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House Museum “Aleko Konstantinov”

100 National Tourist Sites

During his lifetime, Aleko Konstantinov donated his home to the Svishtov municipality. A remarkable exhibition is arranged in it today.

The great Bulgarian writer was born on January 1, 1863. At that time the city flourished because it traded, exporting mostly grain, not only to the Turkish empire, but also to Romania, Austria, and Russia. They describe Aleko’s father – a wealthy merchant who spoke five languages – as a proud and despotic person, and his mother – on the contrary, as a dreamy and gentle woman – qualities that she passes on to her son.

Aleko was lucky to be taught initially by teachers such as Emanuil Vaskidovich and Yanko Mustakov, and for two years he also attended the once famous school of Hristaki Pavlovich. Then he continued to study at the Aprilov High School in Gabrovo, but his studies were interrupted by the beginning of the Russo-Turkish war. It was she who became the reason for Emperor Alexander II, on his third visit to Svishtov, to stay in the native home of the future writer.

Today’s exhibition preserves memories of all this. The office of the Svishtov governorship headed by Nayden Gerov was also housed in this house later. Its employees were such personalities as Ivan Vazov, Dragan Tsankov and Nikola Zhivkov, and Aleko himself worked as a scribe.
After the war, Aleko studied in the city of Nikolaev, where he got acquainted with the works of the Russian classics. There he published his first poems, began to translate from foreign languages, wrote plays and composed, because in addition to literature, he was also strongly drawn to music.

Then he continued his studies at the Novorussiyskii University in Odessa. In 1885 he returned to Bulgaria, met Pencho Slaveykov and Dr. Krastev, translated from Russian and French, took an increasingly active part in the country’s political life. He is also a passionate traveller: in 1889 he visited the World Exhibition in Paris, in 1891 – the one in Prague, and two years later he traveled to Chicago. “To Chicago and back” and the unique “Bai Gagno” appear in the light of day. This remarkable artist and citizen became popular and loved by the majority of Bulgarians during his lifetime. His feuilletons, written boldly and ironically, denounced all the vulgarity and wolfish manners that reigned in Bulgaria during that era.

He knew what was threatening him and that’s why he said in a letter to Slaveykov: “Before the officers were looking for me to beat me, now others are following me to beat me.” But he continues fearlessly to lash out at the ills of society. On May 11, 1897, on the road near the village of Radilovo, Pazardzhishko, a bullet fired from an ambush and intended for his comrade Mihail Takev pierced Aleko’s heart and it stopped forever. The writer’s plans remain unfulfilled: for a trip around the world on foot together with a Frenchman; for another, again around the world, with Lidiya Shishmanova, for whom he wondered where to find money. Unfortunately, and a very real trip to Italy, which was offered to him by the editor of the magazine “Misl”, Dr. Krastev.

Not much remains of the writer’s archive: 19 books, several newspapers and magazines, twenty photographs, a gramophone without a funnel, a photographic tripod, an inkwell and a pyrographed box for barber’s supplies. And more: 3 photos taken by Aleko, his license to practice law, three handwritten notebooks with several pages each and receipts. But his immortal work remains, as well as his fame as the founder of the organized tourist movement in Bulgaria. As is well known, on August 27, 1895, he led 300 people to the peak of Vito, Cherni vrah. Finally, there are the lines about the Bulgarian nature, written with pathos, inspiration and love.

This house in Svishtov is not just a museum, but a temple, which should be entered with reverence before the work and life of this great patriot and writer

Work time:
From Monday to Friday: 09:00 – 17:00 Saturday and Sunday: 09:00 – 16:00
During the winter working hours (November-March) – Saturday and Sunday work on request

Entrance tickets:
Regular ticket – 3.00 BGN.
Admission for children, students and pensioners – 1.50 BGN.
Talk in Bulgarian – 5.00 BGN.
Talk in English – 10.00 BGN.

Address: Svishtov, Klokotnitsa St. No. 6
Phone: 0631 60467

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