The beginning

    The past of Elena is not well explored. The historical truth about the millenary existence of the village in this area is not revealed yet and it is still expecting its explorers.

    From smooth stone axes, hammers, flint tops of arrows and other incidentally found objects we assume that the cave had been inhabited during the Stone Age . Across the passes there is a very old road that has been used by Pilip ІІ and Alexander the Great on their way back from the crusade towards the Danubian grounds.

    Around Christmas during the reign of the Roman emperor Augustus these places have been a part of the created by the Romans vast Tracian kingdom, reigned by Remetalk I that in 46 has been joined to the Roman Empire under the name country Trace. During the Roman reign from here passed the important road Nicopolis ad Istrum near the village Nikupe leading to Constantinople. The found on the right side of the river Byrzitza grounds of early Christian church with baptisterium(krystilnitsa) and old-time temple grounds, found in the building of the church near Maryan,decorated with mosaic pillars, affirm that there has been life during the early Byzantine Era.This statement is confirmed also thanks to the found CAPITALS from V- VІ in the villages Maryan and Blyskovtsi that are now kept in the National Archaelogical Museum In Sofia.Situated on strategical places in the gorges of the river Byrzitsa (in the area Bratanovgrad),river Veselina (nearby the Valaschevata mill),river Brezovitsa(beneath the village Debeli ryt) and in the lands of the villages Stevrek,Kipilovo,Kostel and other places where there are remnants of antique fortresses. This means that Elena valley has been well-fortified throughout the historical periods.

    Life in the valley existed in the following times. This is evident thanks to some copper coins, found near Bratanovgrad and considered to date back since the time of emperor John Tzimiskes(969-976).At that time many important roads from the Danubian Plain to the Upper Thracian Plain have passed through Elena.The information about these times is very poor and is connected with the legends of many monasteries in the region Dospatlii (in the area of the villages Stevrek and Sredno selo) and with the memories about the subjection of Bulgaria by the Ottomans.

    There is one thing that is certain - built-up areas in Elena valley “continue old settlers’ tradition left from the time of the perished Medieval Bulgarian Country ”(Bistra Tsvetkova-Social and economic development of Elena and the region during the time when Bulgaria was under Ottoman rule”).

    Second fall of the Old Capital Tarnovo under Ottoman rule many Bulgarians sought refuge from the Turkish scimitar Balkan depths. Boyar wringing leader settled in the "Murtvinata" southeast of Elena. Of its neighborhood Karshovtsi he fought invaders who dared to reach these places. The fearless hero was killed in a bloody battle near the village of Old River.

    Under pressure from the Turkish invaders in Elena found shtelter most rebellious and awake Bulgarians. They escaped from the areas affected by the Ottoman colonization and conversion to Islam, seeking shelter and protection in the mountain recesses and to escape destruction and Turkicisation. No doubt there is some truth in assumption for accommodation in Elena of settlers from Pirdop during the great march of Vladislav III Jagiello and John Hunyadi (1443-1444 years), as well as refugees from Berkovitsa after the brutal suppression of the uprising in Chiprovsti in 1688.

    "That's why Clear-notes Tzvetkova-not without reason we can consider that all these worthy and inflexible Bulgarians are the distant ancestors of the settlers of the Balkan Mountains. Maybe it comes from such public vigilance and patriotism, which promote and reward children for centuries in Elena and Elena region. "

    In Turkish document Record of groomed in Lebanon Nigoboli (Nikopol) from the middle of the fifteenth century, probably around 1430, is registered mezra (deserted, desolate, sometimes destroyed or half-ruined village with its territory) Istramena Iliana. It was passed in the possession of one Mehmet , son of Ali to make it work and make income. For this purpose the local populationprobably was attracted,because of the tax relief he provided.

    According to a notice from the late fifteenth century "village Elena, which is the mountain pass from the road for Tvardica to Tarnovo recorded in Timar Ismail, Ghulam-IMIR (palatial page) that does not participate in marches and guarded the passes." In this Timar Elena is registered with 61 families and income akche 1703. "As the population is guarding the pass it is released from all extra taxes." Like all other are dervendjii-guardians in the Ottoman Empire and reindeer were required to keep arms from robbers threatened attacks room and go through her ​​commercial travelers and caravans.

    In the early sixteenth century Elena has already been a separate village. This we learn from the Zograph screed, which lists the names of the pilgrims that have given ten pieces of silver in order to mention their names during the liturgy. There on the page designated area "Zagorie city Tranov balgarska land" was recorded Vasili pilgrim village of Elena, after pilgrims from villages Gabrovo, Tryavna, Prisoeto.

    Later, it is not known when the rural Elena is included in another type of fief-Sultan hasove. The earliest evidence of this we get the statement of Nikopol kadi Abdulvehab of Constantinople sent on June 25 1585, where he reports that the village of Elena,,which belongs to the Sultans’ hasove of kaaza Tarnovo,has has scattered - inhabitants fled from arbitrary Turkish tax collectors, collectors jizya poll tax and a tax on sheep. The document says that for the security of the movement are required 40 to 50 dervendjii- guardians. Some of the dervendjii from Elena appeared in Nikopol kadi and said they would return only if he removed the arbitrary of the tax collectors. From these documents it is clear that in the 80 years of the sixteenth century. Elena is already a village with a specific purpose and has a status within the business and administrative agrarian system of the Ottoman Empire. Some of its inhabitants, and perhaps all who continued to guard the passes manifest solid attitude and behavior towards the injustices of the Turkish feudal regime "(B. Tzvetkova).

    Irreconcilable to arbitrary and attacks of Turkish rulers, the people of Elena abandon their derventdzhiyski obligations and left their homes. It is clear that this is a rebellious rayah whose actions cast into anxiety Ottoman rulers and set clear terms and conditions, to return to their old duties.

    It was that spirit of liberty and intolerance to the Ottoman feudal orderthat makes the people from Elena take rebellious paths and together with the rebel outfit Kara Dobri, The leader Mladen and other eminent rebels crossed the mountain and protected the people from oppressors and bloodsuckers. This rebellious spirit reflected into efforts of the fighter from Nikopol against Ottoman rule Todor Ballina and dubrovnichanina Djordjich Paul, who in 1598 prepared an uprising in Eastern Bulgaria left in historical science as the First Tarnovo Uprising. They are among the inhabitants of those villages at the foot of the Balkan, "inhabited by brave people who have guns" that Paul Djordjich reports to the Austrian Emperor Rudolf II that were willing to take possession of the passes "of this mountain,in order no Turkish person to escape. "These are the same rebellious dervendjii who supported the attempts for an uprising of Prince Rostislav Stratimirovic and Savelii Dubrowsky after the defeat of the Second Tarnovo Uprising in 1686.

    "So the favorable location, purely Bulgarian national character and the special status of Elena in the scope of the Ottoman feudal system determine the role of the village in the struggles of the people for freedom" (B. Tzvetkova).
   During the reign of Sultan Mehmed IV (1648-1687) The lands of Elena Bebrovo, Zlatarica and Kapinovo remain wakyf of Sultan's mother (valid hanum),the revenues from which are intended for the maintenance of the Sacred Mosque and the school in Yuskyuda river.

    From the register of the tax cizye of the kaaza in Tarnovo from about 1700 we get information about the socio-economic outlook of Elena at the time. In the register the residents of settlements are listed as taxpayers and are divided into three categories: high, medium and low. In it is recorded that in Elena 579 people have to pay jizya. Of these, 35 are of the highest category-Wealthy, 155 to the average, and most of the people- 389 on the category of the poor. In the group of the poor are recorded 5 argati and 4 herdsmen. There are also noted 21 chifchii (farmers), all of the group of the wealthy.
 

    Data referred to in the register showed that the village of Elena was then a crowded area. The gathering of so many people in this remote and less fertile mountainous region can be explained only with the presence of business to give the appearance of an urban settlement.