Bardarski Geran is a village in northwestern Bulgaria, part of Byala Slatina municipality, Vratsa Province. It is among the several villages founded by Banat Bulgarians returning from the Banat after the Liberation of Bulgaria from Ottoman rule in 1878, and is thus predominantly Roman Catholic. It is regarded as "the capital of Banat Bulgarians in Bulgaria" by certain members of the community.
Bardarski Geran was founded in 1887, mostly by these Banat Bulgarian settlers (initially 185 families) from Dudeștii Vechi (Stár Binov), Austria-Hungary (today in Romania). A number of Banat Danube Swabians also settled, beginning with seven families in 1893, their total number later exceeding 90 families. Due to the religious differences (the Bulgarian inhabitants of the surrounding villages being Eastern Orthodox), the inhabitants of Bardarski Geran would mostly communicate with residents of the other Catholic villages in the region.
There are three Banat villages in Romania: Dudeştii Vechi / Altbeschenowa (German), Cheglevici / Keglewichhausen (German), and Colonia Bulgară / Bulgarische Kolonie (German) that was mostly populated by Banat Bulgarians (Palćene), a regional minority group of ethnic Bulgarians that profess Roman Catholicism, who came from northern Bulgaria, and who are descendants of Paulicians that settled in the area around 1738.
According to all known sources descendants of these Banat Danube Swabian and Banat Bulgarian settlers, Seven German families
St. Joseph Catholic Church
Bardarski geran, Montana District
Bardarski Geran, 3259 Bulgaria
© Nemska Cyrkva
from Denta, Schaag, Gjertyanos, Homolitz, Stamora,
and Berg landed in the Danube port city of Oryahovo on April 17th, 1893 and
25 kilometers away found a new home in Bardarski Geran on April 19th. These are the names of some of the families who settled in Bardarski Geran: Johann Wingerong, Pfeiffer, Heinrich Russ, Jacob Becker, Peter (Heinrich) Gehl, Josef Dauerbach and Josef Welsch. Their numbers later exceeded 95 families.
The village has two Roman Catholic churches, one of which is the Church of St Joseph, and the other the German Church of the Virgin Mary, which is almost destroyed due to lack of maintenance, as the bulk of the Germans left around World War II. Despite the common denomination, lifestyle and customs, the Bulgarians and the Germans would not usually intermarry and often quarreled, and so preferred to have two separate churches. In the 1930s, the Bulgarian parish priest was Evgeniy Bosilkov, future Bishop of Nikopol, while the German colonists were served by Emil Frohe.
Bardarski Geran's characteristic architecture featuring elongated one-storey houses with Central European-style sharp-pointed roofs and straight streets owes much to Italian architect and engineer Leopold Forabosco who settled in the village after arriving in Bulgaria on Tsar Ferdinand's request.
The monthly newspaper of the Banat Bulgarians in Bulgaria, Falmis, was founded in Bardarski Geran in 1997. There is also a folklore dance group active in Bardarski Geran and performing Banat Bulgarian dances and songs. The Bardarski Geran cultural centre (chitalishte) was founded in 1923 by Germans and Bulgarians in the house of Mathis Scheringer; in 1958, it moved to its present building. The village has an amateur football club, named after Botev. In the village's centre, right next to the clock tower, there is a monument to a Soviet fighter plane crew that crashed in the vicinity in World War II, as well as a monument to the locals that perished in the Balkan Wars and World War I.
In Bardarski Geran, the Danube Swabians built a church with an incredible name "Mary - Mother of Holy Hope".
Bardarski Geran - Donnerstag, den 29. April 2010, 19:00 Uhr
Internationales Begegnungszentrum der Wissenschaft (IBZ)
Amalienstraße 38, München-Schwabing (U 3, U 6, Bus 154 bis Universität)
Sources Used For This Work
Njagulov, Blagovest (1999). "Banatskite bǎlgari v Bǎlgarija". Banatskite bǎlgari: istorijata na edna malcinstvena obtnost vǎv vremeto na nacionalnite dǎravi (in Bulgarian). Sofia: Paradigma. ISBN 954-9536-13-0.
Von Valentin, Louis (4 January 2003). "Bulgarien: Das etwas andere Dorf. Schwäbische Kultur zwischen Donau und Balkan" (in German). Preußische Allgemeine Zeitung / Das Ostpreußenblatt. Retrieved 2007-03-26.
Cenkova, Iskra. "Germanija, bǎlgarska prikazka" (in Bulgarian). TEMA. Retrieved 2008-08-09.
Contributions by Rose Vetter, Anton Laigep and Jody McKim Pharr
[Published at DVHH.org by Jody McKim Pharr 22 May 2013]