Spring is here and the thrill and anticipation of new adventures is in the air! Do you feel it?
In my last blog post I wrote about the interior of the Revival homes in Eastern Europe, their oversize, practicality, and functionality. I hope you noticed in the photos that most of the houses had a top floor much bigger than the bottom ones. It is overhanging. And in many places the houses’ entrances were right on the street. As for the yards, they were on the sides and behind the house. Only a few rich people were able to have a parcel allowing front yard, as well as a back one.
An interesting fact about the building regulations in Bulgaria during the Revival times is that property taxes were based on the square footage of the main floor. If a builder could find way to build second and third floors, those could be bigger and the taxes would have been the same. Imagine a three story house with each floor overhanging the lower one- it would look like a giant three layer upside-down cake. (photos ##2-5) Plus the deep foundations provided huge cellars for storing food - homemade wine, home produced sausage/ ham/ jerky, fruits and vegetables for the whole winter, grain, eggs.
For privacy and security each house looked like a fortress if the main door was right off the street. Tall stone fences (looking like walls themselves) called DUVAR [douvar] were connected to the house and completely surrounded it. There was a back door in the fence, as a safe escape out of the estate. Most of the houses had a gossip window (yes, you read it correctly- GOSSIP WINDOW) by the main door or by the main gate, if the house had a front yard . Rich families lived in huge houses and the family life was within the walls of the estate. Visitations required warning and invitation. The matron and daughters were privileged to spend time by the gossip window, which in many cases was part of a small room, built for that purpose ( photo #1). From there they could see to the streets and the entrance ways of the neighbors. That’s how they stayed informed of the news in the city.
Hope you enjoy the photos bellow. They were taken by me .