What first attracts your attention in a Bulgarian Revival Period church? The architecture? The silver-haloed icons of the Virgin Mary? The elaborate carvings of the icon doors? These may all be astonishing, but have you noticed the river of fire, on the outside western wall of most of the churches, flowing towards the gaping mouth of a dragon-like monster? Have you bent to see in detail the devils in the flames? Have you wondered what were the crimes of the sinners they torture?
One of the greatest problems a visitor to Bulgaria faces is what to bring home as a souvenir. On the surface, one is spoilt for choice. The tiny streets of traditional towns like Nesebar, the stalls at folklore festivals and the souvenir shops in large cities are all crammed with merchandise.
In most European countries, licensing cars is a pretty straightforward business. Number plates usually reflect the year of the first registration, or the province where the car's owner resides, or sometimes they give out nothing at all except a unique combination of letters and numbers detectable by the traffic authorities and the police.
The Bulgarian State Security used every chance to pick up at the West – sometimes quite hilariously (although the comrades were dead serious)
Paper steaks, troubled potatoes and old men from Bansko feature heavily in Bulgarian cuisine. A matter of language, really
For Bulgarians, running away from their abominable Bay Ganyo is like running away from their shadows