The hut above Vratsa was built with donations and voluntary work

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The Hut has become a symbol of Vratsa. It is one of the well-beloved spots by locals and visitors alike, and a popular location for hiking and recreation. The building of the Hut holds an interesting story of the citizens of Vratsa, who rallied behind a cause. They managed to set the foundations nearly a century ago with volunteering and donations.

The whole story is told by Vesela Pelova, an expert in the National Archive, Vratsa.

It all started in 1900 when forty of Vratsa’s most prominent citizens gathered behind an idea that they wanted to popularize amongst the others. They wanted everyone to learn about the beauty of Vratsa and the Vratsa Balkan, so they created a real “fan club” that goes strong to this day, nearly 100 years later. This passionate tribute to the natural beauties of Vratsa has given the way of the tourist movement in town and gave Vratsa the amazing touristic Hut that became a symbol of the city.

The ideas that united the pioneers of tourism in Vratsa are still around even today:
• to teach the locals about the beauties of nature
• to attract foreign visitors to the Vratsa Balkan
• to build inns and hotels, where the guests can stay
• to build a tourist hut with a tourist bedroom
• to steadily plant trees in the outskirts of the city with the aid of the municipality and the local forestry administration
• to promote the Ledenika cave
• to write guidebooks and mark the hiking trails
• to identify and promote the place where Hristo Botev fell
• to promote tourist trails to all remarkable natural landmarks
• to initiate trips to the nearby villages
• to promote traditional everyday life of the local villagers
• to popularize sports like the game of football
• to give names to the gorgeous places around the town that still don’t have one
• to issue the “Tourist” newspaper
• to build a road build roads to Ledenika and Okolchitsa
• to promote winter sports
• to assemble a tourist chorus and more

They began implementing these ideas with the deep belief that “Vratsa has all it takes to be a leading tourist center, contribution to both the locals and to the country”. One of these ideas reached the biggest height – to be the symbol of the city. This was the idea of building a tourist Hut.

In 1903, Metody Mazhdrakov proposed this idea to his fellow tourists. His plan was to build a “tourist inn” where the guest of Vratsa can stay. In the following year, the members of the union assign their first 50 lv. to the draft budget for the building of a tourist hut. This was a year before the first stone of the Aleko hut was placed on Vitosha by the tourists of Sofia. Unfortunately, many setbacks and the lack of supporters made the idea impossible until 1925.

On August 2nd, St. Ilya’s day, in 1925, the Vratsa Tourist Association invited everyone to a special event in regards to its 25-year anniversary. This is the day that the first stone of the Hut was laid down. What followed is probably the most exciting year in Vratsa’s new history. On the 8th of November, the Hut was officially opened amidst huge celebrations. The people of Vratsa managed to unite behind this brilliant idea. They gave everything they have to make the plan of Arch. Dogramadzhiev and the Veslets Tourist Association a reality. Everything, from the bricks to the shining tin casing of the towers, along with every object required during the construction and the furnishing was donated by the people and the administration of Vratsa.

The Hut remains a pride for everyone in Vratsa as indicated by the donator’s lists that were published in the local newspapers of that time. It is a symbol of unity and the modern urban spirit of Vratsa.
The Hut became a center point of the innovative ideas of its creators. They were the ones who introduced some new traditions like celebrating Christmas Eve and the liberation of the city. That is why the building became a natural symbol of the city and a favorite place for recreation of generations. It remains a popular place for winter skating, dating, patriotic celebrations, and all kind of sports events. A place for hiking with friends and child’s games all year long – from early spring to late autumn. A place to pay gratitude to history and our ancestors, and to enjoy nature!

A legendary poet said – „Не се гаси туй, що не гасне”, meaning that you cannot put out a fire that burns eternal. In 2006 the people of Vratsa literally proved that it can’t be burned. The Hut was restored after a fire probably as proof to the forever truth that real values need to be rediscovered and to be protected in order to be earned. The modern-day generations had to face the threat of losing one of the symbols of Vratsa so they can rediscover it. They had to appreciate the legacy of their forefathers, so they can be their worthy heirs.