The Sarafkina House

The Sarafkina House, continuing from ploshtad Velchova Zavera along str. Ivan Vazov you’ll catch sight of the Church o f SS Konstantin and Elena on the right, skulking behind foliage at the bottom of a steep flight of steps.

From here you can descend to what is perhaps the most characteristic of Turnovo’s streets, ulitsa General Gurko, where the houses — mainly dating from Ottoman times — look stun- ningly picturesque, perched along the curve of the gorge. Don’t miss the Sarajkinova kushta or Sarafkina House at no. 88 , which is so contrived that only two floors are visible from General Gurko but a further three overhang the river.

The interior is notable for the splendid octagonal vestibule with wrought-iron fixtures and a panelled rosette ceiling which, like the elegandy furnished rooms upstairs, reflects the taste of the architect and owner, the moneylender Dimo Sarafkina.

The emergence of bourgeois culture in nineteenth-century Turnovo is recalled in a gallery of sepia family photo- graphs displayed downstairs, along with a reconstructed sitting room, furnished in fashionable “Western” style, and a small display of costumes. There’s also a somewhat out-of-context collection of folkloric knick-knacks, including the ubiquitous ritual loaves, baked to celebrate such occasions as marriages, births and saints days.

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