The village of Dolen lies close to the Bulgarian-Greek border, in the western part of the Rhodopi mountain. It is situated 19 km to the east of Gotse Delchev and 220km to the south of Sofia. The village was declared a monument of culture and architecture in the 80es of the 20th c. together with the nearby villages of Leshten and Kovachevitsa. Even if the three villages feature the same architectural style and form a single architectural ensemble, Dolen is still relatively unknown to tourists and hence less commercialised. Here, one can enjoy true timelessness and serenity, which is already hard to encounter in Kovachevitsa or Leshten.
The lower popularity of Dolen does not mean that the village is less beautiful or less suitable for rural tourism than the other two villages mentioned above. It just happened that entrepreneural businessmen first set their eyes on Kovachevitsa and Leshten and gradually developed them via heavy investment in acquiring old houses and upgrading them to offer good conditions to tourists. This has already started to happen in Dolen as well, but the process is (fortunately) still at its beginning.
Most of Dolen’s houses are more than 150 years of age. The typical house of Dolen is of two or three floors with a spacious terrace (so-called ‘chardak’). The ground floor has been originally used for sheltering the household’s animal stock – at present, however, only a couple of houses still utilise it to this end. The chardak is pretty chilly in the winter but invaluable for an afternoon rest in the summer. One of the most typical features of the local house are the thin stone layers on the roof, used instead of standard tiles.
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