Artificial 'language for everyone' failed to bring world peace, but is still used around the world, Bulgaria included
The name, Rachenitsa, may be too difficult for a foreigner to remember or pronounce, but you have probably seen it as a crude copy on the wall of a traditional restaurant, as a reproduction or a souvenir, or in the original in the National Gallery of Art. It is an image that stays in the mind. In a brightly-lit, austere tavern, a pair of men in traditional Bulgarian costume dance, surrounded by onlookers. Rachenitsa is a horo popular all over Bulgaria and is usually danced by one or two men, not holding hands, but on their own. Famous for its difficulty and the stamina required, in the olden times it was used as a competition between rival parties.
Straight streets intersecting at right angles: Stara Zagora, a southern Bulgarian city of 150,000, is the only one of its type in Bulgaria. It is the result of a tragedy and a necessity. In the 1877-1878 Russo-Turkish War, Stara Zagora was razed to the ground after a vicious battle. Rebuilding began in 1878 according to a plan by an Austro-Hungarian architect.
Surprising for a country that is proud of its 1,300-year history, just a few tombs of its grand kings have been identified with certainty.
Bulgaria has not changed its name since its founding in 681, as if the 200-year Byzantine and the 500-year Ottoman rule never happened, but the list of the preserved and known graves of its rulers makes for an extremely short paragraph in its long history.
An easy drive from Sofia, nestled deep in the leafy Sredna Gora mountains, Koprivshtitsa has all the elements of an exemplary Revival Period experience. The surrounding landscape is all high slopes, lush forests and meadows. Beautiful 200-year-old mansions line cobbled streets. Old stone bridges span the local river. Charming old water fountains, their worn inscriptions still legible, are here, there and everywhere. Koprivshtitsa's history is also captivating, as this was where the April Uprising of 1876 began.