Elena (Bulgarian: Елена) is a Bulgarian town in the central Stara Planina mountain in Veliko Tarnovo Province, located 42 km southeast of Veliko Tarnovo. It is the administrative centre of the homonymous Elena Municipality. The area is also a mountain resort, known for the typical local cuisine. As of December 2009, the town has a population of 5,665 inhabitants. It forms a terminal for the Gorna Oryahovitsa-Elena railway line.
The town of Elena is situated in the skirts of the woody Elena Balkan range, in the valley of Elena river. On the north are situated Elena’s Hills, and on the south is the Balkan range. On the north of the town is Chukani Hill, where – amongst the pine trees, is situated the building of the former Climate Health School. Beyond the Hill there are a few outcropping of limestone, malm, and sandstone. The town is situated 38 km on the south of Veliko Tarnovo, 230 km away from Varna, and 280 km away from Sofia.
Cultural and natural sights
147 cultural monuments were preserved, 7 out of them are of national importance:
- The native house of Ilarion Makareopolski
The clock tower
The cultural and historic complex “Daskalolivnitsata”
The church “Saint Nikola”
The church “The Assu of Holy Virgin” with its bell tower
The five houses of Razsukanovs
The house of Pope Nikola
The town of Elena possesses more than 6 000 ethnographic objects of material cultural heritage, 780 works of Revival and Modern art, and many ancient books.
Daskalolivnitsata – the first Bulgarian class school, established by Ivan Momchilov in 1843
The house-museum “Ilarion Makariopolski”, situated on 2, Doino Gramatik Street
The house of Yordan Hadjipetkov – the father of Petko Todorov and Mina Todorova
You can find more information about this on the web site of The Museum of the Revival in Elena (www.museum.elena.bg).
It is situated on a hill above Elena. In the ages of kardzhalii there was a huge stone stronghold. In its highest part there was a guard who kept a sharp eye on potential approaching of kardjalii. If he had noticed them coming, he would have given an alarm, and all the churches had started ringing their church-bells. This served as a signal for the people of Elena to head for Kaleto as fast as possible in order to find protection against the bandits. After the kardzhalii’s crime activities were over, the fortress Kaleto was used as Turkish Army barracks, but it started demolishing. In 1836, when the church “The Assu of Holy Virgin” was built, there were used materials from the demolished stronghold Kaleto to build the church.
There are a few natural sights near Elena:
The Stone of Marko – a huge stone that was said to be thrown there by the strong King Marko
The Elephant Tree – a huge oak tree that is 1300 years old, it has one low and thick branch which looks like proboscis
The waterfall of Hristivtsi
The peak of Chumerna
The peak of Ostrets – an extinct volcano
The peak of Simanovo
Holidays and feasts
On May, 1st a traditional feast takes place on the central meadow of the village Neiovtsi; it is famous for the rich concert program and public fun
Before the official holiday of the town of Elena the beauty contest “The Queen of Elena” takes place, the victress becomes an important participant in the town festivities
On May, 21st they celebrate the town holiday – the day of “St. Konstantin and St. Elena”. The holiday is being celebrated every year with many festivities, concerts, contests and so on. On the same date the alumni of the high school of Elena “Ivan Momchilov” graduate the school.
Around May, 24th – Municipal fair of the national community centers – it is an official closing of the creative season of the amateur collectives from different community centers
Elena Balkan Feast – it takes place in July and it lasts for two days. The second day is the feast day of the amateur collectives of the pensioners, called “On the south and on the north of the Balkan”.
The first celebration of the feast “The Balkan sings and tells” was organized in Elena on the central meadow of the village Neiovtsi on June 20 21st 1974, ever since this year it is being organized on a rotary principle in the Balkan towns Elena, Dryanovo, Kotel, Tyavna, Tvarditsa and Gurkovo.
December, 5th – the people of Elena honour the people who were killed by the village of Maryan. The monument on the west end of the town dedicated to those dead people is called “The Escape” and is being associated with the escape of the people of Elena when the town was attacked.