Shiroka Luka (850 inhabitants) is a village–museum, an architectural and ethnographic reserve, well known for its original Rhodope architectural style, musical traditions and history.
It is built amphithetarically in the narrow and steep valley of the Shirokolashka river, at the foot of the Western Rhodope Mountains and Chernatitza, 1060 meters above the sea level. The village is situated 24 km northwest of Smolyan, 22 km southeast of Devin, and 11 km northwest of the winter resort of Pamporovo.
The settlement has existed since the 17 th century. It was founded at the time of mass conversion to Mohammedanism of the Rhodopian population during the years of Ottomane yoke.
At first the land was inhabited by the Urutzi tribe, who later moved to the Aegean region. The hamlet of Zaevite was inhabited at first, but later because of a landslide the population moved to the valley of Lukovitza River, and then to the present place of Shiroka Luka.
The name of the village comes from the wide delta of the river of the same name.
The residents of the village built the Holy Virgin Church in 1834 in 38 days only. The brothers Zachary and Dimitur Zograf painted the frescos and a school was opened in it only one year later. In those difficult years the village was a place where Bulgarian spirit and traditions were retained.
The natural conditions, the uncertainty prevailing in the centuries of the Ottoman rule, the national identity of the people and their economic prosperity were reflected in the architectural style of the houses that belong to the type of a “large Rhodope house”. They are two-storied, with bay windows and high stone chimneys, thick walls, small windows, forged doors, internal wooden staircase and a small cellar with a hiding place. The rooms have cupboards hidden in the walls, closets, etc. The yards are small, stone paved, with an outdoor drinking-fountain. All this is built with exquisite taste in harmony with the environment. Most prominent among these houses are Kalaidzhiiska, Uchikovs', Grigorovs’, Bogdanov’ houses, Zgurov Inn, etc.
The arched bridges above Shiroka Luka River and some of its tributaries add romanticism to the village. The songs of the village are unique, melodious and very lyrical. They are sung to the accompaniment of kaba-bagpipe, flute and rebeck. The legendary Captain Petko Voivoda (The Commander) has visited the village many times. One of the two secondary music schools in Bulgaria is located here. Tourists would find especially fascinating the koukerski festival “Pes Ponedelnik” which takes place every first Sunday of March.