Traverse City Record-Eagle


Inside Goranovtsi Village, Part III: Feasting and Dancing

By Evelyn WeliverThe tables are filling with people as we walk from the museum and church into the village’s central square. We learn that our group of nine is invited to eat with the secretary of the cultural house and her family! Long tables are set up along the edges of the street and in front of the buildings. The September day is delightful with blue sky and white clouds, clean valley air, 70 degrees and laughter filling the air.

Goranovtsi Village Fete, Bulgaria

Goranovtsi Village Fete, Bulgaria

Womat at table

I recognize the woman from the cultural house who gave us a weaving demonstration.

People in the sun

People are enjoying the warmth of the sun and chatting.

At our table

We find our table that is set with flowers, home grown fruit and bowls of salad.

Rabbit and chicken stew

The main course is tender rabbit, chicken and vegetable stew in a typical clay roasting dish.


There are also rich rolls, peppers and fruit.

Vegetables in filo dough

Vegetables and cheese wrapped in filo dough are baked to delicious perfection.

[You can click on the images to enlarge them, then use the upper left arrow to return to the article.]


Friends. I wonder, "What stories can they tell?"

Women consulting

The women are consulting. We are their guests for this delightful day.

Music starts

Then the music begins.

A teacher of folk singing and dancing is getting the dancing started. She has brought some of her students from the cultural house in Kyustendil.

We dance

After a while, some of our group joins the dancing.

Village dancers

All ages dance together.

Click here for short video of Dancing at Goranovtsi, Bulgaria Village Festival.  [Use the left arrow to return to the article.]

After dancing, we are shown some giant vegetables.

Alex and village cultural house secretary, 2013

Alex, our tour guide/owner, and Anna, our hostess, holding vegetables that she has grown.


Anna displays the cake that she has made for today--vanilla, tender, memorable.

Mountain ridges

Returning to our spa hotel in Kyustendil, we drive along a river and mountain ranges.

Another village

We go through another village.

Cherry sign

Cherries grow here.


A young orchard thrives in the warm river valley near the mountains of Serbia. Warm air flows north from the Mediterranean Sea.


We are almost to our lovely hotel in Kyustendil.

Jerrie, one of our travelers, sums up the day. “The atmosphere was wonderful — such warm people!”

Links to    Part I Inside Goranovtsi Village, Bulgaria:   the Cultural House  

Part II  Inside Goranovtsi Village, Bulgaria:  the Museum and Church   

To the members of  Hristo Botev Cultural House and the village of Goranovtsi Village:   “Thank you for a very special day!”

Thank you, also, to Alex Palichev for filling in some details for me in this series. He designed the tour and is the tour company owner. He has extensive knowledge and many contacts from his career as former Deputy Minister of Culture and Chief Engineer and deputy Director for the Institute of Monuments of Culture.

Photographs copyright of Evelyn and Del Weliver.

  • CathyStripeLester

    Mouth-watering pictures! I was interested in how they made the vegetables and cheese wrapped in dough — just from the picture it looks like they rolled out a big round of filo dough (?), laid it in the bowl, put in the filling and then wrapped the edges up around it. Is that it? Did you get any recipes?

    • Evelyn

      Cathy, I think the way you describe making it is correct, but I don’t have a recipe for it. I have seen recipes for banitsa, a cheese filled breakfast pastry. They have a white cheese that is quite salty and is used in many dishes, i.e. stuffed red peppers, egg and cheese layers baked in a clay pot with layers of peppers. The banitsa with puff pastry instead of filo dough is especially tasty. They make delicious salads and have wonderfully fresh produce. We are gathering a group to go to Bulgaria and Samothrace in the fall, visiting a folk arts school in the Rhodope Mountains, land of Orpheus, etc. and I will look for a book in English with recipes! Evelyn

    • Evelyn

      Cathy, I just learned that on our coming Sept. trip to Bulgaria our group will be meeting with local chefs in the Rhodope Mountains and learning how to make some of the traditional local dishes! This will be in Shiroka Luka where we will be visiting the National School for Folk Arts, too. The Rhodope Mtns. is where Orpheus is said to have lived. For more information you can call me 231 276 9121 or go to

      • CathyStripeLester

        Evelyn, that sounds like great fun! Will you be sharing some of the recipes in your blogs?

        • Evelyn

          Cathy, I will try to share recipes. Of course anyone can join this unique tour about folk traditions, music and mythology.

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