Medieval Bulgaria

kaliakra cape.jpg

GOOD CAPE

Wherever you reach some higher ground in Bulgaria there will be a legend about it. And in 90 percent of the cases it will be about some brave Bulgarian maidens who jumped off it to avoid being "enslaved" by Turks.

Kaliakra is no exception.

Thu, 08/23/2012 - 13:24
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st ivan island.jpg

TALE OF THREE-AND-A-HALF ISLES

First-time visitors to Bulgaria will probably be amazed to discover one of the striking differences between Bulgaria and its neighbouring Greece and Turkey is that it has no real islands to speak of. Nothing like Greece's thousands of isles and sea rocks, nothing even like Turkey's limited but still significant selection of offshore territories. When God bestowed all its natural wonders on Bulgaria he was very economical with islands. Sad, but true.

Mon, 07/02/2012 - 13:35
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boyana church 4.jpg

BOYANA CHURCH

Shivering in the biting cold of the Boyana Church, you look at the 13th Century portrait of Desislava and you wonder if this image, painted 100 years before Giotto revolutionised medieval art, is truly the earliest Renaissance portrait in the world, or has Desislava (and the tourists around you) fallen victim of hype?

Mon, 01/30/2012 - 10:52
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baldwin tower.jpg

SPLENDOUR BEFORE THE STORM

One of the most popular images associated with Bulgaria is the Tsarevets Hill in Veliko Tarnovo. Proud Bulgarians regard it as one of the important symbols of their statehood – to the point that they have made it the centrepiece of a sound and light show. It served as the capital of the restored Bulgarian kingdom from the time of the liberation from Byzantine rule until the Ottoman conquest, a kingdom that at one point stretched between three seas.

Sat, 09/01/2007 - 17:35
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bulgarian history.jpg

TO HAVE AND HAVE NOT

You may think that Bulgarians are non-violent, peace-loving people who hate sending troops to Iraq. You are wrong. Many Bulgarians believed that King Simeon's aggressive wars (see Vagabond 10) marked a high point in the country's history and that the 40 years of calm under his successor, King Peter, were a period of decline that actually led to the fall of Bulgaria under Byzantine rule. However, the long years of peace enabled the country to resist for decades before losing its political independence in 1018.

Wed, 08/01/2007 - 13:30
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bulgarian medieval history.jpg

THE EARLY YEARS

NOT EXACTLY BARBARIANS

"The Bulgarians are not savages and barbarians!" Georgi Dimitrov said rhetorically in his defence speech at the Leipzig trial in 1934, when he was charged with setting the Reichstag on fire. The man who became Bulgaria's first Communist dictator 10 years later, unknowingly expressed the oldest and most deeply rooted conviction of the Bulgarians, namely that they are an exceptionally gifted and civilised people who should not be underestimated.

Fri, 06/01/2007 - 12:37
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yaylata plateau.jpg

HOW THE BULGARIANS BECAME EUROPEANS

During the years when Bulgaria's membership of the EU seemed but a beautiful daydream people would often take comfort in the thought "So what! We've been Europeans for 1,300 years." In 681AD the Byzantine Empire had to make a treaty with a young, steadfast confederacy formed alongside the Danube and thus admit the political existence of Bulgaria. But the Bulgarians of the 7th Century were not exactly the Bulgarians you see today walking the streets of Sofia or Sozopol.

Tue, 05/01/2007 - 17:47
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