Tsarino is a small village in the Bulgarian Rhodope Mountains, near to the Greek border. It was abandoned over thirty years ago by all original inhabitants except one. This was due to a combination of factors, one of which is its isolated setting amongst hills and forests. Over time, most original inhabitants moved to Chorbadzhiysko, a nearby town revolving around agriculture, growing predominately peppers and tobacco. Tsarino (its previous name in Turkish was Hasyurt) belongs to a Pomak community of Muslim Bulgarians. Pomaks are a minority group living side by side with the ethnic Turkish community, making up over half of the population in this region.
Although abandoned, Tsarino is still of significance to the communities of the area. Its mosque and graveyard are still maintained and used. Some families visit their houses, pick fruits or ‘park’ their cows in the village. The animals can take care of themselves and use the empty houses as their homes. In recent years, the local community has shown a growing interest in Tsarino. Previous inhabitants of Tsarino have taken initiatives to restore their houses or a stretch of road.