Many years ago, in the salad days of Bulgaria's English Magazine, we brought out a portfolio of at times exuberantly preposterous signs thought up by Communist Party apparatchiks and manufactured by state-employed artisans. Bulgaria's rulers from 1944 to 1989 surmised that they needed to inform citizens what to do in public toilets, in parks, in their gardens and on the staircases leading to their prefabricated blocks of flats. The deeper purpose was to show the Party's omniscience in all areas of life, as well as its Catch-22 type of vigilance in case anyone strayed.
Often these metal plates looked absurd in their crudeness, enhanced by the fact that many of them contained grammatical blunders as well as typos.
Under Communism, few people actually read those signs and even fewer obeyed their instructions, to the extent that the words printed on them gradually became as meaningless as the actions they were supposed to encourage.
One would have thought that Bulgaria's Communist culture of public signs would change with the overhaul of the political system, but alas. In 2011, the signs being displayed in public spaces as well as by private enterprises such as shops and restaurants are often even more incongruous than their Communist-era predecessors. True, they do not demand obedience to street traffic rules or praise the "eternal" friendship with the USSR, but the kind of language being publicly displayed throughout Bulgaria will make any semi-literate speaker of the language wince.
Funny that some of them are paid for by EU money.
Reconstruction of a public toilet
BG 0102.03-0020 Development
of Bulgarian cultural tourism
EVANGELICAL PENTECOSTAL CHURCH
LIVE MUSIC WITH JAZZ FORMATION "CIRCLE" JAZZ EVENINGS, START 20.30 HOURS THE CLUB IS SITUATED ON LERMONTOVA STREET NEXT TO BULGARIA HOTEL OPPOSITE THE ARMENIAN SYNAGOGUE CHURCH
WE SPEAK FRENCH
TRIPE, GRILL, CASSEROLES
Yablanitsa town system
Low prices for the population,
Gypsies and Sofianites
POTS AND PANS SIZZLE, YOU
COME TO SHU TO GET FOOD
Pederasts, imbeciles, aborigines
and kleptomaniacs –
God delays but does not forget
TO THR. CUP. TOMB
Attention! Esteemed customers, declared goods brought from the outside must be paid!
Esteemed customers, personal belongings and women's purses brought into the commercial area will be checked at the cash desks!
Hypermarket FANTASTICO open round the clock
ATTENTION! Esteemed customers, you are informed that the shop has a direct link to the security service.
Persons caught nicking will be brought to the police patrol within 5 minutes.
Attention! Alcohol and cigarettes will not be sold to persons under 18 years of age!
Esteemed customers, beer bottles will be accepted only if you buy the same amount of beer
The shop will not be liable for lost or stolen luggage
Esteemed customers, using baskets and trolleys is OBLIGATORY!
ATTENTION! Esteemed customers, please keep your cash receipts until you leave this site
On 20 October 2002 there will be a laborious day to cover the goat pen. Bring toolls and nails!
Whoever fails to show up will be charged 5 leva
Public house PRESTIGE
The buttons workshop will not work until April
ONLY OFFICIALS ALLOWED
FOR INFORMATION AND VISITS PLEASE RING!
The museum does not work with visitors
To the person who stalks at night and
surreptitiously steals other people's washing.
They pinched my pants, what an ignominy.
For the disgraceful thief – a portion of manure.
I SUPPLY BYRE MANURE
A plea from the spring
Clean me, keep me,
restore me and you will be
rewarded with my life and
DO NOT Park!
We puncture tyres!
PLEASE GO THROUGH THE LITTLE PARK!
Entr. <-> Ex.
Regional Directorate of the Interior Ministry-Ruse
TO THE PRISON
CLEANLINESS IS CHARACTERISTIC OF WELL-GROOMED PEOPLE. LET'S BE WELLGROOMED
AND KEEP OUR CITY CLEAN!
The environment should be viewed
as a resource to raise the living conditions
and boost the people's welfare
Throwing away papers, cigarette stubs and sunflower seeds
outside the place meant for it!
Violators will be prosecuted!
WALKING AND FREE RELEASE
OF DOGS BY THEIR OWNERS
VIOLATORS WILL BE FINED
BY DUPNITSA MUNICIPALITY
REPAIRING FUR COATS, JACKETS, FOXES
(IN THE YARD)
THE 100 NATIONAL TOURIST SITES STAMP WILL BE ADMINISTERED ONLY AFTER VISITING THE ETHNOGRAPHIC MUSUEM!
The temple is a place to conduct a spiritual meeting with God through his Holy Spirit
Beware of earthly distractions while having in mind the following:
1. Enter the temple in awe and keep quiet!
2. Be properly dressed!
3. Do not talk on your mobile phones!
4. Do not enter while chewing gum! Use your mouth to whisper prayers!
5. Do not bring animals into the temple!
6. BEHAVE PROPERLY!
Abstain from being intimate with your partners!
By the management of the monastery
Karlukovo Station 3
Psychiatric hospital 3
Hotel complex "MG"
From 8,15 to 9,30 hours
EATING SUNFLOWER SEEDS IS ABSOLUTELY FORBIDDEN!
The swimming pool does not
work! Bathing forbidden!!!
INEBRIATED PERSONS WILL NOT BE ALLOWED INTO THE SWIMMING POOL!
FOR ICE-CREAM PLEASE RING THE BELL!
Respected viewers, please
do not throw the hand
paper into the toilet bowls.
PLEASE EXCUSE US FOR THE LIMITED KITCHEN MENU AND THE INSUFFICIENT SERVICE! YOU KNOW THE REASON: THE HUGE HORTAGE OF QUALIFIED TOURISM AND RESTAURANT STAFF NATIONALLY AS WELL AS THE EXTREME RELUCTANCE OF THE LOCAL EOPLE TO DO ANY WORK.
WE THANK YOU IN ADVANCE FOR YOUR TOLERANCE!
Please, throw your
trash in the places for
that purpose (the bin).
Thank you for your
There are NO change bureaux, safe deposit boxes or financial institutions in this building!
The building has 3 exits!
YOU COULD BE THE VICTIM OF A SCAM!
MINISTRY OF FINANCE
PLEASE USE THE STAFF ENTRANCE
The backpacks moved to a new address!
Phone 66 75 18
WELCOME TO THE BLOCK OF HAPPY DAUGHTERS-IN-LAW!
POTS AND PANS SIZZLE, YOU
COME TO SHU TO GET FOOD
CL-OS-E AFTER Y-OU!
WATER IS FOR DRINKING
NOT FOR WASHING