THE VILLAGE OF KOSTI
The village of Kosti is within Tsarevo municipality and is located 90 km from Bourgas and 25 km south of Tsarevo on the road to Malko Tarnovo. It can be reached along a 7 km detour from the main road – an asphalt road in relatively poor condition.
Coordinates: 42°03’32.42” N, 27°46’49.28” E; 27 m above sea level.
The village of Kosti used to be a Greek village. Legend has it that it was founded by a Greek merchant – Costas and was named after him. But there is another legend – that it was named after St. Constantine (since it is one of the fire-dancing villages in Strandja). The earliest written record is from 1498. The village is also listed in the tax register of Anhialo district (Pomorie) in the 17th century. Kosti is one of the twelve villages in the Agatopolska district (Ahtopol). During the Russo-Turkish War of 1828-29 it was referred to as a "Greek village". After 1878 the village remained in the Ottoman Empire and became a part of the newly established district of Malko Tarnovo. Its inhabitants were Greeks. It was famous for its fire-dancers.
During the Preobrajensko Uprising in 1903 there were 100 houses in the village. Its Greek population emigrated to Greece after the Second Balkan War and in the 1920s. The emigrants were replaces by Bulgarians from Eastern Thrace. The favorable conditions in the valley of Veleka enabled the migrants from Lozengrad to prosper quickly. To the legendary fertility of the land was attributed the large number of walnut trees growing here. In 1926 the village had 304 houses and 1328 inhabitants, of which 856 refugees from Eastern Thrace. Now there are 300 inhabitants. In the late 1940s and early 1950s the village was the final stop of the light rail (600 mm) Ahtopol – Brodilovo – Kosti carrying wood to the beach. It was removed at the beginning of the 1950 since it was inefficient. Its reconstruction is still discussed, mostly to be used as a tourist attraction by beach goers as it will connect the beach with the mountain.
Population:249 residents according to data of 01.02.2011
Located in the picturesque valley of Veleka River, the village is surrounded by hills covered with centuries-old forests. Around it is the realm of the Pontic Rhododendron of Strandja.
Every spring the riverside meadows are flooded by the waters of Veleka River. Often the river floods the lower part of the village too.
In the area around Kosti there are traces of metallurgical activities. To the south there is a large necropolis as well as several individual Thracian mounds. In the past the village was one of the stops along the road Malko Tarnovo – Vasiliko (Tsarevo) – Ahtopol.
Around the village there are many chapels: St. Petka – a wooden structure with a holy spring, 1 km north of the village, St. Kostadin – about 1.5 km west of the village, St. George – a renovated wooden chapel with holy springs 4 km south of the village in the area of Odereto, St. Dimitar - 1 km west of the village, St. Iliya – about 2 km west of the village, St. Bogoroditza – 3 km to the southeast.
To the southeast of Kosti, above St. Bogoroditza, is the oldest beech tree in Strandja which is about 800 years old.
The village fair is on the day of St. Iliya.
The village has a large square which is located next to Veleka River. Here in 2002 was held the first Strandja Pontic Rhododendron Festival, organized by the Directorate of Natural Park Strandja.
Some of the old wooden houses of its previous inhabitants, which make it so attractive to tourists, can still be seen in Kosti. This style of residential architecture can be seen only in the three Greek villages of Kosti, Brodilovo and today’s Sinemorets. The buildings are spacious, two-storeyed, with a stable on the ground floor, overlaid with rough oak boards, with wide wooden beds, but with no windows, hence they are so dark and unhygienic. The scarce light came in through a "removable tile" on the roof.
The most beautiful village church in Strandja is the church St. Cyril and Methodius, located slightly off the square, near the building of State Forestry, Kosti. It was built by master Yanni in the XIX century. It used to be called St. St. Constantine and Elena until the emigration of the Greeks from the village. It was almost destroyed during the Preobrajensko Uprising, and in 1909 it was restored and consecrated again. What is remarkable about it is the carved iconostasis made by one of the last Strandja carvers – Pandil. The icon painter G. Poliksoidu is the author of most of the icons on the iconostasis: two were painted in 1883 and 1901, and 10 of the king’s icons were painted after Ilinden Uprising in 1909.
The church St. Cyril and Methodius has a nave and two aisles. It is a pseudo basilica with narthex, jutting out of the main building. The wooden belfry rises above the southern part of the narthex (1918). The church was built with stone and mortar. Inside the central arch and side ceilings are wooden. The iconostasis is richly decorated with openwork, applied on a lighter background woodcarving. The throne, the pulpit and the railings are also made of carved wood.
In the area around the village of Kosti there are interesting landscapes and rare plant species: the protected site "Natural habitat of heather (Erica arborea)" (22.39 ha), declared to protect the habitat of the species. Natural site Maharata, 2.0 ha, designated to protect the natural cave with numerous karst formations. A grove of 14 centuries-old oaks (tanniniferous oak) near the Chapel of St. Iliya is in this area. Kalkata Protected Area, 18.6 ha, has been designated to protect the nests of rare nocturnal raptors – owl, tawny owl, etc. Marina Reka Protected Area, 37.0 ha, has been designated to protect rare and endangered plant species such as plain yew, Caucasian holly, the healing cherry laurel, etc.
Close by is the oldest Bulgarian Reserve Silkosia and Uzunbudzhak (Lopushna) Reserve. They are the protected habitats of rare, endangered by extinction species. More common here areScarlet firethorn, common heather, Pyrenean sedge,Twin Flowered Daphne, healing cherry laurel, Aaron beard, borage, Caucasian Whortleberry /Strandjablueberry/,holly, etc.
The profile of Veleka river valley near the village of Kosti is trapezoidal with a width of over 200 m at the bottom. The river is about 10 meters wide, and up to 2 meters deep. The bottom is sandy. 24 types of fish live in Veleka River: carp, Balkan barbus, sheatfish, crucian carp, common bream, asp, bleak, gudgeon, gibel carp, kutum, sabrefish, common roach, eel, trout, etc.