WHERE IN BULGARIA ARE YOU?

WHERE IN BULGARIA ARE YOU?

Wed, 04/01/2009 - 17:59

Exactly when the strong walls of this basilica standing at the southern slopes of the Balkan Mountain area appeared is still a contentious matter. Depending on who you listen to, this must have happened in the 4th or at the end of the 5th Century. In either case it is one of the oldest in Bulgaria.

where in bulgaria are you 31.jpg
© Anthony Georgieff

There is something else that impresses the traveller apart from the picturesque way in which the ruins stand out against the foot of the Stara Planina. The basilica is among the few landmarks in Bulgaria whose route is clearly signposted with a large billboard on the road from Sofia to Burgas.

On occasion, however, you might miss the turn off: when local bikers hang a placard announcing their annual meeting right over the sign.

Where in Bulgaria are you?

Issue 31

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where in bulgaria
WHERE IN BULGARIA ARE YOU?
Sometimes they are "parked" in the middle of villages, in one or two instances inside Communist-era housing projects, often they will be the first to greet you as you drive into some Bulgarian town.

where in bulgaria is this place
WHERE IN BULGARIA ARE YOU?
The Thracians were able craftsmen. The gold and silverware they produced was exquisite – and is now a priced treasure in Bulgarian museums. They were also great winemakers.

where in bulgaria are you?
WHERE IN BULGARIA ARE YOU?
Vestiges of that era can be seen all over modern Bulgaria, but there is one city where their sheer concentration astounds.

where in bulgaria are you
WHERE IN BULGARIA ARE YOU?
The Thracians, the Romans, the Proto-Bulgars, the Venetians and the Ottomans were all here, and with them came Czechs, Hungarians, Germans, Armenians and Jews. All left their marks on the modern city.

where in bulgaria is this place
WHERE IN BULGARIA ARE YOU?
An UNESCO World Heritage site, this is the largest East Orthodox monastery in Bulgaria.

where in bulgaria are you
WHERE IN BULGARIA ARE YOU?
Abundant with small coves, some of them underwater, and sporting a jigsaw waterline the coast here is easily accessible, yet full of surprises.

where in bulgaria is this place
WHERE IN BULGARIA ARE YOU?
Built on a hill almost 180 degrees surrounded by a river meander its outlook constantly changes with the weather and the seasons. Bulgarian kids are bussed there on obligatory school tours.

where in bulgaria are you
WHERE IN BULGARIA ARE YOU?
Most of these water reservoirs exist to this day, though some are reportedly in a bad state as they have not been maintained for years. The majority are unremarkable, but some are in fact quite serene – and many locals frequent for angling or camping.

where in bulgaria are you
WHERE IN BULGARIA ARE YOU?
As a result of what some Bulgarians refer to as the "unbridled" construction of hotels, resorts and holiday homes – "entombing the Black Sea in concrete" – many of them have been destroyed.

where in bulgaria are you
WHERE IN BULGARIA ARE YOU?
But owing to its topography it is one of the best places in Europe to explore bridges.

where in bulgaria are you.jpg
WHERE IN BULGARIA ARE YOU?
Still, this country does boast a number of small isles one of which is even permanently inhabited.

where in bulgaria are you
WHERE IN BULGARIA ARE YOU?
It was supposed to commemorate a series of 19th century battles between Russian and Ottoman forces that led to the restoration of Bulgaria's independence. As such, every Bulgarian school kid knows it as they are taken on obligatory bus tours of the area.