The desire to escape from the gray and hectic daily routine of the big city is increasingly prompting us to seek out and rediscover those small, seemingly forgotten, beautiful villages where time has simply stopped. They retained the authenticity of bygone eras, radiating the calm and coziness that create the feeling of returning home.
Nestled in the southern slope of the Western Rhodopes, with unforgettable views of the Pirin Mountains, with lovely houses perched high on the winding cobblestone streets, you will be greeted by such a piece of the past, the beautiful village of Leshten.
Leshten is an ancient settlement, an architectural reserve that will bring you back to the past. It is located 8 km. from Kovachevitsa architectural reserve, only 15 km. from Gotse Delchev, and 40 minutes by car from Bansko ski resort. Despite its closeness to other tourist settlements – Kovachevitsa, Ognyanovo, Delchevo, it offers the privacy and tranquility of true rural tourism.
The village has been attracting tourists for years with its authentic and genuine Renaissance style. Leshten is a small village gathered in a rage of beautiful architectural landmarks.
It all starts with the beautiful over 200 years old houses built in the typical style of the Kovachev construction and architectural school. Solid stone buildings with masonry, white houses with spacious verandas that offer magnificent panoramic views of the Pirin Mountains, the Rhodope Mountains and the Mesta River Valley. Many of these ancient country houses have been renovated and turned into modern and comfortable accommodation.
But undoubtedly the most significant architectural treasures of the settlement are the church “St. Paraskeva ”and the cell school.
The church “St. Paraskeva “is very valuable in artistic terms because of the decorative painting on the iconostasis, the large stroke and the bright colors of the murals. A few years ago a fire broke out there, but thankfully, thanks to volunteers, the church was completely restored in 2014.
The cell school also followed the trend of renovation and today houses the local tavern. They will be able to impress you with their hospitality, wonderful atmosphere and delicious traditional local food prepared with locally grown produce.
Two different sights to see in the village of Leshten are the Clay House, known simply as the Flintstone House and the art gallery of the poet Boris Hristov and his wife, the artist Darina Hristova.
Made entirely of clay, straw and wood, a unique eco-friendly house, one can not leave a deep impression on everyone who sees it. Although it looks as if it was a stone-age era, the house has some modern amenities that help make the guests more enjoyable.
And in a small tidy yard, in a modernly renovated former barn, is the Gallery. There are paintings by Milko Bozhkov, Zahari Kamenov, Darina Hristova and other contemporary artists, wood-plastics and household utensils made of Hristo Yotov, stone and photography products, authored by Boris Hristov himself. All day long, the gallery is open to visitors who can enjoy the beautiful works of jazz and amidst incredible views.
In the surroundings of the village you can immerse yourself in the beautiful mountain nature and visit interesting nature sights.
The Thracian treasures – the two rock formations “Goat Stone” and “Black Rock”, the canyon of the river Kanina, the locality “Blue Vir”, filled with centuries-old beech and fir forests, the Dark Forest Reserve are wonderful places for lovers of long walks. In addition to walking, the hosts can also offer you alternate ways of entertaining each season. Hunting and fishing, day trips to nearby landmarks, swimming and balneotherapy in the nearby resort of Ognyanovo, picking mushrooms and herbs.
No matter what time of year you decide to visit Leshten village, you will be fascinated. From the authenticity of the old Bulgarian village, from the harsh beauty that surrounds it, from the hospitality of the few other locals, from the genuine feeling of returning to the past.