If the guest of Veliko Tarnovo strolls along the ancient streets of Varusha and Samovodska Charshia, he will feel the spirit of the bygone times, lifestyle and culture of the people of post-liberation Bulgaria. Being in the beautiful decor of years past, one seems to be part of a romantic show,
which is a spectator and participant. The Samovodska Charshia or the present-day Georgi Stoykov Rakovski Street was created in the 1960’s and 1970’s, when Turnovo began to grow and develop as a commercial and craft center. on the street were ordered commercial and artisan shops, workshops and inns. Here were smiths, coppersmiths, potters, gunsmiths, confectioners, sausages. .
Today, many of the houses and workshops have been rebuilt. They employ masters of old technologies and original tools in front of the visitors’ eyes, and to this day the Revival spirit on the street is preserved. Tourists can buy souvenirs, treats, herbs, exquisite icons.The Inns occupy a special place in the architectural appearance of old Tarnovo and in its economic life. In the distant past, except for overnight travelers, they were used as warehouses for expensive manufactures and for workshops of craftsmen. Some of them have inns and cafes. Towards the middle of the 19th century, the khans gradually began to dominate other civilian buildings, testifying to the increased self-esteem of their owners. They are massive buildings with iron doors, windows and shutters, and with richly decorated fronts. As of 1877, the town’s halls were about sixty, and by the end of the nineteenth century their number reached seventy-one. The most famous of them are Stambolov, Dryanovsky, Abadzhii, Kozhukharsky, Chifutsky, Arnautsky, Tekirzaliyski, Hadji Davidov, Varbanov, Khan of Yonooolu, Velikolau, Byala Bona, Hajji Nikoli, and Bananto.
Most often, the khan is named after the respective esnaf who works in it or its owner. In some of the khans work several esnafs.
To this day the inn of Hadji Nicoli is preserved. The architectural treasure left to us by the Dryanovo master Kolyu Ficheto was built in 1858 for the trader Hadji Nicoli of Tarnovo. The self-taught architect manages to create an architectural work from a simple building designed for a commercial warehouse. The facade of the building has beautiful open galleries, shaped by stone columns. The galleries end with capitals connected by rhythmically repeating arches. The outdoor arcade corridors are decorated with curved iron railings. The complex of the unique Han Hadji Nicoli is now in its original form and enjoys a new life with authenticity and modern comfort. After a long restoration, the Hadji Nicoli Inn opened its doors in March 2010, acquiring its new function as a kind of cultural center – a complex of exhibition halls and a gallery, a summer garden, a luxurious restaurant with four differently decorated lounges, a cafe and a wine bar.
The restaurant of Han Hadji Nicoli will immerse you in the unique atmosphere of this unique place, combined with perfect service, European and Bulgarian traditional cuisine, gourmet menu, a wide range of quality Bulgarian and imported wines, carefully selected by a special team of enologists.
In terms of what is being produced or sold, there were groceries, smithies, coppersmiths, opinchars and other sheds during the Renaissance.
Today, Samovodska Charshia is a museum site in Veliko Tarnovo with historical, cultural and tourist focus. It also includes the Samovodski Market.
The complex consists of restored and adapted houses from the nineteenth century. Among them is the home of the writer Emilian Stanev, turned into a museum. At the beginning of the street is the monument of the famous Bulgarian statesman Stefan Stambolov.