Hello and welcome to Shiroka laka. A small and a very beautiful village in the heart of the Rhodopes, Bulgaria. It is situated at 23 km northeast of Smolyan and 16 km away from one of the most famous winter resorts - Pamporovo.
Are you wondering where the name of the village comes from? It derives from the ancient Bulgarian word “laka” – this means a curve, a bend or a wide meander.
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Coming here you will dive into a fairy tale. Shiroka laka is an architectural reserve with rich musical culture, beautiful landscapes and a rich history. The village dates back to the 17th century when the Bulgarians were under the Ottoman rule. Nowadays it is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Bulgaria.
If you come here, do not hesitate to rent a guest house or a room in a local cosy hotel.
You have to taste the traditional food. In the morning, try the delicious mekitza – fried round shaped dough.
For lunch, enjoy the traditional patatnik, a potato based dish, or kachаmak, a popular dish similar to the Italian polenta that is topped with a crumbled balkan cheese and served with yogurt. For dinner, this is obligatory: a juicy and delicate lamb, accompanied by a Rhodopean salad. Be sure to try honey, as well as wild strawberry jam.
Whenever you visit Shiroka laka you have a lot to see. As you may know, it is famous for its beautiful, small, authentic houses, built in a traditional way for the region. People who have built them were well-known master builders all over the country. The houses are two storey-buildings with bay-windows and an internal wooden staircases. Don’t miss to visit the most typical ones like the Uchikovska House, the Grigorovska house or the Sgurovska house.
Did I mention that here is the National school of folk arts, where young people come from all over the country (not only) to study?
If you come in the summer you can see and visit a lot of places. Go to The Exarch Stefan Community Centre, which is located on the main street in the center of the village. There you can get a lot information about the landmarks, history, traditons, hotels and guest houses in Shiroka laka. And if you want to buy some souvenirs, go to the main square and you will see several small shops, offering whatever comes to your mind.
If you come in August, you will see something that you won’t forget. Every first Sunday of August the nearest village Gela becomes the center of the playing on Rhodope Kaba-gaida, a very typical bagpipe, when a thousand of people come to see and feel this unforgettable kind of a concert.
If you are fan of walking and climbing there are so many places that you can visit ”Momata” (The Maiden) and “Glavata” (the Head) and the three chapels of St. Theodore Stratilates Chapel, St. Cyril and St. Methodius Chapel and St. Atanas Chapel.
Close to Shiroka laka, there are the Devil's Throat cave, the Yagodina Cave, the Eagle Eye Panorama, the Devil's Ecotrail. I can tell you more about them some other time.
Imagine…it’s winter…there is snow everywhere…
Every year in the first Sunday of March the village hosts the annual Mummers Festival called Pesponedelnik. On this day every guest of the village becomes a witness to a little weird scene – 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… And if you want to know more about Pesponedelnik (PesMonday) come next March and you will see the rest.
I can tell more about this incredible place, called Shiroka laka. Words will never be enough.
But my advice is “Come and see, come and taste, come and feel the spirit of Shiroka laka”
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