Picnics were an extremely popular way to have fun in the past and every major occasion was marked this way - with family and friends. A while ago we prepared a text for you with some popular places where you can celebrate outside in nature, but today we go back a few decades to find out where people had picnics in the past.
Especially in the years before the Balkan War, many Plovdiv residents used to go there for an outing, to lie down on the green grass, to have fun under the thick shadows of the big trees, to enjoy the coolness of the river. Everyone brought out baskets, patterned mats and pillows and settled comfortably to rest. Transportation was done with boats steered with a rod, and not everyone could handle them, so for this purpose there were real boatmen, who could be counted on the fingers of one hand.
Tourists arrived even before the sun rose, positioned themselves under the willows and began to take out pots, forks, plates, knives, spoons and all kinds of products and utensils. At least two or three large loaves of homemade bread were placed on the cloth, and they all started. The men - with the jokes, and for the women - the scurry around starting the fire and preparing the picnic feast. The children, on the other hand, constantly pulled their fathers to go to the river and fight, dive and go crazy in the shallow water.
At 10 o'clock, they stopped with the rakia and the lunch began, and somehow imperceptibly with it - the musical part. Playing and singing didn’t stop until dark, but there were no drunks on the island.
It isn’t known exactly when it was established - whether in 1881 or 1882, but there is no dispute about the place - today's Stochna Gara, Stanimashko Shosse, the beginning of Bogomil Street and the first hundred meters of the current Tsar Boris III Boulevard. An area of nearly 300 acres, which was previously a swamp. Thanks to the efforts of the Swiss gardener Lucien Chevallaz, also known as the Minister of Flowers, the swamp had become a paradise. A beautiful forest grew, and its shade began to attract the people of Plovdiv. Gradually, the Nursery became a place for festive fun. Noisy parties went to the nursery from early spring, and in the summer time it was always lively there. There was often an orchestra of tambourine, qanun, flute and lute, mandolin and a street organ. Eating, drinking, songs and people. Ambulatory vendors sold lemonade, halva, candied apples, boza, cotton candy and all kinds of other treats.
In the afternoon, oil wrestling matches were held with the most diverse audience - Bulgarians, Turks, Armenians. Villagers from the nearby villages and well-dressed ladies also came.
At the top of the hill, the people of Plovdiv used to welcome the sun on today’s Labor Day. In the 18th and 19th centuries, the day was known as "Maisa".
Up there were only rocks and steep paths. And the people - they fell, they rose, they rolled, but they continued upwards. After that, a big party was organized with eating and drinking on the vast meadow at the top. There was a gypsy orchestra, among which there were many intellectuals - they displayed their talents on violin, cello and similar instruments.
Also quite a popular picnic spot in the past. Going there was by carriage or bogie. The distance wasn’t so great, but the thought of traveling had kept the whole family excited since the day before.
Some arrived at the meadow as early as 3 o'clock in the morning, but there was room for everyone. Everyone ate and sang songs. Even the carriage drivers sat down with the people they had brought for the feast. To bring people to Komatevo, stay all day and return them to the city, the price was 3 BGN for a carriage and 2 BGN for a bogie. Unlike other places, however, they didn’t drink a lot of wine here.
Dermendere (today's Parvenets)
Some Plovdiv residents went there, but they were few. Most thought that the village was very far from the city. Before going down to the river, they always passed the big mill.
In 1853, Mihalaki Gumuşhgerdan opened a woolen cloth factory nearby that used water power for its mechanical engines. This was the second factory in Bulgaria. It worked until the Liberation, and then it was adapted for a mill.
Around the monasteries
The areas around the large monasteries - St. Kirik near the village of Voden, the Arapovski monastery St. Nedelya, St. Petka near the village of Muldava or the Bachkovo monastery St. Bogoroditsa were preferred for a walk and picnic outside the city.
People also went to the monastery of the Saints Cosmas and Damian near the village of Kuklen, although it was 3 hours away from Plovdiv. People say it was built during the Turkification of the Rhodope Bulgarians in 1657 and was something like a part of the St. Peter and Paul monastery near Byala Cherkva.
The St.Georgi monastery near Belashtitsa was also nice, but again, most people thought it was far from the city - as much as 10 kilometers away, and that was something similar to traveling around the world at that time. The visitors there were different - important, sullen, so there were no noisy celebrations.