European Territorial Cooperation Programme Greece – Bulgaria 2007 - 2013




     A specific aspect of the architecture in the region is "the architecture of the water". With this concept we name all objects, built by the man and connected with water - bridges over the rivers, industrial buildings that use the water power, fountains, etc.
     The water has always played a structure-forming role at the high levels of urban planning. The availability of pure drinking water and possibly full-flowing river for transportation, trade and industry, were the main factors for the selection of the locations for setting up the cities.  
     Chech is full of such "transport corridors", Roman roads and the constantly related bridges over the rivers. They represent also the earliest "architecture of the water", which is preserved (rather as a spirit than as a real substance) within the territory. As a matter of fact the building of solid stone bridges would not happen at a random place by "self-taught" masters without general (government) financing. In other words, the numerous bridges preserved on the territory, crossed by the old Roman roads, are either preserved from that time or built during the Ottoman Empire but lie on the piers of the earlier Roman structures.
     Facilities - fulling mills, water-mills, storehouses
     The exuberance of fast and unnavigable rivers within the territory determines also the nature of the industrial buildings from the Renaissance, the traces of which are still found today - small productions relying on the power of water - fulling mills, helping for wool processing, water-mills and other buildings in which the millstones did heavy mechanical work - saw-mills, lumber-mills, smithies, etc. 
     Fountains and their complexes
     The fountains attract most interest in the area. The remarkable in Chech is their large number and the way they are built, used and kept. A great part of the fountains form mini complexes - with a place to rest - most often semi-solid shelter with wooden or stone places to eat, one or more fireplaces and sometimes playgrounds, water attractions, etc. Their maintenance is completely left to the care of those who have built them voluntarily ("the owners") however the access is based on "the right of the first comer" - not even the owner may take a seat in a pavilion, if not invited by those who came first. Therefore we have reasons to consider that the origin of the collective idea for the creation of these original "places of memory" is surely not so recent as the particular objects, created within the time limits of the last 50 years. In this tradition, in addition to the Muslim admiration to water, Roman and Thracian roots may be found, too.
Municipality of Satovcha is a candidate for the Guiness Book for the number and the variety of its fountains.


Expedition report