Issue 162

EASTER IN RILA MONASTERY

The chatter of the small group of people at the gate of Rila Monastery in the cold spring evening is of the sort you can hear anywhere and anytime: hellos, how-do-you-dos, smalltalk, but neither the place, nor the people nor the occasion are ordinary. Monks in habits, practicing Eastern Orthodox Christians and a couple of clueless foreign tourists are gathered at the gate of Bulgaria's most revered monastery and most visited UNESCO-site long after business hours to wait for a car to arrive.

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RHODOPE'S 'SACRED TRIANGLE'

Triangles fascinate the imagination. Throughout history, the geometric shape defined by Euclides as three points that do not lie on the same line has been laden with religious and spiritual symbolism. It has also been connected to topography, such as the Egyptians pyramids, the so-called ley lines, and the Bermuda triangle, supposedly marking energy vortices.

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FASCINATION OF OLD AIRPLANES

You do not need to be particularly interested in old aircraft to enjoy the Burgas Aviation Museum, but visiting it could lead to a new interest in your life. Established in 1998 as a part of Burgas Airport, in 2017 the exhibition was revamped to appeal to the modern visitor.

The collection is a good introduction to the nuts-and-bolts of aviation, and features nine aircraft that were in service during the time of Communism, when the country relied heavily on Soviet planes.

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CORONA TIMES

In the age of the Internet, verbal jokes are no longer in fashion, however. Memes rule supreme.

Here is a quick selection done during a couple of days prior to this journal going to press. The main "hero" in them is, predictably, Gen Ventsislav Mutafchiyski, an army doctor and chief of the Military Medical Academy in Sofia, who was appointed to head the state of emergency headquarters.

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MARIETA YORDANOVA: UNLEASHING NATURE'S HEALING POTENTIAL

Creating your own company in a field that is still new on the Bulgarian market asks for boldness, the inevitable leap of faith and the will to overcome obstacles to succeed. Marieta Yordanova knows this well. Eight years ago the then mother of two with a background in psychology, marketing and brand management decided to found Biotica 1961, a company for organic food supplements.

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BALANCING OUT IN CORONAVIRUS CRISIS

Political science students all over the world are being taught in the early stages of their studies that the best way for an authoritarian government – any authoritarian government – to enhance its own powers is to use a crisis – any crisis – as a justification. The bigger the crisis, the bigger the opportunity. At a time of a huge crisis it becomes easier to take away citizens freedoms and rights not only with a couple of decrees, but also with the general public applauding from the sidelines.

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COMMUNIST BULGARIA GOES TO HUNGARY

Through vivid and at times poignant images Communist Bulgaria shows what has remained of this country's Communist material heritage. Included are some would famous sites such as the Communist Party Memorial House on Mount Buzludzha, popularly referred to as The Flying Saucer of Communism, downtown Sofia with its Stalinist architecture, and many monuments of Second World War resistance fighters. Thirty years after the collapse of the Iron Curtain most have been abandoned and are in various stages of decay, exuding eerie, even otherworldly vibes.

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GREECE: EDESSA

Many cities are situated on famous rivers or seas, but Edessa, in northern Greece, was founded on waterfalls.

Edessa sits on the edge of one of the easternmost outcrops of the Pindus mountains, where streams and rivulets jump through thick greenery and fantastically shaped rocks. Water has been its defining feature since the very beginning, as evident in its Greek and Bulgarian names. Both Edessa and Voden mean Water City.

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THE CAULDRON

Most of the houses in the village were uninhabitable. The residents of the rest of them were old people and Gypsies. On the whole, peace and love didn't exactly reign, but there was tolerance and an absence of extensive problems. The elderly Bulgarians were situated in the upper mahala, and their dark-skinned younger neighbors – in the lower one. The store on the village square was in the middle of the village and served as a linguistic point of contact.

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