Village of Mandritsa is charmingly nestled at the right side of Biala River (White River), at the most Eastern part of Rodopi Mountain, at the border with Greece. The village has kept its charm, authentic and language from the far 1636. The legend retells that the village had been established from three Albanian brothers, orthodox Christians from village of Vaskuki, near to Korcha, South Albania. The brothers had been cattlemen. The ottoman commander Ali Pasha obligated them to supply his army with milk, meat and other products to their way to Edirne region. The brothers with their families had to follow the army. They reached Eirene. Then Ali Pasha wanted to express his gratitude and suggested to the brothers to turn around all Edirne region and to find a free place which is suitable for their herds and to settle down there. He promised them to give a written permission – firman, which to make free from taxes the citizens of the future village, to allow the using of the Christian religion and to prohibitsettlement of Turkish people there. They turned around everywhere and finally found the most suitable place. They showed it to Ali Pasha. He gave them the ground and the promised firman. Instead the previous negotiated things the firman included the borders of the village marah as follows: passing of the herds beyond the river and their coming back for one day – these were the borders of the territory. Here they built а creamery (mandra – Bulgarian) and from this comes the name of the village. The village began to grow up quickly and at the beginning of 20th century the population reached 3500 persons. The manufacturing of tobacco, silkworm breeding and the trade had been the main activities of the citizens of Mandritsa. There were four mills, twenty two Mincers for sesame oil, one brickwork, and foundry for bells, manufacture for soft drinks, leather workshop and others in the past. There were two Greece schools in Mandritsa – one for men and one for girls and one kinder garden. There are two churches in the village – “St. Nedelya” (at the graves) was built in 1708 and is one of the oldest churches in the East Rodopi. The village church “St. Dimitar” was built in 1835. Nowadays the village is very depopulated. The old three floor adobehouses remind for the past times. There are some brick houses in Greece style, perfect representatives of Thracian architecture with carved ceilings, balconies from wrought iron and colonnades. The few still living there citizens go on the tradition to speak authentic Albanian language brought from their grandfathers and kept during the centuries of creation and rise of the village.


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