Wonderful nature. Hidden, preserved. In the middle of it – a relic. Two! Unique. More relics… And more nature…
Let’s imagine there’s such a place in the world. Don’t you want to know? And if there is a way, won’t you go? Shouldn’t this place be developed for tourism? The questions are rhetorical. And the answer is that there is such a place. It is less than two hours by car from Varna, somewhere as far from Burgas. You probably don’t know it, but it’s there.
IN THE HEART OF AN OLD MOUNTAIN
Lopushna is a village west of Dalgopol. Turn off the road near Komunari, then go through Partizani. The only reminders of Partisans and Komun(ari)istes are the shubraks. The asphalt is lovely, as in any DPS-run area.
The forest – deciduous, but mixed in places with planted pine. The hills are grassy, with a river gorge below. Meadows. Wind, silence, light rustling of leaves. In the middle of this is Lopushna.
People are few. A child is born a year old, or not. However, the village is picturesque, well-kept. The kindergarten is lit, the paint is fresh (02). Near the town hall the waste is collected separately. There are nice houses. In front of the fences – fountains. And farmers are to be found. A big nice mosque, built ten years ago, is the heart of Lopushna.
The big mosque is the heart of Lopushna, but not the spirit. The spirit is a small 220-year-old wooden one next to it. Can you imagine it? A mosque built entirely out of wood in the very beginning of the 19th century is tucked away in Lopushna.
There are no nails, no fasteners – the wood is the masonry itself, fitted together – by hand.
The wood is selected, cut, dried, worked… – you can touch it, just as skilled craftsmen did 220 years ago. Enter, browse… – history is before you. Built, survived.
Not officially a monument. It is much more than a monument.
The mosque was operational until about 2010. It is currently in need of renovation. Money is raised voluntarily, by the people, repairs are done in stages depending on the funds. Again with donations the new large mosque was built. Labour, money, material – all from the heart, mostly from the local people.
The minaret of the wooden mosque is new, not made of wood. Here and there are traces of repairs over the years. 90% of the building is old, dilapidated, but unadulteratedly authentic – if you’re a lover of the real thing, this is all for you.
Not only you, but anyone who stops by, if they want to see the mosque, just have to call the mayor Khalil Nasufov.
He has been in office at City Hall for two terms. He’s very kind, he’ll take you around, tell you…
A stone’s throw to the west is the village of Medovets. And there is a wooden mosque – a twin.
NOT ONLY LEGENDS
It is not known who built the mosques. It is said that the two have in common – in idea they are of a widow. You can ask around. Bulgarian Muslims know a lot of stories.
Lopushna is made up entirely of people of Turkish ethnicity. By contrast, in Partizani and Komunari, there are also Bulgarian people. But paradoxically Lopushna in even older times was inhabited by Bulgarians. It has no old Turkish name.
Speaking of names, another thing is interesting. As it has already become clear, this whole area is from the municipality of Dalgopol. Dalgopol itself in the time of Boris the Third was a police center. There was a partisan detachment to the east of it before 9 September 1944. The villages there bear the names of partisans – Grozdyovo, Tsonevo. Komunari and Partizani are to the west. That is, the authorities after 9 September made sure to surround the “fascist” Dalgopol with communist names.
And Medovets is a village, the arena of tragic events of the Revival process.
Because of all this, a visit to the area can bring a wealth of information of all kinds – recent history, distant, politics… Unadulterated biographies.
And why are mosques made of wood anyway? There’s no concrete answer, but in this case there’s no legend either – often in mountainous areas where timber is plentiful, older mosques are made of wood.
AND NOT ONLY…
You’re probably too surprised by the many things one can encounter in this backwater and supposedly ordinary region. But that’s not all. There is a waterfall near Lopushna and Medovets, but this time closer to the village of Polyacite. It is difficult to reach, and because of the drought it does not flow often. But if you hit the high water, you will see an extremely beautiful element, 10 meters high. Again, authenticity, untouched, this time – natural.
“Hey there, on the high ground, there has been a mudflat since Roman times. From it you could see towards Burgas, towards Shumen… Years ago I took a foreigner friend. He took a relic. He said he would study it when he came home.” The words are those of Mayor Nasufov, gazing at a distant ridge.
It occurs to one to exclaim, “We gas for miracles, but we walk thirsty!” Thirsty, for all this is known to few. And not only is it not developed as a tourist product, it is very far from any organized tourism.
In Lopushna – this is also true – there is no guesthouse, no lodging. Not that the locals will let you sleep in the forest. And it’s not bad in a tent in nature… But if it’s still cold, and you are more, you will bother your hosts. And that’s how, based on all this, the state and the municipality of Dalgopol have the task to restore and develop this area. It is crying out for tourism! At least – for advertising… Because most people live poor. If it’s not the gurbets…
Would it be an exaggeration to say that every second Bulgarian village has such things around it? History and nature like in Lopushna? It wouldn’t be an exaggeration – Bulgaria abounds in all this. Thus Lopushna becomes both magical and prosaic. And surreal, in view of the unknown untapped possibilities.
But enough reflections! First the wooden mosque in Lopushna must be restored. And in Medovets, of course. It would be inhuman as hell to let them perish.