"A Meeting with the Beauty of Morocco" – that is how was called the umpteenth event of the Spectrum 21 Century initiative - "Show the tradition! Give a celebration!".

It was held on May 5 in the beautiful Balkan town of Tryavna in one of its emblematic places - the Kalincheva house complex and the Guabenski Gallery, where a numerous audience gathered. The organizers of the event were: the Embassy of the Kingdom of Morocco, the Municipality of Tryavna, the Spectrum 21 Century Association and the Guabenski Gallery. It was part of the program of the Days of Wood Carving (May 4, 5 and 6) and the 210th anniversary of the Daskalova House Art Contest. It was held under the honorary patronage of HM Tsar Simeon II.

At the opening an address of Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha was read in which he expressed his gratitude for the invitation to be honorary patron of the initiative and his regret that he could not take part in "that wonderful celebration in the Renaissance town of Tryavna, that keeps the traditions of its woodcarving school and that is strongly connected with my family" personally. "A long time ago, my mother, Queen Yoanna, donated her wedding dowry to build a sanatorium for lung diseases, which still bears her name today. On the other side I accepted the invitation because of my longstanding friendship with His late Majesty King Hassan II and the relations between our two families. As it is well known, my daughter, Princess Kalina, lives in Rabat with her husband and son. I am impressed by the rich and interesting program you have prepared and I hope it will please the residents and the guests of the city..."

At the opening, Mr. Doncho Zahariev, Mayor of Tryavna Municipality, addressed a welcoming speech to the guests. He said it was an extraordinary honor, that this event was held within the Days of Wood Carving - a sign of good relations with the Kingdom of Morocco... "It will show how interesting and diverse Morocco is" and will give residents and guests of the city, the opportunity to enjoy its wonderful culture. He expressed hope that a fruitful cooperation with the embassy will lead to new wonderful initiatives in the future.

E. Mrs. Zakia El Midaoui Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Kingdom of Morocco to the Republic of Bulgaria also greeted the guests.

"It is my honor and pleasure to be with you as Ambassador to Kingdom of Morocco in this beautiful and hospitable city of Tryavna, which illustrates the power and creativity of art in general, and woodcarving in particular, reflecting the role that artistic creation plays in Bulgaria, a country that has become a world first-class tourist destination..." The Ambassador then told the guests about the rich history and culture of Morocco, about the diversity of its climate, its relief, cultures, handicrafts and the many festivals that are the engines of tourism... "Morocco is one of the major tourist destinations on the southern coast of the Mediterranean sea. The Kingdom seduces with its natural marvels and landscapes, its hospitality, human warmth and the generosity of its inhabitants. Morocco has a rich culinary art and architecture inherited from various dynasties that are part of the history of the Kingdom and the country's attractions.

Morocco has also other assets, including its political stability, high-quality airports, roads and hotel infrastructure, restaurants, numerous carriers in all categories, and diverse, authentic and innovative travel products. My country has experience in the organization of international conferences and major sporting events. In this regard, Morocco presented to FIFA's competent authorities in March this year its candidacy for the organization of the 2026 FIFA World Cup, the final vote of which, is scheduled for June 13, 2018 in Moscow... "

Later, in front of the local TV, the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Morocco said they would work with the mayor of Tryavna for town-twinning with a similar city in Morocco, which keeps the traditions of woodcarving.

Ms. Ekaterina Pavlova, co-president of Spectrum 21 Century Association and Editor-in-Chief of Diplomatic Spectrum, said: "Our Association for Cultural Products and International Exchange was formed in 2007 and for its 10 years anniversary has successfully realized a number of cultural initiatives, one of which is "Show Tradition! Give a Celebration!". It aims to show the beauty and diversity of the Bulgarian celebrations and traditions to the representatives of the foreign missions in our country, and vice-versa – the foreign celebrations and traditions to the Bulgarian audience. So far, a number of events have been held under this motto. They presented various celebrations or traditional crafts such as: Christmas, Baba Marta, Lazarov day, Easter, Novruz, pottery, national costumes ... along with the diplomatic missions in Bulgaria and a number of other partners. The event in Tryavna - "A Meeting with the Beauty of Morocco" is the first one organized outside of Sofia, together with the Embassy of the Kingdom of Morocco and the Municipality of Tryavna... Dear friends, enjoy the tradition, we offer you a celebration!" and the audience really enjoyed it.

The wonderful girls from Tryavna’s Secondary School P. R. Slaveikov walked the runway in front of the guests, dressed in beautiful caftans - the traditional Moroccan women's clothing. In the Guabenski Gallery everyone had the opportunity to see the exhibition revealing the natural and architectural richness of the millennial Kingdom, as well as to watch videoclips promoting  the country. A pleasant surprise for everyone was the small improvised bazaar with Moroccan souvenirs, including the famous argan oil. Its harvesting, processing and the products are included in the UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage since 2014. The residents and guests of the city also enjoyed the traditional Moroccan tea ceremony listening to traditional music as well as the Moroccan couscous - a taste with which the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Morocco surprised them at the cocktail organized later.

During the event H. E. Mrs. Zakia El Midaoui, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Kingdom of Morocco in Bulgaria, donated three African masks to the Museum of Asian and African Art in the town of Tryavna, which amazes its visitors with the richness of its collection. The curator of the museum Mrs. Luba Mincheva came to the event dressed in Moroccan caftan. She expressed her enthusiasm and good impression about Morocco as she went on a trip there. Nikolina Nikolova, deputy mayer of the town and the director of the Specialized Museum of Carving and Icon Painting of the town of Tryavna – Youlia Ninova were also here and managed to tell and show as much as possible to Her Excellency about the 8 museums in the town united under that name.

A caring host throughout the event was Petko Nedyalkov, to whom the National donor fund "13 Centuries Bulgaria" entrusted its

Gubenski Gallery

The artistic space was opened in 2006. It is located in the courtyard of the Renaissance architectural ensemble "Kalincheva kashta" - a real masterpiece from 1830 by the prominent master builder Dimitar Sergev. The gallery is named after the patriotic citizen of Tryavna Totyu Gubenski, who through the NDF 13 Centuries Bulgaria donated paintings from his collection to the town of Tryavna. Totyu Gubensky was born in 1899, a lawyer by vocation, he has been collecting paintings, drawings and graphics of talented Bulgarian artists for 65 years. In 1983 he made a great donation, which includes works by a number of Bulgarian and foreign artists.

Gubenski Gallery develops its activity in accordance with the purpose of the property. Traditionally, NDF 13 Centuries Bulgaria takes part annually in the program of Slaveykov Celebrations, international art forums and celebrations, organizes various exhibitions.

The Days of Wood Carving - 2018

Today Tryavna creates a tradition, stepped on tradition. The idea of the ​​Days of Wood Carving in the city is of the National School of Applied Arts "Tryavna School" and in particular of its director Orphey Mindov. "My idea was to make these days the main holiday of Tryavna. Because the city is recognizable with the history of its tradition in the field of woodcarving and icon painting. And we, and our school, as the only modern survivor of the Renaissance schools, are simply obliged to keep this tradition alive."

His idea was immediately supported by the mayor of Doncho Zahariev. National and local cultural institutions such as the Ministry of Culture, the Union of Bulgarian Artists, the 13th Century Bulgaria NDF, the Specialized Museum of Carving and Painting in the City and others were involved. For this year's second edition of Wood Carving Days, the Secondary School has some support from the project they won at the Ministry of Culture "Crazy Young People in Tryavna".

The festival in Tryavna is held around May 6 - St. George's Day as Saint George, apart being the symbol and protector of the army, is also a protector of the carvers. Saint George is the patron saint of the National High School of Applied Arts "Tryavna School".

This year, the atmosphere was more festive and uplifting, as 210 years of the notorious bet in the Dakallo House between the old master Dimitar Oshanetsa and the journeyman Ivan Bochukovetsa, are celebrated. The result of the bet is still shining on the ceilings in Daskalova House. That is why, during the Days of the Wood Carving, the symposium "Bet in Tryavna" was held, where wood-carvers and students from all over the country competed for the best woodcarving. The result was announced on the last night of the festival. Prof. Robert Tsanev, a  teacher at the National Academy of Fine Arts, and son of Kancho Tsanev, a well-known citizen of Tryavna, one of the doyens of woodcarving in Bulgaria won it.

There were a number of other events within the festival. A National Exhibition of the Wood Carving Section of the Union of Bulgarian Artists was opened at Kazakov Gallery. A march of artisan craftsmen was held on St. George Day, where the citizens of Tryavna paid tribute to the protector of the woodcarvers and the old craftsmen Saint George. It was led by the bagpipes of the National School of Folk Arts Philip Kutev from Kotel and finished with wreaths laying in the Daskalova House, where 210 years ago the bet was made.

During the Days of Wood Carving, Tryavna was packed with guests from the country and abroad. Among them were: Deputy Minister of Regional Development and Public Works - Eng. Valentin Yovev and his wife, Deputy Minister of Culture - Mr. Rumen Dimitrov, Director of the Russian Cultural and Information Center - Mr. Pavel Zhuravlyov and others.

More about the Tryavna Woodcarving School

It is considered to be the oldest Renaissance woodcarving school, which dates back to the 17th - 18th century. When exactly the beginning of woodcarving in Tryavna is, is actually unknown. The beginning of woodcarving in Tryavna is unknown. The abundance of wood, the proximity of the samples in medieval Tarnovo facilitated the development of this craft.

A legend says how woodcarving began here – a monk called Vikenty from the Athos monastery “Zograf” passed through Tryavna and took with himself a little boy to teach him a craft in the monastery. When the boy came back with the monastic name Vitan, the boy had mastered to perfection woodcarving and iconography. He laid the foundations of the Vitanov family – the biggest family of woodcarvers and iconographers in Tryavna.

Wonderful woodcarving was made by generations of masters from the Genchov family from the settlement Genchovtsi as well. The woodcarving as a craft was passed from father to son. The masters skillfully painted on paper the patterns which they intended to carve in wood. The residents from Tryavna preferred floral motives – rose, hollyhock, marigold, vine leaf, as well as the sun as a symbol of the reviving life. Among the twigs and the leaves sometimes peacocks, pigeons, nightingales, even camels appeared. The outlines of what was drawn on paper were transferred to the wood, prepared for carving. The people from Tryavna worked on walnut, linden, alder, pear, oak, poplar. By combining them they sometimes achieved natural play of the wood colors. After that work with chisels with different profiles followed –according to the carved patterns. The carving was either flatter or deeper / cage carving /, in which the Tryavna masters were unsurpassed. The carvers made their tools by themselves with the help of the blacksmiths.

At the beginning of XIX century a carver-mason’s guild with recognized masters was already established in Tryavna. The growing construction of churches in Bulgaria in XIX century lead the people from Tryavna to a lot of places in Bulgaria, where they repeatedly proved their skills in the craft. The masters from the Genchov family from the Tryavna settlement Genchovtsi left wonderful architectural artworks as well, while Vitanovtsi were excellent iconographers.

More About the Daskalova House Bet

It is build for two of the sons of hadji Hristo Daskalov. At the blessing of a home on St. George’s day – year 1808 the master Dimitar Oshanetsa and journeyman Ivan Bochukovetsa placed a bet and for six months they made magnificent ceilings-suns in the two rooms of the home. The suns still caress the guests of the Daksalova house with their rays.

Here, in year 1963, the only one of its kind Museum of woodcarving art was opened, presenting the development of the oldest Revival woodcarving school – the Tryavna school, from the earliest shepherd’s carving, through the carving, adorning the wood in the house architecture, home iconostases – so loved and skillfully crafted by the people of Tryavna, to the deep and plastic carving, adorning the church iconostases, bishop’s thrones made by the first masters of Tryavna.

The restoration of a carving workshop tracks the preparatory process of woodcarving, there is a carving toolkit displayed. An important focus of the exhibition is placed on the woodcarving collection – sculpture figures of Bulgarian kings, bas-reliefs of Bulgairan revolutionaries, Revival figures, works of Gencho Marangozov - one of the famous masters– woodcarvers of Tryavna.

See more HERE. 

National School of Applied Arts "Tryavna School"- Tryavna

National School of Applied Arts "Tryavna School" - Tryavna is a state cultural institute at the Ministry of Culture.

The history of applied art and wood-carving in Bulgaria is projected in a special way on its activities and on the whole educational process.

The school preserves and develops the traditions of the Tryavna Renaissance iconographic and woodcarving school by giving professional training of students from all over the country in three specialties: Art Wood Carving, Interior Design and Iconography.

It was established in 1920 as a State School with the idea of preserving the Renaissance traditions in the field of the artistic processing of wood. The school became a center attracting talented lecturers, such as the painter Ivan Hristov who graduated in Munich. He gave the idea of founding a museum of carving thus saving valuable artwork from destruction. During various periods as alumni and lecturers through the school passed: the art expert Dimitar Drumev, the carvers Tsanio Antonov, Assen Vasilev, Prof. Kancho Tsanev, Prof. Anton Donchev and others. The significance of their merits is not only within the framework of the Tryavna School, but in the whole Bulgarian plastic culture, which mainly seeks both the preservation and the understanding of the Renaissance artistic tradition in the context of modern times.

See more HERE .

Photos: Krasimir Petkov, Lyubomir Mihaylov and Tryavna Municipality

First row: Tryavna today

Second, third and fourth row: Moments from the event A Meeting with the Beauty of Morocco. Petko Nedyalkov from Gubenski Gallery, Ms. Ekaterina Pavlova, Editor-in-Chief of Diplomatic Spectrum, Doncho Zahariev, mayor of and H.E. Mrs. Zakia El Midaoui at the opening of the event

Fifth row: The sun ceilings in Daskalova house, result of the bet 210 years ago; woodcarvers competing for the Tryavna bet today

Sixth row: the march of artisan craftsmen led by the bagpipes of the National School of Folk Arts Philip Kutev from Kotel; wreath laying at Daskalova house; the head of the NSSAA Tryavna School greeting the guests; Usta Darin Bozhkov announces the winner of the bet this year Prof. Robert Tsanev, from the National Academy of Fine Arts

Seventh row: moments from the festival of crafts