BULGARIA ART

founders of the bulgarian state.jpg

TOP 10 EYESORES

You can't miss them: hulking monstrosities of bronze, stone or concrete that tower over town squares, parks and public buildings all across Bulgaria. Once part of the Communist regime's propaganda machine, these monuments to past heroes and future dreams now rank among the most potent reminders of Soviet ideology and its megalomaniacal aesthetics. Some have disappeared – the Georgi Dimitrov Mausoleum in Sofia was blown to pieces in 1999, The Alyosha in Pleven was torn down, and many busts of Lenin have disappeared, most likely sold for scrap metal.

Sat, 11/01/2008 - 18:19
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underwater photography.jpg

HOW TO SNAP FISH

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then Lyubomir Klissurov definitely has a lot to say – but he would be unable to because he is usually under water. He took his first underwater photographs of the Black Sea in 1973. Since then, he's collected so much material that he claims to have the world's largest collection of underwater shots featuring Black Sea flora and fauna.

Sat, 11/01/2008 - 16:04
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The Danube at Budapest

AND THE DANUBE FLOWS ON

Mountains divide people, rivers unite them — and the Danube is no exception. Any archaeologist will tell you that for thousands of years the Danube used to unite the peoples who lived along its banks. However, in the 1st Century AD the Roman legions arrived and Europe's second-largest river after the Volga became a dividing line between "civilisation" and the "barbarians."

Wed, 10/01/2008 - 14:17
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Chernobyl1.jpg

BASTARD EDEN

On 27 April 1986, tests discovered radioactive particles on workers' clothes at the Forsmark Nuclear Power Plant in Sweden. The source? Not that reactor, but another one, 1,100 km, or 684 miles, away, in the heart of the Soviet "ideological information blackout zone". Those living in the West found out about the 26 April disaster in Chernobyl days before those in the Eastern bloc.

Mon, 09/01/2008 - 12:48
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Radoslav Markov.jpg

BY FAULT OR DESIGN

You are in probably the only EU country where architecture can be deadly – literally and figuratively. In Varna a concrete canopy collapsed, killing a girl; a tumbling building also crushed another couple of girls in central Sofia. The sandy beaches on the southern Black Sea coast are all but gone, replaced by hotels where pseudo-Egyptian statues are outnumbered only by pseudo-turrets and pseudo-balustrades. Most of them have crooked walls.

Sat, 03/01/2008 - 17:01
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Eric Weiss

ERIC WEISS

At first glance France and Bulgaria may seem worlds apart – the refined sophisticate meets the impoverished cousin. Yet French photographer and diplomat Eric Weiss discovered a rich culture and an enduring love affair.

Sat, 12/01/2007 - 16:18
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embroidery project 4.jpg

EMBROIDERING THE EU

Visitors to Sofia's Nevsky Square will be familiar with the small embroidery market staffed by middle-aged women. But some of their designs have changed...

Needlepoint lace, colourful blankets and finely embroidered linen squares form the mainstay of the product on display. The artefacts represent a connection with Bulgaria's folk roots as well as a great opportunity for tourists to pick up a few light gifts. But such brief exchanges, haggling over a few leva, leave little time to uncover real lives and personal histories.

Sat, 09/01/2007 - 17:32
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Catarina Leal

MLADOST "YOUTH"

Catarina's first photographs - of herself and her brother - date from when she was about four years old. "We always had a camera in our hands, wasting film," she says, dismissing the suggestion that photography ran in the family. Her brother outgrew the childhood game but Catarina's passion for photography continued unabated.

Fri, 06/01/2007 - 13:08
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Nina Nikolina, pop singer

FACE OFF

Bulgaria has many faces. The shadowy thick set jaw of corruption glimpsed behind the blacked out windows of a Mercedes 4x4; the peroxide hair and pouting lips of chalga writhing in seductive flashes of naked flesh; the ruddy-cheeked countenance of folk gaily picking rose petals in the fields of the Socialist dream.

Painter Henrik Engstrom, or "HEN", became fascinated with these last two when, flicking through the TV channels in his native Stockholm, he came across some Bulgarian TV stations.

Thu, 03/01/2007 - 14:55
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Darren Zlatareff

BANBURY IN THE LAND OF ORPHEUS

Darren first started taking pictures at university in Bristol where he got involved in the photographic club. “I met some inspiring photographers that helped me get over my fear of approaching people with my camera,” he says. “In a way it helped me get over the shyness I had suffered from during my childhood, because to photograph people you need to get close to your subject and engage with them.”

Thu, 02/01/2007 - 14:22
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Andrey Daniel.jpg

ANDREY DANIEL

Born on 28 March 1952 in the northern town of Ruse on the Danube, Andrey Daniel had no childhood dreams of being a doctor or a lorry driver - he always wanted to be an artist. Andrey graduated in painting from the Fine Arts Academy in Sofia and is now a professor of painting there.

Sun, 10/01/2006 - 15:34
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