Issue 171-172 https://vagabond.bg/ en TEODORA GEORGIEVA: POWERING THE FUTURE https://vagabond.bg/teodora-georgieva-powering-future-2923 <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">TEODORA GEORGIEVA: POWERING THE FUTURE</span> <div class="field field--name-field-author-name field--type-string field--label-hidden field__item">by Bozhidara Georgieva; photography by Nelly Tomova</div> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/251" lang="" about="/user/251" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">DimanaT</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Thu, 12/31/2020 - 13:27</span> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-subtitle field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><h3>The Executive Officer and member of the Board of Directors of ICGB AD, on the perspectives for greener, more sustainable and diverse energy supply for Bulgaria</h3> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="images-container clearfix"> <div class="image-preview clearfix"> <div class="image-wrapper clearfix"> <div class="field__item"> <div class="overlay-container"> <span class="overlay overlay--colored"> <span class="overlay-inner"> <span class="overlay-icon overlay-icon--button overlay-icon--white overlay-animated overlay-fade-top"> <i class="fa fa-plus"></i> </span> </span> <a class="overlay-target-link image-popup" href="/sites/default/files/2020-12/Teodora%20Georgieva%202.jpg"></a> </span> <img loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/2020-12/Teodora%20Georgieva%202.jpg" width="1000" height="667" alt="Teodora Georgieva" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field uk-text-bold uk-margin-small-top uk-margin-medium-bottom field--name-field-image-credits field--type-string field--label-hidden field__item">Teodora Georgieva, an Executive Officer and a member of the Board of Directors of ICGB AD</div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p>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.</p> <p>Teodora Georgieva has more than 20 years of experience as a strategic manager of leading significant energy and other economy projects. Since 2015, she has been the Executive Officer and a member of the Board of Directors of ICGB AD, a project company responsible for the design, construction and implementation of IGB, the gas interconnector between Greece and Bulgaria. The project involves the construction of natural gas transmission infrastructure and the interconnector is one of the EU's top priority energy projects. Its successful implementation will contribute to achieving real diversification and increased security of energy supply for Bulgaria and the region and will provide new opportunities for the country on the energy market. ICGB AD is a joint venture company with shareholders BEH EAD (50%) and IGI Poseidon (50%). The co-shareholder IGI Poseidon is registered in Greece, with shareholders being the Greek public gas corporation DEPA S.A. (50%) and the Italian energy group Edison SpA (50%).</p> <p>Teodora Georgieva is responsible for the project's overall management and development. Before joining ICGB, she was the Managing Director of Nabucco Gas Pipeline Bulgaria and Managing Director and Cluster Manager for Bulgaria, Romania, and Serbia at OMV Bulgaria. She has been Bulgaria's coordinator for the European Round Table of Industrials (ERT) and in 2009 and 2010 was declared Manager of the Year and made the Best 10 Bulgarian Managers list. Teodora Georgieva is a graduate from the University of National and World Economy, has an MA in Finance and is fluent in English, German, and Russian. Married, with two children.</p> <p><strong>Why is IGB construction important for Bulgaria, Greece and the region? What is its role for energy security and environment?</strong></p> <p>The project for construction of an interconnector, which will connect the gas transmission networks of Greece and Bulgaria, including the Trans Adriatic Pipeline, is one of the main energy priorities of our country and is part of the EU strategic projects in the sector. The pipeline will allow Bulgaria to receive supplies of natural gas from more than one source, which will inevitably lead to increased security of supply and real diversification of gas sources. Development of new routes for the import of natural gas automatically increases competition, which is of great importance for end users, who will be able to use natural gas at competitive prices.</p> <p>The interest in IGB transcends national borders as the project is developed in synergy with other large-scale gas pipelines such as TAP, TANAP and EastMed, as well as with planned and existing liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals in the area. The interconnector with Greece is the connection of our region with the Southern Gas Corridor, which will be one of the main axes for gas supplies to the EU. The successful implementation of the IGB project will enable our country to receive supplies from some of the largest gas fields in the world: the Caspian and the Mediterranean Sea, and the Middle East. These new opportunities will not only guarantee us increased energy security but will also change Bulgaria's position on the region's energy map. All this brings us only long-term benefits.</p> <p>IGB is also part of Bulgaria's strategy for a smooth transition to a more sustainable energy sector, focused on fuels that leave a smaller footprint on the environment. The world today is looking in the direction of environmental protection and sustainability and our country is also taking steps towards more gentle solutions in this direction. With time and with the development of technologies, natural gas can be a great transitional step towards cleaner alternatives to fossil fuels. I follow with great interest the development of ongoing research and projects related to the use of hydrogen, which may become the future of energy. The good news is that the natural gas transmission infrastructure we are investing in today can be used for hydrogen in years to come.</p> <p><img alt="Teodora Georgieva" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/171-172/Teodora%20Georgieva/Teodora%20Georgieva.jpg" class="align-center" /></p> <p><strong>You say that IGB construction has become your personal cause. Why?</strong></p> <p>IGB is a game changer for Bulgaria and the region. The development of the interconnector will bring a significant change in the concept of how we build our energy security and independence in our country but also in the region. It has become my personal cause. This project is designed to supply natural gas from different sources and is the only one currently in our country that leads to diversification of gas sources. This certainly grants the Bulgarian industry, the suppliers, and the Bulgarian consumers a right to choose. Ultimately, the implementation of this project leads to increase of competition, and respectively reduced gas prices. The project will serve as an engine for the actual liberalization of the gas market, as inevitably in the long term it will indirectly increase the opportunities for household and consumers gasification. Regardless of the challenges and difficulties constantly arising along the way, so far my team and I have accomplished serious and visible work and we are determined to successfully complete this project. Its completion has become a real cause for me, and it will be a great satisfaction for all of us.</p> <p><strong>How do you manage to achieve your goals in the complex geopolitical environment in which the project takes place?</strong></p> <p>The balance between different interests in this exceptional geopolitical environment is indeed very complex, but to a large extent this challenging task falls to politicians. For me and my team, the most important thing is that in this undertaking we have the full support of all interested parties – the governments of Bulgaria and Greece, the European Commission, our partners from Azerbaijan and the US. This gives us the strength to meet all obstacles along the way, and we have had quite a few of them so far.</p> <p>The unexpected global pandemic added to the challenges we are facing, but I can say that despite the difficult situation, our teams have not stopped working on the project's completion. We managed to reorganize some of the main activities, keeping the workers' safety and health in mind. Over 150 km from the total 182 km route have been cleared and 80 km have been welded. Teams on site are already laying and backfilling sections that reach about 35 km. We are almost done with the line pipe deliveries from the final milestone. As a manager I am happy to say we achieved serious progress in the last few months despite this extremely challenging situation. It is a collective effort, and I am thankful for the dedication of my team and for the support we continue to receive from all shareholders and partners.</p> <p><strong>What is your strongest manager trait that still helps you to grow as a personality and a professional?</strong></p> <p>I believe the consistency of efforts and actions… again for the sake of the project implementation. Also, the ability to integrate ideas and manage conflicts. This project requires strong focus and dedication as well as overcoming one's ego in the name of a bigger idea.</p> <p><strong>What, in your opinion, defines a strong leader?</strong></p> <p>The successful leader is the one who can fully engage the team-members to pursue a greater goal. A person who motivates people to be responsible and accountable for what they do but at the same time builds their personalities and gets the most of it. The leader must be able to listen, to be patient, to be consistent, to be persistent when necessary and to think long-term, strategically, despite the challenges.</p> <p><strong>How do you balance between your personal life as a mother and a spouse and a leading manager?</strong></p> <p>Achieving such balance is no doubt difficult. It is always nice to know that you are a good example for your children… but it is equally important to spend time with them and give them the most essential – help them to grow as good and valuable people with virtues, integrity, and ethics. Provide support to pursue their own way and to follow their dreams.</p> <p>Without the support and understanding of my husband, my parents, and my children, I would not have been able to have this career development, satisfaction, and success at work. I genuinely appreciate all this. The satisfaction from the amazing parenting task that my husband and I had and still have is great if we have succeeded even to a small degree. Of course, our children will be the ones to evaluate our efforts.</p> <p><strong>Currently, the energy sector has been incredibly dynamic. What do you think of its future? What are the main trends?</strong></p> <p>I believe that for Bulgaria the best is yet to come. With the successful commercial launch of the IGB pipeline we will witness changes in the region's energy map. The LNG terminal near Alexandroupolis, which should be ready in a few years, will also boost our capacity utilization and will contribute to diversification and increased competition. We will be able to import LNG and natural gas from various countries like the US, Egypt, Israel and others. The possibilities ahead are remarkable.</p> <p>I already touched upon hydrogen as a key current trend and I believe we will hear much more about it in the coming years. It is already becoming a hot topic at high-level energy sector EU meetings and I am excited to see where this will lead. In time, a greener transformation from natural gas to hydrogen may be possible, but it needs to be introduced gradually and economically reasonably. This will be good for the environment on a global scale and I am hopeful that Bulgaria can be a part of that effort. For example, if some of the coal power plants in the country decide to use natural gas to produce energy and invest in gas turbines, this will set a good example and will allow for great synergy with IGB. It will boost the consumption of natural gas, while offering a more environment-friendly solution. From there, the next step to hydrogen is easier and the investment will not be so big. </p> </div> <a href="/archive/issue-171-172" hreflang="en">Issue 171-172</a> <div class="field field--name-field-mt-post-category field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--entity-reference-target-type-taxonomy-term clearfix field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/interviews" hreflang="en">BULGARIA INTERVIEWS</a></div> </div> <section class="field field--name-comment field--type-comment field--label-above comment-wrapper"> <h2 class="title comment-form__title">Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=2923&amp;2=comment&amp;3=comment" token="ZD2wJ_dhdC_l6fJe6GH4YW0yHfGSUivk7SACTioH1aA"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Thu, 31 Dec 2020 11:27:57 +0000 DimanaT 2923 at https://vagabond.bg https://vagabond.bg/teodora-georgieva-powering-future-2923#comments BULGARIAN POLITICS OF HEALTH BELIE HEALTH OF POLITICS IN BULGARIA https://vagabond.bg/bulgarian-politics-health-belie-health-politics-bulgaria-2922 <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">BULGARIAN POLITICS OF HEALTH BELIE HEALTH OF POLITICS IN BULGARIA</span> <div class="field field--name-field-author-name field--type-string field--label-hidden field__item">interview by Anthony Georgieff</div> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/251" lang="" about="/user/251" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">DimanaT</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Thu, 12/31/2020 - 13:24</span> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-subtitle field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><h3>Prof Dr Kosta Kostov, MD</h3> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="images-container clearfix"> <div class="image-preview clearfix"> <div class="image-wrapper clearfix"> <div class="field__item"> <div class="overlay-container"> <span class="overlay overlay--colored"> <span class="overlay-inner"> <span class="overlay-icon overlay-icon--button overlay-icon--white overlay-animated overlay-fade-top"> <i class="fa fa-plus"></i> </span> </span> <a class="overlay-target-link image-popup" href="/sites/default/files/2020-12/Prof%20Dr%20Kosta%20Kostov%2C%20MD.jpg"></a> </span> <img loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/2020-12/Prof%20Dr%20Kosta%20Kostov%2C%20MD.jpg" width="1000" height="667" alt="Prof Dr Kosta Kostov, MD" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field uk-text-bold uk-margin-small-top uk-margin-medium-bottom field--name-field-image-credits field--type-string field--label-hidden field__item">Prof Dr Kosta Kostov, MD</div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p><strong>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. In addition to being a medical professional, Dr Kostov is an essayist and the editor of a medical journal, Inspiro.</strong></p> <p><strong>Dr Kostov's assessment, on the 1-10 scale (where 1 is bad and 10 is excellent), of the Covid-19 situation in Bulgaria as seen against the background of the other EU countries and the rest of the world is not very positive.</strong></p> <p>Certainly at the bottom. This is not my personal opinion because it can be seen in all the statistical analyses of the pandemic. Let me say Bulgaria is No. 2. The situation in this country is so bad that we cannot even get the first place among the worst countries.</p> <p><strong>I this not at sharp variance with the government's claims it does fairly well? How come?</strong></p> <p>The main reason is the lack of unity as well as the complete deficiency of trust between citizens and government, which also explains the tepid adherence to the anti-pandemic measures. The government should not have followed a slimmed-down version of the DDD, or Distance, Discipline and Disinfection, protocol. Instead, it should have gone for the more comprehensive MDDT, or Masks, Distance, Disinfection and Testing, procedure. It is a small wonder that half-hearted anti-pandemic measures produce lukewarm results. At the beginning of the pandemic there were arguments against widespread testing. Those were based on the relative unreliability of the available tests at the time as well as the shortage of facilities and qualified personnel to conduct them. Subsequently, as things changed in the rest of the world the opinions of the Bulgarian policymakers remained the same. Some local experts failed to understand the value of such a comprehensive approach even as they observed the best performing countries that did adhere to it. These include, but are not limited to, South Korea, Singapore, China and Taiwan. A number of European countries such as Germany, Austria and Slovenia followed suit as well. Bulgaria is also at the bottom in terms of the number of people tested. Unfortunately, we tend to live at the bottom of many things. The Bulgarian society has been deeply split between sceptics, who do not believe in the hazards of the pandemic, and rationalists, who follow the voice of reasons; between pro- and anti-Swedes.</p> <p><strong>Three things the government did well since March 2020?</strong></p> <p>The government introduced relatively fast and on time relatively strict anti-pandemic measures. It created an administrative setup with the National Operational Staff and the Expert Medical Council. It did make an attempt, though futile, to punch above its weight against the background of a crippled health care system that sustains itself mainly on the feelings of professional responsibility and self-sacrifice of those who work in it.</p> <p><strong>Three things that it botched?</strong></p> <p>It fulfilled the anti-pandemic measures only partially because it stuck to the DDD rather than the MDDT. It failed to understand that the National Operative Staff and the Expert Medical Council should work in cooperation. The former should have focused on the implementation of the measures while the latter provided the diagnostic and scientific basis. In fact, the two were designed not to function properly as indicated by the varied clinical and academic competence of the individuals appointed at the two agencies. It failed to win over the hearts and minds of the general public to ensure full compliance with the anti-pandemic measures. It swayed between barracks-style drills and science, between military authority and calm, balanced scholarly approach. The situation continues to this day, though in a less drastic manner.</p> <p><strong>What are the reasons?</strong></p> <p>To put it succinctly, the general public chaotic attitude to the pandemic was met by the inconsistent and half-hearted implementation of the anti-pandemic measures. The diagnostic and therapeutic recommendations by the Expert Medical Council were played down in spite of the fact that they were based on research and science. Consequently, the recommendations of the Expert Medical Council were "hung" on the Internet site of the Bulgarian Association of Medical Doctors and stashed away in some cupboard inside the Public Health Ministry. Some inquisitive doctors can access them. But what happens in real life, throughout the country, is a flurry of creative therapeutic practices designed by healers and bone-spinners who spread out magical treatment protocols as if composed by army chaplain Otto Katz, one of my favourite characters in The Good Solider Švejk by Jaroslav Hašek.</p> <p><strong>What is your forecast of the crisis in the shorter term, by the end of the winter, and the long term – by the end of 2021?</strong></p> <p>We will struggle on like a fisherman in a dinghy until spring arrives – or until the number of those vaccinated and those already recuperated from Covid-19 reaches 50 percent of the total population. If we do it by the end of the summer we will probably be in for a calmer autumn and winter 2021-2022. Then we will get some new hope.</p> <p><strong>What are the political dimensions of the Covid-19 crisis?</strong></p> <p>The pandemic coincided with the increasing mistrust in the government prompted by its failure to sustain liberal democracy. Both the severity of the pandemic and the fears Bulgarians have for the future increased as a result. The politicians did whatever they could to strangle science into submission and use it for their own purposes. Some even started to act as if they were experts of diagnostics and therapeutics.</p> <p>A state may be a democracy in the sense the majority rules. But it is not necessarily a liberal democracy where the individual enjoys certain freedoms. In this sense Bulgaria is not a very good example. As the pandemic raged, it transpired that a significant number of Bulgarians, many of them young and educated, failed to convince the political establishment that changes were in order. Whether Bulgarians became wiser during the pandemic is too early to say. I am sceptical because social apathy in this country outperforms the enthusiasm needed to change the status quo and thwart inertia. As one of my favourite poets puts it, a large population, a small nation, a shortage of characters.</p> </div> <a href="/archive/issue-171-172" hreflang="en">Issue 171-172</a> <a href="/taxonomy/term/260" hreflang="en">coronavirus</a> <div class="field field--name-field-mt-post-category field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--entity-reference-target-type-taxonomy-term clearfix field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/forum/politics" hreflang="en">BULGARIA POLITICS</a></div> </div> <section class="field field--name-comment field--type-comment field--label-above comment-wrapper"> <h2 class="title comment-form__title">Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=2922&amp;2=comment&amp;3=comment" token="trK0U3bnTL0Lr7Zdr6iZbgy1RnakfjAA9fKCIrlA9ek"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Thu, 31 Dec 2020 11:24:43 +0000 DimanaT 2922 at https://vagabond.bg https://vagabond.bg/bulgarian-politics-health-belie-health-politics-bulgaria-2922#comments TOP 10 SPIRITUAL VORTEXES IN BULGARIA https://vagabond.bg/top-10-spiritual-vortexes-bulgaria-2921 <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">TOP 10 SPIRITUAL VORTEXES IN BULGARIA</span> <div class="field field--name-field-author-name field--type-string field--label-hidden field__item">by Dimana Trankova; photography by Anthony Georgieff</div> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/251" lang="" about="/user/251" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">DimanaT</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Thu, 12/31/2020 - 12:52</span> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-subtitle field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><h3>Ancient shrines, medieval monasteries, latterday superstitions make up fascinating otherworldly journey</h3> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="images-container clearfix"> <div class="image-preview clearfix"> <div class="image-wrapper clearfix"> <div class="field__item"> <div class="overlay-container"> <span class="overlay overlay--colored"> <span class="overlay-inner"> <span class="overlay-icon overlay-icon--button overlay-icon--white overlay-animated overlay-fade-top"> <i class="fa fa-plus"></i> </span> </span> <a class="overlay-target-link image-popup" href="/sites/default/files/2020-12/mishkova%20niva%20tomb.jpg"></a> </span> <img loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/2020-12/mishkova%20niva%20tomb.jpg" width="1000" height="666" alt="mishkova niva tomb.jpg" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field uk-text-bold uk-margin-small-top uk-margin-medium-bottom field--name-field-image-credits field--type-string field--label-hidden field__item">In recent years the ancient tomb at Mishkova Niva locality, at the foot of Golyamo Gradishte peak, has acquired a vortex fame of its own</div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p>"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.</p> <p>Exploring places considered to be energy vortexes in Bulgaria can be a delight, even for the sceptic. As a general rule they are located amid stunning landscapes, and the stories and legends about them will either make you laugh or feel slightly jumpy, because what if they were true? Here is Vagabond's far from exhaustive list of the best spiritual vortexes in Bulgaria. Prepare for strange phenomena, bonkers theories, mysterious gold treasures, a black serpent with a hipster beard and not one, but two blind clairvoyants. The vortex level scale reflects how an unbeliever might feel at each particular site.</p> <h4>Seven Rila Lakes</h4> <p><strong>What:</strong> Meeting place for Christian mystics</p> <p><strong>Vortex level:</strong> ****/*****</p> <p><img alt="Rila Lakes" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/171-172/energy%20vortexes/rila%20lakes%20deunov%20followers.jpg" class="align-center" /></p> <p>Located at an altitude of between 2,095 and 2,535 m, the Seven Rila Lakes are among Bulgaria's best known natural beauties, an obligatory feature in tourist promotion videos and brochures. After the controversial construction of a chair rope line to this protected site, the popularity of the area skyrocketed, with all the inevitable impact on the environment: discarded waste, damage to the soil and frequent algae blooms.</p> <p>In August, the peak season, the tourist hordes clash with a group of people who claimed this spot long before the ropeway appeared. The Universal White Brotherhood is Bulgaria's best known esoteric movement. It was established by Petar Deunov (1864-1944). Originally a devout Christian, he put forward an esoteric mixture of ideas for soul, brain and physical development, and for bodily resuscitation. He believed in reincarnation and considered the white race to be superior, the final "evolutionary" step before the attainment of a hypothetical "sixth," "supreme race."</p> <p><img alt="deunov followers" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/171-172/energy%20vortexes/deunov%20followers%20rila%20lakes.jpg" class="align-center" /></p> <p>Deunov followers practise their faith by coming together, usually in open spaces and at sunrise, reading his works and dancing a circular dance they call Paneurhythmy, which bears an uncanny resemblance to how physical exercises would have looked had aerobics been invented in 1920.</p> <p>Their most important meeting is on 19 August, New Year's Day, according to Deunov, at one of the Seven Rila Lakes, called The Kidney. Deunov considered that at this time of the year the Kidney was filled with divine energy, a true vortex. During the sacred day, White Brotherhood followers from around the world dance the Paneurhythmy in the early hours of the morning to the sound of violin music, some of which was composed by Deunov himself.</p> <p>The music may be far from mesmerising, but the sublime Rila mountainscape more than compensates.</p> <h4>Tomb of Egyptian Goddess Bastet</h4> <p><strong>What:</strong> Dark energy protects hidden wisdom, and golden treasure</p> <p><strong>Vortex level: </strong>**/*****</p> <p>Deep in the Bulgarian part of the Strandzha mountains a treasure trove of gold and supernatural knowledge (probably involving aliens) lies hidden in the "tomb" of the ancient Egyptian goddess Bastet (the cat-headed one), protected by a dark vortex that brings death to all intruders. We are aware that this does not make much sense, but here is how it became possible to combine all these notions together.</p> <p><img alt="tomb of bastet" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/171-172/energy%20vortexes/tomb%20of%20bastet.jpg" class="align-center" /></p> <p class="text-align-center"><em>If you want to see a real ancient tomb rather than an imaginary one (</em>above<em>), visit the Roman-era Mishkova Niva site</em></p> <p>Until 1981, the 710-metre Golyamo Gradishte peak, the highest elevation in the Bulgarian Strandzha, was very quiet. Under Communism it was located in the highly restricted border zone with NATO-member Turkey, and was known only to the abundant wildlife, border guards and the odd refugee trying to escape the Eastern bloc. This all changed when Lyudmila Zhivkova, daughter of Communist dictator Todor Zhivkov, learnt that Vanga, a blind clairvoyant located 400 miles away, had identified a site in the Strandzha as the hiding place of "the history of the world 2,000 years before us and 2,000 years after us." There was some gold in there as well. Zhivkova had a soft spot for both esoterism and history, and acted swiftly. A secret expedition was formed, which located the place and started digging, but it never completed its work. In a quick succession both Zhivkova and the minister who had supervised the excavations died. Terrified, the "researchers" used explosives to seal up the site for good.</p> <p>Bulgarians learnt about the 1981 events after Communism collapsed, in 1989, when two of the participants in the expedition published astonishing, and contradictory, accounts on what had happened. Both witnesses emphasised that Bulgaria was a sacred land of world importance and millennia-old history. This was bound to attract the collective imagination of a nation that had been taught at school about its former historical glory but was now struggling with the effects of the turbulent and traumatic transition from a strictly regulated Communist society and economy to democracy and the open market. In the following decades, whipped up by the tabloid media, the fame of the supposed tomb of Bastet grew, with new stories, hypotheses and legends invented on a regular basis.</p> <p><img alt="Mishkova Niva" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/171-172/energy%20vortexes/mishkova%20niva%20tomb%20night.jpg" class="align-center" /></p> <p class="text-align-center"><em>Mishkova Niva</em></p> <p>No one, bar the participants of the 1981 dig, can be sure what exactly happened at Golyamo Gradishte. The site can now be visited, with the help of the Tourist Centre at Malko Tarnovo. Believers claim they can see the face of a cat in a rocky cliff overlooking the crater left by the dig, and feel a dark, ominous aura about the place.</p> <p>For the sceptic, the site is nothing more than a vertical rockface, half-covered in creepers, over a stagnant pond that appeared after the dig was dynamited. According to professional archaeologists, the secret expedition "explored" not the tomb of an Egyptian deity, but just one of the many ancient copper mines in the area.</p> <h4>Belintash</h4> <p><strong>What:</strong> UFO landing pad on ancient Thracian shrine</p> <p><strong>Vortex level:</strong> ****/*****</p> <p>Bulgaria not only has its own rocky plateau carved with strange canals and holes to guide arriving UFOs, it also conceals the "gold chariot of Alexander the Great."</p> <p><img alt="Some claim the face of a man is carved in the plateau. Can you see it?" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/171-172/energy%20vortexes/belintash.jpg" class="align-center" /></p> <p class="text-align-center"><em>Some claim the face of a man is carved in the plateau. Can you see it?</em></p> <p>Bulgarians heard about Belintash, a plateau at an elevation of 1,225 m in the Rhodope mountains, for the first time in the late 1990s when a group of psychics appeared on an esoteric show on national television. The psychics said that during a night visit to the plateau to "soak" up cosmic energy they were approached by a group of rather aggressive extraterrestrial lights.</p> <p>Most viewers shrugged and forgot about Belintash. Some, however, decided to go and see for themselves what the strange plateau looked like.</p> <p>By the late 2000s, when alternative tourism in Bulgaria was flourishing, Belintash had become an established destination, complete with a growing number of pseudo-traditional guest houses and a particularly offensive and ugly new church at its doorstep. Stories, legends and rumours about Belintash are so numerous nowadays that it is hard to keep track. Here are some of the juiciest. The canals and holes depict constellations (they do not). Huge faces are carved in the rocks (if your imagination is eager enough). Alexander the Great's gold chariot is buried there (this type of vehicle could hardly have coped on northern Rhodope roads). Vanga, the blind clairvoyant, said that Belintash would reveal its secrets only after it had claimed a certain number of victims (she died before Belintash appeared on TV, but some people have indeed perished there, mostly from falling down from steep rocks).</p> <p><img alt="Some believe that aliens carved the holes, cisterns and canals on Belintash surface" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/171-172/energy%20vortexes/belintash%20cistern.jpg" class="align-center" /></p> <p class="text-align-center"><em>Some believe that aliens carved the holes, cisterns and canals on Belintash surface. Others read them as a celestial map created by ancient Thracian astronomers. In reality, some of the carvings were used in rituals which included pouring of sacrificial liquids (probably wine and blood). Others were the only remains of the erstwhile temple buildings or provided water supply</em></p> <p>Belintash's fame is so strong that during Vagabond's latest visit a couple of visitors had some difficulty believing us that the "strange buzzing sound" they heard was actually a drone.</p> <p>Legends aside, Belintash is spectacular – a 300-metre tongue of precipitous rock stretches through thick evergreen forests, shielded from the outer world by a ring of peaks. According to archaeologists who have partially explored the site, the first pilgrims arrived at Belintash about 5000 BC. The shrine was abandoned in the 4th century BC, but revived again around the 4th century AD. People used to visit in the Ottoman period as well, a tradition of sacred continuity typical for the Bulgarian lands.</p> <p>Some historians have tried to popularise Belintash as the seat of the famed oracle, Dionysus, which, according to ancient sources, was somewhere in the Rhodope and was credited with foretelling the glorious futures of Alexander the Great and the Roman Emperor Augustus. Evidence to support this claim is rather scant.</p> <h4>Demir Baba Tekke</h4> <p><strong>What:</strong> Muslim saint buried over Thracian sanctuary heals, fulfils wishes</p> <p><strong>Vortex level:</strong> *****/*****</p> <p>Demir Baba Tekke, or shrine, has the genuine aura of a place that people of different origins and faiths have venerated for millennia as sacred, accumulating in the process a thick layer of buildings, artefacts, art, beliefs and traditions still alive today.</p> <p><img alt="Demir Baba shrine" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/171-172/energy%20vortexes/demir%20baba%20shrine.jpg" class="align-center" /></p> <p>Demir Baba's shrine is one of 140 cultural heritage sites in the Sboryanovo Archaeological Reserve, near Isperih. It is the only one that has been in continuous use for the same purpose since the time of its construction, in the 16th century.</p> <p>Demir Baba, or Iron Father, who is buried here, is the most honoured saint of the Alevi, a splinter Islamic group that reveals its teachings and practices to the initiated only. As a young man, the legend says, Demir Baba was a brave warrior who fought two dragons and helped the sultan conquer Budapest. He then returned to his native village, gathered disciples and started to preach and help people.</p> <p>Belief in the saint's powers is still strong and attracts not only the Alevi, but also Sunni Muslims and Christians. The greatest number of visitors gather on 6 May, the holiday celebrated as Hıdırellez by Muslims and St George's Day by Christians.</p> <p>One of the testimonies to Demir Baba's powers is the karst spring by the entrance to the compound. According to the legend, during an unprecedented drought people prayed to the saint for help. He put his hand into the rock and water spurted out. The spring is still not piped because the locals believe it is sacred. Those entering continue to observe the old ritual of taking three sips from it and then washing their faces.</p> <p><img alt="mural" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/171-172/energy%20vortexes/demir%20baba%20shrine%20mural.jpg" class="align-center" /></p> <p class="text-align-center"><em>Mysterious eyes: Only the initiated know the meaning of this mural in Demir Baba's shrine</em></p> <p>The shrine is full of pointers to a mix of religious traditions and superstitions. Towels, shirts and socks, left as gifts for prayers answered, cover the saint's grave. Colourful shreds of cloth decorate the trees around and the window bars of the tomb, tied there by people who believe this will bring them health.</p> <p>Mysterious decorations cover the southern wall of the compound: seven-pointed stars, hexagrams, a domed building. One particular stone attracts most attention. With eyes shut and arms outstretched, people try to reach it and poke their fingers into two holes known as the Eyes of the Witch.</p> <p>Demir Baba Tekke had been a sacred site long before the arrival of Islam. A Thracian sanctuary existed there between the 4th century BC and the 2nd century AD. Its remains are still visible: the tomb was built right over it and some of its stones have been built into the walls of the Alevi shrine.</p> <h4>Mount of the Cross</h4> <p><strong>What:</strong> Christian pilgrimage site that might heal bodies but offend eyes</p> <p><strong>Vortex factor:</strong> */*****</p> <p><img alt="Mount of Cross" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/171-172/energy%20vortexes/mount%20of%20cross.jpg" class="align-center" /></p> <p>Deep in the Rhodope is one of Bulgaria's most famed religious sites – Krastova Gora, or Mount of the Cross. Since the early 1900s, people have been visiting the 1,413-metre high peak led by the belief that a chunk of the Holy Cross was buried there. It could, subsequently, work miracles.</p> <p>Sadly, the aggregation of newly-constructed chapels in the area is a drawback for any non-religious and/or aesthetically conscious visitor, hence the low vortex factor.</p> <p>The compound includes several small chapels lined up along a path, possibly symbolising, in the Roman Catholic fashion, the Via Dolorosa with its Stations of the Cross. Modern pilgrimage started in 1933 when a believer announced that he had a dream that indicated a piece of the Holy Cross was buried in the hill. King Boris III himself donated the metal cross that was erected on the spot in 1936. The first chapel was built in 1956 but the site was later declared off-limits as it became a local hunting ground for senior Communist officials.</p> <p>Pilgrimage resumed in the 1990s. The largest crowds arrive on 14 September, the Day of the Holy Cross. The belief is that if anyone slept under the open sky on that night they would be cured of any malaise.</p> <p>According to popular belief all the pebbles on the Mount of the Cross have a small crucifix on them. You are supposed to find one and take it home, as a good luck charm, but you will have trouble doing this as due to popular demand small rocks have virtually disappeared from the area. If you insist on bringing something miraculous from Krastova Gora back home, you can buy a packet of Mursalski herbal tea or a chunk of zeolite mineral from the stalls that line the road to the shrine. Both are said to be curative.</p> <h4>Kribul</h4> <p><strong>What:</strong> Black serpent heals at ancient Thracian shrine</p> <p><strong>Vortex factor:</strong> ****/*****</p> <p>If you believe the tabloids, close to a mountain village near Gotse Delchev called Kribul, "Granny Hava, the priestess of the Rhodope mountains," will take you on a steep "road of mystical healing" to the "Shrine of the Black Serpent." Then all your health-related problems will be over. At the cost of an ad libitum donation.</p> <p><img alt="granny hava" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/171-172/energy%20vortexes/granny%20hava.jpg" class="align-center" /></p> <p class="text-align-center"><em>Granny Hava is single-handedly responsible for Kribul's recent popularity. The number of pieces of cloth tied to each tree around (below) are evidence for her success</em></p> <p>Thousands have believed the hype and have flocked to the 4th century BC Thracian megalithic shrine, creating business opportunities for locals with 4WDs (Granny Hava's local foes claim she takes a cut from each trip).</p> <p>Several years ago Granny Hava became seriously ill. When conventional medicine proved useless, she turned to a ritual she had learnt from her mother, an established healer. She climbed to a group of sacred rocks above Kribul and performed a secret ritual. She was healed. Then she promised to help others, too, for free.</p> <p>Now, Granny Hava brings people to the ancient megalithic shrine every day, weather permitting. She starts by praying, facing south, at the entrance to an elevated stone arch. She then knocks three times on a sacred rock and calls on the site's supernatural guardian, who will perform the actual healing. Then Granny Hava measures the pilgrim's height with a red thread, places it on the rickety ladder to the arch, and climbs up. The pilgrim must follow in the hope they will feel the rock's healing "squeeze." Granny Hava always lends them a hand at the end of the climb. She then makes a circle of tow around the pilgrim, sets it on fire and utters a spell: "So, be healthy!". Then the pilgrim should take off their overcoat, tie it onto a tree, leave some money on the rock (this contradicts the free-of-charge part), and then squeeze down through another stone arch.</p> <p><img alt="tied cloth" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/171-172/energy%20vortexes/tied%20cloth.jpg" class="align-center" /></p> <p>Granny Hava and the pilgrim repeat the ritual twice. At the end, the pilgrim lights a fire by the arch, throws a stone over their shoulder and leaves, without looking back.</p> <p>Some people have said that the guardian of the shrine always watches the ritual in the shape of a large black hairy serpent, that sometimes sports a spectacular beard. Sometimes it may appear as a man.</p> <p>To the sceptical outsider Granny Hava's behaviour might appear bizarre. Anthropologists disagree. They think that the ritual performed by this diminutive Muslim old lady, whose Bulgarian name is Yuliya Zemedelska, is a distant echo of millennia-old pagan beliefs and magical practices for communication with the underworld, healing and spiritual rebirth.</p> <h4>Rila Monastery</h4> <p><strong>What:</strong> Bulgaria's most prominent saint attracts pilgrims to magnificent abode</p> <p><strong>Vortex factor:</strong> *****/*****</p> <p>Even for the unbeliever Rila Monastery may be a spiritual experience (with the exception of John Updike, who found the place "suffocating"). Rila Monastery has all the right ingredients, particularly if you visit on a relatively tourist-free day. Magnificent mountainscape of deep forests, whitewater rivers and forbidding peaks? Check. Marvellous fortress-like monastic compound with stately Revival Period architecture? Check. A mystical, dimly lit church where black-clad monks chant under the gaze of colourful icons? Check. The healing presence of the relics of Bulgaria's most prominent native saint? Also check.</p> <p><img alt="Rila Monastery" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/171-172/energy%20vortexes/rila%20monastery%20easter.jpg" class="align-center" /></p> <p class="text-align-center"><em>Easter at Rila Monastery</em></p> <p>St Ivan of Rila, who set up the monastery and is the holy protector of all Bulgarians, lived in the 9th-10th centuries. He started as a hermit who sought tranquility in the wilderness of the Rila mountains, but his saintly fame soon attracted so many followers that he fled from the crowds and commotion farther up the mountain. There he died, at the age of 70. The community that sprang up in his initial place of adobe turned into Rila Monastery, the largest monastic compound in Bulgaria.</p> <p>The earliest surviving building in the closely guarded monastic courtyard is Hrelyu's Tower, a defensive structure built in 1335 by a local lord. The rest of the monastery must have been mighty and stunning, but it was destroyed in a devastating fire in 1778. Restoration took about two decades, during which time, in 1833, a section of the new building was lost to another fire. In the 1830s-1850s the strong walls that protect the monastery and the living quarters appeared. They were soon complemented by the monastery's emblematic striped galleries and an exquisite main church covered both inside and on the outside with frescoes shining blue, green, red and yellow, like jewels scattered under the sun. The saint's relics are exhibited there in an ornate wooden reliquary, attracting a steady flow of pilgrims who kiss them and pray.</p> <p><img alt="Rila Monastery " data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/171-172/energy%20vortexes/rila%20monastery%20holy%20fire.jpg" class="align-center" /></p> <p class="text-align-center"><em>Monks carry Holy Fire, just arrived from Jerusalem, to the church for a mesmerising Orthodox Easter mass</em></p> <p>The cave where St Ivan of Rila spent his final days in quiet contemplation is the complete opposite of the main compound: a humble abode marked by a small chapel. People who visit believe that squeezing through the narrow crevice within absolves of all sins.</p> <h4>Rupite</h4> <p><strong>What:</strong> Blind clairvoyant Vanga predicted future among steaming mineral springs</p> <p><strong>Vortex factor:</strong> ***/*****</p> <p>The powers of Vanga, the blind clairvoyant, to predict the future, to communicate with the dead and to heal the sick made her famous in Bulgaria and beyond. She also had a thing for energy vortexes and settled in one: Rupite, in the caldera of Bulgaria's only (extinct) volcano.</p> <p><img alt="mineral springs" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/171-172/energy%20vortexes/mineral%20springs.jpg" class="align-center" /></p> <p class="text-align-center"><em>Is the vortex of Rupite responsible for the healing powers of the local mineral springs? It depends on who you ask</em></p> <p>How Vanga (1911-1996) got her powers is a story with so many unknowns that it could have taken place in the 2nd century BC rather than in 20th century Europe. A weird whirlwind blinded her when she was a child. Several years later, she revealed a supernatural ability to locate lost objects, solve serious crimes and predict the future. Bulgarian King Boris III supposedly visited her, in 1943, only to hear an ominous, Delphic-style prophecy about his untimely death.</p> <p>After 1944, Vanga and the atheist Communist authorities needed some time to adjust to each other. By the 1960s, the clairvoyant, who stood accused of being an "Yugoslav spy," got a paid job as a seer at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. The feared State Security took over the management and entrance fees of the crowds of people who flocked to Vanga's house in Petrich. Top officials, Communist dictator Todor Zhivkov and Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev supposedly among them, consulted Vanga. Presumably, they jumped the queues.</p> <p><img alt="vanga church" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/171-172/energy%20vortexes/vanga%20church.jpg" class="align-center" /></p> <p class="text-align-center"><em>The church that Vanga built there goes against the Orthodox cannon but is now a pilgrimage site</em></p> <p>When Communism collapsed in 1989, Vanga became a superstar. The queues grew longer and the national media eagerly reported her (sometimes accurate, sometimes not so) predictions of the outcome of elections, Bulgaria's progress at the 1994 World Cup and the future of the world. Eventually, Vanga moved to Rupite, a place of lush Mediterranean greenery and steaming sulphur springs she claimed was a vortex, created after a volcanic eruption destroyed an ancient city, Vesuvius and Pompeii style.</p> <p>There, Vanga started on her life's work: the construction of a church to be dedicated to St Petka of the Bulgarians.An unexpected scandal ensued. The Bulgarian Orthodox Church refused to consecrate the building as its architecture and artwork we overtly uncanonical. The fact that many clerics saw Vanga as a manifestation of a satanic, rather than a saintly power probably also played part. Eventually, St Petka did get consecrated. When Vanga died, she was buried nearby. St Petka is now commonly known as Vanga's Church.</p> <p><img alt="vanga" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/171-172/energy%20vortexes/vanga.jpg" class="align-center" /></p> <p class="text-align-center"><em>A replica of the controversial portrait of Vanga that artist Svetlin Rusev painted in St Petka church</em></p> <p>Today, Rupite is seldom quiet, frequented as it is by visitors from Bulgaria and beyond, particularly Russia, where Vanga is still a big star. Believers claim they can feel the clairvoyant's presence but for sceptics the best thing around are the free roaming guineafowl, descendants of Vanga's beloved birds.</p> <p>The mineral springs continue to steam outside the compound. Locals soak with relish in the muddy pools, seeking relief for a number of ailments. Nearby are the unremarkable ruins of the recently discovered ancient city of Heraclea Sintica. Yes, Vanga was right: there was an ancient town at Rupite. However, Heraclea Sintica was not destroyed by the volcano's last eruption, as that took place 1,000,000 years ago, long before Homo sapiens emerged from the Homo erectus gene pool in faraway Africa.</p> <p><img alt="volcano" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/171-172/energy%20vortexes/extinct%20volcano.jpg" class="align-center" /></p> <p class="text-align-center"><em>The caldera of the ancient volcano that created Rupite is clearly visible from a distance</em></p> <p>Was Vanga a true seer? If yes, from where did her power come? People still argue. Believers claim she communicated with divine, otherworldly and/or extraterrestrial entities. Clerics assume that Satan used her to sow superstition and to lure people away from the canonical Truth. Sceptics point out that her incorrect predictions outnumber the correct ones and explain her popularity by the strong tradition of so-called folklore Christianity in Bulgaria. During the atheist Communist regime and the post-Communist hardship it did fulfil the nation's need of spirituality.</p> <p><strong>PS.</strong> Vanga predicted the war in Syria but never said anything about Covid-19.</p> <h4>Tatul</h4> <p><strong>What:</strong> Orpheus's tomb</p> <p><strong>Vortex score:</strong> ***/*****</p> <p>For historical reasons (Byzantines, Ottomans, Communists and post-Communists) Bulgarians are hard put to point to the graves of most of their kings, patriarchs and revolutionaries. However, many Bulgarians are absolutely sure where a mythical figure, Orpheus, was buried.</p> <p><img alt="orpheus tomb" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/171-172/energy%20vortexes/orpheus%20tomb.jpg" class="align-center" /></p> <p>If you think of Orpheus solely as the musician from Greek mythology who, in his quest to bring his beloved Eurydice back to life, charmed the cold hearts of the lords of the dead, do not share this opinion with a history-obsessed Bulgarian if you are not ready to hear that a) Orpheus was not a Greek but an ancient Thracian and therefore a Bulgarian ancestor, and that b) he was an actual person.</p> <p>If the a-part of this statement is self-explanatory (after all, we are in the Balkans), the b needs some explanation. Some Bulgarian scientists believe that Orpheus was a historical personality who became a legend after he revolutionised the ancient Thracian religion. He inspired a group of select few (read: Thracian nobles) to switch from the old, traditional cult of Dionysus, the lord of wine, dark passion, death and revival, to venerating Apollo, the god of light, knowledge, refined civilisation and enlightenment. The benefit? The initiates in the Orphic rites would enjoy eternal bliss in the afterlife, rather than a meagre existence as sad shadows in the underworld, the doom of the hoi polloi.</p> <p>This "revolution" did not go unpunished. According to myths, a group of female devotees to the god he had shunned, Dionysus, killed and dismembered Orpheus.</p> <p>Greek myths placed Orpheus's burial place on the island of Lesbos. In the 2000s, however, Bulgarians answered back. An ancient Thracian megalithic shrine deep in the Rhodope was identified as Orpheus's tomb.</p> <p>The sanctuary at Tatul is a major, and spectacular, Thracian megalithic monument. A high rocky hill rises about 300 metres, crowned by a 4.5-metre-high monolithic stone in the shape of a truncated pyramid. Cut into one of its sides a semi-circular niche gapes over a sarcophagus-like stone tomb. A second rectangular basin, resembling a sarcophagus, is carved out at the top of the pyramid.</p> <p>The sanctuary appeared in the 2nd millennium BC.</p> <p>Tatul could be the burial place of Orpheus's head, proponents reason, as it is located in Thrace, the musician's presumed birthplace and dates to the times when he supposedly was alive. With its stone pyramid reaching up to the sky, it epitomises both darkness and light, of Dionysus reborn as Apollo – the core concept of Orphism. Moreover, the ancient Thracians had the habit of dismembering their dead, just like the Bacchae dismembered Orpheus.</p> <h4>Zlatolist</h4> <p><strong>What:</strong> Dead blind healer venerated among hair-rising church murals</p> <p><strong>Vortex score:</strong> ****/*****</p> <p>Vanga and Reverend Stoyna, Bulgaria's best known seers and healers, have much in common. Both lived in the southwest of the country, a dozen kilometres apart. Both went blind at an early age. Both started to make predictions after a visit from something they took to be a saintly entity, both were very religious and both died childless. Their shrines are in or beside a church.</p> <p><img alt="Dog-headed St Christopher " data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/171-172/energy%20vortexes/st%20christopher%20with%20dog%20head.jpg" class="align-center" /></p> <p class="text-align-center"><em>Dog-headed St Christopher takes central place in St George</em></p> <p>Reverend Stoyna (1888-1933) was the first. She lost her eyesight after she caught smallpox. In 1913, she settled inside St George's church in the village of Zlatolist, and lived there until she died. Vanga considered her her chief instructor and would prescribe a night sleeping on Reverend Stoyna's grave for some afflicted people.</p> <p>While Reverend Stoyna was alive, people would visit the small and insignificant Zlatolist to meet her at her tiny, cramped room on the choir balcony of St George's church, seeking her "help, advice, consolation and absolution." She was particularly fond of children.</p> <p>Ordinary people consider Reverend Stoyna a saint, but the Orthodox Church is far from happy. Lay people absolving sins is against the canon, and the strange rites that Reverend Stoyna embraced, such as day-long meditation resulting in levitation, are interpreted as demonic.</p> <p><img alt="mural" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/171-172/energy%20vortexes/strange%20church%20mural.jpg" class="align-center" /></p> <p class="text-align-center"><em>According to some, a teenage boy painted St George. This might explain the murals</em></p> <p>Nevertheless, people continue to seek help from Reverend Stoyna. Her shrine at the church of St George has become a busy place with its own rules, rituals and beliefs: a textbook example of folklore Christianity, in which heathen beliefs and latterday superstition gleefully ignore dogma.</p> <p>On a busy day, the church buzzes with the hushed voices of pilgrims who queue to remove their shoes and step onto a stone slab with a worn-out relief of a double-headed eagle (a sign that St George's was built when the Constantinople Patriarchy ruled over local Eastern Orthodox Christians). Once on the cherished stone, they pray to Reverend Stoyna and try to feel her presence. Then they tiptoe to the back of the church and climb up the rickety wooden stairs to the choir balcony and the dark, windowless cell where Reverend Stoyna lived.</p> <p>Mementos from grateful visitors fill St George's. Dolls and baby clothes are piled up in one corner. Images of Reverend Stoyna, reproducing her only known portrait, are everywhere: a pale, dark-haired woman with blind but somehow piercing eyes.</p> <p><img alt="mural" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/171-172/energy%20vortexes/death%20mural.jpg" class="align-center" /></p> <p>Unless you want to believe in Reverend Stoyna, despite the lack of any written document about her prophecies, and achieve powers of levitation you will be amazed by the murals in the church.The building is pretty standard. It was erected in 1857. It was painted by a local painter in 1876. Look closely at what he devised, and you will be astounded. A devil rides a cart drawn by a man, a mysterious forest, a larger than life depiction of dog-headed Orthodox St Christopher, a half undressed woman with exploding nipples. Not very Orthodox. Had you not known you are in a Bulgarian church you would have thought you've entered a Hieronymus Bosch painting. </p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-disclaimers field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--entity-reference-target-type-block-content clearfix field__item"> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><hr class="uk-divider-icon" /><p><a href="https://us4bg.org/?hl=en" title="AMERICA FOR BULGARIA FOUNDATION" target="_blank"><img alt="us4bg-logo-reversal.png" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/banners/AFB_LOGO.jpg" width="30%" class="align-left" /></a><strong>Vibrant Communities: Spotlight on Bulgaria's Living Heritage is a series of articles, initiated by Vagabond Magazine, with the generous support of the <a href="http://www.us4bg.org/?hl=en">America for Bulgaria Foundation</a>, that aims to provide details and background of places, cultural entities, events, personalities and facts of life that are sometimes difficult to understand for the outsider in the Balkans. The ultimate aim is the preservation of Bulgaria's cultural heritage – including but not limited to archaeological, cultural and ethnic diversity. The statements and opinionsexpressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the America for Bulgaria Foundation and its partners</strong></p><hr class="uk-divider-icon" /></div> </div> <a href="/archive/issue-171-172" hreflang="en">Issue 171-172</a> <a href="/taxonomy/term/221" hreflang="en">America for Bulgaria Foundation</a> <a href="/taxonomy/term/238" hreflang="en">Vanga</a> <a href="/taxonomy/term/239" hreflang="en">Esoteric Bulgaria</a> <a href="/taxonomy/term/229" hreflang="en">The Rhodope</a> <a href="/taxonomy/term/224" hreflang="en">Thracian heritage</a> <a href="/taxonomy/term/225" hreflang="en">Thracian shrines</a> <div class="field field--name-field-mt-post-category field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--entity-reference-target-type-taxonomy-term clearfix field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/travel/vibrant-communities" hreflang="en">VIBRANT COMMUNITIES</a></div> </div> <section class="field field--name-comment field--type-comment field--label-above comment-wrapper"> <h2 class="title comment-form__title">Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=2921&amp;2=comment&amp;3=comment" token="VrofnRS5Sk_c0e2ldxfXWaX7YBDYeVapcTKWaH_Dc2w"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Thu, 31 Dec 2020 10:52:03 +0000 DimanaT 2921 at https://vagabond.bg NO SAUERKRAUT IN BG AMBULANCES https://vagabond.bg/no-sauerkraut-bg-ambulances-2920 <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">NO SAUERKRAUT IN BG AMBULANCES</span> <div class="field field--name-field-author-name field--type-string field--label-hidden field__item">by Stamen Manolov</div> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/251" lang="" about="/user/251" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">DimanaT</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Thu, 12/31/2020 - 12:48</span> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-subtitle field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><h3>Late autumn is a special season in Bulgaria.</h3> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="images-container clearfix"> <div class="image-preview clearfix"> <div class="image-wrapper clearfix"> <div class="field__item"> <div class="overlay-container"> <span class="overlay overlay--colored"> <span class="overlay-inner"> <span class="overlay-icon overlay-icon--button overlay-icon--white overlay-animated overlay-fade-top"> <i class="fa fa-plus"></i> </span> </span> <a class="overlay-target-link image-popup" href="/sites/default/files/2020-12/joke%20of%20the%20month.jpg"></a> </span> <img loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/2020-12/joke%20of%20the%20month.jpg" width="1000" height="714" alt="joke of the month.jpg" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p>The overwhelming majority of Bulgarians wait in earnest for the sauerkraut, or <em>kiselo zele</em>, to ferment, or <em>vtasa</em>. Given the right preparation (in a plastic container called <em>bidonche</em>, stored in a basement, daily circulation of brine, or <em>pretakane</em>) and favourable weather conditions (neither too warm, nor too cold) the year's yield of sauerkraut should be in just ahead of Christmas.</p> <p>But the 2020 holiday season was like no other since 1989, when Christmas was reinstated as a public holiday after 40 years of being declared just an ordinary working day. In 2020, in addition to all the goodies (slightly higher pensions, promises of bonuses for medical workers) handed out by Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, Bulgarians have become used to the sight of speeding ambulances with their sirens on and lights blinking. Add to that the horror stories of people waiting for up to 12 hours for emergency to arrive or of patients dying on the doorstep of hospitals refusing to take them in. Not very funny, not by any civilised standard.</p> <p>Yet Bulgaria's pervasive sense of black humour can and does defy the calamities of the times, notwithstanding the coronavirus. And unlike the dark Christmasless times when jokes had to be told in a hush-hush manner for fear the neighbours might be listening in, now Bulgarians have Facebook where anything at all goes.</p> <p>So, it did not take long for some anonymous user to devise the above collage of a Sofia ambulance, suggesting its cargo consisted of... cabbages being transited for sauerkraut preparation. Those unfamiliar with local practices might be puzzled, but Bulgarians are used to seeing carrier wagons of all shapes and sizes full of fresh cabbages this time of the year. So, the ambulance prank appeared realistic. Perhaps an ambulance driver was just stoking up on cabbages.</p> <p>The collage in question gained such a momentum on social media that Sofia emergency services issued an official press release denying the allegations an ambulance carried "vegetables." The ambulance seen in the photos, the press release went on, carried "biological refuse" to the Aleksandrovska Hospital incinerator. The plastic sacks were marked with a hazardous sign, in keeping with established protocols. "Insinuations like that, given the extremely tough situation faced by the emergency services and the whole health care system, are, to put it mildly, not in order," the press release concluded.</p> <p>Not very funny for a not very funny holiday season. </p> </div> <a href="/archive/issue-171-172" hreflang="en">Issue 171-172</a> <a href="/taxonomy/term/260" hreflang="en">coronavirus</a> <div class="field field--name-field-mt-post-category field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--entity-reference-target-type-taxonomy-term clearfix field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/fun/joke-of-the-month" hreflang="en">JOKE OF THE MONTH</a></div> </div> <section class="field field--name-comment field--type-comment field--label-above comment-wrapper"> <h2 class="title comment-form__title">Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=2920&amp;2=comment&amp;3=comment" token="4clZKQUDSwwQn-3vGZC0MkJhoMM7_evNiueL_rIS0Uc"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Thu, 31 Dec 2020 10:48:11 +0000 DimanaT 2920 at https://vagabond.bg https://vagabond.bg/no-sauerkraut-bg-ambulances-2920#comments SEARCHING FOR BLOKE https://vagabond.bg/searching-bloke-2919 <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">SEARCHING FOR BLOKE</span> <div class="field field--name-field-author-name field--type-string field--label-hidden field__item">by Dimana Trankova; photography by Anthony Georgieff</div> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/251" lang="" about="/user/251" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">DimanaT</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Thu, 12/31/2020 - 12:37</span> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-subtitle field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><h3>10 years ago Bulgaria lost its only true graffiti rebel, and never even noticed</h3> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="images-container clearfix"> <div class="image-preview clearfix"> <div class="image-wrapper clearfix"> <div class="field__item"> <div class="overlay-container"> <span class="overlay overlay--colored"> <span class="overlay-inner"> <span class="overlay-icon overlay-icon--button overlay-icon--white overlay-animated overlay-fade-top"> <i class="fa fa-plus"></i> </span> </span> <a class="overlay-target-link image-popup" href="/sites/default/files/2020-12/20062009-1140534.jpg"></a> </span> <img loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/2020-12/20062009-1140534.jpg" width="1000" height="667" alt="Do I dare to change? Bloke&#039;s best known piece of art" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field uk-text-bold uk-margin-small-top uk-margin-medium-bottom field--name-field-image-credits field--type-string field--label-hidden field__item">Do I dare to change? Bloke&#039;s best known piece of art</div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p>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.</p> <p>Graffiti art beautify Sofia, GERB and its accolades think. Few consider that these "beautifying" projects send another, subconscious message to the rank-and-file residents of this town: "No need to pay attention to or, God forbid, get upset about the sorry state of the pavements, the overflowing rubbish bins, the air pollution. Look instead how beautiful, avant-garde and patriotic this curvaceous girl is!"</p> <p>For obvious reasons (Communism), aerosol graffiti of the type that has flourished in New York and London since the 1960s, came to Bulgaria belatedly. Some claim it first appeared in Communist Sofia as an underground rebellion against the established aesthetic and social norms in the mid-1980s. As the chaotic 1990s rumbled across Bulgaria, bringing unemployment, economic and political crises and deep social change that nurtured a disaffected and angry youth, graffiti claimed more public space. They were mostly in the form of vulgar, unfit-to-print type, or sometimes sarcastic, but sadly untranslatable, statements.</p> <p>Bulgarians discovered graffiti as an art form as late as the 2000s, when open borders, travel and the Internet familiarised them with classic and current names such as Jean-Michel Basquiat and Banksy. Ironically, in Bulgaria Banksy became a synonym for rebellious art at the time when his UK fans were accusing him of selling out.</p> <p>We can argue whether Banksy has sold out or not, but this is exactly what happened to the nascent Bulgarian art graffiti scene. In a couple of years the new generation of local graffiti artists developed an appetite for sponsored work for companies and local governments eager to present themselves as hip and current, dedicated to transforming Bulgaria's drab post-totalitarian townscape into a fun background that looks great in selfies.</p> <p>Few noticed another irony: by the 2020s, graffiti has become a substitute for the public murals, mosaics and reliefs of medieval warriors, masculine workers, and, yes, buxom beauties, that were so ubiquitous in Communist Bulgaria. The art technique is different, but the message is the same: you live in the best of all possible worlds. The only difference is that the artists who laboured over their mosaics and murals in the 1960s-1980s were not hailed as harbingers of avant-garde art.</p> <p><img alt="Crisis 1944-? " data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/171-172/graffiti/30042009-1060718.jpg" class="align-center" /></p> <p class="text-align-center"><em>Crisis 1944-? </em></p> <p>Against this background it is bittersweet that the art of Bulgaria's only true graffiti artist of the 2000s, Bloke, is slowly slipping into oblivion.</p> <p>In early 2009, eagle-eyed Sofianites spotted disturbing, often painful stencils beginning to appear here and there in central Sofia. The 2008 financial and economic crisis was slowly rolling towards Bulgaria and resentment against the then Socialist-led government was growing stronger. The killing of a student in December 2008 had galvanised university students, and the police had brutally crushed a January 2009 protest following orders by the then mayor of Sofia, Boyko Borisov.</p> <p>Into this environment, images of policemen brutalising protestors, of power-hungry or power-blind naked women, of corrupt politicians and copulating pigs (this one was captioned: "Swinery is procreating. Stop it before it stops you"), of children rummaging in a rubbish bin began to appear on walls in Sofia. The artist, someone called Bloke, created many of these as part of a series, called Crisis 2009.</p> <p><img alt="graffiti" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/171-172/graffiti/18062009-1140491.jpg" class="align-center" /></p> <p>Bloke's art showed an idealist deeply disturbed by the way Bulgaria was going; a way of political, economic and moral corruption, and a dead-end for anyone who refused to comply.</p> <p>Over time more people started to notice Bloke's art. Some of the media took an interest, too, and labeled the elusive artist the Bulgarian Banksy. <em>Vagabond</em> also featured Bloke, as the cover story of its <a href="https://vagabond.bg/archive/issue-37">October 2009 issue</a>. Despite this interest, the artist's true identity remained hidden, Banksy-style.</p> <p>Then, after a couple of years, Sofianites notices there were no more new Bloke stencils.</p> <p><img alt="Bin For Soul Waste" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/171-172/graffiti/18062009-1140480.jpg" class="align-center" /></p> <p class="text-align-center"><em>Bin For Soul Waste</em></p> <p>People wondered for a while what had happened, and then forgot about it. The stencils, sharing the fate of all graffiti art that is not business or government sanctioned, began to disappear. Some, particularly those on buildings such as Sofia University and the Palace of Justice, were cleaned off. Others were slowly covered by the inevitable accumulation of run-of- the-mill graffiti tags, large advertising posters for <em>chalga</em> concerts and political campaigns, death notices and bills posted by human hair buyers, or cheap removalist services or "guaranteed" work abroad. The art of rebel Bloke was covered up by advertisements for all the evils the artist had recognised in Bulgarian society.</p> <p>Some years after Bloke's disappearance, the artist's identity was revealed. Bloke was Georgi Mladenov, born in 1984. He was a budding artist who took part in the January 2009 protest. He was found on 12 January 2011, covered in knife wounds, just beside Sofia University. A suicide, according to the investigators.</p> <p><img alt="Let The Dead Bury The Dead" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/171-172/graffiti/04072009-1160336.jpg" class="align-center" /></p> <p class="text-align-center"><em>Let The Dead Bury The Dead</em></p> <p>Bloke's art is now hard to find in Sofia, but posthumously he has gained some notoriety. An exhibition of his art was organised in 2015 and there is a dedicated <u><a href="https://www.facebook.com/Bloke.Sofia.Graffiti/">Facebook page</a></u>. His graffiti is enjoying a second life on the Internet. One of his works – two children throwing a bag painted as the national flag into a rubbish bin, with the words: "Do I dare to change?" is particularly popular. It appears often in articles about some of the many crises that have happened in Bulgaria since Georgi Mladenov's untimely death. Including the current one. </p> <p><img alt="Chalga Robs Power, from the Crisis 2009 series" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/171-172/graffiti/07102009-1360750.jpg" class="align-center" /></p> <p class="text-align-center"><em>Chalga Robs Power, from the Crisis 2009 series</em></p> <p><img alt="graffiti" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/171-172/graffiti/05052009-1070620.jpg" class="align-center" /></p> <p><img alt="Eleven years ago, Vagabond put this graffiti of a traffic cop on its cover" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/171-172/graffiti/04062009-1130553.jpg" class="align-center" /></p> <p class="text-align-center"><em><a href="https://vagabond.bg/archive/issue-37">Eleven years ago</a>, Vagabond put this graffiti of a traffic cop on its cover</em></p> <p><img alt="graffiti" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/171-172/graffiti/12072009-1160919.jpg" class="align-center" /></p> <p><img alt="graffiti" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/171-172/graffiti/12042009-1010972.jpg" class="align-center" /></p> <p><img alt="nasimo graffiti" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/171-172/graffiti/IMG_2460.jpg" class="align-center" /></p> <p class="text-align-center"><em>"The Embrace" by popular graffiti artist Nasimo was painted as a part of Sofia Municipality's initiative to create an art quarter in Central Sofia. Nasimo often works on public and corporate projects</em></p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-disclaimers field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--entity-reference-target-type-block-content clearfix field__item"> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><hr class="uk-divider-icon" /><p><a href="https://us4bg.org/?hl=en" title="AMERICA FOR BULGARIA FOUNDATION" target="_blank"><img alt="us4bg-logo-reversal.png" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/banners/AFB_LOGO.jpg" width="30%" class="align-left" /></a><strong>Vibrant Communities: Spotlight on Bulgaria's Living Heritage is a series of articles, initiated by Vagabond Magazine, with the generous support of the <a href="http://www.us4bg.org/?hl=en">America for Bulgaria Foundation</a>, that aims to provide details and background of places, cultural entities, events, personalities and facts of life that are sometimes difficult to understand for the outsider in the Balkans. The ultimate aim is the preservation of Bulgaria's cultural heritage – including but not limited to archaeological, cultural and ethnic diversity. The statements and opinionsexpressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the America for Bulgaria Foundation and its partners</strong></p><hr class="uk-divider-icon" /></div> </div> <a href="/archive/issue-171-172" hreflang="en">Issue 171-172</a> <a href="/taxonomy/term/221" hreflang="en">America for Bulgaria Foundation</a> <a href="/taxonomy/term/273" hreflang="en">Sofia</a> <a href="/taxonomy/term/235" hreflang="en">PostCommunism</a> <a href="/taxonomy/term/220" hreflang="en">Bulgarian art</a> <a href="/taxonomy/term/275" hreflang="en">urban Bulgaria</a> <div class="field field--name-field-mt-post-category field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--entity-reference-target-type-taxonomy-term clearfix field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/travel/vibrant-communities" hreflang="en">VIBRANT COMMUNITIES</a></div> </div> <section class="field field--name-comment field--type-comment field--label-above comment-wrapper"> <h2 class="title comment-form__title">Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=2919&amp;2=comment&amp;3=comment" token="Anb1vNJEJLv84T1FYeOXlMLaSvyus8LQYsZSYZBTbJs"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Thu, 31 Dec 2020 10:37:01 +0000 DimanaT 2919 at https://vagabond.bg https://vagabond.bg/searching-bloke-2919#comments QUOTE-UNQUOTE https://vagabond.bg/quote-unquote-2918 <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">QUOTE-UNQUOTE</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/251" lang="" about="/user/251" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">DimanaT</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Thu, 12/31/2020 - 12:35</span> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-subtitle field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><blockquote> <p>Sure we will open everything up on 21 December.</p> </blockquote> <p>Prime Minister <strong>Boyko Borisov</strong> at the beginning of December when a "soft lockdown" was imposed in Bulgaria</p> </div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><blockquote> <p>In the implementation of the Covid-19 measures you will see the total power of the state.</p> </blockquote> <p>Health Minister <strong>Kostadin Angelov</strong></p> <blockquote> <p>They marked the 40th anniversary of dictator Tito's death. It's as if Berlin were to mark the anniversary of Hitler's expiry.</p> </blockquote> <p>Foreign Minister <strong>Ekaterina Zaharieva</strong> in an attempt to explain Bulgaria's suspension of North Macedonia's bid to join the EU</p> <blockquote> <p>We can continue with the current measures and hope the infection cases will continue to drop after the holidays.</p> </blockquote> <p>Prime Minister <strong>Boyko Borisov</strong> on the extended "soft lockdown" until 31 January 2021</p> </div> <a href="/archive/issue-171-172" hreflang="en">Issue 171-172</a> <a href="/taxonomy/term/261" hreflang="en">Boyko Borisov</a> <a href="/taxonomy/term/260" hreflang="en">coronavirus</a> <div class="field field--name-field-mt-post-category field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--entity-reference-target-type-taxonomy-term clearfix field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/fun/quote-unquote" hreflang="en">QUOTE-UNQUOTE</a></div> </div> <section class="field field--name-comment field--type-comment field--label-above comment-wrapper"> <h2 class="title comment-form__title">Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=2918&amp;2=comment&amp;3=comment" token="w1rCr5NLVPMcYEwjeMJdzXUwYwnYErdlmNBXlKoJ_zA"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Thu, 31 Dec 2020 10:35:06 +0000 DimanaT 2918 at https://vagabond.bg https://vagabond.bg/quote-unquote-2918#comments FROM GHOST TO LOUVRE https://vagabond.bg/ghost-louvre-2917 <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">FROM GHOST TO LOUVRE</span> <div class="field field--name-field-author-name field--type-string field--label-hidden field__item">by Dimana Trankova; photography by Anthony Georgieff</div> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/251" lang="" about="/user/251" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">DimanaT</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Thu, 12/31/2020 - 12:01</span> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-subtitle field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><h3>Can abandoned naval base in Sozopol become an international art hot spot?</h3> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="images-container clearfix"> <div class="image-preview clearfix"> <div class="image-wrapper clearfix"> <div class="field__item"> <div class="overlay-container"> <span class="overlay overlay--colored"> <span class="overlay-inner"> <span class="overlay-icon overlay-icon--button overlay-icon--white overlay-animated overlay-fade-top"> <i class="fa fa-plus"></i> </span> </span> <a class="overlay-target-link image-popup" href="/sites/default/files/2020-12/st%20kirik%20island.jpg"></a> </span> <img loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/2020-12/st%20kirik%20island.jpg" width="1000" height="667" alt="st kirik island.jpg " typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p>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.</p> <p>In late 2020 (an eventful year by any standard), Bulgaria was thrown into the mix when the Culture Ministry announced that the French and UAE governments were interested in expanding the Louvre brand to a former isle off the Black Sea coast. The Bulgarian Louvre, as the project was dubbed, would have archaeology and underwater archaeology museums, galleries, cinemas and research facilities.</p> <p><img alt="Fit for the third Louvre in the world?" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/171-172/bulgarian%20louvre/bulgaria-louvre.jpg" class="align-center" /></p> <p class="text-align-center"><em>Fit for the third Louvre in the world?</em></p> <p>At first glance, St Kirik Isle, in the harbour at Sozopol, is an unlikely place for a Louvre. The 20-acre piece of land, connected to the mainland with a concrete pier, has been off limits for years; a dystopian spectre of trees gone wild around the crumbling skeleton of an art nouveau building. Critics of the Bulgarian Louvre have already pointed out that Sozopol might be a busy summer destination but is empty of visitors most of the year. Investing so much money in a cultural institution few people would visit does not make sense, they say. Others remembered a scandal that broke out in early 2020. A long-planned Louvre exhibition of Bulgarian artefacts from the time of the Ottoman domination was cancelled after Bulgarian nationalists joined by the Holy Synod objected against exhibiting 16th-18th century Eastern Orthodox icons at the museum's Islamic art section.</p> <p>On closer examination, both Sozopol and St Kirik have a historical connection to both art and radical transformation. Sozopol's decades-long Apolonia art festival and its fading reputation as a refuge for artists are just the most recent examples.</p> <p>When ancient Greek colonists established Sozopol, in the 7th century BC, they chose Apollo, the patron of the arts, as their official deity. According to archaeologists, a 13-metre bronze statue of the god adorned the isle of St Kirik, where the earliest Greek settlement was also located. Over time, most inhabitants moved to the mainland. The statue was lost in 72BC, when the invading Romans took it to Rome as war booty.</p> <p><img alt="Sozopol seen from St Kirik isle" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/171-172/bulgarian%20louvre/sozopol.jpg" class="align-center" /></p> <p class="text-align-center"><em>Sozopol seen from St Kirik isle</em></p> <p>Archaeologists are yet to discover how life on St Kirik Isle went on from then, but the history of Sozopol is pretty clear. The city remained an important and prosperous Greek trading post throughout Antiquity and the Middle Ages. Its decline began in the 19th century, when nearby Burgas emerged as the main transportation and trading hub of the region. By the early 20th century, Sozopol had become a sleepy town of fishermen who inhabited beautiful but ageing wooden houses scattered among ancient and medieval ruins.</p> <p>Then disaster struck. With tensions running high between Bulgarians and Greeks in the early 20th century, the brutalities of the two Balkan wars and the Great War in 1912-1918 proved too contentious for both countries. In 1924-1925, Bulgaria and Greece agreed to de-escalate with a mutual exchange of populations. In this way neither country could later become embroiled in property claims relating to its citizens. The political decision came at great human cost, as thousands of Greeks and Bulgarians had to leave their ancestral homes. Local communities and economies changed for ever as well. The Greek fishermen of Sozopol and all around the Bulgarian Black Sea coast were replaced by former shepherds and farmers, who had no idea how to make a living from the sea.</p> <p>This was how the idea for a special fishing school in Sozopol came about in 1924. The school would be under the patronage of the Bulgarian king, and would instruct boys from the Black Sea settlements free of charge, while introducing modern seafaring methods and technologies.</p> <p><img alt="Communist era mural extols the benefits of cooperation between science and military for the defence of the People's Republic of Bulgaria" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/171-172/bulgarian%20louvre/bulgaria%20louvre%20mural.jpg" class="align-center" /></p> <p class="text-align-center"><em>Communist era mural extols the benefits of cooperation between science and military for the defence of the People's Republic of Bulgaria</em></p> <p>In 1925, the construction of a school on St Kirik started. Laying the foundation stone was a huge public event, attended by a number of officials and King Boris III himself.</p> <p>If you are wondering why the opening of a school for fishermen attracted such attention, you have a point. The crème de la crème of Bulgarian political life was assembled in Sozopol because the school was more than what appeared on the surface.</p> <p>It was a covert operation by the Bulgarian government to navigate around one of the most humiliating stipulations of the Treaty of Neuilly of 1919, imposed by the Entente on defeated Bulgaria. Under its terms, Bulgaria had to completely demilitarise, dissolve its Navy and Air Force and not acquire modern weapons. Compulsory military service was to be abolished and the armed forces of the entire country were not to exceed 33,000 men, including the police.</p> <p><img alt="Today, the ruins at St Kirik are of interest mainly to urbex explorers " data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/171-172/bulgarian%20louvre/abandoned%20base.jpg" class="align-center" /></p> <p class="text-align-center"><em>Today, the ruins at St Kirik are of interest mainly to urbex explorers </em></p> <p>Outwardly Bulgaria complied, but secretly began a series of initiatives to ensure that it would not completely lose its military tradition. The St Kirik school was one of them. It provided not only fishing education but also hosted the cadets of the officially discontinued Naval Academy in Varna. As early as 1920, the academy had been removed from the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Defence and its navigation unit was officially renamed as a unit of fishermen.</p> <p>In 1927, a quay was built, connecting St Kirik to the mainland. The school opened in 1930, but a couple of years later there was a media outcry that the Black Sea did not have enough fish to sustain a fishing industry. Subsequently, the government was forced to close it. In 1934, the Marine Engineering School (the former Naval Academy) moved into the compound on St Kirik island.</p> <p>The Second World War loomed on the horizon, and in 1940 the political climate was so different that the Naval Academy reopened in Varna. The building on St Kirik was abandoned.</p> <p><img alt="The ruins of the fishermen's school. The isle has already been the home of an ambitious project that eventually failed" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/171-172/bulgarian%20louvre/abandoned%20base%20sozopol.jpg" class="align-center" /></p> <p class="text-align-center"><em>The ruins of the fishermen's school. The isle has already been the home of an ambitious project that eventually failed</em></p> <p>After 1944, the Navy took over the island, turning it into a military base that was home to two naval divisions and a maintenance unit. More buildings were constructed, together with three underground depots. In 2007, when the Ministry of Defence closed the Navy base and transferred its property to the Ministry of Regional Development.</p> <p>In the following years, ideas for turning the isle into a tourist attraction appeared on a regular basis, but nothing happened. It remains to be seen whether the Bulgarian Louvre will join that crowd. Meanwhile, lack of maintenance has taken its toll, turning the empty school into a melancholy ruin, captivating the imagination with its strange beauty.</p> <p>The Isle of Kirik remains off-limits for visitors to this day. </p> <p><img alt="The actual Louvre" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/171-172/bulgarian%20louvre/louvre%20pyramid.jpg" class="align-center" /></p> <p class="text-align-center"><em>The actual Louvre</em></p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-disclaimers field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--entity-reference-target-type-block-content clearfix field__item"> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><hr class="uk-divider-icon" /><p><a href="https://us4bg.org/?hl=en" title="AMERICA FOR BULGARIA FOUNDATION" target="_blank"><img alt="us4bg-logo-reversal.png" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/banners/AFB_LOGO.jpg" width="30%" class="align-left" /></a><strong>Vibrant Communities: Spotlight on Bulgaria's Living Heritage is a series of articles, initiated by Vagabond Magazine, with the generous support of the <a href="http://www.us4bg.org/?hl=en">America for Bulgaria Foundation</a>, that aims to provide details and background of places, cultural entities, events, personalities and facts of life that are sometimes difficult to understand for the outsider in the Balkans. The ultimate aim is the preservation of Bulgaria's cultural heritage – including but not limited to archaeological, cultural and ethnic diversity. The statements and opinionsexpressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the America for Bulgaria Foundation and its partners</strong></p><hr class="uk-divider-icon" /></div> </div> <a href="/archive/issue-171-172" hreflang="en">Issue 171-172</a> <a href="/taxonomy/term/221" hreflang="en">America for Bulgaria Foundation</a> <a href="/taxonomy/term/254" hreflang="en">The Black Sea</a> <a href="/taxonomy/term/220" hreflang="en">Bulgarian art</a> <div class="field field--name-field-mt-post-category field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--entity-reference-target-type-taxonomy-term clearfix field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/travel/vibrant-communities" hreflang="en">VIBRANT COMMUNITIES</a></div> </div> <section class="field field--name-comment field--type-comment field--label-above comment-wrapper"> <h2 class="title comment-form__title">Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=2917&amp;2=comment&amp;3=comment" token="wyJCg2Nn-3KDcmQN2oGKvkPx80KmPkJw1qO12rh162o"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Thu, 31 Dec 2020 10:01:49 +0000 DimanaT 2917 at https://vagabond.bg https://vagabond.bg/ghost-louvre-2917#comments WHERE IN BULGARIA ARE YOU? https://vagabond.bg/where-bulgaria-are-you-2916 <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">WHERE IN BULGARIA ARE YOU?</span> <div class="field field--name-field-author-name field--type-string field--label-hidden field__item">by Stamen Manolov</div> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/251" lang="" about="/user/251" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">DimanaT</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Thu, 12/31/2020 - 11:57</span> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-subtitle field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><h3>Under Communism, the Bulgarian government liked to erect huge monuments in praise of itself</h3> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="images-container clearfix"> <div class="image-preview clearfix"> <div class="image-wrapper clearfix"> <div class="field__item"> <div class="overlay-container"> <span class="overlay overlay--colored"> <span class="overlay-inner"> <span class="overlay-icon overlay-icon--button overlay-icon--white overlay-animated overlay-fade-top"> <i class="fa fa-plus"></i> </span> </span> <a class="overlay-target-link image-popup" href="/sites/default/files/2020-12/where%20in%20bulgaria%20171-172.jpg"></a> </span> <img loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/2020-12/where%20in%20bulgaria%20171-172.jpg" width="1000" height="666" alt="where in bulgaria 171-172.jpg" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field uk-text-bold uk-margin-small-top uk-margin-medium-bottom field--name-field-image-credits field--type-string field--label-hidden field__item">© Anthony Georgieff</div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p>High hills were deemed a particularly appropriate location as they used both Socialist Realism and the power of nature to assert the invincible authority of the Party and the working classes. Communism in Bulgaria has gone away 30 years ago, but its hilltop monuments survive. Some are in a decrepit condition as they have been abandoned, but some are still lovingly been tended to by local authorities that claim their "artistic" and "historical" value absolves them of the sins of the system that produced them.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-disclaimers field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--entity-reference-target-type-block-content clearfix field__item"> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p><strong>Where in Bulgaria are you?</strong></p> <p><em>Email your answers to editorial@vagabond.bg and you can win a copy of <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><a href="https://vagabond.bg/fsi/hidden-treasures-of-bulgaria-2" rel="noopener" target="_blank">Hidden Treasures of Bulgaria 2</a></span></em></p> <p><a href="https://vagabond.bg/fsi/hidden-treasures-of-bulgaria-2" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"><img alt="HTB2" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/images/stories/V127/HTB2.jpg" title="Hidden Treasures of Bulgaria" width="100%" /></a></p> </div> </div> <a href="/archive/issue-171-172" hreflang="en">Issue 171-172</a> <div class="field field--name-field-mt-post-category field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--entity-reference-target-type-taxonomy-term clearfix field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/fun/where-in-bulgaria" hreflang="en">WHERE IN BULGARIA ARE YOU?</a></div> </div> <section class="field field--name-comment field--type-comment field--label-above comment-wrapper"> <h2 class="title comment-form__title">Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=2916&amp;2=comment&amp;3=comment" token="cN--2bki-4zsKshf9TZFosBTbjJzqVbRuhXSMJsUxbg"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Thu, 31 Dec 2020 09:57:56 +0000 DimanaT 2916 at https://vagabond.bg https://vagabond.bg/where-bulgaria-are-you-2916#comments HOW TO ENJOY RAKIYA https://vagabond.bg/how-enjoy-rakiya-2915 <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">HOW TO ENJOY RAKIYA</span> <div class="field field--name-field-author-name field--type-string field--label-hidden field__item">by Dimana Trankova; photography by Dragomir Ushev</div> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/251" lang="" about="/user/251" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">DimanaT</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Thu, 12/31/2020 - 11:55</span> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-subtitle field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><h3>There is more than meets the palate in Bulgaria's national drink</h3> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="images-container clearfix"> <div class="image-preview clearfix"> <div class="image-wrapper clearfix"> <div class="field__item"> <div class="overlay-container"> <span class="overlay overlay--colored"> <span class="overlay-inner"> <span class="overlay-icon overlay-icon--button overlay-icon--white overlay-animated overlay-fade-top"> <i class="fa fa-plus"></i> </span> </span> <a class="overlay-target-link image-popup" href="/sites/default/files/2020-12/Shopskasalata-1024x681.jpg"></a> </span> <img loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/2020-12/Shopskasalata-1024x681.jpg" width="1000" height="665" alt="Shopska salad is the ultimate rakiya companion" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field uk-text-bold uk-margin-small-top uk-margin-medium-bottom field--name-field-image-credits field--type-string field--label-hidden field__item">Shopska salad is the ultimate rakiya companion</div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p>The easiest way for a foreigner to raise a Bulgarian brow concerns a sacrosanct pillar of national identity: <em>rakiya</em>, 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 <em>rakiya</em> for the first time. Some declare after a sip that they would rather have a glass of wine. Others, based on previous experience with the fruit distilled spirits of other nations such as calvados, ask their Bulgarian hosts why they serve <em>rakiya</em> as an aperitif and not as a digestive. A third group likes their first <em>rakiya</em> so much that they insist on drinking it from salad to desert or, even worse, mix it indiscriminately with other types of alcohol.</p> <p>All of these types of behaviour go against the Bulgarian tradition of enjoying <em>rakiya</em>. If you insist on sticking to them, you risk your Bulgarian friends labelling you a hopeless case regarding integration into the local lifestyle.</p> <p><em>Rakiya</em> culture in Bulgaria has a long tradition and some peculiarities, but with experience, perseverance and the odd hangover you can learn how to navigate the minefield.</p> <p><em>Rakiya</em> is the Bulgarian iteration of a distilled spirit made from fermented fruit. The concept is hardly unique, and you will find similar drinks all over Europe and beyond: from Arabian arak and Turkish rakı, to Serbian rakija and Hungarian pálinka, to Italian grappa and French calvados (a very inexhaustive list).</p> <p>The Bulgarian variety is usually made from grapes, but other kinds exist, some being region-specific. Plum <em>rakiya</em> is typical of the Troyan region while fig <em>rakiya</em> is made along the Black Sea coast. Quince and apricot <em>rakiya</em> are more exotic, you should try them for their delicate aroma.</p> <p>For how long Bulgarians have enjoyed their <em>rakiya</em> has no clear answer. Some historians say that spirit distillation in Bulgaria started as early as the 13th-14th centuries. More probably, however, the technology of alcohol distillation, which was an Arab discovery, was introduced to the Bulgarians after the Ottoman invasion in the late 14th century.</p> <p>Over the following centuries the new technology evolved into a local tradition. With their abundant fruit and vines, Bulgarian lands provided fertile ground for such a transformation. The inhabitants of mountainous regions were probably the first to start distilling <em>rakiya</em>, as witnessed by the large-scale production that started in the 18th century in Troyan, in the Stara Planina mountain range. Eventually <em>rakiya</em> production reached the plains where there was an abundance of grapes. This is probably why grape <em>rakiya</em> is the most widespread variety in Bulgaria.</p> <p><img alt="The Bulgarian version of a charcuterie board is best enjoyed with rakiya rather than wine" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/171-172/rakiya/what%20to%20eat%20with%20rakiya.jpg" class="align-center" /></p> <p class="text-align-center"><em>The Bulgarian version of a charcuterie board is best enjoyed with </em>rakiya<em> rather than wine</em></p> <p>In the 19th century <em>rakiya</em> was already an established part of the Bulgarian lifestyle. During this time two interesting, but now largely forgotten regional varieties were also made. Aniseed <em>rakiya</em> was made in Karlovo, while the inhabitants of the Kazanlak and Karlovo region, where the emblematic oil-bearing rose thrives, distilled rose <em>rakiya</em>.</p> <p>Industrial production of <em>rakiya</em> in Bulgaria started after Liberation in 1878, when specific varieties such as muskatova <em>rakiya</em> from the dessert grape Muscat Ottonel were developed.</p> <p>Making good <em>rakiya</em> requires precision, attention to detail and the use of the best ingredients. Fermented fruit or wine is distilled under specific conditions, and the result is a clear liquid. According to the Bulgarian State Standard, <em>rakiya</em> should be at least 36º, but the run-of-the-mill varieties have an alcohol level of 40-43º. Usually <em>rakiya</em> is distilled once, but producers of high quality makes repeat the process two or three times. The drink gets its distinctive colour, which ranges from pale yellow to deep amber, during maturation in oak or mulberry barrels.</p> <p>Due to its prominence in Bulgarian culture, <em>rakiya</em> has the aura of something special, authentic and traditional. Many locals distill their own <em>rakiya</em>. They are usually very proud of the result, but any boasts about the quality of homemade <em>rakiya</em> should be taken with a big pinch of salt. Way too many Bulgarians aim for a higher alcohol content (in extreme cases exceeding 60º) at the expense of taste. For consistent quality, it is best to rely on established industrial producers.</p> <p>Bulgarians have their own way of enjoying rakiya. Unlike French calvados, which is a digestive, <em>rakiya</em> is an aperitif, the ultimate icebreaker of any meal involving more than one individual. Bulgarians would never have their <em>rakiya</em> without proper food: seasonal salads, pickles, or light appetisers. <em>Rakiya</em> should be served ice cold. Warm <em>rakiya</em> with added ice is not uncommon these days, but it is an outrage against good taste.</p> <p>Of course, <em>rakiya</em> drinking rules are not set in stone. Some hip bars experiment with <em>rakiya</em>-based cocktails, while some producers have developed varieties that taste best as a digestive.</p> <p>On your journey to discover Bulgarian <em>rakiya</em>, you do need to remember one more thing: enjoy it in moderation, as a true connoisseur. </p> </div> <a href="/archive/issue-171-172" hreflang="en">Issue 171-172</a> <a href="/taxonomy/term/331" hreflang="en">Bulgarian drinks</a> <div class="field field--name-field-mt-post-category field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--entity-reference-target-type-taxonomy-term clearfix field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/features" hreflang="en">VAGABOND FEATURES</a></div> </div> <section class="field field--name-comment field--type-comment field--label-above comment-wrapper"> <h2 class="title comment-form__title">Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=2915&amp;2=comment&amp;3=comment" token="U_6WloPoZkAs8qjBoTV4EggD8PpsnihcTKCFoqbMg2E"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Thu, 31 Dec 2020 09:55:12 +0000 DimanaT 2915 at https://vagabond.bg https://vagabond.bg/how-enjoy-rakiya-2915#comments STATUE OF WHAT ANIMAL GUARDS THE UNKNOWN SOLDIER MONUMENT IN SOFIA? https://vagabond.bg/statue-what-animal-guards-unknown-soldier-monument-sofia-2913 <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">STATUE OF WHAT ANIMAL GUARDS THE UNKNOWN SOLDIER MONUMENT IN SOFIA?</span> <div class="field field--name-field-author-name field--type-string field--label-hidden field__item">by Bozhidara Georgieva; photography by Anthony Georgieff</div> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/251" lang="" about="/user/251" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">DimanaT</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Thu, 12/31/2020 - 11:47</span> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-subtitle field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><h4>Think you know Bulgaria and the Bulgarians? Take our test to doublecheck</h4> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="images-container clearfix"> <div class="image-preview clearfix"> <div class="image-wrapper clearfix"> <div class="field__item"> <div class="overlay-container"> <span class="overlay overlay--colored"> <span class="overlay-inner"> <span class="overlay-icon overlay-icon--button overlay-icon--white overlay-animated overlay-fade-top"> <i class="fa fa-plus"></i> </span> </span> <a class="overlay-target-link image-popup" href="/sites/default/files/2020-12/14112010-1334_2.jpg"></a> </span> <img loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/2020-12/14112010-1334_2.jpg" width="1000" height="665" alt="lion in sofia" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field uk-text-bold uk-margin-small-top uk-margin-medium-bottom field--name-field-image-credits field--type-string field--label-hidden field__item">Guarding the Unknown Soldier monument?</div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p><strong>1. Bulgarian prosecutors decided to build a monument to which US president?</strong></p> <p><strong>A. </strong>Donald Trump</p> <p><strong>B.</strong> Bill Clinton</p> <p><strong>C.</strong> Woodrow Wilson</p> <p><strong>2. Traditionally, on 14 February Bulgarians celebrate...</strong></p> <p><strong>A. </strong>Wine and viticulture</p> <p><strong>B.</strong> Sailing and trade</p> <p><strong>C.</strong> Animal husbandry</p> <p><strong>3. Which Bulgarian town is famed for its pottery?</strong></p> <p><strong>A.</strong> Tutrakan</p> <p><strong>B. </strong>Tran</p> <p><strong>C.</strong> Troyan</p> <p><strong>4. Which animal in Bulgaria is endangered by extinction?</strong></p> <p><strong>A. </strong>Boar</p> <p><strong>B.</strong> Wild cat</p> <p><strong>C. </strong>Fox</p> <p><strong>5. The Iskar springs from which mountain?</strong></p> <p><strong>A.</strong> The Rila</p> <p><strong>B.</strong> The Rhodope</p> <p><strong>C.</strong> The Strandzha</p> <p><strong>6. Statue of what animal guards the Unknown Soldier monument in Sofia?</strong></p> <p><strong>A.</strong> Eagle</p> <p><strong>B.</strong> Bear</p> <p><strong>C.</strong> Lion</p> <p><strong>7. Which is Bulgaria's second largest city?</strong></p> <p><strong>A. </strong>Varna</p> <p><strong>B.</strong> Plovdiv</p> <p><strong>C.</strong> Burgas</p> <p><strong>8. The national anthem calls Bulgaria...</strong></p> <p><strong>A. </strong>A heaven on earth</p> <p><strong>B. </strong>A mystery under the sky</p> <p><strong>C.</strong> A wonder under the sun</p> <p><strong>9. In Bulgarian folklore January and February are...</strong></p> <p><strong>A.</strong> Father and son</p> <p><strong>B.</strong> Brother and sister</p> <p><strong>C.</strong> Brothers </p> <p><em>The correct answers to the questions: </em></p> <p><strong>1.</strong> – C; <strong>2.</strong> – A; <strong>3.</strong> – C; <strong>4.</strong> – B; <strong>5.</strong> – A; <strong>6.</strong> – C; <strong>7.</strong> – B; <strong>8.</strong> – A; <strong>9.</strong> – C</p> </div> <a href="/archive/issue-171-172" hreflang="en">Issue 171-172</a> <div class="field field--name-field-mt-post-category field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--entity-reference-target-type-taxonomy-term clearfix field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/fun/bulgaria-s-monthly-quiz" hreflang="en">BULGARIA&#039;S MONTHLY QUIZ</a></div> </div> <section class="field field--name-comment field--type-comment field--label-above comment-wrapper"> <h2 class="title comment-form__title">Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=2913&amp;2=comment&amp;3=comment" token="rKs_L4XjaFdZAFyAz7wV_NPtQU3t4_Bnk5Bv0cl85dY"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Thu, 31 Dec 2020 09:47:34 +0000 DimanaT 2913 at https://vagabond.bg https://vagabond.bg/statue-what-animal-guards-unknown-soldier-monument-sofia-2913#comments