Dolene Village

History of the village of Dolene

The history of the village of Dolene dates back to the 10th century, when the village was located about 3 km away. South of its current location in the Krushkite area. A significant fact about the first village of Dolene is that the people were mainly engaged in the construction and maintenance of the Samuilova fortress point and important trade routes passed through them. From there, the commercial orientation of the local population and their descendants later arose. In the village there was also a large Christian temple called “Holy Trinity”. After the collapse of Samuil’s fortress and the soldiers of Tsar Samuil in 1014, some of the people moved to the south, and the rest settled in the area of the Ilin church, located 2 km east of the current location of the village.

The second village called Dolene was built there – one of the first described villages in our neighborhood with an impressive structure and organization of the population that reached 3000 people and a Christian temple called Ilin church (it is believed that there was a mosque in the village, which has not yet been discovered). The main livelihood was agriculture, animal husbandry, production of dairy products and their trading, etc. After the Ottoman invasion, trade in the village flourished and it became a trading post that gave rise to the famous Dolen Fair – the second largest fair in the entire Ottoman Empire. Every year he gathered merchants from all over the world who offered their goods, even slaves were traded. You could have found milk from a chicken. The fair lasted about 40 days and was held every year during the cherry season. Very accurate descriptions of this event are given by the travel writer EVLIYA CHELEBI. But unfortunately, the fair in the village also brought many diseases to the area, one of which was the plague, many people died, and 5 Christian and 1 Muslim family managed to save themselves and found the present village of Dolene.

It is based on the same principle and structure as the second village, it is built in this place because it has a pyramidal structure and an almost 360 degree view of hundreds of kilometers. In clear weather.

The village began to gather people from neighboring villages and huts and grew significantly. The area was still under the leadership of the Turkish Pasha and

trade continues, and the Dolen fair continues, despite what has already happened, people thought that the disease was a consequence of other reasons and not the fair, because it was one of the things that brought them serious financial benefits.

1570 is considered the year of foundation of the village. This is the year from which the first Ottoman registers were discovered (WRITTEN EVIDENCE) describing a population of 3400 people.

Due to the large number of dairy animals, the local population created specific clay infrastructures called majii. These are clay pipes with the beginning – the high mountain pastures (where the animals were during the warm half of the year) that lead to the village. On them, people transported and processed milk in the fastest way. Produced dairy products and everything else, as a ptoduction people began to trade in Thessalonica and Constantinople. An old Roman road crossed the Strumeshnitsa river, passed through the village of Klyuch and reached Thessaloniki, this was the most direct car road. Even looking at the map, the three settlements are in a straight line.

Little by little, other artisan groups were formed in the village, such as potters, healers, blacksmiths, stonemasons, bakers, weavers, wheelwrights, tailors, etc., but one of the most profitable crafts was stone masonry. Already from the first village, the Dolen school of masonry was established and it was mainly passed down from generation to generation. During the creation of the local village, the school had a major impact on the infrastructure of the village, which we can still see today, but in addition, they built 7 mills along the Dolenska river, which were equipped both for grinding grain to obtain flour (mill) , as well as tepavica – equipment used for processing wool, cotton. These mills also served the neighboring villages for a certain tax, payment or commodity.

Today, there are still preserved mills that are not open to visitors at the moment.

Another interesting thing that the people were engaged in was silkworm farming, they grew a significant number of silkworms for the production of silk, and because of this you will notice the presence of a large number of trees in the village –

mulberry (which was mainly used for bug food). Cotton was also grown.

Church “Uspenie Bogorodichno”

History of the temple

Faith is one of the things that has sustained people during these dark times.

Even when the village was founded, a small temple was built dug into the ground, a little south of the one where we are. He had extraordinary energy and healing abilities, but today we still cannot find his remains.

As the population grew, so did the need for a larger Christian church. Thus, thanks to the good trade relations with the Turks, we received a special firman from Sultan Abdul Aziz, which gave permission to establish a Christian temple of such dimensions. And 1873 The Church of the Assumption, in which we are located, is being built. As a structure, it is a pseudo-three-nave basilica.

The temple is completely authentic, the only restoration over the years is on the roof, the white plasters on three sides (which were created during the communist period in order to erase the frescoes below them), the floor has been replaced and the colors on the inside of the columns have been refreshed. Everything else is in the form in which the temple was created. It was built and painted with all these colorful motifs, according to the idea of the local population, but the Debar school or the so-called Debar masters also had a great influence (at the top of the first pole you can see their sign). In the temple there are extremely interesting signs and symbols left by our ancestors. One of them is the skull with the bones under the bare cross of the iconostasis. These are Adam’s bones, which symbolize the redemption of human sin and the division between the earthly and heavenly worlds, it is believed that behind the altar is a heavenly space, and we are currently in the earthly part. Another such symbol is the dove. In the church, you can see 12 doves hidden in different places, in the carvings, in the frescoes (12 because of the apostles, and the dove was chosen because it is associated with the holy spirit). We can also notice an interesting interpretation of the icon of the Archangel Michael, it tells about a man lying on his deathbed who was a sinner – greedy, the devils who come to drag his soul to hell are also represented, but on the other hand we see his family which prays for the remission of his sins and the Archangel Michael who hears their prayers and saves the soul of man. On this icon, the year 1874 can be noticed in the lower right corner, this is the year of completion of the iconostasis, which is the most valuable thing in the church with the altar.

The other icon that arouses our curiosity is the icon representing the divine scene of the Dormition of the Virgin, it is the oldest icon in the entire area and was imported from the first church in the village. It is undated and its origin and creator are unknown. But in the past, she was famous as a miraculous icon with extremely strong energy, which is still felt today.

The church was a meeting place for the Christian faith in the whole area and thousands of people visited it during services and holidays, so there was a strictly defined structure of arrangement in it. On the first prayer books were people who actively participated and helped the temple and society, people who participated in the administration of the village, as well as people with a higher social status, on the next rows were all the others, on the balcony separated from the others were the unmarried girls of the village , which as a rule had to be hidden, the balcony was also used by the choir to the church.

She has endured quite a few hard times and natural disasters. Earthquakes have been described that even destroyed some of the houses in the village while the church stood. It is believed that the place where it was built is highly energetic, but also its construction was at a very good level for its time. It was built by the Dolen school of masonry, (which to this day continues the restoration of the stone infrastructures) consists of 3 layers of local stone quarried from the area, filled with clay and through certain meters beams of almond wood were placed, which played the role of earthquake washer and was thought not to be eaten by tree eaters and lasted the longest. The other element is the columns, they are 10 in number supporting the temple and they are completely wooden, they are simply lined and painted, the wood has the property of bending certain degrees and this is still noticeable today.

When the temple was created, a cell school was built next to it.

The first secular school in the village was built in 1920, initially up to the 4th ward, and in 1948 It is being formed up to the 7th grade with 240 students and an exceptional level of teaching. It was located in the center of the village, today they are

only the foundations of it have been preserved. In 1948, a boarding house was established at the school for children from the neighboring villages. But unfortunately a little later in 1956. After the entry of TKZS and the expropriation of people’s lands, the exodus began little by little. It lasted until 1985. When the school also closes, then the largest exodus from the village is observed, leaving it from a three-digit population to a double-digit one. But thanks to the education received here, people manage to realize themselves quickly and secure quite good positions all over Bulgaria and abroad.

Today, the village has 9 inhabitants.

But people’s hope returned when the new revival of the village took place in 2018. When a benefactor of the village, he begins to restore and ennoble it with his own funds, putting it on the map again.

Its purpose is to present the history of the village and the region, as well as the life of the generations before us, in an interesting and innovative way, precisely through the active landscaping and arrangement with thousands of floral species.

So that the village does not perish like the others in Ograzhden Planina and even throughout Bulgaria, we aim to breathe new life into it, through a new livelihood for the village in the tourist aspect.

Namely, by turning the village into a cultural and educational tourist destination, which with nature, its history, the small remaining population and human imagination, taken together, envelop you in an unknown and unforgettable experience.

Dolene Village


Enjoy the beauty and magic of Dolene village. With us, you will be charged with many positive emotions for a very long time and with incredible memories of your visit!