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THE MAGIC CALLED "KOVATCHEVITSA"

Kovatchevitsa village is situated in the basin of the Kanina /Blood/ River. It is surrounded by a string of high ridges in the south-west part of the Rodopa mountain massive called Dabrash.

The origin of the Kovatchevitsa village is connected to the violence the Bulgarian population in that area had been put under during the forcible conversion to Mohammedanism in the period 1623 - 1625 and later on in 1656. In that time, the Bulgarians that didn't want to accept the Islam left their homes, abandoned their properties and their relatives and looked for salvation and shelter in the higher, inaccessible parts of the mountain. The abundance of drinking water in the land of the village, the spacious pastures, the mild climate and the safety from Turkish raids made it favourable for the refugees to settle there.

Separate hamlets formed on a family basis appeared at the beginning. They originated from refugees that came from some neighbouring villages as well as from more distant places, such as the forcibly expelled from Tarnovo people that settled in the so-called "Tarnovo neighbourhood". A century later, in the 18th c., a new migration wave came from western Macedonia and formed the "Arnautska mahala (neighbourhood)". The different quarters on the land of the village were clustered around the source called nowadays "Tsiganchitsa", where the smith Marko, a settler from the near village of Ribnovo lived./p>

A legend about the name of the Kovatchevitsa village exists: "After the skilled smith and farrier Marko had died, his wife Gina took the fate of the orphaned family in her hands. When relatives and customers from the near hamlets visited her, they used to say: 'We are going to the "Kovatchevitsa"' meaning, to the wife of the smith /smith in Bulgarian is 'kovatch'/. So the name of the settlement won recognition and later on all the surrounding hamlets grouped around it in order to defend themselves from the frequent brigands' attacks. That was the foundation of the present Kovatchevitsa village.

With the growing up of the settlement, different crafts were developed to serve its inhabitants. The came from the near villages settlers were occupied with agriculture and cattle-breeding mainly. It was different from the West Macedonians who were builders mainly, the so called "dyulgeri". With the time being, common traditions and customs had been built.

There was no Turkish administration in Kovatchevitsa during the whole period of the Ottoman power. That helped the village to become one of the centers of the Macedonian movement for national liberation. The village had been situated on the border between the Principality of Bulgaria and the Ottoman Empire from the Liberation of Bulgaria until the liberation of Pirin Macedonia in 1912. One of the important channels for arms supply to the counties of Nevrokop, Drama and Seres used to pass via Kovatchevitsa. All the inhabitants were devoted to that patriotic task and helped with anything possible.

Kovatchevitsa used to meet and see off many rebels. There were cases when in one and the same house of the village, in the same time, representatives of the two opposite trends of the VMORO /Internal Macedonian-Odrin Revolutionary Movement/ found shelter without being aware of the others' presence. To be safe and to protect themselves from the Turkish power, the leaders of the local organization decided to dig a tunnel connecting the upper with the lower end of the village. Through that channel the committee members moved when necessary without endangering the security of the village and the villagers.
In 1912, during the Balkan War, the volunteers' battalion of George Myahov from Batak was marching as the advanced guard of the Bulgarian army approaching the town of Nevrokop /Gotse Deltchev/. Thirty volunteers from Kovatchevitsa, being at that time builders in different parts of the country, joint the battalion. Kovatchevitsa was liberated from the Turkish suppression on the 17th of October, 1912.

The inhabitants of Kovatchevitsa participated in the Interallies /The Second Balkan/ War and the First World War as well, fighting on different fronts. Twenty eight victims from all the eminent families fell in the wars - Gyuzlevs, Horozovs, Jouglevs, Kopralevs, Dryankovs, Jerevs, Iordjevs, Tsingovs, Gagovs, Bentchevs, Taushanovs, Trepkovs, Landjevs, Shousharkovs, Gueorguievs, Trenevs, Ditchevs, Avramovs, Mihalevs.

Culture

In the period of the Bulgarian Revival Kovatchevitsa was a centre of the educational and the ecclesiastical movements in the Nevrokop area. The Church of "St. Nikola" built in 1847 by the famous builders of Kovatchevitsa with the volunteer work of all the villagers is a unique architectural monument. According the requirements of the Turkish administration, it should not stand out high and it was dug into the ground in the lower end of the village. In 1900, twelve years before the liberation of the village, its inhabitants built a four-storey bell tower next to the church. The two different bells were moulded on place by the well-known masters from Gorni Brojden using the collected from the people bells. In the yard of the church.

The first monastery school was built in 1820 in the yard of the church. The monks had been teaching children until 1854. The first secular school in the village was opened in 1854 in the house of the young teacher Nikola Banev-Kovatchevski.
The two-storey building of the new school was built in 1888 with a donation from the teacher Yordje Dimitrov Djordjev, who made it in memoriam of his three children perished in the flames of his burnt by Turks house. That is why the school is still bearing the name Popular School "Yordje Dimitrov".

Kovatchevitsa was strongly affected by migration processes in the 50s of the 20th c. The mass migration towards Velingrad, Batak, Pazardjik and other regions of the country led to the devastation of many wonderful houses in the village that started slowly crumble away.

The opportunity for the village to revive was its "discovery" by the Bulgarian film-makers. There is no other village in the country where so many movies have been made - over 20. There are "Mera spored mera", "Men Times" and many others.

In 1977 Kovatchevitsa was announced a historical and architectural reserve. That fact together with the popularity of the village after the movies had been made, brought to the village new people who bought and restored some of the devastated houses. That's how the village was safe from destruction.

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