside you can see a replica of the typical inn layout: a small one-room porterhouse, storeroom with provisions (potatoes, beans, bread), hearth for preparing meals, typical small tables with tiny chairs raising just 15-20cm from the ground, beds for sleeping and a stable (all inside the inn).

It is interesting to note that Levski and his companion Nikola Tsvyatkov kept a stack of important lists and revolutionary committee papers, which were hidden inside a secret compartment in a horse saddle. Later on Tsvyatkov managed to buy out the horse from the authorities and preserve the committee secrets and this secret is currently represented by a saddle hanging on the wall of the museum.

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A storm almost destroyed the centenarian elm in 1997 and a metal framework has been put to keep it standing

The century old elm in the yard is the last living witness of the tragic events at the inn.

How to get there

This article is part of a Series on Mobile Travel Photography which aims to test how well do mobile shots can capture the visual essence of a place

1 comment on “Kakrina | Photo Essay on a tragic episode in Bulgarian History

  1. Pingback: The Devetashka Cave | From the Paleolithic period to Hollywood action movies – Redhead Explorer

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