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The article is an excerpt from the author's publication in a magazine "Bulgarian ethnology" . It is a peer-reviewed edition of Institute of Ethnology and Folklore with Ethnographic Museum при Българска академия на науките. Статията разглежда едни от най-старите запазени къщи на териотрията на България. По-конкретно са анализирани характерни детайли от строителни практики в Габровския регион. В рамките на теренното проучване “Строителните занаяти на Стара планина”, организирано от сдружение "Meshra - traditional knowledge and crafts and ETHER - Ethnographic open-air museum, held in 2018, some of the few remaining authentic, residential buildings have been studied.


Според събраната информация за посетените къщи, тяхната възраст  достига внушителните 
370 gr.! Most of them are in extremely poor condition, partially destroyed. Despite their impressive presence, age and authenticity, the houses do not have the status of cultural monuments. The focus of the article is on the construction practices in the choice of material, its pre-processing, positive and negative sides of the applied construction techniques for this period of construction. A comparison was made between the masonry technology used in the houses visited, other practices applied abroad at that time, and the current understandings enshrined in the current norms for masonry structures. The presented information could serve for the successful restoration of buildings from this period and a deeper understanding of previous construction materials and technologies.

Основните цели в обхвата на конструктивния анализ, са:

 deepening the analysis and expanding the knowledge about the history of the used construction practices in Bulgaria;
• creating a basis for interpreting the knowledge of the builders at that time;
• reaching a level of information sufficient for authentic reproduction and restoration of such type of buildings;
• archiving and preservation of the history of construction from a constructive point of view during the work of the established in 1949. Institute of Urban Planning and Architecture” at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (BAS).


Dating of the oldest visited houses

The houses considered within the project were built in the period 1650 - 1900. There are no historical and written data on the beginning of the settlement in the area. Probably this happened after the beginning of the Turkish invasion in the XIV century. Indirect evidence of this thesis is described in "Architecture of the Bulgarian Revival" (Paunova 1975). Stories of local people and specific details of the construction, layout and interior of the houses serve as a more accurate time guide. Examples of dating to the end of the period in question houses of the architectural ensemble in the village of Bozhentsi, Gabrovo region are the disappearance of the verandas after 1900, the hiding of the stairs in the house and their exit to a corridor between bedrooms on both sides. Criteria for the end of the period considered in the field study are the disappearance of the decoration and the lack of utilitarian purpose of the houses after 1900 (Paunova 1975). Their facade appearance is preserved. Dating according to the distribution of the premises can be done indirectly by comparing with archival data for houses in the area from this period. The books "A Brief History of Bulgarian Architecture", 1965 can be used as reference archives; "The Bulgarian House during the Renaissance", 1955 and "Architecture of the Bulgarian Revival" from 1975 (Dimitrov, Yordanov, Kozhuharov, Miyatev, Stoykov, Tonev, Hristov 1965; Zlatev 1965; Paunova 1975). Some of the houses included in the survey, coinciding with the focus of the field research, are Hadjigrigor's house from 1834 in Etropole, Popangelova's and Slaveykova's house in Tryavna, Jongol's house in Koprivshtitsa from the end of the XVIII or the beginning of the XIX century (Dimitrov, Yordanov, Kozhukharov, Miyatev, Stoykov, Tonev, Hristov 1965). Residential sites related to the pre-Renaissance period of late Turkish feudalism, as well as structural features of the roof structures are recreated in "A Brief History of Bulgarian Architecture" (Zlatev 1965). The information is presented mainly with sketches of one or two facades, section, dimensionless sketches of distributions, drawings and low-quality photographs. There are no constructive features. Examples of residential buildings discussed in the book in the Treven region are the house of Manafovi, the village of Bozhentsi and the house of Lazer Matev in the village of Staynovtsi.
More accurate dating of the age of the houses….

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Building materials and technologies

The construction of wild houses in Bulgaria before industrialization is based on the maximum use of natural materials in the immediate vicinity of the site. During the construction of the so-called "earth construction" masonry bodies of natural stones, clay, sand, straw, wood - logs and twigs, stone slabs / slate (Georgieva, Angelova, Nikolov 1996: 6-8) are used. Masonry bodies have different physical and chemical properties, shape, size and composition. The role of bricks is performed by both natural stones and pressed clay blocks with meadow plants (straw) included in their composition. The characteristics of extruded clay blocks vary greatly according to many factors. The main ones are grain size and percentage of sand, clay content, humidity during compaction and testing, compaction quality, content of natural fibers - plant and animal, porosity (Neumann 1993 - may be omitted) (Lorenzo Miccoli, Urs Müller & Patrick 2014). For interior cladding material was used…

Повече за добиването на строителните материали, технологията на изпълнение, използваните разтвори, определянето на качествата на глината, влагането на органични примеси,  мeханичните характеристика на зидарията, причини за разрушения в къщите виж

In all the houses visited, the use of diagonals and intermediate horizontals of wood in the walls made of logs and clay or clay bricks was found. As part of the field study, measurements were made looking for a relationship between the dimensions and angles of the intermediate connections. The initial conclusion from them is that the builders complied mainly with…


Повече за технологията за изграждане на вътрешните стени, състава и функциите на мазилките, диагоналите и междинни хоризонтали от дърво, пожароустойчивостта на къщите, виж HERE

Roof constructions

he shales used in the construction are a type of metamorphic rocks, characterized by a thin layered structure with an oriented arrangement (schistosity) of the minerals. They were mined in quarries, and their stratification was achieved by artificial hydration during the winter months…

… Such a roof did not need repairs. Their displacement took place only under strong vibrations, such as the supersonic transitions of military aircraft at a later stage in the life of the houses. It is only nowadays that the structure of the shale is disturbed as a result of the physico-chemical weathering of the stone…

… Typical for the period roofs from the regions of Teteven, Tryavna and Smolyan region are described in the book…

Повече за конструктивното състояние на посетените къщи, бъдещо развитие на извършеното теренно проучване и литературните източници виж HERE

Author: Dr. Eng. Teodor Todorov