top of page

The stone - the eternal companion of the Bulgarian


The tradition in its processing is authentic, without the intervention of foreign

influences, even in the earliest Middle Ages.


Since ancient times, human life is inextricably linked with the stone. It is all around us - in the baptismal font in which we were baptized, in the foundations of our houses and temples, in the troughs of fountains and bridges over rivers, in the mills that grind our wheat, in the monuments and tombstones under which ends our earthly journey.

The processing of stone by the Bulgarians was originally the work of craftsmen, stonemasons and stonemasons, as well as builders. In the past, they mainly produced troughs, pillars (fences) for wells, crosses, stones for architectural buildings - churches and other public buildings, as well as various decorative figures for the facades of such buildings.

The rich archeological monuments in Bulgaria point to a continuous tradition in this respect throughout all centuries of Bulgarian history. This is very natural, given the monumental architectural structures in the east - in Pliska, Preslav and Madara, and in the westernmost parts of Bulgaria - palaces, churches and fortresses, where artfully made stone columns, capitals, bases, friezes and various decorative details of altarpieces and other plates are a common occurrence. The available Old Bulgarian terminology does not speak of foreign influences in those times.

The modern Bulgarian terminology has not deviated in almost anything from these forms, which shows that the tool itself was exactly the same. To some extent, some terms changed and enriched in the second half of the XIX century, when in Bulgaria came as builders of bridges and other buildings, especially on the construction of railways, stonemasons from Italy.

As an integral part of the characteristic system of Bulgarian folk art, stonemasonry during the Renaissance is characterized by the organic unity of the functional definition of stone structures and their decorative decoration on the basis of a deep understanding of the relationship between man and the natural environment. These principles reflect the successive development of stonemasonry in the Bulgarian lands.



Bulgarian master stonemasons have left unforgettable stone works in churches, homes, bridges and fountains, tombstones and other monuments. For example, an unknown master in Koprivshtitsa sculpted cypresses and a snake at a fountain. Kolyu Ficheto left a kind of gallery of stone figures of lions, swans and dragons, which speak of the aesthetic taste of the masters of that time, who understood that a building should not be used only for practical purposes.

In their works of stone sculpture folk artists used a rich variety of motifs: human figures, animals (lions, deer, horses), birds (pigeons, double-headed eagle), snakes, fish, plants (flowers, vines, rosettes), as well as and geometric ornaments.

Stone-making develops where there are natural conditions for it: the presence of material - granite and marble. Centers of stonemasonry in the past were Pliska, Preslav, Veliko Tarnovo, and later it developed in some mountain towns - Koprivshtitsa, Sopot, Karlovo, Vladaya - Sofia, Kunino - Vratsa, and others.

Bulgarian masters know well the qualities of the stone and use them depending on the nature of the work. Along with the usual stone work related to the stone construction, the shaping of the front side of the stone blocks, during the Revival performances of decorative stone sculpture began to appear more and more often. Beautiful stone carvings and reliefs adorned fountains, bridges and houses. All of them are the work of ordinary, original stonemasons and builders who developed their skills based on the traditions of Bulgarian folk art.

After the Liberation from Ottoman rule, the Revival stone-making traditions continued to be passed on. The stone is now increasingly used not only by artisans, but also enters as a material in art. Gradually, in the years after the Second World War, a number of sculptor artists began to develop in Bulgaria, who were presented in the study "Contemporary Bulgarian Sculpture" by Veneta Ivanova. The artists work with stone: Petar Doichinov ("Otter" - plastic decoration of a fountain, 1965), Valcho Kadiev (head of Nikola Vaptsarov, 1967), Kiril Lazarov ("Syrian girl", 1965). Sculpture as an art form is always characterized by the pursuit of sublime imagery. It affirms universal human truths and socially significant ideas. Through the art of sculpture, the artistic symbols of eternal human beauty and virtues, of the triumph of human reason, of human sorrow, are transmitted among the generations, embodied in lasting forms. Through the plastic characteristic the sculpture recreates the infinite variety, beauty and complexity of the human image.

Author: Stefan Bonev

Sources: Teodora Vasileva, "For an original master stonemason from the XX century",

D. Drumev and A. Vassilev, “Wood


bottom of page