Gastrotour “The Submerged Church, the Donkey’s Milk, the Goddess Cybele, and the 100 Voivodes”

Daily Tour 2 days Availability: 2021-08-07
Sliven, Bulgaria The Balkan Tour Guide: Ekaterina Terzieva

What connects the goddess Kibela, the donkey’s milk, the Sliven peaches, the Submerged Church, the native house of Hadji Dimitar, the wine, and the Museum of Textiles? They are related to spirituality, the power of faith and healing, history, heroism, and tradition. They are all within a radius of 50 km, in the cool foothills of the Balkans and in the Sliven region – the Land of the 100 Voivodes, where we go during our new gastro tour “The Submerged Church, Donkey’s Milk, the Goddess Cybele, and the 100 Voivodes”.

We will try local specialties, the famous donkey’s milk, Sliven peaches, we will visit the only in Bulgaria Museum of Textiles, the birthplace of our national hero Hadzhi Dimitar, we will take pictures with little donkeys, we will ride in carts with a donkey harness, we will have a picnic with a wine tasting in the vineyards, we will go to the goddess Cybele in the ancient city of Kabyle.

Място на тръгване/пристигане

Departure hours: 07.00 from Plovdiv, 08.00 from Stara Zagora, 08.30 from Nova Zagora. Possible transfers from Sofia, Haskovo, and other cities by prior arrangement. For travelers from Plovdiv – a departure from the UBB bus stop on Tsar Boris III Obedinitel Blvd. opposite the Ramada Trimontium Hotel.

The price of the tour includes:

  • One breakfast
  • Two lunches
  • Donkey milk tasting
  • Wine tasting
  • Overnight
  • Entrance for the visited sites
  • Transport with a licensed company
  • Full tour guide service
  • Tourist insurance

The price of the tour does not include:

  • Dinner

What to expect?

The gastronomic tour “The Submerged Church, the Donkey’s Milk, the Goddess Kibela and the 100 Voivodes” presents the “Submerged Church” in the “Zhrebchevo” dam, built in the village of Zapalnya two decades after the Liberation. In the 1960s, the village was evicted to build the dam, and the church was abandoned and submerged.

We will meet up close with several traditional for these parts of Bulgaria types of livelihood – the famous large and juicy Sliven peaches in the famous Valley of Peaches. At the time of socialism in the village of Gavrailovo was located the Agricultural and Industrial Complex “Valley of Peaches” – the largest producer of peaches and peach compotes in the country, whose products have been sold in dozens of countries around the world. Today, growing peaches continue to be the livelihood of dozens of families in the region.

We will get acquainted with another typical livelihood – the cultivation of donkeys and the extraction of miraculous donkey milk, considered in the ancient world as an elixir of eternal youth and long life. The Greek physician Hippocrates was the first to describe the medicinal virtues of donkey’s milk and prescribed it as a remedy for liver problems, infectious diseases, fever, nosebleeds, poisoning, joint pain, and wounds. The Roman historian Pliny the Elder also wrote in detail about the health benefits of donkey’s milk – for fatigue, dental disease, ulcers, asthma, and some gynecological problems. In the modern world, donkey’s milk is also recognized as extremely useful and healthy and is considered one of the best probiotic and functional foods.

We will also visit the only Museum of the Textile Industry in Bulgaria. It is located in Sliven, where the beginning of textile production and Bulgarian industrialization was set. The city has been an important industrial center during all periods of the country’s historical development. Even today, the textile industry is crucial for the economic appearance and economic prosperity of the city. During the visit we will observe demonstrations of various looms, extraction of silk thread, making braids.

We will visit the native house of the voivode Hadzhi Dimitar. It was built at the end of the 18th century in the Sliven district of Klutsohor, where on May 10, 1840. the legendary voivode was born. On the first day, our lunch will be typical for the region of Gurkovo and Podbalkana dishes and drinks, and on the second day, we will have a wine tasting with an outdoor picnic in the vineyards near Sliven. The trip will end with a walk in the area of ​​Kabile. Here is the Kabyle Monastery “Nativity of the Virgin”, which according to ancient legends has existed since the time of St. Emperor Constantine. His mother St. Helena knew about the healing properties of the water in the Kabyle Monastery and often sent people to bring it from her.

Finally, we will visit the Bulgarian Troy – the ancient city of Kabile. It appeared at the end of the second millennium BC. near a large cult center on the hill Zaychi Vrah. In antiquity, the city was an important economic and cultural center in Southeastern Thrace and Lower Tundzha. According to historical records, Kabyle was conquered by Philip of Macedon in 341 BC, and later for some time his son Alexander III the Great of Macedon resided in it. In the first half of the third century BC. Kabyle was the residence of the Thracian kings Spartok and Skostock. It is believed that it bears the name of the Thracian goddess mother Cybele, depicted on a relief of the rock sanctuary “Rabbit Peak”. It is at the foot of this ancient astronomical observatory that one of the largest commercial and cultural centers within the borders of former Thrace arose.

We will meet the people and stories behind:

  • The Submerged Church in the Zhrebchevo Dam, built in the village of Zapalnya two decades after the Liberation. In the 1960s, the village was evicted to build the dam, and the church was abandoned and flooded. Today it is seen at low water levels on the dam to remind us of the spiritual power of faith
  • Former classic bodybuilding champion Deyan Georgiev, who squatted 182 times in 2007 with a barbell weighing 100 kilograms, now lives in Gurkovo, region. Stara Zagora, and is engaged in breeding horses and donkeys.
  • Producers in the Valley of the Peaches, where the Golden Peach Festival is organized every year. Nearly 70 percent of the peach orchards in Southeastern Bulgaria are grown in the Sliven region.
  • The founder of the first donkey farm in Bulgaria, Ivan Kyuchukov, who with his son for the first time in the world managed to produce cheese and yellow cheese from 100% donkey milk. Its price is BGN 75 per liter, as it has proven healing properties
  • The newest town wine cellar in Sliven, which produces handicraft wines – a true reflection of variety and terroir

Route

Day 1: Donkey’s milk, Sliven peaches and food from the Balkans [/ su_heading]

At 7 o’clock we leave Plovdiv and go to the Submerged Church in Zhrebchevo Dam. Once, before the waters engulfed the village of Zapalnya and two other surrounding settlements, the temple was the center of life in the valley, and the crystal ringing of its bell hovered over the fragrant carpets of oil-bearing plantations at the foot of Sredna Gora. During the Turkish rule, Zapalnya was famous for its 120 cans of rose oil. At that time the village was at an important commercial crossroads. From here the road passed from Kazanlak to Edirne, and there were several inns near it. Today, however, no trace of the once neat houses and narrow dusty streets, echoed by children’s laughter, masterful hammers and horse hooves. In the middle of the last century, a decision came from the capital to build a large dam right here, which would collect the waters of the Tundzha River. In 1962 Zapalnya, together with the neighboring villages of Zhrebchevo and Dolno Panicharevo, were sucked by the centrifuge of the huge body of water literally overnight. And they remain forever buried at the bottom of the dam. But a small part of the lost world still refuses to be erased. This is the old church. For half a century, the lonely silhouette of the temple has been floating like a ghost ship in the silent waters of Zhrebchevo.
We head to the Valley of the Peaches. We try juicy Sliven peaches from the villages, where the Golden Peach holiday is organized every year. Nearly 70 percent of the peach orchards in Southeastern Bulgaria are grown in the Sliven region. We go to the first donkey farm in Bulgaria of Ivan Kyuchukov, who with his son for the first time in the world managed to produce cheese and yellow cheese from 100% donkey milk. Its price is BGN 75 per liter, as it has proven hto healproperties. While telling us about the healing properties of donkey’s milk, we try the exotic drink. We have a photo session with little donkeys on the pasture. We have lunch with traditional Balkan food and continue our donkey adventures with a visit to the only donkey museum in Bulgaria in Gurkovo. Then we will ride on carts with a donkey team. Our guide will be the former champion in classical bodybuilding Deyan Georgiev, who in 2007 squatted 182 times with a barbell weighing 100 kilograms, and today lives in Gurkovo and is engaged in breeding horses and donkeys. In the evening we stay overnight in Sliven.

Day 2: Bulgarian Manchester, picnic in the vineyards and possessions of Cybele in Kabyle – Bulgarian Troy [/ su_heading]

After breakfast we visit Sliven – once known as the Bulgarian Manchester. The city is still famous for the only Museum of the textile industry in Bulgaria. The idea of ​​creating an industrial museum in the city dates back to 1903, but was realized 90 years later. The building in which the museum is arranged was built in 1906-1907 for the first vocational school in Bulgaria, which during this period was called the State Model Textile Factory “Dobri Zhelyazkov”. It is located in a landmark place for Sliven – in the former yard of the State Cloth Factory, built and managed by Dobri Zhelyazkov. Adjacent to the museum is the only preserved to this day impressive building of the factory, built in 1842-1843. We will see demonstrations of various techniques for weaving, extracting silk threads, making braids. In the City of the 100 Voivodes we will visit the native house of our national hero Hadji Dimitar. It was built at the end of the 18th century in the Klutsohor district of Sliven. The museum complex also includes the inn of the hotel. Nikola Assenov with the adjacent farm buildings, where the atmosphere is typical, typical for a pre-liberation inn. We have lunch on a picnic among the vineyards, where we will taste the wines of the newest wine cellar in Sliven. In the afternoon we will visit the Bulgarian Troy – the ancient city of Kabile. It appeared at the end of the second millennium BC. near a large cult center on the hill Zaychi Vrah. In antiquity, the city was an important economic and cultural center in Southeastern Thrace and Lower Tundzha. According to historical records, Kabyle was conquered by Philip of Macedon in 341 BC, and later for some time his son Alexander III the Great of Macedon resided in it. In the first half of the third century BC. Kabyle was the residence of the Thracian kings Spartok and Skostock. It is believed that it bears the name of the Thracian goddess mother Cybele, depicted on a relief of the rock sanctuary “Rabbit Peak”. It is at the foot of this ancient astronomical observatory that one of the largest commercial and cultural centers within the borders of former Thrace arose. Our trip will end with a visit to the Kabyle Monastery “Nativity of the Virgin”, which according to ancient legends has existed since the time of St. Emperor Constantine. His mother St. Helena knew about the healing properties of the water in the Kabyle Monastery and often sent people to bring it from her. When Bulgaria fell under Turkish rule, the conquerors began to search for treasures that were talked about in the Ottoman Empire. Since they found nothing, they enraged the Holy Monastery to the ground. It was not until 1898 that a beautiful woman dreamed of a peasant and pointed out to him in a dream the place where the magic spring was located. After the person started digging at the indicated place, water gushed. The water from Kabyle Monastery is useful for stomach ailments, bone diseases, cancers, recovery from injuries and operations, chemotherapy, infertility, kidney, heart, lung, liver problems. liver, bile, lymph nodes, and others.

Sliven, the city of the 100 voivodes

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