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Weekend rural tourism in Dobursko

Anita Valentinova, 30.05.2012

Although my story for Dobursko village is a part of one exciting excursion to Bansko town, a renowned mountainous resort and a vivacious ski centre in winter, travel notes here are a part of the series “Weekend in Bulgaria’’ which we will present to you. Village Dobursko is a paradise where you can spend the whole weekend and enjoy the gorgeous mountainous landscapes that the region is blessed with. Pirin mountain is charming in spring, autumn and summer and the sheer truth is that the mountain is suitable for four season travelling. It can bring you the sweet scent of the spring, the fresh mountainous air and the autumn fairytale with the flavour of pears and romance.

Today I will present you one village which is huddled in Rila Mountain and even though it is attractive to visit, it remains in the shadows of other settlements that are more popular and developed as travel destinations. I visited the charming village Dobursko in the late autumn, but as if the nature was dressed in the best autumn colours that definitely add a plethora of nuances to these places.

Brief facts about Dobursko village

Village Dobursko is located only 20km away from Bansko and 180km away from Sofia city. Even though it lies on the southern slopes of Rila Mountain, 1050m latitude where the protected areas of National Park Rila starts from, village Dobursko has captivated me by its beauty, nature and serenity in the heart of Rila and Pirin mountains. Dobursko is the place where one can feel the purity, harmony, the spirituality in Rila mountain and our thoughts inevitably lead us to the crystal clear seven Rila lakes or the shrine Rila Monastery. Then we couldn’t remain indifferent, having in mind the close proximity of Bansko, a town full of traditions and customs.

Bansko itself is a very lively ski centre in winter and an interesting place to visit in summer. If you feel stressed due to the crowds of tourists or you just want to touch one better, more authentic and inspiring Bulgarian lifestyle, then Dobursko village must be on your list. Here the nature is an artist who changes the canvas and creates pictures from another world…While travelling to Dobursko in that early autumn morning, I could listen to the whispering autumn fairytales of the nature, history, traditions and as if our thoughts make us go away from the everyday vanity which we are used to…The trees remain veiled in mystery and morning mist as if they take care of our thoughts and feelings. The landscape as if makes me think that I should either choose the fascinating Pirin Mountain or the tranquil atmosphere of Rila, the mountain that calls for freedom and the valley of river Mesta adds extra value to this magical landscape which can compete with the so loved mountainous resort in Switzerland and France. Dobursko is a village, but it’s a hidden mountainous pearl from where a splendid scenery is revealed to three breathtaking mountains- Rila, Pirin and Rhodopes, as well as the river valley of Mesta.

They say that Dobursko village is located exactly where legends would never stop. We have approached the village and I am speechless at the virgin nature, rivers and landscapes that make my heart beat faster and faster. I admire at the beauty, I am proud of what the nature here has in store for us and I shall admit that I was quite excited about what Dobursko would bring for us. Dobursko is a great rural tourism destination, it’s suitable for short breaks, eco tourism tours and a prime location for everyone who wants to touch Bulgarian customs.

It is believed that the first historic inscription for the village dates back to 1378. Legends say that all soldiers who were blinded after the battle from 1014 made their way to Rila Monastery, but due to the severe winter they settled in Gnidobradsko as this was the place where they discovered the healing properties of the spring in the courtyard of the church ‘’St.st.Teodor Tiron and Teoron Stratilat’ which dates back to 1614. It is believed that the water from the spring in the courtyard of the small temple still cures all people who have problems with their eyes. We would add that miracles would always happen if we believe in them, we believe in good deeds and let our God find the best solution for us. The greatest landmark in Dobursko village is the chapel ‘St.St.Teodor Tiron and Stratilat’ which we will tell you more about in our next article.

The church dates back to 1614 and undoubtedly it is interesting and well preserved historic landmark, a shrine which would change our spiritual paths. The murals in the church are a subject to scientific researches and many tourists still admire them. This church lies in the heart of Dobursko. It is three-apse basilica from 17th century, built half in the ground in compliance with the requirements of Ottoman Turks. Murals in the church are unique, because they present scenes of the life of Jesus Christ and it is impressive that the murals are well preserved, they still amaze both worshippers and curious visitors from all over the world. Although the temple is not big at all, you couldn’t notice that the number of the figures in the chapel is over 460. Even though the area of the church is not small at all, we can say that the one who is lucky is the one who can pay tribute to this achievement of the religious and artistic art. Having in mind the great number of painted figures, the temple is declared to be a national landmark of cultural importance. Many local masters left their contribution in the temple, however, the most attractive and curious figure is the mural of Jesus Christ, depicted in a shape, resembling a “cosmic ship”. There are many mysteries and assumptions around the construction of the church, the murals and the preservation of this holy shrine which is like no other in Bulgaria. Exceptional art of the murals that cannot be seen anywhere else, as well as the authentic architecture of the temple, makes it one of the most remarkable examples of Bulgarian art. Today the church is included in UNESCO world cultural heritage.

Murals in the temple were freshened up a bit in 1973-1977. The striking, natural colours are preserved, although Ottomans in 19th century turned the temple in a Turkish hammam (bath). I am sure that if you go in this church, you will pay attention to the hole in one of the walls as if it allows us to look at the world with somebody else’s eyes, think about the reality and purify our astral body in order to leave the church different, good persons who are close to God and who believe in good things in life and beyond it…

In general, Dobursko village is known all over the world in the icon which is Jesus Christ in a cosmic ship. Many legends tell more about the icon, but we will leave you take a look at the gallery, visit this beautiful place which is full of energy and make your own assumptions about the origin of the world-famous icon-painting. Another temple which really worth visiting and it’s functioning is the temple ‘Saint Candlemas’. It is believed that the church dates back to 1860, however, it is believed that it’s even older. The church reminds about the past, the period of Bulgarian Renaissance. The wood-carving is made by the famous Simeon Molerov, one of the talented authors in Bansko art school. The wood-carved iconostasis is a part of Bulgaria’s cultural heritage.

In the area of Dobursko there are many chapels. It is even believed that those holy places are connected to a path which still exists. One of them, located 500m away from the village, is the church ‘’Saint Virgin Mary’’, constructed in 2002.

Dobursko village- rural tourism in Bansko, a touch to the nature

Dobursko village has been recently developed as an attractive destination for rural tourism. One of the most important places to visit is the tourist centre which is located in the end of the village on your way to Nature Park Rila. If you want to find the hospitality of the local people who will not hesitate to make for you some tea of mountainous herbs, you should definitely visit the centre. Dobursko is included in an exciting weekend program and if you wish to explore the mountain in depth, discover the hidden treasures, then you should find accommodation in one of the traditional, typical Bulgarian houses turned into guesthouses. Your next stop might be balneology resort Banya , as well as Bansko, a primary travel destination in Bulgaria, especially in winter. Even though I was accommodated in Bansko, I plan next time to spend more days in Dobursko where I am sure that I will manage to feel the power of the pure fresh air and let myself indulge in the breathtaking sceneries for a longer period. In case you like hiking, you should know that marked eco paths pass through Dobursko and you can make your way to the most beautiful places in Rila Mountain.

Another landmark that I managed to admire at is the waterfall ‘Shrokaloto’ which is located near Dobursko. Well, I have not been lucky enough to visit and explore all the waterfalls that Bulgaria is abundant of, but I managed to feel the energy, the revelation and harmony at this place. Indeed a few minutes are enough to accept this waterfall as a part of the paradise world, called Dobursko.

A venerable tree is one of Dobursko landmarks which cannot leave us indifferent. It is supposed to be 500-year old. The fir tree is located 7km away from Dobursko village.

Dobursko village left great memories for me, smiling faces of the local people are what I wouldn’t forget as the warm reception has always been and will be something that add extra value to any holiday. I personally liked the typical Bulgarian houses that are not abandoned likewise other villages in the country. Dobursko- a destination of rural tourism possibilities, a journey of self-discovery, intact nature and a world of unique landmarks!

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