Many won’t even remember exactly where Karlovska Street is located, but especially in the past it was a very important thoroughfare. It is believed that the name comes from people from Karlovo who came to shop at the then commercial line. It consists of exactly 47 numbers and today its future depends entirely on the will of the property owners. No building there has a protected status, and on both sides there are dozens of doors, behind which are hidden many secrets. Some of the old buildings are a portal to the past, others have collapsed to the level of the sidewalk, and others are shining with their novelty. Surely, over the charming paved irregularities along the entire street, there’s a sense of work and nostalgia for Bohemian times.
To this day, Karlovska remains the street of tradespeople and craftspeople, and from the team of the only digital guide under the hills we’ll take you for a complete walk from the first to the last number.
We start from the end, mainly because of a fragrant place which always has fresh cookies, meringues, crackers and cookies. At 47 Karlovska Street is Tanya's bakery, where everything is baked in the early morning and by late afternoon the stands are already empty.
From the corner down the same sidewalk,at number 41, IliyaIvanov and his team welcome in good spirits those who come to buy mixer taps, water supply/sewage/steam heating units, or talk to you. The store has been in existence since 1995, and Iliya has been working there since 1998. Previously it was a travel company. From the store,they remember what the neighbors didyears ago. There were groceries, wrought iron shops, fish, auto parts. With frank nostalgia, they have a precious memory of the two jewelry houses of 43 and 45 destroyed last year. From the second they have preserved the only thing left after the destruction - a brick with a carved year of construction - 1889.
Across, at 32Karlovska Street, similar fate awaits another old building. A nearby paint shop says it has to invest a lot in order to strengthen itself. Despite the recent renovation of the ceiling, moisture has leaked into their room. It looks small, but behind it is a pretty courtyard. The facade is open, the bricks are visible, the wooden windows are sinking, and at the front door an old wreath from Easter is left with only a few dry leaves.
Walking down is also exciting on both the left and right side of the street. With curiosity, you touch your face against the dusty windows to see what is left of the small-room buildings. Among the hardware and cars, it smelled of hot bread because of the several bakeries that fed workers and the entire city.
At 21 A an old boot shakes slightly from the canopy, marked by the last rain and the weather. The master at the shoemaker's studio - Krasimir has been working on the commercial street for 30 years. He clearly remembers his first day and the atmosphere of Karlovska in the 1990s. He was looking for a place to open his shoe repair shop by a newspaper ad. He says that there were saddlers, hardware stores, shelters on the street for those who came with horses or carts from long distances.
Right across the corner was the Karlovska tavern, famous throughout the city and the surrounding area. There was no empty chair. From morning till evening a stream of Plovdiv residents and guests came to eat delicious food, to talk, to drink and to close the tavern.
At 7 KarlovskaStreet we enjoy the still preserved, but slightly weary beautiful house with a massive gate, preserved windows, lace curtains, an attic terrace, and above it sculpted roses. At number 8 there are only two columns securing the door, and nothing more. Standing in front of them, only imagination can imagine what a piece of architecture has lived here and with it a whole family.
We reach the very beginning, number 2, and we can already feel the smell of the Maritza River and the elegant scent of the Little Paris flower shop. The owner moved her business to Karlovska because she fell in love with the building, the atmosphere and the history of the old shopping street.
The good thing about living in a millennial city is that any building can be an architectural jewel, and behind every door you can discover a forgotten story. Sometimes you just have to grab the camera and be a tourist in your own home town.