History of Arbanassi

The Arbanassi annals begin with the earliest written document - the firman by sultan Suleiman the Magnificent from 1538 with which he grants the lands of the modern towns Arbanassi, Lyaskovetz, Gorna Oryahovitza, and Dolna Oriahovitza to the grand vizier Rustem pasha who was sultan’s son-in-law. In the mentioned firman the four settlements are under one name - Arnabud Karielare.
Other pieces of information about Arbanassi we find in the notes of Pavel Djordjic to the Transsylvanian prince Zigmund Bathory from 10 January 1595. Arbanassi is also mentioned by the Catholic bishop in Sofia Petar Bogdan Balishic who visited Veliko Turnovo in 1640. He mentions that up the mountain there was a town where whole Turnovo can be seen and there were about 1000 households.
The lack of other documents gives a lot of opinions and suggestions of the origin, name and population of Arbanassi. Some scientists accept that it is settled by Bulgarian boyars who came with their peasants from the most western lands after the brilliant victory of Ivan Assen II at Klokotnitza on 9 Mart 1230 when he takes possession of the Arbanassi land. During the Middle Ages Bulgarians called Arbanassi Arbanashka zemia. History of Arbanassi
Rakovski says that Ivan Assen married the daughter of the captured kir Theodor Komnin and because of her moved some Greek families in Arbanassi.
In 1859 the teacher in Veliko Turnovo A. P. Granitski makes a translation of the guidance in Veliko Turnovo issued by Hamamdjiev in Tzarigrad. It says:” The village of Arbanassi is located half an hour from Veliko Turnovo, to the east where the Bulgarian boyars and important people lived in old times with 2000 citizens…” This renaissance teacher from Kotel most precisely defines not only the name but also the origin of the population “settled in old times by the Bulgarian boyars”.
Richer documents (copies and chronicle notes in church books) have remained from XVII - XVIII c. It shows that Arbanassi reaches its economic climax in the second half of the XVII c. and by the end of XVIII c. Then the village had 1000 households and its population consisted of the most eminent trade families. The main occupation of the population was stock-breeding. The occupations connected with them were also developed. These were copper and goldsmith trade. The households also bred silkworms. The four manufactures produced silk that was exported to Tsarigrad and Italy. Viticulture was also typical for this place. The best vineyards were situated around the Balak fountain (Balakova cheshma), Orelcheto, Kamaka, Chukata. The stock-breeders from Arbanassi were famous and looked for in the whole vast empire. Many of them sold even in Baghdad, India, and Persia. They sold meat, fat, hide, and other things and when they came back they brought silk, velvet, spices, herbs, etc. which they sold not only in Arbanassi but also in Turnovo, Gorna Oriahovitsa, Popovo, etc.
The five churches and the houses built in the years of prosperity are proof of the economical prosperity and welfare in Arbanassi. In the end of XVIII c. as a result of the kurjalii invasions in 1792, 1798, 1810 the village was plundered and set on fire and the epidemic of plague and cholera put an end to what remained from the robbers and fire. The richest traders moved in Wallachia and Russia.
After 1810 a new settlement started in Arbanassi. These people were Bulgarians from the mountains near Elena and Triavna . But it could not reach the past prosperity and economic climax, and more, with the hattisherif from Gulhan from 1839 its authorities were taken. The development of the small occupations after the Crimean war here almost stops.
In the course of a several centuries Arbanassi is a stronghold of the Greek influence. Greek language which is official here, the famous Greek school, and also the church liturgy do not influence the national conscience of the local population. The participation of people from Arbanassi in the series of rebellions is weak but this is evidence that the Bulgarian spirit can be felt here. The Kurjievi family is from Arbanassi. The brothers Georgi and Toma Kurjievi, one of them is a teacher and a man of letters, and the other one - Toma is a revolutionist, coordinator of the Chervenovod squad in 1875. Arbanassi is a birth place of Ilarion Dragostinov, a famous figure of the central revolutionary committee, main apostle of the second revolutionary district of Sliven. He perishes in a heavy battle on 10 May 1876 at Vratnika in the Sliven Balkan. During the Russian - Turkish war 11 people from Arbanassi take part as militia men.
The history of Arbanassi is rich and the names of the people from Arbanassi are recorded in the heroic chronicle. But what has remained nowadays and strikes with its beauty, skill, taste, what reflects the age most brilliantly, are the 144 retained houses with rich interior decoration, 5 churches, and 2 monasteries.