So beautiful and picturesque this Bulgarian village is! Perched on the hills above an open structural basin, it is like one small Rhodope Turnovo.

With its shiny white-painted houses one above the other, beautiful forest and lush meadows, it delights the eye of the traveler. Among the trees of the nearby mounds glimmer the walls of 26 chapels. 11 neighborhoods have spread bodies on the hills. In the center of it stands proudly the bell tower of the church – part of the 100 National Tourist Sites.  And the warmth and cordiality with which the people here welcome you, leaves one with a soul full of all the heard and seen.

What is more, Momchilovtsi is the village of the long-livers. And of the sunlit days - 270 days of the year. The village of yogurt, which enchanted the Chinese. And of the real folklore.

Archeological finds indicate that the lands here have been inhabited by man since times immemorial. Today the village bears the name of the famous hero Momchil – the last independent Rhodopean ruler. His state, with the capital of Tsarevo, reached from the ridge of Momina Voda to the fortress  of Peritorion. Died in battle in 1345 Momchil Yunak has remained in the collective memory of the nation to this day. His bravery has inspired legends. But no less in numbers are the tales of the beauty of his wife, Elitsa- strong as the sun, the colors and songs of Rhodope. The history of the village can be seen in details in the museum - an ethnographic collection with a painting gallery.

And if we visit the Community Centre "Svetlina 1925", we will instantly find out that the folklore is one of the treasures of Momchilovtsi. The locals take pride in it and pass it on to the future generations. "To give our children roots and wings", they say. And they do it. Every boy and girl takes part in one of the two dancing troupes, or in the piper band, or in the "Svetlina" folklore group. The latter, led by its artistic director Elena Kanevska, performed a unique model of an archaic Rhodope wedding ceremony which won many a prize in international festivals and competitions. However, the Community Centre is not the only place where children drink from the fountain of the local folklore. Everything starts in the family – and in Momchilovtsi every family sings. The song, the traditional dance and the pipe still accompany the daily life of the people here.

Just as the striving to create beauty. The skilled woodcarvers, famed for their talent, still create exceptional works for the churches and monasteries in Bulgaria. Their masterpieces gleam in many homes in Momchilovtsi as well. Actually, apart from folklore, honored here are the teachers and the church. The first teacher in the village, Grigorii - a monk from Sveta Gora, can be seen immortalized in a unique fresco in the "St. Constantine and Elena" church. Its iconostasis, icons and murals are a precious Bulgarian cultural heritage.

Today Momchilovtsi invests in tourism. That is because they have everything needed: beautiful nature, crystal clear water from the mountain, clean air, organic products and sites. Calmness and coziness are offered in their hospitable houses. There are 6 family hotels in the village and licensed lodgings with more than 220 places, welcoming guests from all around the world. And of course, a tourist simply cannot depart from Momchilovtsi before trying the local culinary specialties: patatnik, kachamak, kiln, apratsi /sarmi/, katmi, cheverme, or enjoying the homemade pine honey, strawberry and blueberry jam and the fragrant herbal tea.

And the yogurt? It made so that, to the Chinese, Bulgaria equals Momchilovtsi! Ten years ago, having heard about its incredible qualities that contributed to people's longevity here, the Chinese researched it and began its production in Shanghai. The Chinese company involved, Bright Dairy, made the first step in building a demonstrative creamery called "Momchilovtsi – Bright" during the Yogurt Festival in Momchilovtsi in 2018. Moreover, a traditional local farm for the production of yogurt and cottage cheese – "Momchilovtsi – Bright Dairy" has started running.

Apart from all this, Momchilovtsi also has a wonderful ski and snowboard park, hike tracks for pedestrians and bicycle tracks for cycling, all leading to the nearby chapels and the Ayazmo - famous for its salutary water. An advantage is the proximity of the village to the Pamporovo Resort, the city of Smolyan and the National Astronomy Observatory, the village of Banite and its unique healing water, Peak Golyam Perelik, the village of Shiroka Laka, Krastova Gora, Chudnite Mostove, the Fortress of Momchil, Peak Srednogorets, Uhlovitsa, Yagodinska Cave and the Gorge of Trigrad. And Greece is only 60 km away.

 Photos : "Diplomatic Spectrum"