America for Bulgaria Foundation

Bulgarian Black Sea beaches

BULGARIA'S WILDEST BEACHES

Anyone who's visited Sunny Beach or the stretch of coast south of Sozopol will be amazed: Bulgaria's Black Sea shore, actually, is not just a concrete jungle dotted with multi-storey hotels, casinos and bars. The fact is that though overwhelming, what many locals refer to as the "unbridled" construction effort of the 2000s and 2010s has left a few usually difficult-to-reach areas untouched by the bulldozers. They still exist to this day.

Thu, 08/26/2021 - 15:57
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eyes of god cave

INSIDE GOD'S EYES

The Eyes of God: whoever came up with this name for the most impressive feature of Prohodna Cave, near Karlukovo, did a good job. The two openings in the ceiling of the cave really look like the gaze of a supranatural being. Some locals might protest that the actual, traditional name of the openings is the more prosaic Oknata, or The Chimneys, but bringing more visitors to this part of the economically depressed Bulgarian northwest is always a good thing for the local community.

Thu, 08/26/2021 - 15:47
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nesebar from air night

BIRD'S EYE VIEW OF NESEBAR

Looking for some peace and quiet on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast in summer is a natural aspiration, even in a year of pandemic and reduced international tourism like 2021. But there are places by the sea where peace and quiet in summer are not to be found. Even in a "slow" tourist summer, they are abuzz with local and foreign visitors; lively and vibrant, sometimes vulgar and often irritating.

Nesebar is one of those places.

Thu, 08/26/2021 - 15:30
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sea daffodils

BULGARIA'S SEA DAFFODILS

Some of the sand dunes along the southern Black Sea coast that have not yet been overbuilt with hotels and resorts are the home of a fine and very delicate wildflower, the sea daffodil. In fact, the southern Black Sea coast is the only location in this country where you can see sea daffodils in their natural environment. Some of the bigger colonies are near the beaches of Silistar, Tsarevo, Kiten and Primorsko.

Thu, 08/26/2021 - 15:24
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old plovdiv houses

THE SECRETS OF REVIVAL PERIOD PLOVDIV

The braw houses lining the cobblestone streets of Old Plovdiv are arguably the city's most recognisable sight. The only thing that can distract from marvelling at their painted façades, projecting bay windows and verdant gardens is the pavement. Polished by the feet of generations of passers-by, it is slippery even when dry, as the traveller and historian Konstantin Jireček noted as far back as the late 19th century.

Thu, 08/26/2021 - 15:03
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seamstresses

FROM RAG TO LABEL

If you arrive in the village of Breznitsa in the evening, you’ll catch the glint of a gold-laminated minaret out of A Thousand And One Nights. The minaret and the entire revamping of the mosque was done through a donation by a local entrepreneur who commissioned Ukrainian craftsmen.

Against the blue peaks of Pirin Mountain, the scene is like a film set. Then you’ll see groups of different-aged women walking down the street. They are going home, and they are the women who stitched your clothes from rag to label. 

Sat, 07/31/2021 - 18:30
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old bridge bulgaria ottoman

BULGARIA'S WONDROUS BRIDGES

With their ingenuity, some bridges puzzle, and those you will find in Bulgaria are no exception. Some of them are centuries-old, while others are relatively new. What unites them is their beauty and their strength to withstand the passage of time, the burden of traffic and the power of swollen rivers. Many of them also come with a gloomy legend or two. Here is a selection of some of the bridges in Bulgaria that merit more than a single visit and an Instagram post.

DEVIL'S BRIDGE

Sat, 07/31/2021 - 18:10
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mausoleum alexander of battemberg

FORGOTTEN MAUSOLEUM

The stories of what happened to the bodies of those who ruled Bulgaria post-1878 are as poignant as some of their deeds. King Ferdinand (1887-1918) was buried in 1948 in Coburg, Germany. Ferdinand had abdicated following his disastrous leadership of the Kingdom of Bulgaria through the Great War, and settled in his native Germany. His son, King Boris III (1918-1943) was buried inside the Rila Monastery church, but soon after the 1944 Communist coup his remains were exhumed and lost - or destroyed.

Sat, 07/31/2021 - 18:01
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bulgarian rose

DARK SIDE OF BULGARIAN ROSE

You have already seen it: in Bulgaria's official logo, on fridge magnets, boxes of Turkish delight, cosmetics, Facebook and Instagram posts, and any tourism promotion material imaginable. The oil-bearing rose is one of Bulgaria's most recognisable national symbols, a fragrant and humble flower that thrives in one particular region and powers a global luxury market.

Mon, 06/28/2021 - 15:58
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the bathing 2.jpg

THE BATHING

Sculptor Pavel Koychev, a household name for anyone interested in Bulgarian art in the past 50 years, marked his 82nd birthday with inviting a select group of individuals to attend the inauguration of an idiosyncratic installation by the village of Osikovitsa just off the Hemus Motorway, at the end of May. The "sculptures" – foldouts depicting famous works of art through the centuries – were planted, using an elaborate mechanism involving ropes and weights, inside a lake behind the wall of a service station.

Mon, 06/28/2021 - 15:38
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stara planina

FROM START TO FINISH

Bulgaria has plenty of mountains and peaks that challenge even experienced mountaineers, yet one of its greatest outdoor adventures is not just conquering some 2,900-metre-high summit. It is trekking along the ridge of the Stara Planina, the mountain range that divides Bulgaria from west to east, known also by its more poetic name, the Balkans.

Mon, 05/31/2021 - 11:29
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The mansion of the wealthy Kordopoulov family looms over the rest of Melnik, surrounded by the town's emblematic sandstone cliffs

(RE)DISCOVERING MELNIK

What is Bulgaria's smallest town? Bulgarian children learn the answer early in school. However, the reason both local and foreign tourists visit Melnik, population 194, is not its size. They cherish Melnik, in southwest Bulgaria, for its well-preserved Revival Period architecture, strong local wine and surreal surroundings of white limestone pyramids. Its location is just off the E79 route from Sofia to Greece, a short drive from Bansko.

Mon, 05/31/2021 - 11:18
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The restored Radetzky

BANKS OF KOZLODUY

On 28 May 1876, the passengers of the Radetzky, a steamer headed on the Danube to Vienna, were in for a surprise. As the ship was heading upstream, three men in strange military uniforms, swords and guns in their hands, appeared on the deck. Their leader, a handsome bearded man, cried something and suddenly young men, that until then had looked like ordinary gardeners heading for seasonal work in Austria-Hungary, gathered around the band. Dozens of them. They took off their clothes and put on uniforms. More weapons were seen onboard.

Mon, 05/31/2021 - 10:52
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fireflies magic in bulgaria

FIREFLIES MAGIC

Much has been said and written about the beauties of Bulgarian nature and the abundance of its wildlife. Birdwatching, for example, has become a mainstream tourism activity that many travel agents organise for Western visitors. Yet little if anything has been promulgated about another remarkable if not so obvious (for obvious reasons, pun unintended) treasure that Bulgarian forests, meadows and riversides have: the abundance of fireflies.

Mon, 05/31/2021 - 10:44
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strange rocks belogradchik

NATURE MEETS CULTURE AT BELOGRADCHIK ROCKS & MAGURATA CAVE

Abandoned villages, depopulated towns, potholed roads: signs that things have gone horribly wrong in the recent past define the Bulgarian northwest, officially the poorest region in the EU. Vegetation engulfs abandoned factories built during Communism when the economy was subsidised – and left to rot during the turbulent transition to democracy and the open market. As industries failed, locals departed for Sofia and the West. What remained was an ageing population, crumbling infrastructure, crime and despair.

Thu, 04/29/2021 - 17:58
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