The first settlers from the land of Arbanassi

It all happened when a great king, a gifted commander and a wise man ruled from Tarnovo. His name was Ivan Asen II. His deeds made him famous all over the Balkans; he was honoured and respected both in Rome and Constantinople. The Latin lords sought his friendship - they begged him to take Baudouin, their infant emperor under his patronage and to become related to the royal family through marriage.
In the twelfth year of his reign Ivan Asen II went to war with the Greeks, defeated them and conquered not only their land but the lands of the Serbian and Arbanasian. His kingdom spread between two seas and he became ruler over Bulgarians  and Greeks, Franks, Serbians and Arbanassians...
After a victorious battles the King returned to his palace. His soldiers brought along inestimable spoil together with the captured Greek king and many new settlers - boyars from the westernmost ends of the Balkan Peninsula. They came along bringing their servants and household belongings and established themselves close to the capital, on an elevated site, cool and fresh, covered by centuries-old forests and abundant in good water. It was called Zagorie.
The locals soon realized that the newcomers were healthy and strong people and also skilful builders. Out of oak and white cut stone they built themselves beautiful large houses, then engaged in trade and became affluent. Soon afterwards the settlement’s name was changed to Arbanassi. It gained fame as a place frequented by the king, boyars and bishops. Tradition has it that the Queen herself was captivated by the beauty of the place and had a magnificent church raised in the new settlement. The temple was built on a sacred place. Artists from Byzantium were called in to decorate God’s new house. Years later, on her deathbed, the Queen wished to be buried there. According to legend her wish was fulfilled....

                                                                                                                                                                               Collected and Retold by Zhivka Radeva