Issue 207-208

GERGANA ATANASOVA: BEING A PART OF THE CHANGE

Renewable energy has immense potential for helping humanity to put climate change under control. But it is more than that. Thanks to the development of modern technologies that made it more affordable, it is now a new field of opportunities for individual investors of different sizes and intentions. How? With companies such as G-Energy. The company not only designs and builds photovoltaic systems – its product, G-Energy Invest, is for individuals who want a safe investment for their money with quick return and long period of pure profit.

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FRENCH AMBASSADOR JOËL MEYER

The stylish French residence in Central Sofia is indeed a very special place. For about 100 years, in addition to being the home of French ambassadors, it has been the meeting spot of senior dignitaries. One of the most notable events there was the famous breakfast with Bulgarian intellectuals, hosted by then President François Mitterrand, a few months before the collapse of Communism in 1989. One of them, Professor Zhelyu Zhelev, would later go on to become the first democratically elected president of Bulgaria.

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WHO IS AFRAID OF VASIL 'SKULL' BOZHKOV?

While Bulgarians left, right and centre are quibbling over the fate of a pile of stones crowned by some sculpted Red Army soldiers in central Sofia, the state prosecution service quietly terminated a case started by Vasil Bozhkov, one of this country's wealthiest entrepreneurs, alleging he was forced to give north of 60 million leva ($35 million) in bribes to Boyko Borisov (then prime minister), Vladislav Goranov (then finance minister) and Sevdelina Arnaudova (then Boyko Borisov's chief public relations officer).

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TOP MUST-SEES IN 2024

When wanderlust grabs you in 2024 but deciding on your next destination is hard, here is a list of places to whet your appetite. Some of them are millennia old and others are new, but they are all remarkable and most are one-of-a-kind.

Tryavna

What: One of the best preserved Revival Period towns in Bulgaria

Visit for: Atmosphere

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BRUTALIST BULGARIA

A white mammoth dominates the upper part of Boulevard Todor Aleksandrov in central Sofia. Its massive, concrete surfaces are imposing. Looking from the lower ground of the Serdica station, the building, Unicredit Bulbank's headquarters, resembles a giant ocean steamer which is about to crush the Largo, the vast space surrounded by the Stalinist Council of Ministers, the Office of the President and the former Communist Party House, now parliament.

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GOING, GOING...

The cops by far outnumber the construction workers wielding chop saws inside a ladder hoist. There have been no press releases, nor the obligatory information signs to tell the public what's going on. The area has been cordoned off. No media are allowed behind the metal fences.

Ahead of Christmas, the park in front of Sofia University, once known as Freedom Park but now bearing its restored name of Prince's Garden, looks like a melee zone.

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WHERE IN BULGARIA ARE YOU?

These are long extinct, but the lion has become so popular that Bulgaria has adopted it for its national coat-of-arms. Consequently, visitors to this country can see lions in various sculptural iterations in many Bulgarians towns and even in some villages.

Here you get a pair of the majestic animals proudly guarding a courthouse. Look closer, and you will discover there is something wrong with one of them. His legs are in a very unnatural position. In fact, no lion can actually walk in this manner.

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LES FRANÇAIS EN BULGARIE

Before English took over in Bulgaria, in the 1990s, mastering French was obligatory for the local elite and those who aspired to join it. This is why today in Sofia you will spot an odd French name here and there: the Léandre le Gay Street in the centre, schools named Alphonse de Lamartine and Victor Hugo, a metro station is known as Frédéric Joliot-Curie. On noticing this, you may be reminded of the words of the late Bulgarian President, Zhelyu Zhelev, who infamously stated that Bulgarians were... Francophones.

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GUIDES TO BULGARIANS' RECENT PAST AND TRAUMAS

If you have stayed in Bulgaria for more than a week and have conversed with Bulgarians of a certain age beyond business transactions and polite small talk, you have probably heard them reminisce about something from their youth that you might find charming, mysterious and exciting, but hard to comprehend. It might have been something from the times of Communism, the period between 1944 and 1989, that despite its proximity in time and millions of living witnesses is getting increasingly mythologised.

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QUOTE-UNQUOTE

This is an aggressive offensive against statehood, history and memory.

President Rumen Radev on the Soviet Army Monument in Sofia

I am baffled that rightwing economists defend Asen Vasilev's state budget draft. My only explanation is that he has hypnotised them to believe that this is a good budget. Have you noticed that Asen Vasilev never blinks?

Delyan Dobrev, GERB

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WINTER NESEBAR

Winter is not only the time to head to Bulgaria's ski resorts. It is also the best time to enjoy some of this nation's most crowded tourist spots, such as Nesebar. In the warm months this UNESCO listed town of ancient fortifications, mediaeval churches and Revival Period mansions is packed with visitors from the nearby Sunny Beach resort and from the whole of the Bulgarian Black Sea area.

The winter cold, however, utterly transforms it.

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