Some time ago we told you about three places that were preferred by the citizens of the city under the hills for rest and relaxation, and today our colleagues from Pod tepeto buried themselves in the archives and personal stories of Byala Cherkva to recall the history of the forgotten Rhodope resort.
More than 100 years ago, the road there was much more difficult than it is now. But while cooling in the city today is relatively easy, it was vital then to look for quieter places in the mountains. And if old sources keep memories of how almost the whole city was exported to the Rhodopes in the summer heat of Plovdiv, then by 1900 the turbulent life no longer allowed this to happen so massively.
One of the first villas, which unfortunately did not survive a fire, belonged to Ivan Andonov - an ally of Zahari Stoyanov, a prominent revivalist who participated in the April Uprising, the Union and has lived through the entire development of Bulgaria until the 30s. He was also one of the founders of the mountain resort. Together with Zachari, they visited the monastery, which gave the name of the resort “Byala Cherkva”.
Gradually, other prominent Plovdiv residents built their summer houses there. Among them is the family of the Obreykovs, the creators of the modern Plovdiv fair. Enthusiastic words about the beautiful nature were written more than a hundred years ago. Around 1906 there was the idea of designing the place as an official resort. After the wars, emotive stories in the press popularized Byala Cherkva. "Go to Byala Cherkva, this is the best I can wish you," wrote the prominent Plovdiv historian and public figure Dr. Alexander Peev a century ago.
The resort was talked up by the founder of the Plovdiv Singing Society Angel Bukoreshtliev. In a newspaper article, he shared his admiration for the beauty of the resort. But he added that the road to get there will make you curse the day you were born - "if you want to get there safely, you have to go by plane." He also spared no criticism of the miserable condition of the monastery and the oven, which operates only when vacationers run and set it on.
After his story in 1921 the situation improved and the monastery itself developed and was completed. Unfortunately, the second wing was not completed due to the death of the then metropolitan and a corresponding redirection of funds.
In the years between the two world wars, the White Church developed most rapidly. In 1938 it was already written about as one of the most settled in the country. In September 1940, vacationers there received the news of the Craiova Agreement and the return of South Dobrudzha within Bulgaria. Only the Obreykovs had a radio when they heard the news, they feasted on the lawn all night.
After September 9, the history of the resort continued, albeit in a different way. Villas were taken away from the original owners, others were preserved, others changed their appearance. The best development was that due to the military base, the road was well paved. Today, it is again part of city life - or a symbol of the attempt to escape from it. Former mayors have villas there, a house is maintained by the Plovdiv Bar Association.
To date, nature has not changed much. However, the resort is different. There were several shops, several pubs back then. Later, during socialism, when many of the wealthy villas had new owners, a large shop was also available. Today, it is gone. But there is still life - families regularly go and rest there and the connection with nature always remains there.