On a very picturesque hill, located in the heart of the Iskar gorge, stands an old man who is staring into the distance. Ivan Vazov’s character “Dyado Yotso” comes to life from the pages of the story! In the immediate vicinity of the Mezdra village of Ochin Dol, we can also enjoy the picturesque views of the Iskar Gorge and watch the passing trains, as well as “Dyado Yotso” does. And we can also see him for real. 🙂
Thanks to the municipality of Mezdra and the local patriots, the sculpture of this character came to life in 2005. The idea to create this monument comes from Ognyan Petrov, a local who lives the village of Ochin Dol, and the sculptors Monika Igarenska from Mezdra and Georgi Tishkov from Vratsa who took care of the execution. The statue is about 5 meters tall and is made of white stone which originates from Vratsa. And under the monument itself there is a neat wooden gazebo, where you can also admire the beautiful nature.
If you are hungry there is a tavern nearby where you can eat. All this is surrounded by incredibly beautiful flower gardens, with various flowers and shrubs. And a lot of lilac, which in the spring will enchant you with its aroma. And under this whole complex steep cliffs descend. But the only thing you see is an endless blue sky, a lot of greenery and the river Iskar which creeps between the rocks.
It is relatively easy to get there by car. It takes about an hour and a half from Sofia. They say that you can get there by train, but you have to walk. I personally would make such an adventure and would gladly take the train that travels along this amazing gorge. Just like the passengers to whom Dyado Yotso from Vazov’s story waved to.
“The passengers who were standing at the windows of the carriages to watch the picturesque bends of the gorge watched in amazement as on one of the hills there was a man waving his hat in hand at them. By doing this Dyado Yotso was greeting the new Bulgaria”Ivan Vazov
For me, this is a very nice and special place that makes you go back in time. Firstly, in order to remember the time when you read the story written by Ivan Vazov for the very first time, and secondly, in order to get reminded that what is written in it is still very much valid today. I remember how the 84-year-old man lost his sight shortly before Bulgaria’s Liberation and how he wanted to see the “Bulgarian”. At every meeting with the new and modern, he rejoices as if he is a small child!
And the greatest joy is when he learns that a railway will be built. Because in his thoughts and ideas the railway connects with the concept of free Bulgaria. And the greatest joy for him is that the engineers and builders of this facility are Bulgarians! My favorite part is when Dyado Yotso waves the passengers on the train and they can’t help but wonder who this weird old man is. 🙂
And everything that Vazov wrote so many years ago somehow seems relevant to me today, too. Like the villagers in the story, who have an ordinary life in which nothing interesting happens therefore sometimes we find ourselves in a similar situation. And at some point we realize that like the blind Dyado Yotso, we also want to see freedom and something exciting and interesting to happen to us! So, if we find ourselves in a similar situation, let’s do something small for ourselves! Like a trip to a nice and picturesque place that will charge us with energy. Let’s visit the monument of Dyado Yotso either by car or by train. Just gift yourself this amazing experience that will at least slightly change your point of view towards the daily routine, understanding and motives for life. 🙂
This post is also available in: Български (Bulgarian)