Stone-making is the main livelihood in Varbeshnitsa

Stone-making is the main livelihood in Varbeshnitsa
Stone-making is the main livelihood in Varbeshnitsa

Stonemasonry emerged as the most widely practiced craft in Varbeshnica at the end of the 19th century, providing livelihood for many men and changing the appearance of the village. Credit for discovering and developing the “white gold”, as the limestone is called, goes to four Italian masons.

After the Liberation, the laying of a railway line through the Iskar Gorge from Sofia to Roman began. For the construction of the tunnels and bridges, the Bulgarian government concluded a contract with Italian masons, who remained in Bulgaria after the work was completed. Some of them settled in the Mezdren region. At that time (1893), the millionaire Todor Balabanov started building a distillery in Mezdra and needed stone. The Italian stonemasons hired by him knew that there was a suitable white stone in the Vrbeško land. They noticed him when they were hunting in the areas around Varbeshnica.

The enterprising Italians bought the property of Hristo Nenov, hired workers, about 40 local residents and developed the first stone quarry.

Francesco Crassini was the leader of the group (born in Santa Brogino near Verona). In the village, he fell in love with Stanka Ilieva, a beautiful Vrbe girl, and stayed here for the rest of his life. Everyone called him Barabata – “leader” and his family was later called by this nickname – Barabovtsi.

Polly Luisi was from the same village in Italy. He married a woman from Vratsa and stayed in Vratsa. Francesco Sanchetta was from the town of Vicenza in the Alps. And he settled in Varbeshnitsa and became the progenitor of the Sanketevi family.

Antonio Cedolini was from Clausetto. He fell in love with the beautiful Maria and also stayed in the village – he started the Tonovtsi family.

One of the first great masters, who appeared not only in the production of household and construction products, is Vuto Nikolov. Together with other master stonemasons, he participated in the creation of the monuments to those who died in the wars of the villages of Gorno Pestene, Devene, Lesura, Gallatin, etc. The fate of Georgi Chedolini is interesting. Left an early orphan, like most willows, he began to make a living with a hammer and an awl in hand. He mastered the intricacies of the craft and turned to entrepreneurial activity. He exported large blocks of Volbe stone to Romania, and from there he imported salt. Contracted the stone masons of Vrbe to cover the Bulgarian National Bank, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the stone decoration of the Metropolis in the city of Vratsa, etc.

Undoubtedly, the best master was Nayden Todorov. He started working as a stonemason when he was not yet 13 years old with the Italian masters. The self-taught stonemason could work any figures without a model. He became an independent master of his quarry in Dedov dol, where 40 stonemasons worked. He was not content with just making monuments and steps, but also turned to artistic sculpture. His work is the monument to those who died in the wars and the capitals of the community center “Development” in Vratsa.

More significant monuments made by Vrbe stonemasons: Captain Petko Voivoda in Varna, the figures of Russian warriors and Bulgarian militiamen on Mount Shipka, the cavalry of Khan Asparukh in the town of Isperih, the Flying Squad of Benkovski in the town of Panagyurishte, the monument to General Skobelev in the city of Pleven, the Yavorov monument in Pomorie, the reliefs of the Alyosha memorial in Plovdiv, the reliefs of the Boteva detachment in Vratsa.

Now on the territory of the village there are several quarries and several companies whose main activity is the manufacture of stone products. They are the true perpetuators of this wonderful craft.

The article is in bulgaria

Tags: Stonemaking main livelihood Varbeshnitsa

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