“BULGARIA – THE LAND OF ROSES”

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I wrote this guide for Bulgaria over 10 years ago for a tourist site. As its hosting services are closing, I am moving the info here, some might find it useful.

As we, Bulgarians ,(see Wikipedia about Bulgaria) entered the EU in january 2007 , I will try to tell you, about my lovely land. As I feel I come in the ” Great Unknown”.

Why the “Land of roses” ?( La rose est la fleur nationale des Etats-Unis. C’est également la fleur nationale de l’Angleterre (rose Tudor), de la Bulgarie, de la Finlande (rose blanche) et de l’Irak.Les roses sont originaires d’Asie. Elles sont arrivées en Europe au Moyen-Age lors du retour des croisées.) Because somewhere in a plain at the foothills of Balkan mountain, around the town of Kasanluk , there is a valley of roses….They have been grown there for centuries, to obtain rose oil, a precious substance for the western parfumerie industry.Even our national hero – Baj Ganjo*cosiders it more valuable than money, and uses it as an exchange and payment unit in his trips around the world ( he calls it “Gjul”- a turkish word)
* – Bai Ganjo is a humoristic folklore character created by one of our greatest Writers – Aleko Konstantinov.
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“I love my land and hate my country” – this graffiti on a wall somewhere in Sofia remained in my mind.
Bulgaria is a beautiful land – it is small, yet it has everything you can imagine (except desert). We have the highest peak on the Balkans – Moussala 2925m, and a wide black sea coast with fine white sand.
We have 4 seasons ( lately they are blending into 2 ..)
Bulgaria is created in 681 AC – this makes over 1300 years of history which makes in one of the first countries in Europe.This is what I love

The bulgarian folklore music is another magic of our spirit…the sound of the bagpipes mixed with the multitude off female voices, floating in the air over peaks and plains, forests and rivers…..

What I hate are today’s politicians, mafia, poverty, narrow mindness, lack of perspective for growth, corruption , police……Poor Bulgarian land, how much more do you have to suffer from ignorants?

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f you want to feel what I love about Bulgaria, take a look at my pages about :

Sofia – My hometown TAKE A VIRTUAL TOUR – top 5 page

The Rila Monastery – the Cradle of the bulgarian spirit and part of UNESCO world heritage sites

Melnik – wine traditions among natural sand pyramids

Nessebar – A Unique peninsula on our Black Sea coast – part of UNESCO world heritage

Rhodopa Mountains – The Undiscovered Treasure

See the UNESCO world heritage sites in Bulgaria – 7 cultural and 2 natural

http://bulgariancastles.com/ – in Bulgarian

See the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/100 Tourist Sites of Bulgaria

25 APRIL 2005 -Bulgaria in EU in 2007(?). Today In Luxembourg was signed the contract that will make us in 01 january 2007 part of the United States of Europe ! Bulgaria will be the first country that brings the Cyrilic Alphabet to the European Union,making it the 3rd official alphabet after the latin and the greek ones.
Are we prepared?
Only about 25 percent of the bulgarians are speaking a foreign language ( which might be russian that we learned at school, turkish or gipsy minorities speaking their own language),and only about 29 percent have travelled beyond the boudaries of our country( Mainly to neighbouring Turkey , Yugoslavia and Greece for work or trade )…. These are statistics shown on tv today.

EXTERNAL LINKS:

for a start – see an Breathtaking photo gallery of Bulgaria from Georgy Velichkov > click on the “Slideshow” for best results >Thank you for reminding me how blessed I am to be born in this land of beauty !!! and

http://www.mustseebulgaria.com/

www.freemountains.com – mountain guiding services in Bulgaria

Bulgarian tourist Chamber – list of partners

http://en.journey.bg/

Download an English / Bulgarian dictionary

inspirationnal greeting cards in bulgarian

Weather forecast in Bulgaria

http://www.moiteplanini.com – in Bulgarian

http://netinfo.bg/ -latest bulgarian news ( in bulgarian)

online directory of bulgarian newspapers and magazines

online directory of bulgarian radio stations – listen to bulgarian language

Help preserve of the rare and unique nature in the Bulgarian National Parks

Bulgarian humor – bulgarsko narodno tvor4estvo- bulgarskata versiq na wikipediq

http://www.emaps.bg

bulgaarsverkeersbureau.nl – Guide to Bulgaria in Dutch

Bulgaria Travel – What is there to be seen

Albena.bg – the official web page of Albena resort

www.mi.gouvernment.bg/norm/laws.html – Zakon za turizma

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Bit by Bit . Piece by Piece , I’ll put my country together…
  • In a nutshell:Land as big as a human’s palm…
    WeatherCheck out the weather and weather forecast at
    http://weather.digsys.bg/c/index.pl%3Fplace=15&action=real&lang=_eng.html

    When god created the world…When god created the world, he gave to all the nations a piece of land, and when all the land was given ,came the Bulgarian who was always late. God looked at him and said : “You are late – I gave away everything”.
    But he reached with his hand, took a piece of heaven and gave it to him…

    2167277-bulgaria-bulgariaBulgariaBulgaria is located on the Balkan peninsula,in the southeast of Europe , between Romania at the north, Serbia and Montenegro and Republic of Macedonia at the west and Greece and Turkey at the South. The whole east side of the country is occupied by the Black Sea Coast.
    Bulgaria’s territory covers an area of
    110 994 Square Kilometers ( 111, 0001.9 km2 according to Wikipedia ,from which 0,3% water )
    population – 7 973 671 inhabitants in 2001,
    7 537 929 in 2003
    Density – 67.9 km2
    67% of which are living in the cities.
    ( 83,5 % bulgarians, 9,5 % Roma or Gipsies ,4,6 % Turkish ,1,5 % others – Russians ,Armenians , Greeks )
    Religion – 85,7% Christian Orthodox, 13,1% muslims and other
    Illetrate rate 2001 – 1% male , 2% female population
    Independece from the Ottoman Empire
    Gained autonomy – 3 march 1878
    Declared – 22 september 1908
    Republic since 1990. Constitution since 1991, Parlament with 240 participants that are elected every 4 years.
    Curency – Bulgarian Lev

    City Population / 2001
    Sofia – 1 096 289 inhabitants
    Plovdiv – 340 638 inhabitants
    Varna 413 539 inhabitants
    Burgas 193 316 inhabitants
    Ruse 162 128 inhabitants
    Stara Zagora 143 989inhabitants
    Pleven 122 149 inhabitants
    Sliven 100 695 inhabitants
    Dobric 100 379 inhabitants

    2407272-cyrilic_alphabet-bulgariaOld Cyrilic Alphabet

    Cyrilic AlphabetIf you plan to come to explore Bulgaria, it will be a great idea to learn at least the Cyrilic Alphabet,so that you don’t feel that lost with directions. Do not expect to find signs in Latin ,they are rare. Unless you are a package tourist ,but you wouldn’t be reading this probably ,because the travel agency would have taken care of everything.Most of the times you won’t be able even to read the menu in the resaurant in non touristic areas. And the chance the waiter / waitress speak english is not big either.
    On the 24th of may we celebrate the Day of the Slavic Alphabet and its creators – the Brothers Cyril and Methodii.
    As the newspaper reminded me a few days ago , the Cyrillic alphabet is a fully recognized and integrated as in the EU structures.

    http://free.hit.bg/injinera/na4alo.htm – cyrilize your PC

    Directions: http://www.eurodict.com/download-0.html > download a dictionnary from/ to bulgarian in your language.

    Website: http://www.eurodict.com/download-0.html

    2364233-the_statue_of_sofiathe_theater_ndk_sofia

    Sofia – the capitalSofia (See my extended Sofia guide for all there is to do and see  my hometown , is the biggest city in Bulgaria and the political , econimical and cultural center of the country. It is situated in the western part of Bulgaria in the Sofia plain at the foothills of Vitosha mountain and surrounded by Liulin, Plana and the Chain of Stara Planina ( meaning Old Mountain or the “Balkan mountain” as It is known in our songs and legends ).
    Through the city are running the waters of Vladaiska,Perlovska ( called “kanala” – the channel) and Suhodolska rivers . The altitude of the town is 550m , covered area – 160, 032 sq km ,population over 1milion.

    Sofia is one of the most ancient cities in Europe. The oldest settlements found on its territory belong to the first part of the neolite – IV BC….

    somewhere in the ancient pine forest

    A hiking trip to the Rila LakesThe Seven Rila Lakes in National Rila Park, Bulgaria

    The two days hiking trip through Rila Mountain is a unforgettable experience if you can put some time on the side. Preferably done in summer , as snow lasts long at that altitude.
    The starting point is the town of Samokov ,where a small bus will take you to Govedartzi – where begins your two days hike. a steep climb trough sky high pine trees and crossing some inhabited or abandonned small chalets, gradually changes to bushes and low pines as you reach higher altitude. than comes alpine meadows covered with smelling aroma herbs and cascading little rivers.
    Somewhere there ,you have reached the first of totally seven Rila lakes. Glacial by origin ,they are situated in crevasses escalating the mountain and having all different names – the highest one is called “the tear”because of its clear waters that allow visibitity into its depths. By the first lake you will find the old chalet where you can spend the night , or if you want more comfort,you can go to the new chalet ,located a little bit lower on the side.
    The next day,stand up early in the morning as a long hike is ahead of you – you have to pass the ridge of the mountain. As you climb up , you will gradually reveal all 7 lakes.The area is considered holy by the “white brotherhood” that gathers here every year to dance paneurithmes – the dance and music of the universe.
    Wild herds of horses inhabit the high rila meadows and if you are lucky , you will meet them.

    to be continued…

    Address: Rila Mountain

    Directions: See Seven Rila Lakes in National Rila Park, Bulgaria and Seven Rila Lakes, Bulgaria for more info

    Website: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seven_Rila_Lakes

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    The Monastery of Rila

    The Monastery of RilaKeeper of the Bulgarian soul and spirit during the 500 years of Ottoman Occupation, the Rila Monastery is a marvel in the heart of our highest mointain. The holy Monastery of Saint Ivan Rilski, the guardian of Bulgarians , has a long and turbulent history , just like our small and glorious land. Located 120km from Sofia.

    See > A guide to the Rila Monastery by Desert Princess

    Website: http://www.bulgariamonasteries.com/en/rila_monastery.html

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    The snowy peaks of Balkans range in april

    In the LandIt is worth to take a bus or travel by car from Sofia to the sea / Varna in this case/ for the magnificent vews and landscapes. You will see the snow covered peaks of the Balkans mountain range, herds of cows and sheeps , little vilages on the way , plains spreading around as you approach the sea…3434789-in_the_land-bulgaria

    Address: Bulgaria

    Directions: Use the Dobrudja Highway that runs north of Balkans mountain ridge.

    2867458-plovdiv_the_second_biggest_city_of_bulgaria-bulgariaPlovdiv Old Town – A house above the Amphitheater

    Plovdiv – The Second biggest City of Bulgaria

    Website: http://www.plovdivcityguide.com/?lang_id=1

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    The Cathedral of Varna

    Varna – our Sea CapitalVarna is an important administrative, economic and cultural center, the Largest Bulgarian seaport and a well known international resort. It was fonded in c.6 BC as a Greek city-state under the name of Odessos , which means “city by water”. It soon became one of the most signigicant ports and trade centers of the Black Sea region. It was annexed to the kingdom of Alexander the Great for several decades and regained its independance after his death. The city was annexed to the Roman Empire in15AD. This was the time of its economic and cultural flourishing. The name “Varna” came into use after the Slav invasions in c.6-7 AD. The city was part of the Bulgarian kingdom by the end of c.8 . After numerous wars between Bulgaria and the Byzantine Empire , King Kaloyan permanetly annexed Varna to the Bulgarian kingdom in 1201 and the city became an important fortress and seaport untill the Ottoman conquest.
    Varna was officially proclaimed a seaside resort in 1921.
    The climate is similar to the Mediterranean and is suitable for balneological treatment.

    Directions: North Black sea coast

    ETHNOGRAPHY – Bulgarian Museum Towns Map1785018-ETHNOGRAPHY_Bulgarian_Museum_Towns_Map-Bulgaria.jpg

    If you have some free time, make sure to visit a museum town in your area.Museum towns have kept the bulgarian spirit and traditions through the years. There you will see preserved architecture,hand crafts, small taverns with delicious home made cuisine.
    I will try to make a page about each one ,please be patient.
    To start with , take a look my pages of:
    Nessebar – A Unique peninsula on our Black Sea coast – part of UNESCO world heritage – top 5 page
    Melnik – wine traditions among natural sand pyramids
    Zheravna – The birthplace of Iordan Iovkov
    Bansko the new booming ski resort

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    Renaissance Architecture in Assenovgrad Bulgaria

    Bulgarian Revival /Renaissance Architecture

    Museum Towns – places where time has stopped some centuries ago. It’s soo nice to get the feeling of what Bulgaria used to be before Communism came with its enormous marble square and pathetic buildings …..to walk on the stone covered small streets, Among the centuries old houses and high fences, the tiny wooden windows that were guarding their inhabitants from unwanted eyes,places where the building of a house starts by the high stone fences ( called “douvar”)….To feel the real bulgarian spirit , traditions and history….
    The most famous Renaissance towns are Koprivshtitza and the old town of Plovdiv.

    Jeravna – Filaretov Museum2388389-bulgarian_renaissance_interior-bulgaria

    Bulgarian Renaissance interior

    02 july 2006 I visited Jeravna – a beautiful museum town nestled in the eastern Balkans. 2904485-bulgarian_renaissance_interior-bulgaria
    This is the bedroom of the Filaretov house. The woman in charge of the museum explained everybody was sleeping on the carpets together. The metal object in the center was used to put charcoal bits from the chimney to warm up. As at the time glass was not used for the windows,they had wooden carved bars to protect the inhabitants.
    An expression of the talent and vision of beauty of the local craftsman ,the interior of the renaissance houses is just as colorful as the facades. Hand carved wooden ceillings ,forming intricate cirlcles or sun, hand weaven colorful carpets , wall frescoes…
    Room location – Rila Monastery – UNESCO heritage site

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    Nessebar – and “Captain’s Meeting” restaurant

    Nessebar – The Place I love on the Black Sea

    There is something really special about that place that moves me every time I get to walk the tiny paved streets cut into high fences , breath the humid sea air and feel the breeze in my face….

    Nessebar – part of the UNESCO world heritage and a museum town

    In construction

    Website: http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/7c244/5cf3d/

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    Monasteries in Bulgaria

    CULTURAL HERITAGE – Bulgarian Monasteries Map

    While western Europe was busy building castles for their rulers ,Eastern Europe was building monasteries to educate the people ,preserve the nationality and spread the eastern orthodox religion.

    Monasteries are cradles of the bulgarian culture,that preserved the bulgarian spirit,culture and traditions through the long and dark years of the Ottoman empire. They were refuge for fighters for freedom, that were hiding behind their walls from the Turks
    The jewel of the crown is Rila Monastery – UNESCO heritage site– See my fabulous page about this enchanting place.
    Other monasteries I have written about are Bachkovo Monastery

    see a great Gallery of bulgarian churches and monasteries by Joro Velichkov

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    Thracian Golden Treasures

    The Panagyurishte golden treasure

    The Panagyurishte golden treasure is one of the most precious found in our lands. As for most of treasures,its discovery happened accidently back in 1949, when 3 brothers were digging the soil to get material for tiles. They thought finding music instruments that they washed in the nearby river. After, the treasure was guarded in the Plovdiv archeological museum as its most precious possession ever.The finely carved objects are from pure gold and weigth alltogether 6,164 kg. It belongs to the Thracian culture – dating from end of IV and beginning of III century.A thracian ruler was decorating his guest table with it.
    “Along with many others treasures from the Thracian period found in our lands,the the panagyurishte treasure is confirming the stories of ancient greek writers and historians saying that Thracians, along with horses and wine, loved the most golden accessories and jewelry. They provided themselves with treasures by times of war, as gifts from other lands or ….by king’s order” – writes in his book”Fifteen treasures from the Bulgarian lands” the bulgarian writer Dimitar Ovcharov.The thracian rulers had a cult peception about gold ,differing from the that of neighbouring greeks.Gold was a symbol of wealth – one of the requirements that a king has to possess, according to the thracian mythological system.That’s why they were guarding it, using it in sacred rituals and buried it into the ground to protect it from the invaders.

    Directions: The Panagyurishte Golden Treasure along with the Vulchitrun and other important founds are on display for the summer 2006 in the Archeological Museum in Varna to celebrate 100 anniversary of the Museum

    Perpericon Temple Complex - Bulgaria

    Perpericon Temple Complex

    ARCHEOLOGY – Perperikon: the temple of Dyonysus

    In our rich of history lands have been found alot of treasures and ancient towns .
    Archeologists have searched for more than a century in the Rhodopa mountains the remains of the famous Thracian temple ,where Dionysus had its Oracle.More and more facts lead to beleive that this is the temple complex of Perperikon – the biggest megalith in Europe,discovered just some years ago in the Rhodopa mountains .The earliest finds at Perperikon hill are dated from the late Neolithic period – 6th-5th millenium BC – some 8000 years ago ( !!! )
    Visit the official Perperikon site and choose the flash version for a mystic trip in our ancient lands , legends,pagean history and music.
    Excavation work had just started, and they keep on discovering tombs temples etc there every day..

    Website: http://www.perperikon.bg

    Bulgarian Lev - Bulgaria

    Bulgarian Lev

    IN CONSTRUCTION

    10 Bulgarian Leva = 5 euros
    1 lev = 100 stotinki

    Borovets slopes map - Bulgaria

    Borovets slopes map

    Skiing / Snowboarding in BulgariaWell in a few words to resume our ski resorts :

    Sofia’s own mountain – Vitosha is mainly a local resort it tends to get crowded on the weekends. The option of staying on the mountain is not to consider as there is nothing to do. Having accomodation in Sofia is better as the mountain is just 8km from the center of the city, But do u wanna stay in a 1,2 million town for your holiday? Plus from what I heard in the latest years due to its low altitude 2290m it is not snow guaranteed.

    Borovets
    is our oldest ski resort, it used to be the king’s recreation place. It is a purpose built resort to accomodate large amounts of package foreign tourists. And the prices are 2-3 times higher than is our local resorts, still cheap for you guys. The place has lotsa entertainment till late in the night. Watch out for the cab drivers , they will rip u off you don’t need a cab anyways everything is at 10 min by foot distance. Snow guaranteed as the highest slopes are between 2000 and 2500m.

    Pamporovo is about the same, the difference is that it’s lower in altitude and might be suffering of lack of snow late in the season , or exactly the opposite, could be buried in snow, because of its proximity to Egeean sea and the humid air that comes from it.

    Equipment: Our newest internationnaly open resort is called Bansko.It’s based in a typical traditional old bulgarian mountain town , that carries the bulgarian spirit and traditions. Lots of Typical local taverns are the main entertainment. Delicious food at very reasonable prices. The mountain scenery is amazing , Pirin is considered to be our alpine type mountain. They are still building the infrastructure, as everything is brand new to suit the new orienration of the resort. I think it’s still a preferred place for neighbouring serbian and russian folks, and not so much western tourists as in Borovets and Pamporovo.
    For any additional questions on Bansko ask Nikya – he’s there all season.
    Hope that helps :))

    Directions: See webcams at the following link below

    Theme: Skiing/Snowboarding

    Website: http://www.bulgariaski.com/

    The Seven Rila Lakes region - Bulgaria

    The Seven Rila Lakes region

    National and Nature parks in BulgariaThe National and Nature parks in Bulgaria are treasures of Mother nature in our lands. High jagged mointains , glacial lakes , immaculate nature .
    Great for hikes , mountain climbing , bird watching – and all those outdoor activities.

    Equipment: good hiking shoes , rain coat , maps of the area ,water

    Theme: Hiking

    Website: http://www.bg-parks.net/main.php

    Mountain Rescue Bulgaria – official siteMountain Rescue and Red Cross – Bulgaria / official site ,
    Emergency Numbers in accident – 088 1470, 048 1843, and 02 9632000
    info about the conditions – 088 1471

    Theme: Hiking

    Website: http://www.pss.bglink.net/about_en/en_about_mrs.html

    Bulgarians and christianityFavorite thing: We are descendants of the Thracians – a culture known for its pagan cults and rituals.
    Christianity never had strong roots in our lands. Religion was forbidden and banned under Communism and churches were closed. And only since 1991 people are going back to Christ. My generation is not breeded with deep Catholic traditions like western europeans. Neither is the one of my parents…

    PAGAN CULTS – The Legend of Orpheus

    Favorite thing: The Great singer Orpheus, son of the river god Oeagrus and the muse Calliope sang songs with his lyre that was a gift from Apollo.The magic of his music tamed the wild beasts and the rocks and valleys repeated his magic melodies. Orpheus’s songs charmed all , but no one felt great pleasure than the beautiful nymph Eurydice – the wife of the singer. For long hours she listened fascinated by his voice and lyre.
    Even the gods envied the happy couple. One unfortunate day, while taking a walk through a flower covered meadow, Eurydice was biiten by a viper and until the sunset came she left this world. The heart-broken Orpheus went on a fearful journey to the underground kingdom to convince Hades to give him back his beloved.He went down tne path which end ended into darkness. Going down into the dark depths Orpheus heard screams and moaning of deadly pain. His blood ran cold but as he remembered his great love and all his greif, he touched the strings of his lyre and started singing until his sad song drowned all wails of the underworld. Haron – the old boatman, charmed by the melody, agreed to carry Orpheus through the river Styx that no one could cross except the dead. The singer reached the far bank and crowds of pale ghosts gathered around him but he continued forward through the flames of the river of fire Pflegethon, through the portals of Tartar that were always wrapped in clouds, until he reached the throne of the ruler of the underworld. Orpheus bowed before the great Hades and his wife Persephone. The king of the underground gods asked what a mortal wanted and why he dared to enter the kingdom of the dead uninvited. Orpheus touched the strings of his lyre and started singing about his search for his beloved that left the world before her time. In his song he praised his love and cravings and asked for Eurydice to come back to life.All of Tartar waited for the answer along with him.In the end Hades raised his head and said:

    Fondest memory: :”Orpheus, take your Eurydice and bring her to the world of the living.But you must walk ahead and leave her to follow you without looking back, until you cross the borders of my kingdom and see the sun,because if you look back even for a second,your beloved will be lost here again and forever.”
    With great joy in his heart Orpheus took Eurydice. They walked up the dark path. The first sun rays already were caressing their faces when just after they stepped onto the earth Eurydice tripped and cried out with pain. Orpheus turned back to help her .In this moment she was taken away from him. He saw her white hands reaching in vain towards him and heard her heartbraking cry for farewell.
    The singer went back to the earth with a broken heart and the joy forever left his life. From that day on ,his only consolation was to sit on some peak in the Rhodope Mountain and sing about his lost love.
    From the drops of his blood , grew a flower – Hberlea Phodopensis – a symbol of eternity.

    The turkish terrorFondest memory: My grand grand mother Maria came from Macedonia by the time she was only 6 years old. She escaped the land of Strumitza with her mother Denitza and her whole family to seek refuge from the turkish terror . Walking only by night to avoid being massacred , she was seeing on both sides of the road people being stuck on wooden pylons like scarecrows – some of them still alive and moaning…..
    They flew as far as possible – crossed the whole land , passed the Balkans ,to settle in its most nothern part – the Pleven region , by the Danube river.

    NEVER FORGET HISTORY!!!! IT COULD COME BACK AT ANY TIME…

    Local Customs

    Bread and Salt
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    It is a Bulgarian Tradition to welcome our guests with Home made Bread – “Pogacha” and Salt .Sometimes salt can be substituted with a typical local mix of herbs called “Chubritsa”.

    1st of March -A Wish for good health and happiness

    3589872-1st_of_march_a_wish_for_good_health_and_happiness-bulgariaIt’s a bulgarian tradition on the 1st day of march to celebrate the upcoming spring by offering to our friends and family Martenitzi. Martenitza always comes in white and red, with different shapes and sometimes decorated with beads,colorfil threads, coins….
    The tradition says ,that you need to carry it on your clothes until you see a stork , than you can hang it on a tree in bloom to guarantee you health and happiness through the year.

    “Baba Marta burzala, > Grandma March was in a hurry
    martenitsi varzala: > She tied ribbons – martenitzi
    moravi,zeleni, > purple and green
    beli i 4erveni. > white and red.

    Parvom na gorata > First to the woods
    da listiat listata > so that the leaves grow
    i da doydat vsi4kite: > and that everybody comes
    shtarkelite,pti4kite, > The storchs and the birds
    parviat pevets > the first singer
    kosec hubavets. > the beautiful blackbird

    Posle na gradinite > Than came the gardens
    da tsaftiat girginite > so that their dahlias bloom
    i latinki aleni, > and the flamboyant Indian cress
    i bojuri shareni. > and the colorful peony
    Yabalki da zreyat > so that apples grow
    krushi da jalteyat. > and pears turn gold

    A pak na de4itsata > And for the kids
    varzala na ratshitsata > she tied on their hands
    martenitsi 4udni > Ribbon-Martenitsi enchanted
    sas resni 4erveni, > with red fringes
    da sa ranobudni, > for they to be earlybirds
    da rastat zasmeni.” > and grow with a smile.

    Traditional Costumes from Bulgaria

    Beautiful they are , bulgarian traditional costumes!!!!
    Made out of natural tissues as cotton , wool and linen,decorated with hand weaven lace , beads and paillettes,they were the pride of our grandmas. Some of the costumes were for everyday use ,others were worn just on special ocasions like wedding ceremonies , and dance festivals.
    costumes were showing aswell the society status of their owner, or belong to a certain region like for example the Rhodopa mountain costumes.
    All of them so colorful and pretty , are a reflection of the true bulgarian spirit
    You can buy Real Costumes in the Bulgarian Souvernirs shops , or at least a puppet dressed in them – In Sofia I can think of The Shop in the Subway of the National Assembly,
    Aswell as in the St Sofia Statue Subway.

    Bulgarian Traditional Jewelry2338512-bulgarian_traditional_jewelry_bulgaria

    Bulgarian traditional jewelry,second half of 19th century.
    You can find these beautiful silver hand made jewelry pieces in Antiques flea market in front of Alexander Nevski cathedral in Sofia, or in Antique shops. At the market prices are being bargened,so it’s a better choice.

    “Tepavitsa” – Rila Monastery

    “Tepavitsa” at Rila Monastery – An Ingenious mechanism bringing the waters from the river into a pond to wash the monastery carpets. They become all clean , just from the washing power of the running water. Sometimes soap is rubbed on them to acheive a greater effect.

    pop folk musicPop folk music is the main music that people listen in Bulgaria . There are several reasons for this – first these are remixed traditional rhymes and folklore songs that are close to the hearts of Bulgarians , second they are in Bulgarian and everybody understands them, third the pop folk singers are incredibly beautiful women ,that are idolized by their public – they set the trends in clothing and style among the young.
    There is a musical chain composed only of Pop folk clips called “Planet” music TV.
    The label that produces them is called “payner”

    The Blind Prophetess VangaVanga – the prophetess from Petrich has become a martyr and legend for Bulgarians. She saw past, present and future at the same time. Politicians and people from all over the world that knew about her gift payed her visits in hard moments and she helped everyone. Among them are told to be Khyas Boris III, our Comminist dictator Todor Jivkov and Adolf Hitler himself.She never took anything for herself , but with the money the grateful gave to her , she build a church in her town of Petrich
    Vanga – in french

    Website: http://www.vanga.info/predictions.html

    Wood fairies – “Samodivi “The mythological wood fairies ,called “samodivi” are being often found in our folklore.

    Samodivi are living in the deep green woods and are excellent dancers. They wear transparent robes that show their beautiful almost transparent bodies and walk bare feet . You can see them when the moon is full.Their long hair are following their wild dances…

    “Kukeri”3755439-kukeri-bulgaria

    Dating back from the dawn of time ,this pagan tradition to wear animal fur costumes ,scary masks and bells to chase away evil spirits, “orisnici”, and black magic. By performing a special dance ,the evil spirits are sent away.This tradition dates back in the IX th century and is still performed up to date on Orthodox New Year’s Eve and on the second Sunday before Lent.

    Food in Bulgaria is DeliciousFood in Bulgaria is Great!! And I am ready to argue with everyone stating the opposite.Our fruits and vegetables grown in the sunny bathed plains taste much better than what a western european in used to buy from the supermarket.

    Ljutenitsa3205184-ljutenitsa-bulgariaThis is a traditional bulgarian thing ,made out of red peppers ,tomatoes and spices and it’s yummy !
    You just spread it on bread with put cheese , boiled egg or some salami on it.
    I often use it to cook spaghetti bolognese – great aswell!!
    My favorite is the one from Olineza. Don’t miss the chance to try it – you can eat this only in Bulgaria.

    Shopska salad2436085-shopska_salad-bulgariaFavorite Dish: The traditional Bulgarian salad is called Shopska salad – named after the Ethnicity group Shopi a name for local people in the Sofia region.
    It is made out of Tomatoes ,Cucumbers , Grilled or fresh pepper , Onion, Persil and White cheese. It is the most loved and eaten salad from Bulgarians – A must to try.
    It goes well with Rakia – the traditional strong spirit drink of bulgarians made out of various fruits – plum , grape ,peach …

    Shkembe chorba / Tripe Soup2370528-shkembe_chorba_tripe_soup-bulgariaAnd this is the soup for the cold nights in winter.
    Made out of veal or pork tripe , boiled in salt water and adding milk afterwards , The Schkembe chorba is one of the most popular National Dishes. To improve the taste ,you add hot chilli pepper and a mixture of Vinegar and garlic ,making the whole experience very hot and spicy – the way we bulgarians like it.
    You might find the taste strange , but we are perfectly used to it.
    It is known to have a positive effect against heavy hangover when taken in the morning…

    Directions: In every Mehana and restaurant with traditional cuisine

    A refreshing youghurt Soup – Tarator2164252-a_refreshing_youghurt_soup_tarator-bulgariaI Loove Tarator !!!! Especially in summer !
    You can eat it as a soup or drink it in a glass – either way it is very refreshing !!!
    How to make it :
    Mix stirred plain yoghurt with chopped cucumbers, chopped dill and garlic ,add walnuts and water , stir again. There you go!!!
    Enjoy !!
    P.S .Ice cubes can be added if you want it extra fresh….

    White beans – the bulgarian way2501918-white_beans_the_bulgarian_way-bulgariaCooked white beans – Our national meal

    You put about 250gr dried white beans into water for one night to absorb all the liquid they can. The next morning you boil them without salt ,throw the water and boil again.
    In a separate pot you fry onions in oil and salt,than add chopped carrots and red pepper , garlic and some water. When they are ready, add paprika , persil , dill , wild mint and savory/”chubritsa”/ add the cooked beans and tomatoes and maybe some flour mixed in water to make it more dense.
    Enjoy!! You can add grilled sausages if you like it with meat.

    Banitsa2347366-banitsa-bulgariaBanitsa is the most common breakfast of Bulgarians ,combined with “airian” a drink out of mixed Plain yoghourt and water. There are special Bakeries for Banitsa , called “Banitcharnitsa” , that were the most common type of fast food before.
    Banitsa is made out of puffy dough with an egg and feta cheese filling . Variation is Banitsa with spinach and rolled banitsa

    Local Beer Brand: Kamenitza…”The men know why….”Kamenitza…”The men know why….” – This is what the ad says :))
    Kamenitza is one of the favorite bulgarian beers, the latest product they put on the market is White or Unfiltred beer. I know this variety from Austria – they call it Weizen or Weissbier. And it has an extra special flavor. As for me I love the taste, but bulgarians don’t seem to appreciate it.
    Highly Recommended :)))

    Thymian – Thymus Serpyllum / Mashterka2347840-thymian_thymus_serpyllum_mashterka-bulgaria

    Thymian or Thymus Serpyllum is widely spread around the mountain cattle fields of all Bulgaria – it is used both for its healing purposes and as spice. As the flowers bloom , it covers the area with its sweet herbal smell. Italians add it alot to pizzas , but you can drink it in the form of infusion when you have a cold an especcialy by sore throat and cough. As a matter of fact it tastes great and smells deliciously. We call it “Mashterka”and in mountain huts it’s one of the favorite herbs 4 a tea.

    Favorite Dish: Try Mashterka tea with honey in the cold long winter nights – something good for your body ,great smelling and tasty.

    Directions: Everywhere in the mountains

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