ARTICLES 
Zheravna - a Fascinating Balkan Legend
Standard Daily, December 2005
The village enchants with its beautiful 18-century architecture. Old inns, shops and fountains of the 17th century are preserved

The village of Zheravna lies in a shallow valley in the eastern Balkan Range at 650 metres above the sea level. The highest peak nearby is Razboina - 1128m. Some believe once an ancient village called Potuk existed in this place.

Usually tourists stop in Zheravna for a couple of hours returning from the seaside. It is convenient, indeed, but the time is hardly enough to enjoy it and summer is not the only season when one can feel good in Zheravna. You can visit the village in late autumn to enjoy the picturesque forest palette. You should know that the facades of all 330 houses built in the 17th century face the sun.
Zheravna in its present shape has existed since 12 or 13 century. Three centuries later it flourished due to the important road for Veliko Tarnovo that passed through it. Crafts, trade and cattle breeding developed.

In its main part the village's image is the same as it was in the 18th century. In this period the characteristic architecture of Zheravna developed - the house's first floor is built of stone and the upper floors are made of oak. Another characteristic is that houses are close to each other and their roofs touch; if seen from above they resemble cubes arranged by an artist.
The houses' exterior not always hints of the rich inner decoration. The ceilings are of carved wood, doors, windows and icon stands are real pieces of art. In each room, the walls, floor or beds are covered by beautiful local carpets, now famous all over the world. Even today the houses are extremely cosy and comfortable to live in. Some of them are museums today and the old school was turned into an art gallery. Many old inns, shops and at least eight fountains are preserved.

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