After close to 18 years of legal battles, the house in the Bulgarian village of Rupite in which Baba Vanga lived opened to visitors on March 25 2014, as Orthodox Christians marked the Annunciation.
Baba Vanga, who lived from 1911 to 1996, was a blind Bulgarian mystic widely held by those who believed in her – and continue to do so – to have been a clairvoyant and prophet.
Rupite, which has about 1000 residents, is about 12km north-east of Petrich in the south-eastern part of the Blagoevgrad district and is where Baba Vanga spent much of her life, living in the house from 1970 until 1996.
The opening of the house to visitors drew hundreds of visitors, from Bulgaria, Russia and Greece.
Notable visitors to Rupite on March 25 included artist Svetlin Roussev and Neshka Robeva, both of whom were frequent visitors to Baba Vanga – as were Bulgaria’s long-time communist dictator Todor Zhivkov and his daughter Lyudmila Zhivkova, who held high office in the Bulgarian communist state’s cultural affairs and who had a deep interest in mysticism.
Local media reported that as people entered the house after its reopening, some prayed, others genuflected and some cried.
Admission to the house is free of charge. The house is largely as it was at the time that Vanga died, although some items are copies of originals kept in the Petrich Historical Museum.
“This area became a paradise on earth, thanks to Vanga, a real place for prayer and purification,” local media quoted Robeva as saying.
At her death, Baba Vanga, who had been born Vangelia Dimitrova, bequeathed all her assets to the state, but ownership of the house was contested by her relatives. This led to the house being sealed for years while the legal dispute was resolved.