Issue 133

GAME OF EMPTY CHAIRS

So I see, your colleague's chair is empty, a confident MP for the ruling GERB, Anton Todorov, told a morning show TV host of one of the mainstream TV stations. She must have strayed. She must have been asking the wrong questions.

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OUTDOOR ADVERTISING MATTERS

The advertising business in Bulgaria has been rapidly developing during the past few years. This branch is already well positioned, its various fields are clearly diversified and new regulation, consistent with the best EU practices, has been enforced. These achievements, however, were related to overcoming serious challenges.

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CHURCH OF BIRDS

A mosaic peacock, its majestic tail opened in full display, used to greet believers entering one of the most formidable buildings in the Late Antiquity Balkans: the Bishop's Basilica of Philippopolis. In 2019, the 1,500-year-old bird, restored to its former glory, will meet visitors again, after centuries of oblivion caused by earthquakes, invasions, wars, changes of population and history itself.

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REMEMBERING 11/11/18

The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month: 99 years ago, the moment when the Great War ended was perhaps chosen to be easy to remember. Back then, both the victors and the defeated wanted to ensure that the horrors of the conflict which had brought war on an industrial scale would never be forgotten or repeated.

History has proved these hopes to be misplaced. Thirty-one years after 1918 began a war so devastating that it stripped the previous conflict of its macabre exclusivity. What had been called the Great War became just the First World War.

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WHERE IS YEMEN?

The old woman looks bewildered.

"Where is what?," she asks.

"Emen!" we repeat, raising our voices, as we now suspect that she is hard of hearing. "Where the waterfall is."

"A-a-ah! You mean Yemen!," the lady beams and then embarks on one of those elaborate explanations of directions that inhabitants in small-town Bulgaria are so prone to.

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CREATORS OF THE BULGARIAN STATE

Japanese tourists often cannot believe their eyes when they alight from their buses and head towards the Creators of the Bulgarian State Monument in Shumen. For them, the statues of the rulers of the First Bulgarian Kingdom look as if they have come straight out of an anime classic like Voltron or Beast King GoLion.

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DO YOU SPEAK ESPERANTO?

Daenerys Targaryen de Ludo de Tronoj parolas la lingvon de la Dothraki, kiu estas artefarita lingvo, kiel Esperanto. Recognising the names, viewers of Game of Thrones can easily conclude that the previous sentence is in some of the languages spoken in the fictional universe of the TV series (authored in real life by language creator David J. Peterson).

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BYE-BYE SOFIA HORSE CARTS?

Don't think only of the slippery floor tiles being laid out in and around the NDK, or National Palace of Culture, in Central Sofia, or the bronze lion holding a map of Bulgaria that entails parts of Greece and Macedonia within the Kingdom of Bulgaria now being installed where the 1,300 Years of Bulgaria monument used to stand. The local authorities have a lot more in stock for you.

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ROMANIA'S FORTIFIED CHURCHES

They define the Transylvanian landscape as much as the thick forests of the Carpathians, and are so ubiquitous that one stops paying particular attention to them after visiting the most popular ones, including the supposed Dracula haunt at Bran Castle and atmospheric Sighişoara.

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MITOSIS, An excerpt from a short story

Metaphase

It was a Sunday. She rolled over. "Good morning." It was one of the things he loved about her, so perceptive. It was a good morning.

"It's a girl," she said. "I can feel it."

"Me too." Being a half-truth, he said it with frontloaded conviction. Whenever he touched her, touched them, he felt nothing. His daughter, hiding from him. Waiting to surprise him. His wife felt everything and he was left to imagine the hands stretching and feet kicking and how nothing in his life would ever be the same. "A girl for sure."

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SOFIA'S PLEASURES

But in the Bulgarian capital nothing can compare in diversity of the experience with the growing options for good eating. The changed habits and the increasingly high requirements of the locals, combined with the influx of foreign tourists, provide a fertile ground for the appearance of remarkable restaurants.

The food places in the capital offer never-ending renewal, traditional and new recipes, changing interiors and concepts, special menus and products, selected culinary traditions, experiments and tastings.

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MITOSIS, An excerpt from a short story

 

Metaphase

It was a Sunday. She rolled over. "Good morning." It was one of the things he loved about her, so perceptive. It was a good morning.

"It's a girl," she said. "I can feel it."

"Me too." Being a half-truth, he said it with frontloaded conviction. Whenever he touched her, touched them, he felt nothing. His daughter, hiding from him. Waiting to surprise him. His wife felt everything and he was left to imagine the hands stretching and feet kicking and how nothing in his life would ever be the same. "A girl for sure."

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