The town of Kotel (population 7270 inhabitants) is situated in a picturesque small valley in the eastern part of the Balkan Range, 527 m above the sea level. It is 328 km east of Sofia and 49km north-east of Sliven.
Kotel is not only a place with majestic nature, fresh air, and pure mountain water, but also an important cultural and historical centre. It is also known as the Stronghold of Bulgarian spirit, Cradle of the Bulgarian Renaissance. Kotel is a town with beautiful architectural models from the late Revival and one of the most important centres of weaving art. Its rich history, Revival architecture, and marvellous vicinity make this picturesque Balkan town a desired place for national and international tourism. A Turkish register of 1486 contains the earliest information about the town known then as Kazan Panaru.
The town of Kotel has been declared an architectural and historical reserve. There have been preserved over 110 Revival houses. There is a museum exposition of brilliant fabrics- symbol of the ancient craft of carpet weaving in the Galatan School. The house of Kyorpev's is an ethnographic museum. The Museum of Renaissance illustrates the life of more than 200 national heroes from the region. The Museum of Nature and Science shows the natural variety of the area. The St. Trinity and St. St. Apostles Peter and Paul church preserve beautiful woodcarvings. There is a high musical folk school Filip Kutev in Kotel. There are regular bus lines from Kotel to Shumen, Sliven, Yambol, Veliki Preslav, Targovishte and other villages and towns in the region
Kotel was the cradle and still is the most sacred place of the Bulgarian Revival. It all started with the first revival written document â€œIstoria Slavianobalgarsaâ€ by Sofroniy Vrachanski rediscovering the roots of Bulgarian people, the medieval past â€“ time of bespoken power and dominance, time of culture, fame and pride.
Here is where you van feel and see from within the life of bright revival names like â€“ Petar Beron (â€œRibnia Bukvarâ€), Georgi Rakovski â€“ patriot and leader of the Bulgarian Resistance. Stefan Bogoridi and many more known and unknown Bulgarians who passionately loved and died for the liberation, independence and prosperity of the country.
The emblematic village of Zheravna is 14 km south of Kotel. Every building in the village is an unique monumental presentation of the Bulgarian culture and habits.
The village of Medven is 12 km southeast of Kotel. There are more than 120 cultural monuments dating back to the renaissance epoch. The village of Katunishte is 15 km southeast of the town. 80 buildings there have been declared cultural monuments. The town of Gradetz is situated 17 km southeast of Kotel. It is rich in architectural monuments. Some 7 km away is the antique dividing wall at Zhelezni Vrati.
There are over 30 accessible and fully investigated caves in the region of Kotel. Most interesting and popular are: Ledenika, Dryanovska, Kurvavata lokva, Rakovski
Things to do
There are lots of things to do and see in Kotel here is just a few:
The devastating fires as that of 1894 had devoured four - fifths of the built up civic area. It remains its glory as a settlement - national pride for all Bulgarian people
The exhibition of typical woven materials from this Region in Galatan - school is devoted to the weaving art of the Kotel women. It is open to the public from May to October
The enchanting highland scenery, the ancient neighbourhood of the town with its woodwork houses cobblestone streets, the park with its gsprings, the four museums, the Folk-music school, the preserved atmosphere of the past.