Europe in My Region

I have read a lot about the beautiful village of Chavdar, so last weekend we decided to visit it and to see with our own eyes what we have heard about it.

This is a repost of Забавления за деца в китното селце Чавдар, пример за всички български села, originally published by Sylvia (Facebook), and submitted to the Europe in My Region 2016 blogging competition.

Chavdar is 70 km from Sofia, very close to the town of Pirdop. The road is good except in a few places with sharp bends on the way into the mountains. Our first aim on arrival in the village was a tourist area with a Neolithic settlement and a sports and leisure park. You cannot miss them: the road is very well marked with clear signs. We parked just by the park and here is the view that opened up before us. Fortunately the weather was sunny and we took some good pictures.

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The Neolithic settlement consists of several houses. Here you can visit houses built to a design based on reconstruction of remnants of a 7000 year-old early Neolithic settlement that were found.

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We saw workshops for making stone tools and ceramic pots and for tanning leather. Each of the houses is unique and fascinating for the children.selo_chavdar2[1]

We found out that bunk beds were invented a long time ago.

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The entrance fee to the Topolnitsa archaeology park for three adults and two small children (family ticket) was three Bulgarian levs. The view from it is magnificent. In the distance you can see the village of Chavdar and the Stara Planina mountain range. Everything is well maintained and green and the Neolithic spirit is recreated quite authentically.

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I am publishing several pictures of the interior of the houses and of the small earthen pots scattered everywhere so that you can also get a feel for the atmosphere inside.

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The sports and leisure park by the settlement was created with a lot of enthusiasm and creativity and is suitable for children of every age from tiny toddlers to older children, who climbed up the steep climbing wall. You have to be prepared to pay an entrance fee here too. The amount varies depending on what you are going to use in the park. The entrance fee only is 1 lev.

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There is a variety of amusements for little children. They are very different from the colourful plastic amusements for children elsewhere in Bulgaria. It was obvious that a lot of thought, ideas and enthusiasm has been invested to encourage children’s creativity through play. I was informed that the park was designed by architects named Zorteva and Cholakova, who also created an interesting design for a kindergarten in Chavdar. The little children encountered mirrors, swings, musical instruments and other children’s amusements that are difficult to define.

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The older children climbed up the high wall or on the special wooden path, secured by ropes of course.
I was pleasantly surprised by the design concept and also by the fact that the people in this village have a different, offbeat way of thinking which sets them apart from the others and, of course, attracts a lot of tourists. Congratulations to Pencho Gerov, the mayor of the village.

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Here are some pictures from the centre of Chavdar, which is embellished with water cascades, wooden bridges, summer houses and lots of roses. All tiles in the village are new, the pavements are wonderful and the whole village is clean. But the pictures themselves say it all.

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We were very reluctant to leave as we liked the place very much. We will visit it again soon.
It shows that Bulgarian villages can look like those in the rest of Europe too. Provided that there is a will, imagination and, of course, European funding. Every Bulgarian village can follow the example of Chavdar and become a small paradise and a unique tourist centre. Then young people will stop moving away from the villages and our country and will be happy to live here. Because I doubt that the children of Chavdar will leave their homes in the village. I am optimistic: as the old adage says, “many a mickle makes a muckle”.
The village of Chavdar has been renovated with European funding. You can see under which projects here.
The funding comes from the following programmes: Rural development programme 2007 – 2013 (pdf), Environmental Conservation Action Management Enterprise, SAPARD Programme, Regional Development Operational Programme 2007–2013, Administrative Capacity Operational Programme 2007–2013, Regional Growth and Sustainable Development Public Investment Programme, future projects including “Establishing a centre for providing services on an hourly basis for social inclusion in the community or in a home environment in the municipality of Chavdar to help people unable to take care of themselves to lead an independent life”, financed under the Human Resource Development Operational Programme 2014–2020.
Chavdar has been renovated with funds from different EU programmes. See the detailed list here.
All copyright on the pictures is reserved.

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