Issue 171-172

TEODORA GEORGIEVA: POWERING THE FUTURE

The energy future in Southeastern Europe has been a hot topic for politicians, entrepreneurs and analysts for years now. What are the best solutions? How to achieve reasonably-priced diversification? In what sources to invest and in which fields to innovate? Teodora Georgieva is one of the best people in Bulgaria to talk about this.

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BULGARIAN POLITICS OF HEALTH BELIE HEALTH OF POLITICS IN BULGARIA

Professor Kosta Kostov is one of Bulgaria's leading pulmonologists. He has specialised in Germany, Switzerland and the UK, and has taught for many years at the Medical Faculty of St Kliment of Ohrid University in Sofia. Earlier in 2020 he was the chairman of the Expert Medical Council under the Bulgarian Council of Ministers, a short-lived agency designed to provide the government with professional advice how to tackle the Covid-19 crisis. Dr Kostov has been in all Best Doctors lists in Bulgaria.

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TOP 10 SPIRITUAL VORTEXES IN BULGARIA

"This place has a special aura." Sooner rather than later you will hear this sentence applied to somewhere in Bulgaria: an old monastery, an ancient shrine – or an ugly post-Communist church. There, locals and visitors claim to have felt the presence of "cosmic energy" or a supernatural "entity." Those who have an ailment seek healing. Pure-blooded Bulgarians "connect" to their true ancestors, the ancient Thracians, the wisest people ever to walk the earth. UFO sightings may also be reported.

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NO SAUERKRAUT IN BG AMBULANCES

The overwhelming majority of Bulgarians wait in earnest for the sauerkraut, or kiselo zele, to ferment, or vtasa. Given the right preparation (in a plastic container called bidonche, stored in a basement, daily circulation of brine, or pretakane) and favourable weather conditions (neither too warm, nor too cold) the year's yield of sauerkraut should be in just ahead of Christmas.

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SEARCHING FOR BLOKE

Splendid saints, bosomy beauties in "traditional" costumes, saccharine angels: in the past decade, large scale wall paintings on concrete apartment blocks, business and public buildings in Sofia have flourished. The unveiling of the largest ones, particularly when Boyko Borisov's Sofia Municipality is involved, attracts media attention and results in an avalanche of posts, photos and shares.

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QUOTE-UNQUOTE

In the implementation of the Covid-19 measures you will see the total power of the state.

Health Minister Kostadin Angelov

They marked the 40th anniversary of dictator Tito's death. It's as if Berlin were to mark the anniversary of Hitler's expiry.

Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva in an attempt to explain Bulgaria's suspension of North Macedonia's bid to join the EU

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FROM GHOST TO LOUVRE

Whenever the Louvre is mentioned, most people think of tourists elbowing their way for a selfie with the Mona Lisa, the once controversial glass pyramid and the protagonist of a thriller searching for (spoiler alert) Jesus Christ's bloodline. In 2017, the number of Louvres in the world doubled with the opening of Louvre Abu Dhabi, an UAE-French partnership with ambitious architecture and an even more ambitious, multimillion-dollar programme for purchasing and loaning items of art.

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HOW TO ENJOY RAKIYA

The easiest way for a foreigner to raise a Bulgarian brow concerns a sacrosanct pillar of national identity: rakiya, the spirit that Bulgarians drink at weddings, funerals, for lunch, at protracted dinners; because they are sad or joyful, and sometimes because they do not have anything better to do. Inexperienced foreigners tend to make three types of faux pas when they try rakiya for the first time. Some declare after a sip that they would rather have a glass of wine.

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RAKIYA, a short story

Comparisons of rakiya and other spirits are nothing new in Bulgaria – one such competition takes place annually in Sofia – but those contests consider alcoholic drinks mass-produced by established wineries and corporations. The event in the village, on the other hand, is open to residents of the area who make rakiya in their bathrooms, garages, and cellars. This competition attracts little fanfare and winning is solely a matter of local pride.

"Nazdrave!"

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THE GIFT MATTERS

Historians say that gifts are a pillar of human civilisation. Sacrifices to the gods, exchange of luxurious objects between rulers – since times immemorial humanity was entangled in a web of relationships based on the pragmatic principle "I give in order that you may give." 

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