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Skyline of Petrevene
Petrevene is located in Bulgaria
Location of Petrevene
Coordinates: 43°9′32″N 24°8′53″E / 43.15889°N 24.14806°E / 43.15889; 24.14806Coordinates: 43°9′32″N 24°8′53″E / 43.15889°N 24.14806°E / 43.15889; 24.14806
Country  Bulgaria
Lovech Province
 • Total 17.823 km2 (6.881 sq mi)
Elevation 135 m (443 ft)
Population (1 January 2006)
 • Total 659
 • Density 37/km2 (96/sq mi)
Demonym Petreventzi, (Петревенци)
Time zone EET (UTC+2)
 • Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3)
Postal Code 5784
Area code(s) 06981

Petrevene (Bulgarian: Петревене) is a village in North Central Bulgaria on the left bank of Panega river (Bulgarian: Панега, also: Zlatna Panega, Bulgarian: Златна Панега, "Golden Panega", old: Paneg, Altǎn Paneg). It is in Lukovit Municipality, part of Lovech District and lies on the main road E83 and on the railroad Cherven Bryag—Zlatna Panega, 6 kilometres (3.7 mi) away from the county center Lukovit.[1]


It is widely believed that Petrevene's name has derived from the old-Greek word for stone, "petros" (ancient Greek:πέτρoς), similarly to the Nabataean city of Petra. Indeed, there are numerous sandstone quarries around it since ancient times,[2] and high quality stone (though not real marbel) from them have been extracted and exported even to Romania. Its medieval name, Mramor or Mramornica, i.e. "marble", confirms this hypothesis. In fact, "Miramor, Mromor", i.e. "Mramor" is one of the names under which, soon after the Ottoman conquest of the Balkans, Petrevene is listed for the first time in the Ottoman tax registry "Tahrir Defter" of 1430. Probably, even before, during the Second Bulgarian State, its name has been Mramor or Mramornica as well. It is also possible that Petrevene has been named after a person Petǎr - an unknown village elder (indeed, in its vicinity there are ruins called Petrova gradezh, i.e. "Peter's construction".[2]), or East Orthodox monk of the Middle Age monastery, the ruins of which are near the bridge of the Belenska River to the south of the village.[2] The second one of the names, "Petreve sele", i.e. "Petrevo selo", under which Petrevene is listed in Tahrir Defter supports this hypothesis. It is quite possible also that its name has derived from a combination of these two possibilities.


On the edge of the Danubian plain and Stara Planina, Petrevene lies almost entirely on the left bank of Panega river. The village is bordered by the hill Belopole to its west and by Panega river to its east.[3] It is built primarily on terraces which face towards the river and are built into the hillside.[4]

Climate and drainage[edit]

The climate is well-defined temperate continental; precipitation being an average of 450 mm (18 in) to 550 mm (22 in) a year. This is lower than the standard precipitation for the Danubian plain as its proximity to Stara Planina means that the annual rainfall is lower. However since Petrevene lies on Panega river it is well irrigated and is home to a large amount of natural springs. A lot of these natural springs were then developed and made into public drinking water taps. Among these there are the Rashkovo Kladenche, Blyalata Cheshma and Ibovetz. There is also a tributary which feeds into Panega river locally known as Dulǎt (Bulgarian: Дулът). Most of the households which lie on either side of the Dulǎt use it as an open sewer for human and household waste. Although the village does have a minor sewage disposal system it does not extend to the entire village.



Petrevene is located 2.5 kilometres (1.6 mi) away from Geopark Iskǎr-Panega, (a UNESCO run nature reserve which is managed by the Lukovit County). Much of the flora and fauna present there can also be found in Petrevene. As the agricultural industry in Petrevene diminished, many of the surrounding fields were left un-farmed, and were consequently overrun by wilderness and weeds. This meant that many of the original animals and plants that were driven out in order to make the land fully arable could now being to restore their presence. On the other hand, many plants common to the sphere of agriculture have been naturalized and have become commonplace due to the extensive farming. For example wheat can be commonly found around the area.


The surrounding country side is home to many animals and types of wildlife, however it should be noted that most of the animals present in the region can be observed in other areas of Bulgaria. The variety of mammals in the region, for example, is quite rich. Species that are widely spread throughout Bulgaria are predominant here:[5] these include hedgehogs (Erinaceus concolor), mole (Talpa europaea), blind mole-rats (Nannospalax leucodon), Eurasian red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris), striped field mouse (Apodemus agrarius), common vole (Microtus arvalis), wild rabbit (Lepus capensis), hamster (Spermophilus citellus), wildcat (Felis sylvestris), fox (Vulpes vulpes), beech marten (Martes foina), badger (Meles meles), weasel (Mustela nivalis), otter (Lutra lutra), polecat (Mustela putorius), jackal (Canis aureus), cinghiale (Sus scropha) and roe deer. (Capreolus capreolus)[5]

The bird life of the region is quite rich. Most of these bird species are widely spread in the country. Some of these typically inhabit the fields – partridge (Perdix perdix), quail (Coturnix coturnix), field-lark (Alauda arvensis), yellow wagtail (Motacilla flava), grey rook (Corvus corone), blue crow (Coracias garrulus), bee-eater (Merops apiaster),[5] others inhabitants of the forests – nightingale (Luscinia megarhynchos), wood-lark (Lullula arborea), garden warbler (Sylvia atricapilla), long-eared owl (Asio otus), Tawny Owl (Strix aluco). There are also several birds which inhabit the area that are listed in the Bulgaria section of the IUCN Red List.[5] These include, (but are not limited to), Black Stork (Ciconia nigra), Pygmy cormorant (Haliaetor pygmeus), Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus), Levant Sparrowhawk (Accipiter brevipes) and the Lesser Spotted Eagle (Aquila pomarina). The area is home to many reptiles, among which feature the Great Crested Newt (Triturus cristatus), Interestingly, a common occurrence is for these animals to come into contact with the local people, either directly or indirectly. For example badgers, weasels, and beech martens are regularly blamed for attacked local livestock, (mostly chicken and small fowl). Indeed, this is a major problem in some instances as jackals, for example, may wander into the village and attack sheep, livestock, and sometimes even guard dogs. For this reason most livestock owners tend to lock up their animals during the night


According to the botanical – geographic partition of Bulgaria Petrevene falls in Euro-Asian steppe area and forest steppe area, specifically Illyrian province, part of the Pre-Balkan Range, Troyan-Tǎrnovo area.[6] As with much of the fauna, many of the plants present can be found in the Geopark Iskǎr-Panega. The area is home to a rich variety of flora, as many plant species are distributed on the limestone terrains of Petrevene's region within Bulgaria.[6] Among them there are some rare and endemic plants, which are decreasing throughout Bulgaria. These include endemic species like Urum, (Seseli degenii), a plant endemic of the area, (found primarily within the central section of the Pre-Balkan area), which is listed in the Bulgaria section of the IUCN Red List as well as in the European Register for the rare, threaten of extinction and endemic plants species.[6]


As part of the village's public services and institutions, there exist a post office, an Orthodox Christian church and a public library, which covers a total of 190 square metres (2,000 sq ft), contains 4786 volumes and hosts the Cultural Community Center "Ivan Stefanov-1918".[7] There are a total of 40 registered members of the library.


The rock monastery of St. Nikolaus (Gligora) near Karlukovo, 14th century

Early History (Pre-14th Century)[edit]

The earliest evidence of settlement in the area, comes from an Iron-Age grave discovered in the "Cherkovishteto" area, and several Thracian burial mounds surrounding the village. Petrevene has been in the First and the Second Bulgarian State[according to whom?]. Its medieval name was Mramornica or Mramor and it has been the centre of the surrounding region Mramornica. In the "Ragachevoto" area there are remains of a Middle Age monastery named after St. Peter and St. Paul. In the 13th century, when Bulgaria was under the direct rule by the Byzantine Empire, in Petrevene, as in the whole surrounding region, there were resettled Bulgarian-Paulicians from Tracia who adhered to non-canonical heretic Christian beliefs. Together with the Bogomils and others they were antagonictic to the official East Orthodoxy, with which they were rivals and fierce adversaries. During the early Ottoman period, and probably before that, during the Second Bulgarian State, the village of Rumyancevo was called "Golam Pavlikan", a hamlet of the village of Zlatna Panega is called "Pavlikeni" and the monastery near Petrevene has been devoted also to St. Paul. It is believed that Bulgarian-Paulicians have Armenian-Paulician ancestry. The non-canonical beliefs were prosecuted as heretical Christian sects by the dominant East Orthodox Church, as well as by the pre-Ottoman authorities. However, later they were tolerated by the Ottoman authorities.

The centre of Mramornica District (Turk.: Kazá) (14th–16th centuries)[edit]

The rock church of St. Marina near Karlukovo, 14th century

According to the "Tahrir Defter" tax registry, Petrevene was the center of "Mromornicha" (Bulg.: "Mramornica") District (Turk.: kazá) of the Nikbolu (Bulg.: Nikopol) region (Turk.: sancak) during the early Ottoman Empire. The Mramornica District included today's localities: Bărkach, Karlukovo, Krushovica, Lepica, Lukovit, Petrevene, Petarnica, Oreshene, Reselec, Rupci, Sadovec, Suhache, Todorichene, Cherven Bryag, Chomakovci etc.[8] It bordered the kazas of Nikopol from the North (incl. Glava, Koynare), Lovech from the East (incl. Toros, Dermanci, Gradeshnica)), Kievo from the South (in the Glozhene region, incl. Belenci, Hubavene), Nedelino and Vraca from the West (incl. Roman, Byala Slatina). Till 1585, and probably during the Second Bulgarian State as well, Petrevene used to have two names - "Mramor" and "Petreven", or their variations, and used to be the main town of "Mramornica" District. Soon after the Ottoman conquest of the Balkans, in 1430, it is included in the Ottoman tax registry, Tahrir Defter, where it is listed as Mramor (Turk.: Miramor, Mromor) as a first name and as Petrevo selo (Turk.: Betreve sele) as a second one. Since for the time being the Ottoman administration have preserved the existing structures of the previous governments, and Tahrir Defter has copied in principle the existing tax systems from the pre-Ottoman period, it is quite possible that under the name Mramornica or Mramor, Petrevene has been the center of the district, probably called also Mramornica during the Second Bulgarian State as well. In 1479 it is listed with the first name Petrevo selo and the second name Mromor. At the same year it used to have 26 family and 1 widowed Christian houses, while in 1516 it used to have 14 family and 13 widowed Christian houses (1 house = 5 people). During the early Ottoman period as Christians (or Kristians) were listed only the Christian-heretics (Paulicians, Bogomils etc.), while the East Orthodox Christians, subject to the Greek Patriarch of Constantinople, were listed as Rum milleti. Ethnic Turks have never lived in Petrevene. First pomaks have appeared in the region at the end of the 15th century. The word Pomak (i.e. converted to Islam Bulgarian - Christian heretic) have appeared first in the Bulgarian Christian-heretical language surrounding of North Bulgaria (the regions of Lovech, Teteven, Lukovit, the former kazá Mramornica). Probably it comes from the expression "пó ямак" ("more than an Yamak", "more important than an Yamak", similarly to "пó юнак", i.e. "more than a hero"). It is quite possible also that the word comes from the dialect expressions "помáкан, омáкан, омáчен, помáчен" (pomákan, omákan, omáchen, pomáchen) in the sense of "provided by an estate or farmland", "farmer", provided by a guaranteed "мáка", an old dialect North-Bulgarian word for property, ownership, farm, estate,[9] contrary the Bulgarian Christians, who, before the Tanzimat reforms in 1839 г. did not have a guaranteed "мáка".[10]

During the late Ottoman period (16th–19th centuries)[edit]

With the administrative changes in the Ottoman Empire of 1516 under sultan Selim I kazá Mramornica has been dissolved. Parts of it were included in the kazás of Nikbolu (Bulg.: Nikopol) and Ivraca (Bulg.: Vraca). After the lost of its status of the center of a kazá, Petrevene began to decline and part its population has moved elsewhere. Probably some of it has migrated to the villages of Mramoren in Vraca district and Petarnica in Pleven district. In the next centuries the village has been included in the kazás of Ivraca (Bulg.: Vraca) – in 1516, Nikbolu (Bulg.: Nikopol) – през 1545 and Plevne (Bulg.: Pleven), part of the Tuna vilaeti – in 1579 and 1873. While in 1545 and 1579 Petrevene is listed with first name Petreven and second name Mramor, in 1585 it is recorded only with the name Petre (Turk.: Betre). After 1585 the name "Mramor", as well as "Mramornica", disappeared and were forgotten with the passage of the years. In 1545 it used to have 9 family, 4 bachelor and 3 widowed Christian houses and 1 family and 1 bachelor Pomak houses, while in 1579 – 30 family and 17 bachelor Christian houses and 3 family and 3 bachelor Pomak houses. First Pomaks (Bulgarian Christian eretics, converted to the Islam) in Petrevene were two villagers, who converted to the Islam in 1545 and were given the names Isa (Bulg.: Isus) and Abdi, sons of Abdullahwhich. In 1616 through Petrevene have passed the troops of the Crimean-Tatar khan Mirza Tatar, part of the vanguard of the Ottoman army. They used to kidnap the local population, the Christian part of which was escaped in the area of Karlukovo Canyon. During the second half of 17th century Pomaks from the region of Teteven started moving to the region of Lukovit. The Christian part of the local population has escaped again in the Karlukovo Canyon. In 1690-s on their way from Romania to Sofia via Pleven, Lovech, Yablanica and Etropole through the region have passed the troops of the Crimean-Tatar khan Selim Giray, part of the vanguard of the Ottoman army in its war against Austro-Hungary.

House in Petrevene, 19th century

In the region of Petrevene the non-canonical Christian heresies (Paulicanism, Bogomilism, etc.) have survived until the end of the 17th century, when dramatic religious events occurred. For military reasons, in 1689 the Ottoman authorities have forced Bulgarians - Christian heretics to convert to one of the officially recognized religions in the Ottoman Empire. This has created a dramatic stress to the local population. One part of Bulgarian - Christian heretics converted reluctantly to the hated till then by them East Orthodoxy, with which they were antagonistic enemies, and have joined the Bulgarian-Christians, while the other part also reluctantly converted to the Islam and began to be called Pomaks. So, in Petrevene Pomaks became those of Bulgarians — Christian heretics, for which it was unacceptable or impossible to convert to the East Orthodoxy because of dogmatic, economic, family or other reasons. The men started wearing chalmas, turbans, women — sharowars and covers. A village mosque was erected in the middle of Petrevene.[2] Petrevene Pomaks used to have very melodic songs, which they accompanied by the sounds of "bulgarina". They had strong emotional feelings towards the river, which they called "Altăn Paneg".[11] With the passage of time the names, as well as the beliefs of the Christian heretics (Paulicians, Bogomils, etc.) disappeared and were forgotten with the passage of years.

At the end of the 18th century Hayduk bands of Angel voyvoda and Vălchan voyvoda, as well as bands of Kirdzhalis appeared in the region. Then Karlukovo monastery "Dormition of the Theotokos"[12][13] was in the Eparchy of the well known Bulgarian Archbishop of Vraca of the Constantinople Patriarchy, St. Sofroniy Vrachanski. At the Christmas time of 1799 was hiding from the Kirdzhalis in it[14]

Funeral in Petrevene, the end of the 19th century

The relationship between the Christian and the Pomak parts of the population haven't been even all the time. In 1820 the head of the Karlukovo monastery, Kalinik, has warned some of the local Pomaks to behave well towards the Christian part of the population, since some day the Russian troops might come. As a result some Pomaks from the Lovech region have complained to the authorities that Kalinik was going to invite the Russian troops.[15][16] In fact, the name Pomak appears for the first time in written form in connection with this incident.

At the Christmas of 1871 through the region passed the Bulgarian national hero and revolutionary Vasil Levski on his way from Glozhene and Zlatna Panega to Cherven Bryag and Telish during his second trip throughout Bulgaria,[17] when he founded the secret revolutionary committee in Lukovit.

During the second part of the Ottoman period the Christian and the Pomak parts of the population have experienced a demographic increase. So, in 1873 Petrevene used to have 122 Christian houses with 414 men and 64 Pomak houses with 160 men.[18] Pomaks used to do mostly market-gardening, while Bulgarian-Christians used to do mainly stock breeding. A few of them were craftsmen and grocers, settlers from the town of Teteven (old: Tetevene, Tetyuvene).[19] During the Russian-Turkish War of 1877/78 the Pomak part of the population in the region has escaped temporarily to Macedonia, but afterward came back.

Following the end of Ottoman rule (1878–1918)[edit]

The municipality seal of the village of "Petryovene", 1890s

The removal of the Ottoman rule in 1878 yielded a mass migration of Eastern Orthodox Bulgarians from upper Balkan villages as Brusen and Vidrare with its hamlets of Smolevica, Kraeva Bachiya, etc. to Petrevene. In 1882 Felix Kanitz has listed it as Petreven.[20] It has been listed also as Petrevyane, Petryovene or Petrovene (Bulg.: Петрeвяне,Петрьовене, Петровене), still in use among local population, and after 1891 - Petrevene[21] It was included in the Pleven District of the Principality of Bulgaria. The families Tonovski, Gergovski, Tzanovski, Stoevski, Velevski, Moldovanete, Dilovski, Nedkovski etc. are among the first ones living in Petrevene after the removal of the Ottoman rule. Initially, the marriages between the new generations of Bruseners and Vidrareans in Petrevene were banned, possibly due to their coming from and belonging to different Christian dioceses.[2] It is known that Vidrarians favored growing cattles, while Brusenes preferred water buffalows, which was a cause for frictions in the village. The first mayor of Petrevene in after the removal of the Ottoman rule was Tono Benchev Bakov (Peykin) of Vidrare, born in its hamlet of Smolevica. He has been a member of the Secret Revolutionaly Committee "Hasan Kasam" founded by Vasil Levski in the village of Vidrare in 1869. He has moved to Petrevene prior to the Russian-Turkish war (1877/78) due to a conflict with the local Ottoman authorities. His brother-in-law, the revolutionary Yosif Poppetrov from Vidrare, another member of the revolutionary committee of Vasil Levski, was exiled by the Ottoman authorities to the town of Diarbekir in the Middle Asia, now in Turkey, due to his involvement in the Arabakonak robery of the Ottoman Bank, mastered by Dimiter Obshti in 1872. Tono Benchev has been a mayor of Petrevene for 16 years. He has had close connections with Stefan Stambolov, a major collaborator of the Levski and Prime Minister of Bulgaria, who has visited him during his tours in Bulgaria. The first secretary in the municipality was Tono Benchev' son, Bencho Tonov.

Young men after "koleduvane" on behalf of the Community Cultural Center "Probuda", 1930.

An elementary school (1st to 4th grade) opened in 1878 in Petrevene. It was located first in a former Pomak house until 1891, after which it moved to the newly constructed "old" school, built by Stoyu Stanev of Petrevene, while the village Municipal Hall (Bulg.: obshtina) moved to the former schoolhouse. First teachers in Petrevene were Andrey Gadzhovski of Lukovit, born in Dranchevo, Macedonia, and Marko Markov of Karlovo. The first native teacher, Velyu Ninov was hired in 1896.[22] During the 1990s Petrevene was terorized by the brigand band of the Bulgarian Yako voyvoda and his Pomak friend Kachamachko, who were active in the whole surrounding region.

After the Unification of Bulgaria in 1885 a mass exodus of the Pomak part of the population to Turkey occurred, mostly around the cities Corlu in East Thrace and Hasanbey in Balikesir in Anatolia, started.[23] Their property and estates were thereby bought, transferred to, or abandoned and acquired by the remaining Bulgarian part of the population.[2] In order to encourage Pomaks to stay in their locations, a Pomak school has opened in Blasnichevo for a short time. In 1893 only 22 Pomaks were still living in Petrevene. The entire Pomak part of the population has left the village by 1898.[24][25] Several Italian quarry men settled in Petrevene at the beginning of the 20th century. They created, in particular, many skillful gravestones, which still can be seen in the village cemetery.

The "new" school (now closed)

Due to the rise of the anti-Islamism[25] and nationalism in post-Ottoman Bulgaria, the abandoned and decaying village mosque was removed in 1902. Its materials were recycled and used in the construction of the present-day Eastern Orthodox church of "Dormition of the Theotokos", built by Trǎn constructors in 1902 not far from the location of the former mosque[2] with the enthusiastic support of the locals, who donated money, icons and church appliances to it. During the Balkan Wars (1912-1913) the soldiers of Petrevene were positioned at the Chataldzha Front in East Tracia, while during the First World War (1915-1918) - at the Macedonian Front. A humble monument devoted to the fallen villagers during the wars is erected in 2003 in the village center. During the Second Balkan War (1913) North Bulgaria was occupied by the invading Romanian troups. In Petrevene they used to do frequent house-searches to find hidden items.

The interwar period (1918–1944)[edit]

Celebrating the first grape harvest at the Vine Cellar, Petrevene, 1940s

The opening of the local Community Cultural Center (Bulg,: chitalishte, "читалище") "Probuda",[2] i.e. Awakening, has contributed to the cultural development of Petrevene. It was founded on the initiative of Yosif Benchev Tonov in 1918 and included a Library. Since its activity declined soon after, in 1923 it was closed, to be reopened again in 1927. A Middle School opened in 1921 with first Director and founder Toma Yosifov Tonov and teachers Georgi Tomov Vulov and Petko Georgiev. The Agrarian Cooperative (Bulg.: Kooperaciya) "Zhetvarka", i.e. "Harvestwoman" (Bulg.: "Жетварка") with founder and the longest serving Direktor Toma Yosifov opened in 1922. An Obrok was erected near the village in 1923 which soon decayed and disappeared. During the anti-governmental coup of 1923 many members and supporters of the previously ruling Agrarian Government were prosecuted, arrested and fired from their jobs. At that time the people of Petrevene ain fierce conflicts for farmlands, even with fist fighting.

Wedding folk dance "horo" on the main square of Petrevene, 1940s

In 1927 the Agrarian Cooperative was renamed as Cooperative Bank "Zhetvarka", with Toma Yosifov as a Director (till 1962) and Todor Dikov as a Chairman. On the initiative of Toma Yosifov, in 1937 the Cooperative Bank has build the modern for the time vine cellar, dairy farm, chiken farm, modern for the time industrial incubator with a chicken nursery, the best in the Balkans for its time, cattle farm, pig farm, sheep farm, consumer stores, bakery store, cooperative vineyard, orchard garden, cooperative farmlands of 400 dka and the industrial corporation "Mashina".[26] In 1934 in Petrevene lived 1209 people in 350 Bulgarian houses, including five Gipsy houses. At that time Petrevene had several mills, restaurants, stores, bars, and manufactures of painters, shoemakers, iron-smiths and carpenters. The Cooperative Bank "Zhetvarka" has owned the famous painting "Zhetvarka" by the well-known Bulgarian artist Vladimir Dimitrov - Maystora, now at the National Art Gallery in Sofia. The membership in the Coperative Bank have reached 923 people from Petrevene, from the surrounding villages Rumyancevo (former Blăsnichevo), Zlatna Panega, Todorichene, Belenci, Karlukovo, Dăben, Oreshene, and also from far-away places as Sofia, Plovdiv etc. The Cooperative vine cellar used to process also the grape of the surrounding villages Todorichene, Belenci and Karlukovo, and has exported its vine even to Germany. In 1942 Petrevene was awarded the title "Exemplary Village of the Kingdom of Bulgaria". After the Anglo-American bombardments of Sofia in 1943-1944 during the Second World War in Petrevene was evacuated the "Bateriya" plant from Sofia, as well as many Sofia families. At that time the entrepreneur Nako Pavlov opened a corporation for producing plumber parts, ovens etc. During the events of September 1944 many members and supporters of the previous government were prosecuted, arrested and fired from their jobs. The population of Petrevene was hardly affected by the two World Wars. Only a few people fought and less than fifty lost their lives in the wars.[27]

Under Communism (1944–1989)[edit]

After the Second World War Petrevene was included in the Lovech District of P.R. Bulgaria. In 1946 it had 1254 inhabitants. In 1948, during the communist rule in Bulgaria, a compulsory collectivization of the farmlands was imposed[28] and a Collective Farm, TKZS (Bulg.: "ТКЗС") was established with Ivan Lakov as a first Chair. Petrevene's farmlands became collectively farmed and managed, and its agricultural capacity increased and became modernized.[29] Twenty percent of the fields were allotted to the villagers for their own personal cultivation, but they were still required to work in the TKZS[30] on the main fields. A system was set up where every farmer was entitled to four tons of wheat for personal consumption per year. Four tons being too much to consume or use, the farmers were then encouraged to return two tons to the newly built TKZS bakery in exchange for coupons entitling them to two loafs of black and one loaf of white bread a day.[30] A Technological Corporation (called also "Promkombinat") was established by the Cooperative Bank "Zhetvarka". In 1950 the Bank was renamed as All-purpose Cooperative "Zhetvarka". The "Promkombinat" has employed 100 people. In 1955 it produced 2572 ovens, "Pernik" style. In 1956 by the order of the local authorities and despite the disagreement and the resistance by the local population, the "Promkombinat" has been closed. Its equipment and machinery were moved to the town of Lukovit. The purpose of this step was to increase the number of the people working in the TKZS. However, most of the employees in the "Promkombinat", together with their families, moved away to other localities in the region, instead of starting to work in the TKZS. In 1956 there were 1183 people living in Petrevene.

The central road passing through the village

The railroad from the town of Cherven Bryag to the cement factory "Zlatna Panega" was designed to pass through Lukovit and Petrevene in 1965 by the Petrevene native, Engineer Vasil Tonev of Sofia, Chairman of the Division for New Railroads in Bulgaria, with a new station also being designated for the village, (now defunct). As in the whole surrounding region, Roma people, often referred to as Gypsies, were settled in Petrevene in the 1960s. Their arrival contributed to the extension of the life of the local school, now closed, which had experienced at the time enrollment decline as more inhabitants had left Petrevene for urban areas.

Modern Petrevene (1989–present)[edit]

Following the advent of democracy in Bulgaria in 1989 Petrevene has remained in the Lovech District of the Republic of Bulgaria. The TKZS was dissolved (although other villages retained theirs and privatized them), and became derelict. Petrevene's agricultural output and capacity were reduced severely. The collectivized farmfields were then divided as they were prior to the collectivization and returned to their original owners or their heirs. However, many villagers chose to retire and became state retirees, instead of making their living on the farmlands.

Dulǎt after earlier heavy floods in June 2005

During post-communist Bulgaria many young Petrevene families moved to larger cities to seek better employment opportunities. As a result many farmfields and vineyards that had previously dominated the landscape became abandoned and uncultivated, and the village's population shrank rapidly. Additionally due the economic crisis that followed,[31] and very low state pensions many owners were unable to afford the upkeep of their homes and many houses fell into disrepair.[32]

A new obrok at the location of the previous one has been erected in 2012. A group for folklore songs 'Petrevchanka' has been founded at the Community CulturalCenter Ivan Stefanov-1918.[33] In 2011 Petrevene had 598 inhabitants.

Recently, with Bulgaria's overall economic growth, Petrevene has experienced a revival as well as re-cultivation of many farmlands. Additionally increased incomes mean that many people could afford to improve their homes. There have also been several commercial developments spurred by a competent administration, including the establishment of a new bakery, Lazarov Komers,[34] and a motorbike rally. In August 2005, as well as the rest of Bulgaria,[35] Petrevene experienced heavy flooding. As a result the drainage canal and the river tributary Dulǎt was widened, dredged and in more central areas covered over in concrete blocks to protect from erosion and to ease future floods. This was achieved by using money from the EU Solidarity Fund which at the time had allocated 106 million euros to aide the crisis.[36]

After Bulgaria joined the European Union in 2007 some villagers were able to benefit from the SAPARD program for agricultural and rural development, and as of April 2009 some parts of the TKZS have been restored to working order. Furthermore the Dulǎt tributary now has two new bridges across it, both built in 2008.

Culture and traditions[edit]

A 110 year old building that recently received repairs from its owner. It is a good example of the large amount of historically well preserved but under threat houses in the village

With the massive collectivization of 1956, the village became an agricultural community. Besides the Eastern Orthodox Church of "Dormition of the Theotokos" and the Community Cultural Center with Library "Ivan Stefanov-1918", Petrevene harbors many historical buildings of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, with some buildings dating as far back as the 18th century. However many of these buildings are now decrepit and derelict as the village population shrunk heavily during the post-communist era, with many owners either moving to larger cities and leaving their land behind, or simply dying out due to old age and leaving their property to descendants who were unwilling or unable to maintain it.

Watermelon Day[edit]

Watermelon Day celebrations. Here a local group is performing traditional folk songs

Watermelon Day is a popular annual festivity in Petrevene which is celebrated every year on the penultimate Saturday of August.[2] It was first held in 1936 and it is a popular belief within the village that it started off as a regional land dispute between Petrevene and the nearby village of Todorichene.[37] The legend, according to the local people, is that several bad harvests had impelled the Petrevenians to place claims on lands of Todorichene. To settle the dispute that followed a regional judge was brought in from Pleven to settle the matter. He declared that everyone should be assigned 1.5 square kilometres (0.58 sq mi) of land. With the lack of wheat the Petrevenians decided to plant watermelon instead. With no market for them, however, the younger men of the village decided to collect all the watermelons and store them in the schoolhouse and let anyone eat as much as they want for free, but on the condition that they would first see the caricaturist Nicola Velev's exhibition in the library.[37] Although popular, the story has little historical merit. Although there have been records of Watermelon Day going as far back as 1936, no existing records tell of bad harvests in the years prior to that date or, of the above-mentioned land divisions.[38]


See also History

Dormition of the Theotokos Church in Petrevene, 1902

The present day Eastern Orthodox church of "Dormition of the Theotokos" was built in 1902. In 2009 the church, (having fallen into disrepair), underwent an extensive renovation, funded by the Ministry of Disasters and Accidents, (now known as the Ministry of Emergency Situations), with total of €104,000 being released to the local government.[39] The village obrok (Bulgarian: оброк) was also restored in 2009.[40] The Obrok was a holy Christian site, used in the past as a meeting point for the village elder to congregate. It is located at one of the highest points surrounding the village, so as to have been as close to God as possible. The original obrok was first erected in 1923, and was made of stone.[40] The new obrok is constructed from steel except for the structure's bell which is made from copper and was the village's church's original bell.


A limestone memorial to Petrevene's casualties in the First and Second World Wars, as well as the Balkan Wars, was unveiled on August 23, 2003. It lists the 26 citizens of Petrevene who lost their lives between 1912 and 1945.[27]

A 2008 National Academy of Arts incentive[41] has seen the introduction of two new sculptures to Petrevene at the two ends of the village along the road E83 Sofia-Pleven. They were designed and constructed by two students of the academy, Ivan Stoyanov and Valko Bekirski.[41]

Notable persons[edit]

  • Tono Benchev Bakov (1835–1911) - Member of the Vidrare Revolutionary Committee founded by Vasil Levski in 1869, the first mayor of Petrevene after the restoration of the Bulgarian Statehood (1878–1894).
  • Toma Yosifov (1897–1963) - Founder of the Chicken Farmers Union in Bulgaria and of the Bulgarian Agrarian Youth Union (Bulg.: ЗМС) in the region

From Petrevene are also:

  • Yosif Benchev (1895–1973) - Founder and Leader of the Union of the Bulgarian Front Fighters (1918–1944) (founded in 1931 in Pleven, closed by the authorities in 1934, reopened in 1944, disbanded in 1948), exiled in 1948 to Petrevene
  • Vasil Kolev (Michmana), b. 1904 - Political Émigré in the URSS, persecuted, died there, rehabilitated in 1956
  • Eng. Vasil Tonev (1906–1991) - Chairman of the Division for New Railroad Lines in Bulgaria, Creator of the contemporary railroad system in Bulgaria
  • Radoslav Radulov (Tzuri) (1931–2000) - Travel Representative (Attache) at the Embassies of Bulgaria in Belgium and Canada

Archive Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Petrevene Map — Satellite Images of Petrevene". Maplandia (Google World Maps Gazetteer) website. 2005. Retrieved 2008-08-20. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i "About—Village of Petrevene". Village of Petrevene website. Village of Petrevene. 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-20. 
  3. ^ "Geopark Iskar-Panega". Geopark Iskar Panega website. 2006. 
  4. ^ "Property description and info on village". My Bulgaria Ltd website. Retrieved 2008-11-30. 
  5. ^ a b c d "Description of fauna of area". Geopark Iskar Panega website. 2007. Retrieved 2008-12-01. 
  6. ^ a b c "Description of flora of area". Geopark Iskar Panega website. 2007. Retrieved 2008-12-01. 
  7. ^ "Culture—Village of Petrevene". Village of Petrevene website. Village of Petrevene. 2008. 
  8. ^ "Gozler, Kemal. Map of the region of Mramornica". 
  9. ^ Bulgarian Etymological Dictionary, Sofia
  10. ^ Мантран, Робер. История на Османската империя. Рива. pp. 472–535. ISBN 978-954-320-369-7. 
  11. ^ Hinchev, Georgi. Life near Zlatna Panega, GMR, Sofia, 1999
  12. ^ "The monastery "Dormition of the Theotokos" near Karlukovo". 
  13. ^ "The interior of the monastery "Dormition of the Theotokos" near Karlukovo". 
  14. ^ "Sofroniy Vrachanski. Zhitie i stradanie greshnago Sofroniya.". 
  15. ^ P. Mutafchiev, Around our Balkan monasteries, Proceedings BAN, 1931, p. 89
  16. ^ V. Mikov, Bulgarian Mohammedans in the regions of Teteven, Lukovit and Byala Slatina, Rodina, 1941, 51-68
  17. ^ "Levski, Vasil. Notebook. Nauka i Izkustvo, Sofia, 1987, p. 67,". 
  18. ^ "Gozler, Kemal. Les villages pomaks de Lovca. Publishing House of the Turkish Historical Society, Ankara, 2001,". 
  19. ^ Panchev, Ivan, Zlatna Panega, Lukovit, 1938 and 1993
  20. ^ Felix Kanitz Donau-Bulgarien und der Balkan" (Danubian Bulgaria and the Balkans). Three volumes. Leipzig (1882)
  21. ^ "Petrevne (BU32) Bulgaria Geography Population Map cities coordinates location -". Tageo WorldWide Index website. 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-25. 
  22. ^ Meeting of the older generation with the younger one, Talk at the Meeting of various generations in Petrevene, 1967
  23. ^ A. Popovic, "Pomaks", in Encyclopaedia of Islam
  24. ^ Miletich, Lyubomir. The Lovech Pomaks, Sofia, 1899
  25. ^ a b Raichevsky, Stoyan; Maya Pencheva (translator) (2004). The Mohammedan Bulgarians (Pomaks). Sofia, Bulgaria: Bulgarian Bestseller — National Museum of Bulgarian Books and Polygraphy. ISBN 954-9308-41-3. 
  26. ^ Hinchev, Georgi. The roots lighten (in three rivers, eleven villages and one town), IK "Orbel", Sofia, 2011
  27. ^ a b From Monument to Those Who Lost Their Lives Protecting the Motherland, Petrevene's main square
  28. ^ "Yugoslav Bulletin on "Mass Collectivization" in Bulgaria". Stankovic. 1957. Retrieved 2009-08-25. 
  29. ^ "Collectivization in Bulgaria". 1957. Retrieved 2009-08-25. 
  30. ^ a b Jordan Nikolov, now pensioned, ex-worker
  31. ^ William Marsteller. "The Economy". Bulgaria country study (Glenn E. Curtis, editor). Library of Congress Federal Research Division (June 1992).
  32. ^ Илков, Атанас; Колев, Иван (2005-10-05). "Перверзиите на българския пенсионен модел". Retrieved 2009-08-25. 
  33. ^ "The group 'Petrevchanka'". 
  34. ^ [ PETREVENE "Bread and Baked Goods in city Petrevene - page 1 Golden Pages"]. Golden Pages website. 2008. Retrieved 2009-08-26. 
  35. ^ "Floods in Bulgaria July 2006". Helmholtz-eos website. 2006. Retrieved 2009-08-26. 
  36. ^ "Solidarity Fund: 106 million euro for 2005 floods in Bulgaria, Romania and Austria". European Commission Humanitarian Aid department (ECHO). 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-26. [dead link]
  37. ^ a b "Село Петревене". Village of Petrevene website (in Bulgarian). 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-20. 
  38. ^ Nikolai Aleksandrov Ivanov
  39. ^ "Какво ново? - село Петревене". Village of Petrevene website. 2005. Retrieved 2009-08-23. 
  40. ^ a b "Село Петревене, (Възстановяване на оброк), (in bulgarian)". Village of Petrevene website. 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-23. 
  41. ^ a b "Culture Petrevene". Petrevene website. 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-13. 

External links[edit]

  1. Official village website, run by the Municipality of Lukovit.
  4. Online edition of Vasil Levski's personal notebook (Bulgarian)