Issue 92

SIGHTS AND SIGNS OF A NATION

Think again! Communism with the highly ritualised rules for social behaviour its omniscient apparatchiks generated may be no more, but the system that followed it, referred by Bulgarians as the ongoing Transition, failed to change the way the former apparatchiks, many of them now businessmen and entrepreneurs, thought.

Comments: 0

Read more Add new comment

ODESSA BEFORE THE RAIN

International news is hardly a good tourism advertisement, and Ukraine is no exception. Even Odessa, one of the country's most memorable cities, is talked about now as a battlefield between pro-Ukraine and pro-Russian forces, a silent ghost of the place which, until a year ago, could easily fit onto any Best-Cities-To-Visit-Before-Crowds-Discover-Them list.

Comments: 0

Read more Add new comment

TRYAVNA

Shopping in the centre of Tryavna, a traditional town in the central Stara Planina, is a peculiar experience. Here and there, in the narrow shops infused with the aroma of 200-year-old wood, you can find the usual souvenirs and touristy stuff you are familiar with from other traditional places in Bulgaria. However, in Tryavna the ubiquitous carved wood items, icons and old aprons mingle with more ordinary goods, as the old Revival Period shops in the city centre also sell groceries and washing powder, books, shoes and toys, and plenty of the locally manufactured underwear.

Comments: 0

Read more Add new comment

ROMAN BULGARIA

Travellers have for centuries been amazed by the size and magnificence of Roman remains in Bulgaria, and though many ancient ruins have been lost to modernisation, much still remains.

The Romans consolidated their power over today's Bulgaria at the beginning of the 1st Century AD, absorbing the local Thracian tribes into the multicultural and multiethnic empire. Life changed, to an enormous extent. New cities were built and older ones were refashioned, with temples, baths and opulent villas in the latest Roman fashion.

Comments: 0

Read more Add new comment

BURGAS PIER

Even by Bulgarian standards Burgas is a strange city. It is one of those few Bulgarian towns that do not claim "ancient" history – it was founded in the late 19th Century by immigrants from various locations throughout Bulgaria and the Balkans who had arrived here owing to various reasons, mainly to escape wars and destitution. Burgas soon emerged as the country's perhaps most cosmopolitan town. Thracian and Macedonian rubbed shoulders with Greek, Turk, Armenian, Russian, Czech, Albanian and the odd Italian or two.

Comments: 0

Read more Add new comment

BELOGRADCHIK ROCKS

In the 1870s, while travelling to Belogradchik, a tiny town in Bulgaria's northwest, Austro-Hungarian traveller and scientist Felix Kanitz was in two minds. Kanitz had read the boastful 1841 description of the magnificent beauty of the Belogradchik Rocks by Frenchman Jérôme-Adolphe Blanqui, and he could scarcely believe it. It sounded too beautiful to be true and the lack of accounts by other Western travellers added to his suspicions.

Comments: 0

Read more Add new comment

STEPHANE MOISSET

Before he came to Bulgaria, Stephane Moisset, who describes himself as being 100 percent Parisian (meaning born and raised in Paris), lived five or six different lives. He went to a school of journalism and then to law school. He studied history of art. He lived in Spain, England and the United States. He worked as a press attache for the Israeli Embassy in France. He created an art auction house, the first in Luxembourg, and then a PR agency, both of which he sold. Then he started the first "luxury house" for dogs – which was later bought by a former neighbour, Gerard Depardieu.

Comments: 0

Read more Add new comment

FROM BULGARIAN TO ENGLISH

What was the last Bulgarian, or non-English language, book you read? Don't feel uncomfortable if you cannot answer. Only three percent of all books published annually in the United States are translations, and fiction accounts for less than one percent.

Comments: 0

Read more Add new comment

IN THE COUNTRY OF LASTING SUSPICIONS

Anyone wanting to stay in Bulgaria for longer, either professionally or for pleasure, will sooner or later end up in a meeting with a bunch of Bulgarians and will likely be befuddled by at least some of the local ways. No, I am not talking about the fine differences between the various brands of rakiya and why it should be taken as an aperitif, preferably with a Shopska. Helping yourself to copious amounts of the local liquor and doing it exactly as the locals do is easy to learn.

Comments: 0

Read more Add new comment

DARK CLOUD WITH TINY SILVER LINING

None of the Bulgarian parties standing in the EU elections in May, except Ataka – which said it was opposed to "Euro perversions," meaning same-sex partnership rights – had any stand on any of the major issues Europe is faced with. No political party in Bulgaria was even remotely concerned about unemployment, climate change, the fate of the euro, immigration (as opposed to asylum-seeking) and all that. Going to the ballots in May was a purely domestic affair. The 25 May event in Bulgaria was played out primarily as a litmus test for the popularity of those in power at the moment.

Comments: 0

Read more Add new comment

QUOTE-UNQUOTE

With this sentence they canonised Tsvetanov.

GERB leader Boyko Borisov

GERB is a band of criminals.

Anton Kutev, an MP for the BSP

The elections were a dirty race with a lot of doping.

Antoaneta Tsoneva, Institute for Public Development

While people were throwing tomatoes over the fences around Parliament, they weren't able to see many important things.

Comments: 0

Read more Add new comment

SORRY SEEMS TO BE THE **** WORD

BORISOV: "Barekov threw such heavy insults at my person that there can be no talk of cooperation with him unless he apologises to me. I am suing him on 15-16 counts. It would make a difference if he said I am sorry."

BAREKOV: "Mr Borisov is a primitive man. I would say he is a political primitive. He puts his ego and his emotions above what is important for the state. He has taken it into his head quite strongly. I follow his actions closely. He has been overexcited... I recommend to Mr Borisov to stop overexciting himself."

Comments: 0

Read more Add new comment