Second Bulgarian Kingdom

THE ECONOMY OF THE SECOND BULGARIAN KINGDOM

Pack oxen continued to be a workforce in agriculture: even the basic tax was calculated on the basis of land that could be farmed with a pair of oxen. Arable land was worked with considerable effort. In the beginning, they cleared the trees and bushes with the help of the slash-and-burn method: known as “trebezh”. The soil was plowed and after a few days this was done once more, and in some cases a third plowing was preferred. Only after these important steps was the land considered ready for sowing.

The two-year cycle system prevailed in the Bulgarian lands, which meant that every second year the land was left to rest. For the peasants, animal husbandry was no less important than agriculture. The Bulgarians raised large and small cattle, some of which were allowed to graze freely in the mountains.

The peasants set aside most of the agricultural production for the payment of royal taxes:
In the Middle Ages, bodies of water were under constant control. The monasteries guarded these rights most zealously: the charters, given for their sole usage, strictly forbid "to drain monastery water" or "to transfer water through church land". Hydropower had long since been harnessed to work, most commonly used to power mills.

The craftsmen among the population were concentrated in certain neighbourhoods of the cities, with the artisans regrouped in professional guilds. They strictly regulate their or even other’s production, and often largely prevented foreign interference.

Medieval craft workshops were housed in light structures - mostly under sheds. The conditions under which the masters worked were primitive. However, they crafted quality products. Sometimes the artisans were also "salesmen", that is, they could sell finished products. Pottery trade was very prosperous.

Jewelry production flourished in the big cities and especially in the capital of Tarnovo: the artisans of the capital had proven qualities that ranked them among the best in this craft.

The trade in towns and villages was carried out by special intermediaries, whom the medieval sources call "tragiari". They were usually found in the various markets and “panagyri” (панаири = “fairs” author’s note) as mentioned in the royal charters. The most famous were the annual auctions of the monasteries, to which flocked the people from close and distant lands.

The ships of the Italian city-republics were anchored in the harbours of the Black Sea: they paid a small fee for the mooring of those vessels. Sometimes the trade rivalry between Venice and Genoa went beyond free competition and escalated into open wars. It happened (for example during the reign of tsar Theodore Svetoslav) and the Bulgarians confiscated Genoese ships, which cut short to trade relations. According to an act of donation from Tsar Ivan Alexander, the Venetians were given great privileges : they had the right to open trade “factorii” (trading posts), from which imports and exports were directed.

In the Historical Park, guests and visitors can enjoy and purchase owners of unique leather goods, pottery or metal items, which are made in the spirit of the ancient Bulgarian artisans and craftsmen.

5/25/2020