Troyan: Myth or Mountain Town?

For those of you who thought that this was going to be a node about the Trojan war, I'm sorry to say that this isn't the case.

Troyan is in fact a small town found in Bulgaria, slap bang in the middle of the Stara planina mountain range. Having being born there I felt that I could tell you a bit about it.

Although not widely known, Troyan has played an important part in the History of Bulgaria. During the Ottoman occupation of Bulgaria, which lasted over 500 years, Troyan was one of the few towns, which retained its freedom. This was mainly due to the town's strategic position. It is located deep in the mountains, where in the past, only a few main passes were established. The main passes to Troyan were heavily guraded by the resistances in Lovech and Veliko Turnovo. Although two attempts to take the town were made, the invaders soon gave up, because the town was of little purpose to them and both of their attacks failed miserably after they underestimated the wrath of the "Balkan people", as they are reffered to in Bulgaria.

During the country's occupation, Troyan was a safe haven for secret liberating organisations and the picturesque Troyan Monastery, which still stands proudly today, was the hiding place of many famous freedom fighters such as Vasil Levski, who played a major role in freeing Bulgaria from its long occupation.

Due to the fact that Troyan had not been influenced by the Ottoman occupation, it has preserved its unique Bulgarian culture, dialect and traditions. Troyan is well known in Bulgaria for its beautiful ceramic artwork and for its delicious lukanka. (Lukanka, by the way is a traditional sweetmeat.) The famous Balkan Cheese is also produced in Troyan. The cheese is soft and yellow, with a slightly bitter edge to it and is a favourite among the locals. A great variety of herbs and herbal medicines, grow in the forests and wilderness of Troyan, many of which are exported by "BALKANPHARM"

Although Troyan isn't a very popular tourist destination, the beautiful flora and fauna of the Balkan region have been the inspiration for many poets and artists around the world. Unortunately poaching is also widespread in Troyan and many native species such as the grey wolf and the mountain bear are now very rarely seen.