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The Idea

The Sharena Zadruga project aims to develop the village of Golyama Zhelyazna into a Heritage Arts & Crafts Hub. By reviving some of the main buildings in the community like the old school, the bakery, and the bathhouse we will turn it into a gathering place for creative enthusiasts interested in culinary art and traditional handcrafts. 

Location & History

The village of Golyama Zhelyazna, lays at the shore of Sopot Dam, in the Municipality of Troyan. The community is the most ancient inhabited place in the Central Balkans with Neolithic traces of human presence found in the Toplya Cave, located right nearby.

The 36 Thracian mounds in its land also testify to its advanced age. The village is first mentioned in an Ottoman document found in the National Library "St. St. Cyril and Methodius”, which proves its existence as an independent settlement since 1479 under the name Zhelezna.

The Old Shcool

Documents dated in the 1920s, claim Golyama Zhelyazna as a key crafts and trade centre in the region, with more than 3 500 inhabitants. During an official visit of the region, Tzar Boris III, the Bulgarian monrch in that period, noticed an impressive construction project in the municipality and was pleasantly surprised that it was going to be a school. He left promising the village administration that he would support the development of this grand enterprise. In the years 1930-1932 a fabulous school complex was built. Tzar Boris III was impressed by the local initiative and became a patron of the Goliama Jeliazna school.


The complex hosted kids for 74 years and officially closed its doors in 2006. It remained deserted until 2021 when the Sharena Zadruga team found it and took to its revival. We believe our initiative will not only create new oportunities for the people in the region and Goliama Zeliazna will gain back its position as a regional crafts and culture center, but it will significantly contribute to the revitalisation, valorization and propagation of Culiary Arts & Herritage Crafts   

Why here, Why now?

·Located on the crossroad of Europe and Asia, Bulgaria has centuries old traditions in the amalgamation of a variety of regional cuisines and traditional craft techniques. Because of its geopolitical location, the country is one of the most economically, socially, and culturally friendly European destinations.  Bulgaria remains the most biodiverse country in Europe and one of the top producers of naturally grown raw aliments, which allows for easier demonstrations of quality food preparation. There is also still a strong remaining force of traditionally trained craftsmen as well as knowhow of crafts techniques allowing for a structured propagation of heritage artistry and skill.

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