Issue 98

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RALLY? WHICH RALLY?

At the opening designed about the 25th anniversary of the downfall of Communism, the head of state had a sudden urge to remember: "You ask me what I was doing on 10 November. Let me tell you a secret. I was in the square and I took part in the rally. On this day I was helping a friend, Ilian Popov, to fix his student dorm room. We heard on the news that there was going to be a meeting at the National Assembly and that there was going to be a change in the country. As students we took up some pieces of wallpaper and drew two slogans on them.

Tue, 11/18/2014 - 14:08
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STANA ILIEV

With a German mother and a Bulgarian father, Stana Iliev, who was born and raised in East Berlin, feels she never had any real connection to Bulgaria except for the obligatory "This is very tasty" and "I can't eat any more." Before she came here on a longer-term basis, Stana's impressions were limited to rusty monkey bars in the Mladost One project in Sofia and the Good Night Children TV show on Bulgarian television.

Mon, 11/17/2014 - 14:43
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TAKE THE B TRAIN

Wars are of course bad, but their side effects can sometimes be positive. Take, for example, the Crimean War of 1853-1856. This conflict, which engaged the Western powers in battle on the fringes of the Ottoman Empire, brought many European innovations to the backwater that was the Sultan's realms at that time. In the following years, the Bulgarian towns along the Danube experienced an influx of novelties, from the first theatre to the first newspaper.

Mon, 11/17/2014 - 14:33
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ARMENIAN BULGARIA

In the colourful ethnic and cultural mosaic that is Bulgaria, the Armenians occupy a special place. As inhabitants of the larger cities, they have given to this country a number of prominent entrepreneurs, intellectuals and people of arts and letters. Unlike other minorities, Armenians are considered almost as brothers by Bulgarians, because of common traits in their history, particularly under the Ottomans. Armenian restaurants are never empty and many Bulgarians envy the supposed proverbial entrepreneurship of the Armenian.

Mon, 11/17/2014 - 14:06
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SOZOPOL'S FEAST OF ST NICHOLAS

When the summer is over and the last visitors for the year have gone, Sozopol quickly returns to its former life as a quiet fishing town. The hotels are boarded up, the restaurants are closed and the streets are empty. In itself, this is an incredible sight, especially if you've seen what Sozopol looks like in August. In wintertime, salty wind blows along the empty seaside promenades, and the voices echoing between the traditional houses in the old quarter belong not to the guests of the many B&Bs, but to their elderly inhabitants.

Mon, 11/17/2014 - 14:02
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WHERE IN BULGARIA ARE YOU?

This is the standard explanation that the City Council folk give when there is over in inch of snow and the traffic, especially away from the main roads, gets completely paralysed. When this happens, don't drive!

Take a walk in the snow-covered streets and you will discover a completely new, and very enchanting, city. Everything will be enveloped in white and you can spend hours taking in buildings and people you've looked at before but will now be seeing for the first time.

Where in Bulgaria are you?

Mon, 11/17/2014 - 13:51
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MARCO CONTICELLI

Florence-born Marco Conticelli had a solid career in the Italian diplomatic service before he arrived in Bulgaria two years ago. Having spent time in various positions in the Italian Foreign Ministry, the most recent of which was coordinator for immigration, Marco Conticelli also had serious experience abroad, in places as varied as Spain, Sudan, India and the United Nations in Switzerland. Now serving as Italy's ambassador in Sofia, Marco Conticelli seems to have adjusted to the Bulgarian way of things remarkably well.

Mon, 11/17/2014 - 13:28
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DEAR VAGABOND

During the past seven years I have been taking tours into the Rila and Pirin mountains using snowmobiles, Rangerovers and off-road buggies. During the summer, I spend time in the mountains learning the routes, places to shelter and so on above the village of Bachevo where I live.

It was during one of these "study days" that I noticed some interesting rock formations and standing stones. I uploaded the pictures to my computer. On the big screen the rocks looked worked or sculptured... not the usual erosion.

Mon, 11/17/2014 - 13:26
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QUOTE-UNQUOTE

If there was a unifying idea for the future, Bulgaria would not have had to fight wars with the remnants of its Communist past.

Political scientist Zhivko Georgiev

Bulgaria is second in Europe after the USSR.

Borislav Gidikov, Secretary General of the Weightlifting Federation, speaking ahead of the world championship in Kazakhstan

Mon, 11/17/2014 - 13:25
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#LIFEFROMSOFIA

Wandering around Sofia as a first-time visitor could be disappointing. The capital of Bulgaria lacks magnificence, charm and grand sites of interest, and many foreign tourists look genuinely relieved when they reach the end of their guided tour and are herded by their bored tour guides toward some restaurant for the obligatory lunch with Shopska, rakiya, grilled meat and folk music.

Mon, 11/17/2014 - 13:16
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GEORGI MARKOV COMES BACK TO BULGARIA, SYMBOLICALLY

Bulgaria has notoriously failed to help solve one of the most gruesome crimes of the Cold War, the 1978 assassination in London of dissident writer Georgi Markov. No one has been brought to justice. Yet, in 2014 the writer got honoured, at least symbolically, by the erection of a statue of him, placed in one of the squares in the Lozenets quarter in Sofia.

The statue was sculpted by Plovdiv sculptor Danko Dankov and paid for by a Bulgarian emigre doctor in the United States, Georgi Lazarov, acting through his St George Foundation.

Thu, 11/13/2014 - 16:21
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FORGOTTEN POWS

Bulgaria fought against Britain and the United States during the Second World War. What the pro-Nazi regime in Sofia called a "symbolic war" started on 14 December 1941. As a result, Bulgaria was bombed by the Allies, with the heaviest casualties resulting in Sofia during the raids in the winter of 1943-1944.

Fri, 10/17/2014 - 12:59
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