Does the big city suffocate you? Are you tired of it? Do you want to escape from and immerse yourself with peace and silence among fresh air and beautiful views?
If yes, then Leshten is the right place for you!
At about 900 m above sea level, located on the southern slopes of the Western Rhodopes and only 15 kilometers away from the town of Gotse Delchev is located the ancient and picturesque village called Leshten.
Magic, energy, inspiration and the feeling that time has stopped – this is what awaits you here!
Imagine that you have been traveling from Sofia for about 2 hours now and you are quite tired of everything! You’re driving further and further up the mountain on a narrow road full of sharp turns. From both sides of the road, you can see a lot of greenery – forest full of beech and fir. It is autumn, and the golden rays of the sun are creeping between the colorful yellow-reddish leaves of the trees. Fresh, cool air enters through the open front window of the car, and the sound of the Kanina River gently caresses your ears. You are not in a hurry, and the views are amazing, and you do not want to take your eyes off all this majesty of mother nature. And suddenly, after the next turn, it is as if the Revival houses nestled in the mountains have jumped out of nowhere , and the sign “Leshten” welcomes you!
Everything is so beautiful and picturesque that you forget about all the problems and worries that you have. The fresh air fills your chest, you feel a surge of energy, you raise your head up to the sky as if the sun caresses you and a slight smile starts creeping across your face. Everywhere you turn, your gaze stops on two-storey Revival houses built of stone and wood more than 200 years ago by the builders from Leszno. Colorful courtyards, with heavy vines of grapes, colorful balconies with vivid flowers and many narrow-cobbled streets seem to take you back in time to rediscover yourself. This is the first thing you feel when you step out of the car and realize that you are in Leshten!
It is unknown when when the village originated exactly! The first official information about it dates back to the XVII century, and it is believed that the first settlers were families looking for gold along the river Kanina. It is not known whether they found it, but they certainly found an amazing place to live at. Leshten became an important trade center in the early 19th century, and gradually a church and a cell school were built among the houses. Many families from the area settled in more than 50 houses.
Today the population of the village is significantly smaller, but on the other hand its guests are numerous!
In addition to more than 15 guest houses, some of which were built 200 years ago, in Leshten you can walk through the narrow streets and buy souvenirs or homemade berry jam. You can also sit in one of the local pubs and try the home-cooked meal or get drunk with the extremely tasty red wine. There is something for everyone;)
When walking among the rebuilt old houses it seems as if you enter past. Stop for a moment and look at these houses and you will feel their spirit. But you can also peek into someone’s yard, immersed in greenery and colorful violets and primroses. As soon as you arrive at the square, you cannot miss the church “St. Paraskeva”, which was built in 1833 and has retained its authentic appearance. Come in, light a candle and take a look at the bright murals.
Right on the square the locals have set up stalls and sell everything – jam, honey, home-made canned food, spices, wine, souvenirs and so on. You can try and buy whatever you like and by doing this you will support the local people. By buying from these people you take a small part of the lives, hearts and souls.
Just below these pretty stalls there is a large meadow, with a very old willow, and on one of the branches there is a swing. It doesn’t matter if you are a child or an adult – the moment you see it I bet that you will climb it. The children have lot of fun on it, and the adults even more. It is good for a person to keep the child in himself alive and setting It free from time to time in order to be able to relax and be happy. While swinging the smile does not leave your face and it is as if you are swinging into happiness!
If you keep walking around the village, you can’t help but see a very interesting building and say to yourself, “Well, isn’t this Fred Flintstone’s house?” Well, it’s not – this is the Clay House. Although it is was not built as of other houses 200 years ago, it can be said that this is the biggest attraction here! The house is built of clay, wood and straw, and you can admire it mainly from the outside. In case you decide to spend the night in it, you can find the contacts of the owners and stay in it for a few days 🙂
If you are already tired of touring and swinging – go to the local pubs. Everything that is being offered is home-made and as it is fashionable to say, completely ecologically grown on site! Chicken soup, roasted pork, homemade pie, minced meatballs, pancakes with homemade jam, sparkling wine – these are just some of the things that you will be will recommended to try. Delicacies as much as you want!
We can safely say that Leshten is one of the treasures of Bulgaria! A place filled with so much positive energy, radiating peace and quiet that you will definitely want to come back to again and again!
This post is also available in: Български (Bulgarian)