Shiroka Laka

Location: 
The village is located in the valley of Shirokolushka River, 70km from Plovdiv and 20 km northwest of Smolyan.

History:
The city  was settled in the 17th century, at the time of the mass conversion of the Bulgarian population living in the  Rodope mountain region to  Mohammedanism. Its name means "broad meadow", and it is filled with humpbacked bridges and asymmetrical half-timbered houses topped by distinctive tile roofs. The village has preserved its architecture from the Bulgarian Revival Period, its musical culture, beautiful landscapes, and rich history.

Things to see:
Shiroka laka is famous for its beautiful, authentic Rhodope houses that lie amphitheatrically on both sides of the river. The local master builders were well-known throughout the country. The old houses have the typical traits of the Rhodope architectural style – they are two storey-buildings with bay-windows and internal wooden staircases. Most of the rooms are spacious, with wooden couches against the walls and small windows. The most representative ones are Sgurovska House, Uchikovska House, and Grigorovska House.

The village is also renowned for the folklore traditions it has preserved. Some of the most eminent singers and bagpipe-performers of Rhodope folklore songs were born in this village. The National School of Folk Arts was established in Shiroka laka in 1972.

Every first Sunday of March the village hosts an annual Mummers Festival called”Pesponedelnik”. On this day the guests of the village can witness the following ritual – huge mummer-monsters armed with wooden swords painted in red dance around the streets to scare away all evil from the houses and the souls of people. The mummers are “adorned” with garlic, beans and peppers. On the belts around their waists they have Rhodope bells that come in various sizes. Many Rhodope songs are sung on this day and people celebrate. Many other Bulgarian and foreign mummer bands take part in the festival in addition to the local mummers.

Some of the most emblematic places of interest in the village are Zgurovski konak Ethnographic Museum which is arranged as a house of a wealthy Rhodope family from the end of the 19th century and the Church of Assumption which was built in 1834 in just 38 days by all the people of Shiroka laka.

Shiroka laka provides excellent opportunities for rural and ecotourism. The scenery, the architecture, the fresh air, and the venerable pine trees in the area of Shiroka Laka, along with the cosy small hotels and guesthouses, provide excellent conditions for a relaxing escape!

 

Photos from Shiroka Laka


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