Issue 77

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IN LEVSKI'S FOOTSTEPS

Vasil Ivanov Kunchev aka Vasil Levski (1837-1873), is probably Bulgaria's greatest national hero: a dedicated revolutionary who created a clandestine network of secret cells to foment rebellion and free Bulgarian lands from the Ottomans. He never saw the fulfilment of his ideal, as he was caught, tried and executed before an uprising broke out, and his followers never managed to resurrect the organisation he had meticulously set up.

Mon, 03/11/2013 - 13:07
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A kuker?

WHAT IS A KUKER?

1. How many "phantom" voters were in the election register for the Belene Nuclear Power Plant referendum?

A. 10,488

B. 829,363

C. none

 

2. Former Prime Minister Boyko Borisov was "amazed" by the "poor" winter maintenance of which European capital?

A. Vienna

B. London

C. Copenhagen

 

3. Which Bulgarian mountain is noted for its distinctive type of oak?

Mon, 03/11/2013 - 09:55
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COB HOUSING

Walk into any traditional Bulgarian house and the evidence of building with mud will be visible somewhere: from clay ovens in kitchens to interior walls and outdoor barns. Building with cob, a combination of straw, clay, earth and often other natural materials such as lime, has long been used as a worldwide building technique that has evolved very little over time.

Mon, 03/11/2013 - 09:44
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TIME OF RIVER GODS

The narrow Iron Gate Gorge of the Danube is deservedly called so. Here, for 134 kms, the mighty river squeezes between formidably high cliffs. Living here is hard, but 8,000 years ago at the Lepenski Vir site a group of people developed an elaborate culture, the like of which has not been seen before or since. It was wholly dedicated to the Danube.

Mon, 03/11/2013 - 09:29
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WHERE IN BULGARIA ARE YOU?

It is also the gateway to a series of smaller and bigger resorts all the way up to the Romanian border. Founded in ancient times by Greek colonists, it has remnants of many cultures including Armenian, Jewish, Ottoman, Russian, Czech, German and so on and so forth. It is definitely one of the five cities outside Sofia that should have been the nation's capital.

Where in Bulgaria are you?

Mon, 03/11/2013 - 09:22
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BORDERLANDS

A land the size of a palm: this was how Bulgaria is described in the still quoted verse by Communist poet Georgi Dzhagarov. What is not mentioned in that poem, however, is that under Communism this "handful of land" was strictly guarded. Socialist Bulgaria was surrounded by enemy NATO-members Turkey and Greece, and the deviant Comrade Tito's Yugoslavia and the maverick Comrade Ceausescu's Romania. Bulgaria needed the highest protection. So went the thinking, and the protection was organised accordingly.



Mon, 03/11/2013 - 08:49
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DRIVING SAFELY IN BULGARIA

Bulgarian drivers, pedestrians, and on-lookers are forever moaning about congestion, haphazardly parked cars, lack of parking facilities, potholes, corrupt cops and so on and so forth. As at some stage you are bound to get yourself involved in the traffic, here is some essential advice on rules, regulations and customs, as well as a a bagful of tips and tricks.

Sofia and the big cities

Local drivers detest what they call "downtown traffic jams," but they’ve never been to Naples or seen the M25.

Mon, 03/11/2013 - 08:34
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MATTHIAS HOEPFNER

In recent years German ambassadors to Bulgaria like to come and go by... water.

As we sit down for a chat in his office in the German Embassy in Sofia (for those not in the know, this is an architectural oddity erected by the former GDR and still preserving some of the lights known as the "Honecker Lamps" – ubiquitous in the East bloc 30 years ago), I cannot help remembering my first meeting with Matthias Hoepfner back in 2009.

Sat, 03/02/2013 - 14:21
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OLD LOGO, NEW LOGO

Bulgaria as a tourism destination has a new brand logo that, in the opinion of the Ministry of the Economy and Tourism, which paid 1.65 million leva (about 800,000 euros for it), will help increase the number of visitors to the country by 25 percent in the next five years.

The Bulgarian ministry said it had employed 50 experts in seven countries to design the new logo.

Fri, 03/01/2013 - 12:56
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FAREWELL OR GOOD RIDDANCE?

Suffice it to say that this is Bulgaria's (now former) top political establishment. If you have any free time, you might want to try to identify who is who in this collection of inimitable faces, sentiments and attitudes photographed by one of this country's foremost photographers, Nadezhda Chipeva.

Thanks to Capital Weekly for kindly allowing Vagabond to reprint what will probably go down in history as a superb example of Bulgarian photojournalism.

Thu, 02/28/2013 - 12:36
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DEAR RALITSA

I had planned to come this week but because I need to be in Brussels for an important European Council meeting I sadly cannot come. However, in my place I have asked my colleague MEP Paul Nuttall, the deputy leader of the UK Independence Party, to go in my stead. He shall be in Bulgaria on a fact-finding mission from Wednesday to Friday this week.

I am pleased my comments have helped create a debate in Bulgaria, a proud country with many well-educated people and much to celebrate.

Sat, 02/23/2013 - 12:44
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DEAR MR FARAGE

As a person who is Bulgarian, lived and studied in the UK and chose to go back to Bulgaria and build a career here instead of the UK, I wanted to take a stand on your statement regarding Bulgarian and Romanian immigrants and explain why I chose to go back to my home country.

Sat, 02/23/2013 - 12:39
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JOKES OF THE MONTH

1. A brilliant plan.

2. Bad execution.

3. He was nearly killed by Turks.

 

BULGARIAN BUSINESS

A major airlines advertises the position of chief pilot. The first applicant is a German. The chairman of the board asks him what experience he has.

"I have over 10 years flying a Jumbo with Lufthansa, then I flew American Airlines for five years, I've tried all the modern aircraft and have worked under extremely strenuous conditions," the German says.

Sat, 02/23/2013 - 12:31
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QUOTE-UNQUOTE

The crisis will be over on 26 October, Dimitrovden.

Former Finance Minister Simeon Djankov, August 2010 


The crisis in Bulgaria will be over when the transition ends. This will happen after two government terms.

Former inance Minister Simeon Djankov, January 2013

This is the shameful end of a shameful rule.

Bulgarian Socialist Party leader Sergey Stanishev

Sat, 02/23/2013 - 12:27
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WE'VE GOT MAIL

Too many liberals in older EU member states, for example, fail to understand the insecurity and anxieties of ordinary people (particularly in these times of crisis and cutbacks), and too many venal politicians and shoddy journalists understand these all too well and try to exploit them for their own benefit.

I am writing this letter partly to disown the insularity of the British government, partly to try to help people understand why they are behaving this way, and partly to try to refocus the discussion.

Sat, 02/23/2013 - 12:24
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