leader_party =website = http://www.petrevene.com/en/
|• Total||17.823 km2 (6.881 sq mi)|
|Elevation||135 m (443 ft)|
|• Density||37/km2 (96/sq mi)|
|Time zone||EET (UTC+2)|
|• Summer (DST)||EEST (UTC+3)|
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 Province 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.
The first known written record of the village of Petrevene is from the Ottoman tax registry of 1430 soon after the Ottoman conquest of the Balkans. In the past it has been known also as Mramor, i.e. "marbel", Petreve sele, Petre, Petreven (Bulgarian: Мрамор, Петревe, Петре, Петревен). In post-Ottoman Bulgaria from 1878 till 1908 it was known as Petryovene or Petrovene (Bulgarian: Петрьовене, Петровене), still in use among local population. There are several hypotheses on the origins of its name. One is that it is named after the head of the first settlers in the village, Petǎr, however with little historical merit. A more likely hypothesis is that it is named after an Eastern Orthodox monk, Petǎr, of an old monastery near the bridge of the Belenska River to the south of Petrevene, the ruins of which are known as Petrova gradezh, i.e. "Peter's construction". However the most likely and widely believed hypothesis is that the name comes from the old Greek word for stone, "petros" (ancient Greek:πέτρoς), similarly to the Nabataean city of Petra, since there are numerous sandstone quarries around it. Its oldest recorded name, Mramor, i.e. "marble", supports this hypothesis.
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. It is built primarily on terraces which face towards the river and are built into the hillside.
Climate and drainage
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: 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)
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), 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. 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. 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. 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.
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 a community center. There are a total of 40 registered members of the library.
During the Middle Ages the inhabitants of Petrevene, as well as of the whole surrounding region, were Paulicans and adhered to Paulicianism, a Christian sect persecuted by the dominant East Orthodox Church and by the officials. The village was included in the Ottoman tax registry soon after the Ottoman conquest of the Balkans, in 1430. It is listed there consecutively as Miramor, Betreve sele (1430) and Betre (1585). In post-Ottoman Bulgaria after 1878 it was known as Petryovene or Petrovene (Bulgarian: Петрьовене, Петровене), still in use among local population. In 1882 Felix Kanitz calls it Petreven. As in the whole surrounding region, an islamization process has taken place in Petrevene during the 17th century, as the population converted from Paulicianism to Islam and started to be known as Pomaks (Muslim Bulgarians) eversince. By the collapse of the Ottoman regime in Bulgaria (1878) Petrevene has been mostly a Pomak village, with the exception of only 2-3 families of East Orthodox Bulgarians, late settlers from the town of Teteven (old: Tetevene, Tetyuvene), who were craftsmen and grocers. Not far from the center of Petrevene there used to be a village mosque. Petrevene Pomaks used to have very strong emotional feelings regarding the river, which they used to call "Altǎn Paneg". Around Christmas of 1871 the Bulgarian national hero and revolutionary Vasil Levski passed through the village while travelling from the villages of Glozhene and Zlatna Panega to the town of Cherven Bryag, probably without stopping in Petrevene.
As in the whole surrounding region, the Ottoman exodus after the collapse of the Ottoman regime in Bulgaria (1878) yielded a mass migration of Eastern Orthodox Bulgarians from the upper Balkan villages as Brusen and Vidrare with its hamlets of Smolevica, Kraeva Bachiya, etc. to Petrevene. The former property of these migrants has been thereby bought, transferred to, or abandoned and acquired by the remaining population. 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. After the Unification of Bulgaria (1885) most of the Pomaks moved to the East Thrace, mainly to the town of Corlu, now in Turkey. In 1893 only 22 Pomaks were still living in Petrevene. The former Pomak property was thereby bought, transferred to, or abandoned and acquired by the remaining Bulgarian population.
The first mayor of Petrevene in post-Ottoman Bulgaria was Tono Benchev Bakov of Vidrare, born in its hamlet of Smolevica, who has moved to the village prior to the collapse of the Ottoman regime to avoid a conflict with the local Ottoman officials. His brother-in-law, the revolutionary Yosif Poppetrov from Vidrare, was a collaborator of Levski and was exiled by the Ottoman authorities in Diarbekir for his revolutionary activity. An elementary school opened in Petrevene soon after the collapse of the Ottoman regime in Bulgaria (1878). It used to be stationed in a former Pomak house until 1891, after which it moved to the newly constructed present-day schoolhouse (now derelict), built by Stoyu Stanev of Petrevene, while the village Municipal Hall (obshtina) moved to the former schoolhouse. The first teachers in Petrevene were Andrey Gadzhovski of Lukovit, born in Dranchevo, Macedonia, and Marko Markov of Karlovo. Velyu Ninov was the first native teacher. At that time Petrevene, as well as the whole surrounding region, was terorized by the brigand band of the Bulgarian Yako voyvoda and his Pomak friend Kachamachko. The Bulgarian Prime Minister of the time, Stefan Stambolov, visited Petrevene in the 1890s as part of his travels in the country. Due to the rise of the anti-Islamism and nationalism in post-Ottoman Bulgaria, the village mosque was removed during the end of the 19th or the beginning of the 20th century. The materials from the mosque were used in the construction of the present-day Eastern Orthodox church of "Dormition of the Theotokos", built by Trǎn constructors in 1902.
The construction and the furnishing of the church were completed due to the generous donations of the local population. Several Italian quarry men settled in Petrevene at the beginning of the 20th century. They created, in particular, many skillful gravestones in the village cemetery.
A Cultural Community Center (chitalishte) with a Library, named Probuda, (Bulgarian: Пробуда, i.e. "awakening") was founded in 1918 by Yosif Benchev Tonov of Petrevene, and a middle school opened in 1921. A Cooperative Organization Zhetvarka, i.e. "harvesterwoman", was founded in 1927 by Toma Yosifov Tonov of Petrevene, who was its longest serving chairman. He founded also a Cooperative Bank, wine cellar, diary cellar and a modern industrial incubator with a chicken nursery. The Cooperative Bank, with director Toma Yosifov and chairman Todor Dikov, used to have up to 923 registered members from Petrevene and the neighboring villages of Oreshene, Todorichene, Belenci and Rumyancevo, but also from far-away places like Sofia, Plovdiv etc. Petrevene became a "Model-Village of Bulgaria" for 1942.
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. They are all commemorated on a limestone monument in the village's main square.
With the compulsory collectivization (1956) during the communist rule in Bulgaria and with the establishment of a Working Peasant Cooperatives' Federation (ТКЗC), Petrevene's fields became collectively farmed and managed, and its agricultural capacity grew up and became modernized. Twenty percent of the fields were allotted to the villagers for the their own personal cultivation, but they were still required to work with the WPCF 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 WPCF bakery in exchange for coupons entitling them to two loafs of black and one loaf of white bread a day. In the 1960s Roma inhabitants, often referred to as gypsies, were settled in the village and the whole surrounding region. Their arrival contributed to extend temporarily the life of the local school, now closed, which had seen an enrollment decline at the time as more inhabitants had left Petrevene for urban areas. The railroad from the town of Cherven Bryag to the cement factory "Zlatna Panega" was set up to pass through Lukovit and Petrevene in the 1960s by the engineer Vasil Tonev of Sofia, born in Petrevene, and the railway station "Petrevene" was erected.
After the termination of the communist rule in Bulgaria (1989) the WPCF was dissolved (although other villages retained theirs and privatized them), and became derelict. Petrevene's agricultural output and capacity were reduced severely. The collectivized fields were then divided as they were prior to the collectivization and returned to their original owners. However, many villagers chose to retire and became state retirees.
During post-communist Bulgaria many young Petrevene families moved to larger cities for economical reasons. As a result many fields 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, and very low state pensions many owners were unable to afford the upkeep of their home many houses fell into disrepair.
Recently Petrevene has enjoyed a revival with Bulgaria's overall economic growth, as well as the re-cultivation of many of the fields. 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, and a motorbike rally. In August 2005, as well as the rest of Bulgaria, 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 using money from the EU Solidarity Fund which at the time had allocated 106 million euros to aide the crisis.
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 sections of the WPCF have been restored to working order. Furthermore the Dulǎt tributary now has two new bridges, (both built in 2008) running across it.
Culture and traditions
With the massive collectivization of 1956, the village became an agricultural community. Besides the Eastern Orthodox Church of "Dormition of the Theotokos" and the Cultural Community Center with Library "Probuda", Petrevene harbors many historical buildings of the early 20th and late 19th 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 is a popular annual festivity in Petrevene which is celebrated every year on the penultimate Saturday of August. It was first held in 1936 and it is a popular belief within the village that it started of as a regional land dispute between Petrevene and the nearby village of Todorichene. 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. 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.
See also History
The present day Eastern Orthodox church of "Dormition of the Theotokos" was built in 1902. In 2009 the church, which had fallen previously 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. The village obrok (Bulgarian: оброк) was recently restored. The obrok would have been a holy site, where the elders of the village would have met and would have discussed. 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. 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.
Monuments and Sculptures
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.
A 2008 National Academy of Arts incentive 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.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Petrevene.|
- http://www.petrevene.com/en/index.php Official village website, run by the Municipality of Lukovit.
- http://ziezi.net/belezhnik/index.html Online edition of Vasil Levski's personal notebook (Bulgarian)