Peasant sandals – tsarvuli

Peasant sandals were the earliest form of footwear worn by men and women throughout Bulgaria. These were made of a single piece of ox hide or pig skin and were either pointed in front or boat shaped. They were gathered around the foot and tied to the leg using cords made of long strips of leather or strings of twisted hemp. More modern variants have a strip of leather joined at the front, making a t-strap, which has a slit in it for the cords to pass though at the ankle.

In the north of Bulgaria leather sandals are known as tsarvuli, konduri, kalevri, emenii, mestyuve, opinki, vruvchanki, tozlutsi, opintsi, or opanak. In central Bulgaria they are called; tsarvuli, kundri, kalevri, or emenii, and in the west; opintsi, kalevri, konduri, emenii, or tozlutsi.

Footwraps – navoi

Peasant sandals are worn over footwraps (navoi) made of rectangular pieces of homespun woollen cloth wrapped round the feet and legs that are held on with black cords made from hemp, goats’ hair or strips of leather. In the past footwraps were worn by men and women. Those worn by brides were fastened with red braiding. More recently these are mostly worn by men who are shepherds and farmers.

Knitted woollens socks – kaltsuni

Knee high knitted woollen socks (kaltsuni, lapchuni, terlitsi) or footless knitted gaiters (kaltsi) have replaced footwraps for women and in some areas for men. These are knitted using five needles, and can be plain or patterned in bright colours on a white or black background. Men’s socks and kaltsi most commonly have a black background, with multi-coloured stripes, which are decorated with small knitted or embroidered patterns. Women’s socks can be white or black and are striped or decorated with knitted or embroidered floral patterns. Those from Karlovo are white with rows of tiny multi-coloured geometrical motifs on lower part

Leather shoes – kinduri, kondouri, kalevri, or emenii

In west, central and southern Bulgaria from the mid nineteenth century, especially in urban centres, tsarvuli were replaced by shallow leather shoes or slippers. These were called kinduri, konduri, kalevri, or emenii (note same names as are used as for peasant sandals in some areas). They were made from black, brown or red leather and were worn with knitted woollen socks.

Leather boots were not normally worn with Bulgarian costume with an exception being a single village in eastern Thrace.

Fabric slippers – tarlitsi or lapchouni

Slippers made of knitted wool or thick felted woollen fabric and decorated with embroidery in silver or gold braid are worn indoors.

Published on 7th June 2018