The village - Zjeravna
Zjeravna is a village situated at a height of approx. 6-700 metres in the eastern part of the Balkan Mountains, the so-called Blue Mountains, 15 km from the town of Kotel.
The hub of the town consists of approx. 150 oak houses built about 250-300 years ago. The houses are listed as they are considered national monuments. They must therefore not be substituted by modern buildings.
Zjeravna is an architectural fairytale with a peaceful village environment. It is beautiful, unique and extremely tranquil. There are hardly any cars, but every morning and every evening goats and sheep are herded through the narrow, cobbled streets of the village. Most transport is carried out by donkey and horse and carriage.
In Zjeravna there are several coffee houses and restaurants that serve delicious Bulgarian food and wine at very reasonable prices. There is also live Bulgarian music, which is usually performed by extremely gifted groups of gypsies who are held in high esteem for their musical talents.
Kotel is the nearest town. It is rather isolated, and for several years there has been a 30% rate of unemployment. The mountain area is very fertile, and the inhabitants of the town manage on what they can grow in their kitchen gardens.
The town has approx. 8,000 inhabitants and a number of different establishments such as a school, a hospital and a sanatorium for children suffering from spastic paralysis, to which we give a monthly donation. There is also a large town hall, a post office and a bank as well as numerous small coffee houses and restaurants. Bulgarians make really good coffee, and they love a quick cappuccino, almost more than the Italians.
The Balkan Mountains are very fertile, but there are also large barren areas with clearly marked trekking paths. There are many wild herbs, and sometimes, if you are lucky, you may see large herds of wild horses. Wild boar and bears also live in certain areas of the mountains, but they can only be seen if you know where to look for them.
In the mountains the gypsies gather mushrooms and herbs - how to use herbs is common knowledge in Bulgaria. The older generation knows what all the different herbs can be used for. You can often see the locals picking some lime blossom to take home to brew tea.
The area is also known for its abundant bird life. There are many rare birds, and there is a small museum in Kotel that exhibits the varied bird life of the Balkan Mountains.
In the Bulgarian mountain area the climate is continental, which means that it is warm in the summer and cold in the winter.
In Zjeravna the temperature can reach 28-35°C in the summer and minus 20°C in the winter, and in January/February there can be a thick covering of snow. The frost is dry and the starry sky can be glorious.
Until the house has been properly insulated, we advise guests to visit between May and October.