Sava Popov’s early childhood was spent in the Popovo region of the Kingdom of Bulgaria. His native village of Arablar, later renamed Aprilovo, was there; the family house and relatives were in the village of Dere, which had previously been called Büyük Dere, and then became Dolets. He graduated from the first five grades of the village primary school (from 1922 to 1925). In the surroundings, the ruins of necropolises, ancient settlements, and fortresses were the kingdom of the local children. Years later, in letters to a friend, Sava Popov recalled this calm and at the same time mystical atmosphere. Sava grew up with the stories of the adults, with the linguistic wealth of this region woven in – a mixture of Turkish expressions and dialect and archaic words. The folk wisdom that reached him through tales, proverbs, anecdotes, and dialogues shaped his tastes and his interests throughout his entire life. Here he also began to collect his first library.
The district town of Popovo was the closest “big city” to Dere. In the decades after the wars, the effects of the two national catastrophes were quickly erased. Popovo had already been a developed town with an oil mill, brickworks, ceramic and knitting factories, etc. But by 1926, the city now had electric street lighting, a cinema, shops, and cafés. Elegant buildings were constructed in the center. In the photographs of that time, men and women stroll, dressed in European clothing. When the father, Yordan Popov, returned from his dreamed of America in 1920, he found Bulgaria greatly changed. Sava’s family probably traveled the twenty kilometers from the village to the city frequently. Did Sava Popov ever enter the local printing house of Prosveta publishing? We know that newspapers, writing, and editing would later be a part of his life.
After his return from emigration in the early 1920s, Yordan Popov bought a house in Sofia and opened a shop selling sausages. Letters preserved from his suppliers, the Krusharov brothers, emphasize his “regularity and accuracy.” In the 1940s, he worked for the industrialist Avram Chalyovski and was elected chairman of the sausage association.