There are several theories regarding the origin of the name Koprivshtitsa, but non of them is adequate nor sufficiently proven.
Some people think that it comes from 'kopriva', meaning nettles. Other people maintain that it comes from 'kup rechitsi', which signifies many streams because of the multiple streams crossing the town and running into the river Topolnitsa. Still others assert that we should seek it in the greеk word 'kopros', meaning dung, because of the flocks abounding around the town.
In three hundred year old writings the name Koprivshtitsa, could be met. The insertion of v appears at the end of 18-th century. Naiden Gerov expresses an opinion that Koprivshtitsa has been founded by bouars from Turnovo running westwards from the Turkish invasion, towards Lovech, and then through the Balkan mountains towards the centre of Sredna Gora. Konstantin Iretchek mentions that according to the description of the Plovdiv eparchy in 1819 voiced in Greek by priest Konstantin, Koprivshtitsa has been founded by shepherds, about six centuries ago.
According to a legend, once upon a time when there still was a Bulgarian kingdom, the territory of Koprivshtitsa had been place covered with woods and pastures, exuberant grass and cold clear water springs.
In the summer large herds of cattle grazed there. In the summer there were a number of dairy - farms and shacks all around, but in winter, when the heavy snow fell, all became deserted.
When the Turks invaded Bulgarian land, people from Plovdiv and Zlatitsa together with their livestock ran away towards Sredna Gora to hide from the invaders. They found the deserted dairy-farms and shacks of Koprivshtitsa and located there. Soon refugees from other places also came. They liked this place with healthy climate, vast pastures for the cattle, plenty of water and wood, they built houses.
According to un old legend, with such refugees arrived a woman from the Rila village. When she come to Koprivshtitsa she found the place suitable for living left to her shepherds her livestock which was numerous, and went to Odrin-at that time it was the capitol of the Turkish sultans. She went to the sultan pleading with him to give her a 'firman' - decree for possession of all the Koprivshtitsa land.
Was that woman so beautiful as to charm the sultan or did she show some boyar insignia- it's a mystery, but as the story goes, the sultan give her the wanted 'firman'.
The decree stated that territory was a property of hers and no Turk on a shod horse should pass, nor a Turkish woman should give birth therein.
When the women come and people heard about the decree, they were very grateful and called her 'Sultanka'.
The Turks called Koprivshtitsa - 'Avrat alan', which meant woman's meadow, because of the fact that the sultan made it property of a woman.
There were another stories. This sultans decrees assure some rights and liberties to the town and encourage its development. The local municipal councilors are entirely independent.
The tax concessions are very important. The inhabitants of Koprivshtitsa can freely pasture their herds and flocks even on the Aegean Coast.
The years pass, the stockbreeding is well developed, and there are 120 000 sheep, 20 000 head of cattle, 2000 thoroughbred horses.
The tax-collecting, the cattle-droving, the manufacturing of home spun and the tailoring are prosperous.
The 'beglikchii' - people, collecting taxes on sheep and goats collect one tenth tax on the herds all over European Turkey. These men should be well armed and ride strong horses, should be able to read and write in Bulgarian and Turkish.
Another profitable trade is cattle droving. Cattle- drovers- traders of cattle buy rams from Misia, Thrace, Macedonia and Serbia. Cattle- drovers rear many beef-cattle and sheep to bring them to the sultan's capital for meat, hide and cheese.
Another popular profession was dealing in frieze. Dealers in frieze and their apprentices produced frieze - thick woolen material, tight legged breeches - men,s trousers, knitted woolen slippers, and the industrious and skillful women from Koprivshtitsa weave and manufacture motley rags, waist-belts, felts-thick woolen carpets, heavy woolen cloaks, wonderful manycoloured socks.
Koprivshtitsa was also known as a settlement of good salesmen and tradesmen.
Every year the town of Koprivshtitsa exports 250 000 pairs of stocking and a great quantity of sausages.
They traveled all over the Turkish Empire- in Egypt, Syria and elsewhere. On their way back from far- afield markets they carried to their native place expensive silk, drawn utensils, exotic fruits and many other foreign goods.
Thus by the end of 18-th century Koprivshtitsa becomes rich and its population is over 12 000.
For the first time village of Koprivshtitsa is mentioned as a town in 1873. At that time there is already a pharmacy and three doctors, graduated in Vienna and Athens.
To emphasize their well-being and prosperity, the wealthy inhabitants compete in building prettier and prettier houses.
Thus appear the first patterns of Koprivshtitsa,s Renaissance architecture.
For the development of Koprivshtitsa generous reach people gave a lot. They helped for building churches, fountains, schools and bridges, for keeping and decoration monasteries. Famous at that time were Hadzi Nencho Palaveev, Petko Doganov, Velko Chalukov and c.t.r. The development of Koprivshtitsa was good all that time 'Jil Invasion'. Free times turks tried to fire the town.
Many people left Koprivshtitsa, but because the people were anderaktive
strong hard working and they loved there home please they made the town to survive.
Now a day there is a now economical and cultural bloom.
Now people are employed in farming, potatoes, growing and tourism.
There are more then small hotels, folk style restaurants and many coffee shops.
Koprivshtitsa is a miniature treasure - chest with its remarkable monuments of architecture and building from the period of the Bulgarian Renaissance 18- 19 th century. In this town which has preserved its original appearance one could find hundreds of picturesque old houses, which together with the fountains, the arched bridges, cobblestone streets, high stone walls and churches from enchantingly original ensemble.
There are 388 architectural monuments from the period of the Renaissance. The ones of national significance are fifteen. That,s why it was declared a museum town in 1952, in 1971- a historical preserve, and in 1978 it was acknowledged as a national architectural preserve of international significance and a centre of international tourism.
With its statute of Town - Museum and the preserved architecture, Koprivshtitsa is a desired place for many guests coming from Bulgaria and the whole world, and is beautiful as it has been always!
The one of the most striking Koprivshtitsa,s architectural monuments from the Renaissance period is etnographical museum - Oslekova house. Built during the Crimean war 1835-1856 for the rich Koprivshtitsa merchant Nencho Oslekov. The architectural style of the house look likes the architectural style of the houses in Italy. It impresses by its asymmetrical construction and the three columns of Lebanon cedar that support the second storey. The abundant wall paintings and decorations, as well as the folk-type furnishing, present the life of a rich 19th century Koprivshtitsa family.
The museum exposition include unique objects and adornments, women and men dresses, a collection of Koprivshtitsa embroideries and socks which provoke the interest of the visitors by their unique beauty and elegance.
Another Reenaissance house is Lyutov's house
It was built in 1854 by masters from the town of Plovdiv for Stefan Topalov and later was sold to the rich Koprivshtitsa merchant Petko Lyutov. The house representing the final phase of the Koprivshtitsa,s Renaissance architectural development.
The house is interesting with its opulent exterior and interior architecture and the arched eaves where the data of the building is written. The ceilings of the rooms are with wooden geometrical ornaments. The abundant wall paintings is representing of flower- baskets, medallions, alcoves , landscapes from Istanbul, Venice, Cairo, Alexandria.
In the middle of the parlour stands an authentic fountain, imported from abroad which served as refresher of the house with rose water.
In the museum is presented also one of the most typical for Koprivshtitsa hand-craft the manufacturing of felt, non- woven, colored woolen carpets.
The house of Todor Kableshkov is a masterpiece of the Bulgarian construction genius of the Renaissance era. The house is the native home of Todor Kableshkov, the Apostle of the Liberty from the 4-th Revolutionary District and author of the Blood letter. The Koprivshtitsa master Gencho Mladenov built it in 1845, impressive by its size, the house is with emphasized symmetry organized around a centrally located circular hall, three symmetrical facades with yoke pediments and semi-circular jetties. What is typical here is that master is also the author of the whole interior setting and decoration: double sided staircase, ceilings, alcoves, built- in closets, doors, hues and shades.The spacious parlour on the second floor is remarkable by the big wooden sun on the ceilings.
The exposition on the first floor reflects the authentic setting of life of chorbadji Lulcho Kableshkov,s large family. Here are the women's working room, the kitchen, the living room, and the room- of - birth of Todor Kableshkov. On the second floor the expositions reveals two inextricably bound directions- the life and revolutionary activities of Kableshkov, on one hand and the preparation, the course of actions and the outbreak of the April uprising, on the other hand. Among the museum exhibitions, drawing the visitors attention one could see Kableshkov's textbooks, his two rifles, his authentic hat of railway station master of Belovo, the sacred attributes by which the insurgents gave oath, their weapons.
In a beautiful Koprivshtitsa yard, under the shades of impressive pine-trees and tender branchy morello - trees, is hidden a small blue house - the native home of Dimcho Debelyanov.
It was built in 1830 for the needs of the family of the not too wealthy weaver of frieze Velio Debelyanov. The house is a two- storey one and is a representative of the second construction stage in the town, of houses of the so- called craftsman's - guild kind. Visitors excited go over the setting showing the atmosphere of Dimcho,s childhood years spent in Koprivshtitsa and the exposition dedicated to his life and writing career.
In the exposition are shown original objects cradle of the poet, the the suitcase with which he carries his favorite books at the front, manuscripts, photographs, different editions of his works deeply impress.
In the yard one could see the popular sculpture by Ivan Lazarov representing the awaiting mother of the poet.
His poems accompanied by music could also be heard in the museum which additionally enriches the impressions of the numerous visitors in the native house of the tender poet-lyricist and classic of Bulgarian literature Dimcho Debelianov.
The native house of Gavril Hlutev (or the men who will become Georgi Benkovski) was built in 1831 by local masters and is of the type of the craftsmen's houses. The Koprivshtitsa,s well off representatives of the handicraft classes were building such two-story houses with vast, open verandas.
In this house was born the fiery revolutionary strategist and leader of the April revolt , Georgi Benkovski. He was the voivode of the flying detachment that during the rebellious April 1876 flew over the Sredna Gora mountain as a herald of the Bulgarian imminent liberation.
Amongst the most interesting exhibits is the authentic rifle of Benkovski with which he fought during the uprising.
Not far from the house, on the rocks, rises the imposing monument of the revolutionary, mounted a horse and with a cloak on his shoulders, looking forward liberty. The monument is designed by the sculptor Christo Tanev.
Close the river Topolka - Topolniza behind tall stone walls, is located the native home of Lyuben and Petko Karavelovi. It consists of three buildings erected during a quarter of a century.
In this home were born two of the most prominent persons of the Bulgarian cultural and political life acting before and after the Liberatione Lyuben Karavelov, a publicist revolutionary and writer, and Petko Karavelov - prime Minister, Minister of finance, one of the first builders of New Bulgaria.
The house is national architectural monument built by local masters in three different years.
The oldest one is the 'Zimnata kushta'- The winter house, built in 1810, Stopanskata sgrada' The farm building dates back to 1820, the new one is 'Liatnata kushta' The Summer house, built in 1835.
The Summer house is interesting with its exterior built in chimney and the avant- corps facing the street. The old pear in the yard was planted by the writer in 1854, it was declared as a protected national, landmark.
In the exposition of the museum a central place takes the printing press by which Lyuben Karavelov prints his papers Freedom, Independence, and the magazine Knowledge. Here also shown his first writings, the photos reflects the three periods of Karavelov's life- his stayed in Russia, Serbia and Rumania and the desk of the writer.
The exposition of the museum in the summer house is dedicated to his brother Petko Karavelov and his life- a distinguished political and public figure.
Other remarkable architectural monuments are also the two churches of Koprivshtitsa - St. Nikolai and The Assumption.
The church St. Nikolai was built in 1844 thanks to the generous donations of the craft- guilds and rich families of Koprivshtitsa.
The main architect and construction- performer was master Gavril from the town of Odrin, and its architecture is monumental.
Its corners are constructed of cut stone blocks to be firm. The iconostasis and come of the icons are made by father Ivancho from the town Elena, others are made by Joanikii Vitanov from Triavna, and a few are painted by the local iconographer Hristo Yanchev.
The church - The Assumption is constructed in 1817 on the site of an even older temple, burnt and ruined by the 'kirdjalii'. The legend says that masters from Smolsko and Mirkovo built the church in just 11 days. The iconostasis is made in 1821, creation of the artist Hadji Georgi , who graduated the Teteven wood- carving school.
Interesting are many of the icons, especially those made in 1837-1838 by Zahari Zograf, Joan Samokovli, father Ivancho and others. In the church yard one could find the graves of the prominent men from Koprivshtitsa- Todor Kableshkov, Dimch Debelianov, Hadji Nencho Palaveev, prof archimandrite Evtimii, Rashko Madjarov.
Especially interesting are the bridges of Koprivshtitsa having perfect expressive shape and outline. The beautiful lines of the railings and the arches are dominant. The alternating white and dark green shaded stones are evidence for the attitude of the master- builder towards colouring.
On the parapet,s stone one could see the year of erection and the donor,s name which is evidence of the importance attached to public building at that time.
The most popular bridges are the Kalatchev 1813 known also in history as The first shot bridge, where on 20-th April 1876 in Koprivshtitsa shot the first rifle against the five century enslaver, which event developed into the April epopee and an irresistible aspiration for freedom.
Other is Kerekov, Peovsky bridge's.
Around the middle of the 19-th century, Koprivshtitsa became one of the leading cultural, literary and educational centers in Bulgaria.
In the native home of Naiden Gerov was located one of first monastic schools in the town. In this school was teaching the father of Naiden Gerov- Hadji Gero Dobrovich Moushek.
In 1822 the influential notable men Vulko Tchalakov donates a house for the first public school in his native town. Later the old Tchalakov house turns to be too small and master Vulko commits another charitable act. He donates money as well as his garden at the centre of the Koprivshtitsa - by the left bank of the river Topolka- for a larger school, suitable for the new methods of education. In the summer of 1837 master Vulko manages to persuade Neofit Rilski to come to Koprivshtitsa to be headmaster. Here he initiates the mutual- teaching as a method and its rules, which are of a great importance for the development of education during the period before the Liberation of Bulgaria.
In 1846, with the help of Naiden Gerov , who has just arrived back from Russia, the first school with classes in Bulgaria has been opened in Koprivshtitsa. This is a new bright page in the development of education. In 1850 has been opened a school for girls, and in 1863 girl,s school with classes has been created, too. In 1899 Koprivshtitsa high school has been built and opened.
Notable enlighteners, bookman and writers from Koprivshtitsa are Naiden Gerov, Yoakim Gruev, Veselin Gruev, Hristo Pulekov, Naiden Popstoyanov, Nikola Belovejdov.
The oldest preserved book in Koprivshtitsa is from the latter half of 17-th century - teacher Rasho,s bible from 1644.
The symbols of Koprivshtitsa are the houses proclamed as national architectural monuments.
The Spitseria, on old word for chemist, is a two storeyed building, characterized by the overhanging outward expansion of the upper floor.
It is in harmony with the neighboring buildings on the west side of April 20-th square .
In the second half or the 19-th century Dr. Spas Ivanov Abrashev, one of the first Bulgarians graduate in medicine in Vienna, opens in it a chemist,s shop.
During the April uprising, in 1876, in the Spitseria, the Revolutionary Military Council takes up important decisions.
Today this monument of culture houses the Museums, Administration, where one can be informed about the cultural monuments of the town.
Petko Doganov,s house is one of the most interesting sights in Koprivshtitsa. The house represents a solid wood construction and constitutes the centre of the whole compound. Its architectural value is nationally recognized.
The two- floor house was built in 1815 for the tax- collector Hristo Doganov by masons and builders, who came from Plovdiv. The two one- floor annexes were added later by Petko Doganov. The small court, enclosed inside the building, reminds of a medieval fortress.
By means of a drawbridge over the street the central house was connected with the nearby farmyard and accommodation for the servants and horse-keepers.
During restoration works in 1969 an underground tunnel was found, connecting the place to the house of Todor Doganov, Retko,s brother.
The wood carving and wall-paintings in the two inner buildings were made in 1854 by the same masters who had painted the church Saint Nikola. The painters were brought here from the Rila Monastery, to which Petko Doganov had made a donation.
Desyov's Stariradev's house was made in 1855 for the wealthy cattle dealer and tax-collector Todor Desyov by the same masons, who had built Lyutov,s house and the old school. The house follows the typical symmetrical pattern.
The corridor, the glazed porch and the rooms are decorated with wall-paintings. The ones in the two of rooms in the house are exceptionally impressive, and on the wood gate, one can see the scars by the Turk,s scimitar and axe blows from the time of the April uprising,s suppression.
In Koprivshtitsa central square, bearing the historic name of April 20-th, stands the Mausoleum- ossuary dedicated to those people from Koprivshtitsa who died in the April uprising. It was built after the architect P. Tsvetanov,s . It is the first monument dedicated to April,s epic.
It is a two floor monument composed of a pyramid and a dome with metal facing and a cross on its top.
Koprivshtitsa is one of the highest pleases in Bulgaria 1060m altitude. Not far from Koprivshtitsa highest peaks of Sredna Gora/mountain/-Bogdan (1604m alt.) and Bunaya ( 1594m alt.).
The population of Koprivshtitsa is about 2675.
Koprivshtitsa is situated 110 km from Sofia. It is connected to the capital trought the highway Sofia - Burgas, leading out after Pirdop.
The town is situated of 75 km from Plovdiv, 26 km from Pirdop, 24 km. from Strelcha and 38 km. from Panagurishte.
One can reach to Koprivshtitsa by trains arrival from Sofia, Karlovo,Burgas. The railway station is of 9km from the town. There is a regular bus from from the railway station to the town.
There is an Information centre situated on the square to 20th April'6 which provides accommodation for the visitors of the town. There are good furnished private hotels, accommodations two hostels.