Proto-Bulgarians

THE CLOTHING OF THE PROTO-BULGARIANS

The clothes of the Proto-Bulgarians also served as a type of uniform with which the representatives of the different social strata distinguished themselves. The rulers and representatives of the tribal aristocracy often wore silk garments adorned with various seamstresses and gold and / or silver threads that displayed their social status and prestige.

The differences in clothing between men and women were not particularly striking, as they all lived under the same conditions. When men were gone to war, women had to defend the settlements from sudden raids by enemies, which made their clothing functional and very similar to men's.

Both men and women wore trousers. This clothing item remained popular with women until the middle of the IXth century. Men wore long, fitted trousers of flax or hemp. In the winter, they wore sheep wool trousers over them.

In the summer, both men and women wore linen or hemp shirts. The women's shirts were embellished along the chest and the ends of the sleeves with embroideries, woven with colorful threads. Women usually wore short sleeveless waistcoats, called a chapak, over the shirt. In cold weather, they put on a leather-lined caftan.
The caftan resembled a coat, whose skirts reached the knees, the ends of which were lined with leather or various embroideries and brims (for the richer and nobler ones). It was buttoned on the chest with laces and knots, and it was fastened at the waist by a wide, leather belt. The caftan served as uniform for the Bulgarian fighters. During campaigns and in the bitter cold, the warriors wore chaperons made of leather and fur.
 The Bulgarian warriors’ headgear consisted of pointy hats with curved edges, adorned with another type of leather. Women covered their heads with linen, but did not veil themselves.

As most Proto-Bulgarians shaved their heads, they put a linen cloth under their hats. The more prominent warlords, tribal chiefs and elder warriors, as a sign of their exceptional valour, left a long strand of hair called a “tchoob” on their crown. The great khan had the right to grow his hair and let it touch his shoulders.

The ancient Bulgarians wore boots. The practicality and functionality of this piece of clothing was later appreciated by the Byzantines and other nations who also began to use them. It is the Proto-Bulgarians who introduced boots as a significant garment of European clothing.

In the Historical Park, guests and visitors will witness what traditional Bulgarians' clothing looked like. Our reenactors and animators will tell you many interesting things about their functionality and purpose. Those of them who wish it can dress in Proto-Bulgarian military outfits and take pictures as a reminder of the unique atmosphere, yurts and war camp that recreated the power of the ancient and valiant Bulgarians.

5/12/2020