Don’t you know anything about the town of Oryahovo? Do you want to learn more about its history, lifestyle, traditions, and culture?
You may then visit this riverside town perched at the highest and the sharpest place along the Danube river.
If you leave from Sofia, take North onto the Hemus highway, exit towards Botevgrad and Vratza and, after less than 200 km traveled, you’ll reach the town that composer and director Diko Iliev, actor Andrey Tchaprazov, Prof. Marin Varbanov (the originator of textile tapestries), architects Vassilyov and Tzolov (who designed many Sofia downtown edifices), opera divas Maria Bohacek and Dotchka Gamanska, and Pleiades of cultural celebrities and creators are calling home.
Putting foot onto the Danube’s bank, you’ll see how slowly and majestically is it flowing, and only kilometres across, the broad and flat fields of our neighbouring country, Romania, will open in front of your sight.
You have more to see in the Oryahovo borough. The remains of a Roman fortress, “Kamaka”, are looming proudly on top of a hill in the vicinity of Oryahovo. Watching sunrises and sunsets over the river from this platform would offer you views of unique splendor.
The great Danube has brought inspiration to many a poet or a composer, for it’s here, in Oryahovo, that the popular composer Diko Iliev wrote “Dunavsko Horo” (“Danubian Round”) that’s part of our worldwide fame. We pride ourselves with the fact that only we, Bulgarians, have the Danubian dances of the uniquely gifted Diko Iliev—similarly to the Austrians who pride themselves with Johannes Strauss’ waltz dedicated to the great river.
In Oryahovo, you may visit some cultural heritage artifacts of national importance: the St. George Pobedonosetz (the Bearer of Victory) and the Kamaka Roman fortress. The Museum of History preserves testimonies of our ancestors’ customs that have inhabited the place for millennia. The outside of the antique home is a specimen of the old architectural style, while its inside displays the lifestyle of old-time Oryahovo residents who had conveyed Western-European culture, again, by means of the Great River.
Oryahovo has also two art galleries: a public one, “Prof. Marin Varbanov”, and a private one, “Savchevi”. Annual plein-air get-togethers commemorating Prof. Varbanov are held there. It’s gathering painters from countries nearby and far away, whose inspiration comes again from the environment and the great river.
Oryahovo’s “Nadezhda 1871” Cultural Centre is housing since decades a winds orchestra and the “Izvorche” folk dance company, which are preserving and spreading Diko Iliev’s creative legacy at home and abroad.
Vineyards with Bolgar–one of the tastiest grape varieties so sought after by connoisseurs– are ripening on the Danube’s high bank.
Cruise ships, laden with travelers from the countries along the river, are coming ashore at Oryahovo’s port in almost any season.
In Oryahovo, you may take pleasure in the skills of musicians and dancers participating to the “Aleno Mushkato” (“Scarlet Geranium”) International Festival. The latter is dedicated to the works of Diko Iliev and is held yearly—in August 2009 and, starting next year, in September—under the auspices of the Oryahovo Municipality and of the “Aleno Mushkato” nonprofit association. The festival is a continuation of the Wind Bands Gala and is dedicated to the works of the Bulgarian folk dance’s wizard—Diko Iliev. He spent more than 40 years in Oryahovo and this was his most prolific period—he composed more than 42 horos (round dances), 17 marches, 5 folk potpourris, tens of waltzes, tangos, rumbas, etc. Now is the first year of the Festival existence in this format, and it strives to become the most significant event in the cultural agenda of North-Western Bulgaria.
One of Bulgaria’s largest villages, Selanovo, is located near Oryahovo. Its residents are proverbially hardworking, and their “Kukuruzeni usmivki” (“Corn Smiles”) event held in October will cheer you and make you laugh heartily.
At the Fishers’ Hamlet in the Dolni Vadin village, you may make a stopover, relax and get treated with the traditional fish pickling brine and with other meals characteristic for the area.
However, let’s not disclose everything that one might see, hear and taste in our riverside community of Oryahovo.
We’re welcoming you! We’re looking forward to meet you!