Ogosta Lake near Montana in northern Bulgaria is the second largest reservoir in Bulgaria. During communist times, when the rulers decided that Bulgaria needed another hydroelectric power plant, the two small villages of Zhivovtsi and Kalimanitsa were simply evacuated and the buildings disappeared in the rising floods of Ogosta Lake. That was 1980.
The Bulgarian poet Yordan Radichkov described the events in his memoirs, “The government was in two minds about whether or not to shut us down because of the construction of the reservoir, but finally it chose to shut us down, and it issued a decree to that effect and struck us off the list of inhabited places; tractors were sent to plough the earth flat; rye grass was sown; and we, one by one, dispersed.”
Ironically, the destruction of Kalimanitsa proved to be unnecessary because of a miscalculation the waters of the new lake never reached it. The church is all that remains and since the former inhabitants were disposed of in such an elegant manner, the land could be sold to a new owner, who now grows wine there.
Because of the dry summer in 2011 and very little rain during the fall, the water levels in Ogosta Lake sunk dramatically. Eventually the church of Zhivovtsi – usually at least partly flooded – stands now high and dry and quickly became a popular attraction for weekend outings.