The village of Shiroka Laka is the name of a fabulous Rhodopean village, in which the Bulgarian folklore traditions and customs come to life. It is located 5 km from one of the most famous mountain resorts in Bulgaria – Pamporovo. The emblem of the village are the beautiful Revival houses, which are located amphitheatrically on both sides of the river. Every family here is connected with the Rhodope music. In Shiroka Laka a Secondary Music School for folk songs and instruments has been established, whose building is perfectly complemented by the local architectural landscape. Real fun for the residents and guests of the village are the big mummers’ holidays, which are held in the first days of March. Songs, dances and fun are guaranteed!
A walk in this picturesque village will take you to the Renaissance. Preserved authentic houses, cobbled streets and arched bridges, as well as local songs and customs turn Shiroka Laka into an architectural and folklore reserve.
You can visit some of the most famous houses – Sgurovska, Uchikovska and Grigorovska. They stand out with their typical Rhodope style – they are two-storey, decorated with bay windows and an internal wooden staircase. The rooms are wide and have small windows, and wooden walls are located next to the walls. An interesting element are the hidden cupboards and small cellars with hiding places, where people kept valuables and weapons during the Ottoman rule. In the yard of each house you will see a traditional stone fountain.
The Church of the Holy Mother of God is no less impressive. Legend has it that it was built in 38 days. Pay attention to the authentic iconostasis. Some researchers claim that it was painted by students of the famous brothers Dimitar and Zahari Zograf from Samokov, and according to others – the artists themselves painted the church. Near the temple you can see the old village school.
There is nothing more pleasant for the guests of the village to watch the local mummer’s games against the background of this Revival architecture. Therefore, if you go on vacation in Pamporovo or the surrounding area in early March, be sure to stop in Shiroka Laka. You will be completely captivated by the armed spectacular mummers with wooden red swords, belted with Rhodope vats and decorated with garlic, beans and peppers. They make a noise to the heavens to drive the evil out of the village. In addition, people sing beautiful Rhodope songs accompanied by a bagpipe. Everyone is celebrating and rejoicing from the heart. Here you can try wonderful Rhodope specialties such as patatnik and pie with rice and spinach.
If some of you want to stay longer, there are cozy hotels and private rooms in Shiroka Laka. This is an ideal option to organize a rural ecotourism. Enjoy it!