Leading the project:
arch. Mirella Kafkova – Project Coordinator and Ideologist
After our professional expedition in Strandzha Park we met the cultural diversity of the region. The demographic problem here has greatly helped to preserve the traditional architecture. Our professional interest has logically led us to the artisan masters who have the knowledge to build, restore and maintain these houses in authentic ways. We have placed our ambitious task of popularizing these skills and helping their continuity.
arch. Irina Argirova – project leader and ideologist
Creating the “Greetings, Master! How did you build it?” project was driven by the lack of continuity between craftsmen and young people nowadays, as an attempt to restore that connection. The skills and knowledge of the old masters, who have built the traditional Bulgarian houses are part of our intangible cultural heritage. It’s not by accident that we chose the site for the field study and the workshops to be Strandzha Park – as the intersection of the tangible, intangible and natural heritage.
arch. Darina Hristova – coordinator and website designer
The project “Greetings, Master! How did you build it?” aims to explore the specifics of the tangible and intangible cultural heritage in Strandzha. The discovery of masters and builders specializing in old traditional crafts aims to remind and promote their value. Preserving this knowledge is extremely important for the preservation of the local identity and also there is something to gain and integrate into our modern life and culture.
arch. Tanya Valkanova – coordinator and website designer
The preservation of traditional crafts and mostly their transformation not only into a museum exhibit but an active profession for more people is an important condition for a sustainable and honest preservation of the original. This is a complex process involving the participation of many sides – practitioners, state and professional organizations, society. With the project “Greetings, Master! How did you build it?” we hope to start the dialogue about traditional crafts and how they can be preserved, revived and find their place among modern professions.
Nikolay Marinov – architect, expert “Construction with natural materials” from the team of ASEM, trainer, lecturer and leader in the project.
The Strandzha Park project is part of a series of field studies aimed at exploring, documenting and transmitting traditional building techniques and crafts between generations of amateurs and masters. The value and characteristic of Strandzha Park is the traditional Black Sea wooden house. The manual splitting of oak planks, wooden assemblies and constructive solutions deserve to be explored and preserved so that this architectural richness can remain for the generations after us.
Stefan Stoyanov – architect, specialist in the field of cultural heritage; trainer, lecturer and leader in the project
Our expedition in Strandzha is a good opportunity to apply our methodology for field work in an area, rich not only in history and folklore, but also in its authentic Bulgarian Renaissance architecture, which has reached us thanks to the long-standing border status of many villages, which had been limiting access to them.
In Strandzha, as in so many other places in Bulgaria, typical traditional crafts and construction techniques are endangered to disappear along with the last old masters, but with our work we will do our best not only to study but also to ensure the continuity of that valuable knowledge.
Emanuela Marinska – architect
In Strandzha the groves tell stories, springs are sacred, and each house is a personal human history. The place is great for field research, because it has kept many good examples of the traditional Strandzha and Black Sea houses, as well as some masters are still familiar with the old building techniques. It is very important that this knowledge is passed on to our generation and this will be the goal of the Meshtra team at the upcoming workshops..
Boris Stoimenov – architect
The project “Greetings, Master! How did you build it?” gave me the opportunity to get to know a region from Bulgaria, which I had known little until then. Strandzha was a unique experience that immersed us in the magic of the old Bulgarian architecture near the Black sea. We have met masters who gave us a lot of useful information about old crafts, which unfortunately disappear and that is why this strongly motivates us to preserve and continue these traditions and knowledges.
Kubrat Milev – architect
The workshop was filled with interesting and exciting experiences. At the same time, we have done a great job of studying and documenting the cultural heritage of the region. Which in turn, is a good basis for the next stages of the project. I think that we will be able to preserve local traditions and identity.
Special thanks to the volunteers who helped us with the research:
Tsvetina Krivoshieva – architect
The initiative underlines the idea of intergenerational continuity in the name of the preservation of certain values, which I fully support. For the participation I was also motivated by the theme of the project, which is also related to my professional orientation – I consider it as a professional duty to protect what was created before us and this project is a way to achieve this. In addition, the location of the field study – a mystical and magnetic place (Strandzha) – comes to my attention and I study with great interest.
Petya Taleva – construction engineer, PhD student
The study of the intangible cultural heritage in Strandzha is a step forward to preservation and its projection – the material cultural heritage. The field survey is a unique chance to get to know some of our history, crafts and traditions in construction. I think that such young and ambitious team of specialists in different fields would contribute to preserving the authenticity of this area.
Polya Ninova – architect
Strandzha is a magical place where the interaction between man and nature has created its characteristic appearance with preserved material heritage. In addition, strong intergenerational continuity has preserved the interesting and rich intangible heritage, part of which we also discovered during the study. The idea of continuing with the preservation and passing on what we have discovered, as well as getting more people acquainted with the uniqueness of the place that is at the core of the project, is what I, as a person and future architect, set myself for.
Anrieta Zhekova – a bibliographer
I liked the idea because it is related to history and architecture, as well as exploring and researching places, crafts and culture. All the areas listed are also my personal interests. I like to travel to remote and small settlements. The project combines travel, exploration and communication with different people in Strandzha. I’m glad I was part of the team.
Dragomir Gruev – Natural Sciences
In times when massive construction practices irreversibly destroy the natural systems, a ray of hope is the preservation of the already built by our ancestors – the right step towards a sustainable way of life.
Irina Ganeva – architect
Participating in the field study was an opportunity to explore new places, people and their customs, beliefs and stories. The territory has proven to be unique from the intact nature and traditional architecture that I believe should be preserved. Strandzha has inspired me with examples of both tangible and intangible cultural heritage, which is what motivates me to continue to explore it in the future.
Evgeni Dermansky – architect
As an architecture student at UACEG, I had the opportunity to participate in surveys,
related to the cultural and architectural heritage of the Strandzha region. The project “Greetings, Master! How did you build it?” with his mission – the search for old masters and the passing of traditional knowledge and crafts to future generations, drew my attention as an extremely good cause in order to preserve the intangible values over time. My involvement as a volunteer in field studies has further developed my knowledge and has deepened my interest in this unique place.
Mirela Svetoslavova – architec
Even for a person like me, growing up in the immediate vicinity, Strandzha is unknown and a little popular. During my studies, I had the opportunity to get acquainted with the region and to discover that it has a great potential and a collection of natural, historical, cultural and architectural values. My participation in the project “Greetings, Master! How did you build it?” was driven mainly by my desire to promote the region and rediscover the forgotten and / or lost traditions and customs.
Slavyana Dimitrova – student of architecture
Studying architecture at the university offers very little practice in a real environment and for that reason I am easily tempted by visits and studies to the more unknown places in Bulgaria. The project “Greetings, Master! How did you build it?” was an ideal opportunity to visit, explore and understand the architecture, the tangible and intangible heritage of Strandzha through the life and activity of local people, knowledge and experience that I can not acquire from any textbook. No less important is the acquaintance with different and interesting people I’m glad to have worked with and I would work agai
Azatouhi Sargsian – architect
Intangible cultural heritage is one of the most incredible treasures of Bulgaria, which must be accepted and understood by us in the present and passed on to future generations. My decision to take part in the project “Greetings, Master! How did you build it?” was dictated by respect and interest in the “Meshtra” initiative to get to know traditional crafts. The authentic and mystical character of the place managed to contribute to the full appreciation of the qualities of the Bulgarian cultural heritage and to awaken even more interest in our country. I’m very glad I was part of this wonderful team in this adventure.
Ekaterina Tsolova – student of architecture
Before I joined the project “Greetings, Master! How did you build it?” I did not know enough about Strandzha, the traditions and livelihood of the people there. For me, the border location of the area and the passing of different cultures even today, make it saturated with legends and touching personal stories. The stories of the local people have helped us a lot to feel the atmosphere and the spirit of the place
Dimitar Petrov – animator / artist decor
Folklore, history, and architecture have always been interesting to me. When I heard about “Meshtra” and the project “Greetings, Master! How did you build it?” I saw in this a great opportunity to learn more about all this. The study in Strandzha helped me understand much more about the history of the region and the specific approaches to building, which will be of utmost usefulness to me. I have also become more convinced of the importance of Meshtra’s work and of similar researches – because it would be a shame for these traditional crafts and approaches to be lost to future generations. I was extremely happy with the opportunity to participate in such a great job with such a cool team.