Issue 183-184 https://www.vagabond.bg/index.php/ en DR NELI DJURKOVA: THE SECRET OF A BEAUTIFUL SMILE https://www.vagabond.bg/index.php/dr-neli-djurkova-secret-beautiful-smile-3278 <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">DR NELI DJURKOVA: THE SECRET OF A BEAUTIFUL SMILE</span> <div class="field field--name-field-author-name field--type-string field--label-hidden field__item">interview by Aneta Doncheva, Carrot Solutions; photography by Iliya Dimitrov</div> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/index.php/user/251" lang="" about="/index.php/user/251" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">DimanaT</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Tue, 12/28/2021 - 19:28</span> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-subtitle field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><h3>Aligners are the best way to straighten your teeth without anyone noticing, says orthodontist Dr Neli Djurkova</h3> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="images-container clearfix"> <div class="image-preview clearfix"> <div class="image-wrapper clearfix"> <div class="field__item"> <div class="overlay-container"> <span class="overlay overlay--colored"> <span class="overlay-inner"> <span class="overlay-icon overlay-icon--button overlay-icon--white overlay-animated overlay-fade-top"> <i class="fa fa-plus"></i> </span> </span> <a class="overlay-target-link image-popup" href="/index.php/sites/default/files/2021-12/dr%20nely%20djurkova%20art%20dent%20clinic.jpg"></a> </span> <img loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/2021-12/dr%20nely%20djurkova%20art%20dent%20clinic.jpg" width="1000" height="667" alt="dr nely djurkova art dent clinic" title="dr nely djurkova art dent clinic" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field uk-text-bold uk-margin-small-top uk-margin-medium-bottom field--name-field-image-credits field--type-string field--label-hidden field__item">Dr Nely Djurkova, Art Dent Clinic</div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p>When beautiful and healthy smile is concerned, Dr Neli Djurkova is one of the best specialists around to ask for advice and help. She is the second postgraduate from Bulgaria to study and graduate in the prestigious Faculty of Dental Medicine at the Tel Aviv University, Israel. Now she is mother of three and one of the leading orthodontists in Bulgaria. Dr Djurkova has rich experience in invisible orthodontic treatment and is one of the four Platinum Elite Invisalign Providers in Bulgaria. She works not only in Plovdiv, but also Veliko Tarnovo.</p> <p><strong>Dr Djurkova, how did you decide to become an orthodontist?</strong></p> <p>My father is a gastroenterologist and my mother is an orthodontist, but they have never insisted that I should follow their path. However, as a child, I used to frequently go with my mother to the Dental Faculty of Plovdiv's Medical University. The desire to become a dentist came naturally to me. I started taking lessons very early, probably two years before the entry exams at the Medical University. I was accepted with top grades, I am still proud with this achievement.</p> <p>Of course, I owe a lot to my parents, who built their names and careers from scratch and are now established professionals. I have never used their contacts to advance my own career, but I value what I learnt from them and I realize how important the environment I grew up in affected my life. When you are dedicated to medicine, you take your job as a cause, as something that transcends what happens in the dental office from 8 to 5. This, to a significant degree, influenced my choice of profession.</p> <p><img alt="Dr Neli Djurkova Art Dent Clinic" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" id="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/183-184/dr%20neli%20djurkova%20secret%20of%20beautiful%20smile/dr%20nely%20djurkova%20art%20dent%20clinic%202.jpg" title="Dr Neli Djurkova Art Dent Clinic" /></p> <p>I did not have a second thought about enrolling at Plovdiv's Medical University, but as a student at the Dental Faculty I needed some time before choosing orthodontics as my specialty. I fell in love with this field in dentistry in my third and fourth year.</p> <p><strong>How did you become a postgraduate in Tel Aviv?</strong></p> <p>The summer after I graduated the Medical University, together with Dr Vasil Angelov, my boyfriend at that time and now my husband, I went on a vacation to Israel. We visited the Tel Aviv University and were impressed by it. But studying there was too expensive. A year later my parents asked me if I really wanted to study in Israel. When I said yes, they promised to do everything possible to fulfill my dream. I applied. The selection process is very competitive, a lot of candidates apply for just five places.</p> <p><strong>What is the most valuable experience you gained in Israel?</strong></p> <p>The fact that there are many professors aged from 30 to 90 years, as people there live long and stay active even in old age. This allows students to witness how the different generations think and perceive the same problem and gives a better perspective on the profession.</p> <p>We also had regular weekly case analysis. Everyone – professors and students, would sit together and share their opinion. This shows you that it is possible to have radically different opinions on how to treat a case, and that they all could be right. It teaches you that you can achieve the same result with different means and approaches. These Thursdays were the most valuable days in my four years at the Tel Aviv University.</p> <p><strong>What was your greatest challenge during your studies in Tel Aviv?</strong></p> <p>I did not only study and practice there. In Israel, I gave birth to two of my children. This brought great happiness in my life, but it was also a personal challenge for me as in Israel, unlike Bulgaria, maternity leave for me as a student was just 3 weeks. I had to care for a newborn, and then for a toddler and another newborn, while studying. I also had to commute an hour and a half in each direction to the university.</p> <p><strong>What does it mean to be one of the only four orthodontists in Bulgaria holding the prestigious title Platinum Elite Invisalign Provider?</strong></p> <p>This is a recognition for my rich experience with the Invisalign system for so-called invisible orthodontics. To patients who seek professionals with proven experience in aligner treatment, or invisible braces as they are colloquially known, the title is a major factor when choosing an orthodontist.</p> <p>Luckily, modern technologies and medicine have made orthodontic work easier; to patients they save time and spare discomfort. For example, for several years we have worked with the high-technology iTero Element scanner. With it, in a few minutes we can create a 3D visualization of the teeth's current condition and position. The scanner makes a digital imprint and spares the patients the unpleasant feeling associated with the traditional method of dental impression making. It saves time for the manufacture of the aligners while its precision allows us to provide more precise treatment, too.</p> <p><img alt="Dr Neli Djurkova Art Dent Clinic" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" id="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/183-184/dr%20neli%20djurkova%20secret%20of%20beautiful%20smile/dr%20nely%20djurkova%20art%20dent%20clinic%205.jpg" title="Dr Neli Djurkova Art Dent Clinic" /></p> <p><strong>Invisible orthodontic treatment is very discrete. Does it have other advantages?</strong></p> <p>It is very convenient. When I returned to Bulgaria, I was my own first patient. I wanted to know from personal experience what patients could expect from the treatment with the system. Aligners spare the patient the unpleasant feeling of having food stuck in the braces.</p> <p>Invisalign treatment has many advantages:</p> <ul><li>Invisible;</li> <li>Removable;</li> <li>No diet restrictions – patients can eat and drink all their favourite foods;</li> <li>Easy maintenance, brushing teeth and flossing like usual;</li> <li>No emergency visits in the clinic;</li> <li>Very suitable for patients with periodontal disease, teeth are moving only 0.25 mm per aligner and in severe cases, this movement can be controlled or slowed down;</li> <li>Regular visits in the clinic for check-up is once in 8-10 weeks.</li> </ul><p><img alt="before invisalign treatment" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" id="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/183-184/dr%20neli%20djurkova%20secret%20of%20beautiful%20smile/before%20tooth%20alignment%20art%20dent%20clinic%20bulgaria.jpg" title="before invisalign treatment" /></p> <p class="text-align-center"><em>A patient with severely misaligned teeth on the upper and lower jaw before and after one-year treatment with Invisalign </em></p> <p><img alt="after invisalign treatment" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" id="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/183-184/dr%20neli%20djurkova%20secret%20of%20beautiful%20smile/after%20tooth%20alignment%20art%20dent%20clinic%20bulgaria.jpg" title="after invisalign treatment" /></p> <p><strong>Let's talk about Art Dent Clinic, which was founded in 2015.</strong></p> <p>We are proud that we offer a complex service thanks to the narrow specialists in each field of dentistry that work at Art Dent Clinic. We offer this because we want to provide our patients with the comfort to receive in one place all services connected to oral health and dental aesthetics. My mother and I specialize in orthodontics, and Dr Angelov is in charge of the dental treatments that are not part of ortho, such as periodontics, prosthodontics and aesthetic medicine. At Art Dent Clinic we also work with an endodontist (specialist in root canal treatment), a surgeon and a doctor who takes care of the youngest patients. We do not insist that our patients undergo all types of treatment in our clinic, but for our team it is important to be able to provide a complex service. We offer the full range of oral and dental health and aesthetic services, and we can guarantee the quality of each of those.</p> <p>As you might probably guess, the name Art Dent was inspired by our family's love for art. In our clinic we have a lot of paintings, because Art Dent combines the art of painting with the art of orthodontics and dentistry. It brings together aesthetics from two different fields.</p> <p><strong>Art Dent Clinic recently introduced a new service – online consultation. What is it?</strong></p> <p>Our online consultation is for patients who need orthodontic treatment but live abroad or far from Plovdiv. For now, the service has been popular with Bulgarian expats who visit the country several times in the year. We can also consult foreigners.</p> <p>Thanks to modern technologies, during the online consultation we explain to our patients what is the treatment process, how do aligners look and work, what they can expect during the treatment and what results are realistically achievable. As we need to have a preliminary idea on the patients' current condition, when they make an appointment for an online consultation, we send them instructions on how to take photos of their teeth. We examine these photos carefully before our first meeting. We answer their questions and collect all the information that we need for the correct assessment of their condition and the best way for their treatment.</p> <p>This saves to patients valuable time and costs as they do not need to travel for this first consultation. Of course, when real treatment starts, they have to visit the clinic as we need to make the most correct assessment of their condition and the orthodontic deviation in order to prepare a precise and effective treatment plan.</p> <p><strong>You have extensive experience with patients in Bulgaria and Israel. What do you think about general dental culture in Bulgaria?</strong></p> <p>Unlike most countries in the developed world, in Bulgaria, dental prophylaxis is not obligatory every six months and orthodontic treatment is not covered by the national healthcare system.</p> <p>In Bulgaria there are people who diligently care of their dental health, but there are many who have completely neglected their teeth. They do not clean their tartar, their periodontic condition is very bad.</p> <p>Despite this, I see some general progress as more people try to be informed and to take better care of themselves. The problem is the lack of state policy promoting regular check-ups. If this happens, fewer people will need implant and prostheses treatment, and a significant part of total tooth loss cases will be avoided.</p> <p><strong>What brings you satisfaction at the end of the workday?</strong></p> <p>I feel great satisfaction when I see every day on photos how our patients' treatment progresses. At Art Dent Clinic it is a standard practice to take photos of patients' teeth each visit, to follow their progress. At the end of the workday, I sit at my desktop and input there all the photos we have received for the day. I am still hesitant to leave this task to our assistants, as it brings me satisfaction from our efforts to fix our patients' teeth. Such moments bring value to our work and profession. Every orthodontist is proud to see how they have improved the dental health and appearance, and the confidence of the patients who have trusted them.</p> <p>I have a colleague in Israel, who I befriended during my studies there. We often discuss our difficult cases and achievements.</p> <p><strong>How do you relax after a busy workday?</strong></p> <p>With yoga and regular meditation. For me, this is the most effective way to relax and recharge. </p> </div> <a href="/index.php/archive/issue-183-184" hreflang="en">Issue 183-184</a> <div class="field field--name-field-mt-post-category field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--entity-reference-target-type-taxonomy-term clearfix field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/index.php/interviews" hreflang="en">BULGARIA INTERVIEWS</a></div> </div> <section class="field field--name-comment field--type-comment field--label-above comment-wrapper"> <h2 class="title comment-form__title">Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3278&amp;2=comment&amp;3=comment" token="O6AP1cu9LZcFIzBdb7K0wsp0TEIT_W7xb9LMJT7yyx4"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Tue, 28 Dec 2021 17:28:24 +0000 DimanaT 3278 at https://www.vagabond.bg https://www.vagabond.bg/index.php/dr-neli-djurkova-secret-beautiful-smile-3278#comments BIG MACEDONIAN QUESTION https://www.vagabond.bg/index.php/big-macedonian-question-3277 <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">BIG MACEDONIAN QUESTION</span> <div class="field field--name-field-author-name field--type-string field--label-hidden field__item">text and photography by Anthony Georgieff</div> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/index.php/user/251" lang="" about="/index.php/user/251" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">DimanaT</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Tue, 12/28/2021 - 19:25</span> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-subtitle field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><h3>Why does Bulgaria continue to thwart North Macedonia's bid to join EU?</h3> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="images-container clearfix"> <div class="image-preview clearfix"> <div class="image-wrapper clearfix"> <div class="field__item"> <div class="overlay-container"> <span class="overlay overlay--colored"> <span class="overlay-inner"> <span class="overlay-icon overlay-icon--button overlay-icon--white overlay-animated overlay-fade-top"> <i class="fa fa-plus"></i> </span> </span> <a class="overlay-target-link image-popup" href="/index.php/sites/default/files/2021-12/king%20samuil%20statue%20bulgaria.jpg"></a> </span> <img loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/2021-12/king%20samuil%20statue%20bulgaria.jpg" width="1000" height="666" alt="king samuil statue bulgaria" title="king samuil statue bulgaria" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field uk-text-bold uk-margin-small-top uk-margin-medium-bottom field--name-field-image-credits field--type-string field--label-hidden field__item">King Samuil in Sofia</div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p>The "Macedonian Question" is one of those Balkan conundrums that even outsiders with more than just passing knowledge of the history and geography of the region can have trouble understanding. Because the troubles, the controversies and the historical and present-day injustices have accumulated to mind-boggling proportions it is impossible to detail them in a single magazine article. Here are some of the main points.</p> <p>What is now the Republic of North Macedonia is an ancient land but a very new state. It sprang from the ashes of former Yugoslavia in 1991, becoming the only former Yugoslav republic to cede from the federation without a war. Bulgaria, which had just shaken off 45 years of hardline Communism, was the first country to recognise its independence (tellingly, the second was Turkey and the third was Russia). Some EU states followed, but others did not. Notably, Greece objected to the name of the new republic, Macedonia, which Greece feared might imply territorial ambitions to the northern Greek province bearing the same name. It referred to the new state as the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, or FYROM. That was the name Skopje was known by by the international community – up until 2019, when Greece agreed to the more nuanced "North Macedonia."</p> <p>The name issue may have been at the heart of the former Yugoslav republic's dispute with Greece, but it was not all. Several generations of Macedonians had been taught that they have a great history different from both that of the Greeks and of the Bulgarians. They were, their school textbooks said, direct descendants of Alexander of Macedon popularly referred to as Alexander the Great.</p> <p>Though the ancient Greeks considered the Macedonians non-Greek, the modern Greeks see Alexander the Great a staple of their national identity. A statue of him on horseback stands in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki and the tomb of his father, Philip of Macedon, is in Vergina, also in today's Greece. The North Macedonians had to do away with Alexander and especially with the Star of Vergina, which used to be on their flag, but which the Greeks said belonged to them as it was discovered in Philip's tomb.</p> <p>Western readers will probably be already baffled but this is just the beginning of Macedonia's long-standing controversies.</p> <p>With Greece out of the way to EU recognition and ultimately accession, a new "enemy" appeared on Skopje's horizon.</p> <p>Though Bulgaria was the first to recognise the former Yugoslav's republic independence it vehemently rejected the existence of a Macedonian language, which the Bulgarians say is a Bulgarian dialect, and – importantly – the existence of a Macedonian nation. To this day in Bulgaria you will be hard-pressed to find a translator from or to Macedonian. Statements by Skopje officials are rendered on Bulgarian TV without translation. Some people, especially in the western parts of Bulgaria, may have no trouble understanding spoken Macedonian, but the Bulgarians in the east find it very difficult if not impossible.</p> <p>Bulgaria has been adamant on the Macedonian question. No Macedonian identity, no Macedonian language, no "falsification" of Bulgarian history which the Macedonians claim as their own. Consequently, Bulgaria has blocked North Macedonia's bid to join the EU.</p> <p>What is the historical truth? You will hear very different stories depending on whom you talk with in Sofia or Skopje. One example: To the Bulgarians King Samuil, a medieval ruler who had his capital in Ohrid (in today's North Macedonia) was a great king of the First Bulgarian Kingdom. When he died, he was buried on the Agios Achillios isle (in today's Greece). To the Macedonians, King Samoil [sic] was a great ruler of the Macedonian Kingdom. His statue proudly adorns Skopje's central square. Was he a Bulgarian or a Macedonian?</p> <p><img alt="King Samoil in Skopje" class="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" id="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/183-184/big%20macedonian%20question/king%20samuil%20statue%20macedonia.jpg" title="King Samoil in Skopje" /></p> <p class="text-align-center"><em>King Samoil in Skopje</em></p> <p>When Bulgaria regained its independence from Ottoman rule in 1878, the historical region of Macedonia as well as other regions (notably Aegean Thrace) populated by ethnic Bulgarians were left outside Bulgaria proper. They would remain as part of the Ottoman Empire all the way to the Balkan Wars. For a brief time Bulgarian troops held over Macedonia in the 1910s. But Sofia lost most of it in the aftermath of the Balkan wars (1912-1913) and the First World War (1915-1918). In the latter Bulgaria sided with Germany, owing to the German promises it would help it regain... Macedonia.</p> <p>Bulgaria suffered heavily in the First World War. One of the most traumatic consequences of those times, which history textbooks still dub a "national catastrophe," was not in that Sofia had lost large areas of land, but in that huge amounts of people were displaced. Greeks and Turks left Bulgaria en masse. Thousands of ethnic Bulgarian refugees streamed into the country from Macedonia and Aegean Thrace. The followup "exchange of populations" had been endorsed by the Great Powers, but the scars of the actual human waves were too deep to heal.</p> <p>In the Second World War the Bulgarians made the same mistake. Sofia sided with Nazi Germany one of the main reasons being Hitler had persuaded the Bulgarians he would help them regain Macedonia and Aegean Thrace. Initially, Hitler did deliver. Bulgarian troops marched unopposed into what is now North Macedonia, northern Greece and southern Serbia. A Bulgarian caretaker administration was installed. The language of schooling became Bulgarian. The Bulgarian police were in charge. Bulgarian civil servants ran the local life. Sofia was quick to represent the "administration" as liberation. Many Macedonians saw it as "occupation."</p> <p>Infamously, the Bulgarians deported 11,343 Jews from the "New Territories," as the lands to the west and to the south were now officially referred to. These people were herded onto Bulgarian State Railways cattle cars, by Bulgarian troops and Bulgarian police, and transited through Bulgarian territory to the Bulgarian port of Lom on the River Danube, whence they were sent upriver to Vienna and on to the concentration camps. Very few of them survived.</p> <p>Once the war was over both Bulgaria and Yugoslavia became Communist states. Historical Macedonia straddled the Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, northern Greece (partially coinciding with the Greek province of Macedonia) and southwestern Bulgaria, the so-called Pirin Macedonia. In the early post-war years there was talk of setting up a federation with Yugoslavia. The people of Macedonia at that time were seen by Bulgaria as a distinct Macedonian nation. But Bulgaria's and Yugoslavia's top leaders soon quarrelled with each other. While Bulgaria's Georgi Dimitrov was a loyal Stalinist, Yugoslavia's Josip Broz Tito, who had fallen out with Moscow, chose his notorious "third way."</p> <p>At that time Yugoslavia set to work to create an even more distinct Macedonian identity. Linguists were employed to codify a new language, literary Macedonian. Historians started rewriting the history books. Staples of Bulgarian identity like the Miladinov Brothers, Gotse Delchev, Yane Sandanski and a plethora of others turned Macedonian.</p> <p>At that time the People's Republic of Bulgaria did nothing. It continued to encourage the Macedonian nationhood: elderly people in southwestern Bulgaria may still remember that in those days they had to put down "Macedonian" as their nationality in identity cards.</p> <p>The situation changed in the 1970s when Bulgarian nationalism was reawakened. The Communist leadership scrapped the "nationality" paragraph from identity documents altogether. Everyone in Bulgaria was now "Bulgarian." Sofia was preparing itself for the forcible Bulgarisation of ethnic Turks, which finally took place in the mid-1980 and presaged the fall of Bulgarian Communism in 1989. It went down in history as the "Revival Process."</p> <p>Against this background it is not difficult to see that generations of people both in Bulgaria and in North Macedonia feel very passionately about issues like language, history and identity. In fact, in many cases they feel more passionate about history, language and identity than they do about business, building roads and railways, and looking ahead.</p> <p>In more than one way this explains Bulgaria's current position regarding Macedonia. Sofia insists on several points and is adamant it will not budge unless all of them are fulfilled. It wants Macedonia to "admit" that the Macedonian language is nothing but a Bulgarian dialect and that the Macedonian nation has evolved from the Bulgarian. It wants Macedonia not to "falsify" history and to terminate the use of "hate speech" against Bulgaria (by the latter it means Nazi-allied Bulgarian occupying troops during the Second World War not be billed "fascist"). And it wants Skopje to officially recognise the existence of a Bulgarian "minority" in North Macedonia (Bulgaria itself has ignored a number of European Court of Human Rights rulings mandating it to acknowledge the existence of a Macedonian "minority" in Bulgaria).</p> <p>All of the above go well with the current sentiments of many Bulgarians, especially of those who in the past voted for Bulgarian political parties such as the United Front for the Liberation of Bulgaria, Ataka, and the VMRO, or Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organisation. They also go down very well with the demands of the extremist Vazrazhdane, or Revival, political grouping that is now represented in the National Assembly in Sofia.</p> <p>From the standpoint of Sofia the Bulgarian demands to North Macedonia make sense. From the standpoint of Skopje North Macedonia's refusal to comply with them also makes sense. But from the standpoint of the EU, which North Macedonia wants to join but is being blocked by Bulgaria, demands about "recognition" of medieval rulers and linguistic disputes have clearly nothing to do with the political and economic realties of the 21st century. They belong to the Middle Ages and to the language textbooks respectively. They cannot be used to further current political agendas.</p> <p>"Old Europe," as the original (non-former East bloc) members of the European community were known as have had a fair share of similar disputes as well. Think the Basque Country and Catalonia, consider the Czechs, Slovaks and Moravians. Think Sudetenland in the more distant past, and of the differences between Norwegian and Danish further back. All of those have either been ironed out and settled for good, or at least are not being used to justify current policies. "Non-falsification of history" and "linguistic unity" have never been conditions for gaining membership of the EU – or of any other international organisation. Rule of law, respect for human rights and specific economic requirements are.</p> <p>Obviously, Bulgaria does not see it that way.</p> <p>A few days after the new Bulgarian government stepped in office Prime Minister Kiril Petkov indicated there was going to be an U-turn regarding North Macedonia. The issue could be solved "within six months," he said. Kiril Petkov will be in for a rough ride on this because he will have to face not just extremist political parties but also many ordinary Bulgarians who consider themselves to be of Macedonian stock about 10 generations back. It would be difficult to convince them that the EU is actually not about the past but about the present. It is about political and economic integration not about medieval history, Balkan wars or language fidelity. If a sufficient number of Bulgarians were to realise that Kiril Petkov's job would actually become very easy. </p> </div> <a href="/index.php/archive/issue-183-184" hreflang="en">Issue 183-184</a> <a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/291" hreflang="en">North Macedonia</a> <div class="field field--name-field-mt-post-category field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--entity-reference-target-type-taxonomy-term clearfix field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/index.php/forum/politics" hreflang="en">BULGARIA POLITICS</a></div> </div> <section class="field field--name-comment field--type-comment field--label-above comment-wrapper"> <h2 class="title comment-form__title">Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3277&amp;2=comment&amp;3=comment" token="zcQevNEwODWF-ARdbBfcPljej1-CeqkzP9sQVHch1_M"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Tue, 28 Dec 2021 17:25:50 +0000 DimanaT 3277 at https://www.vagabond.bg https://www.vagabond.bg/index.php/big-macedonian-question-3277#comments HYPOCRISY AD INFINITUM https://www.vagabond.bg/index.php/hypocrisy-ad-infinitum-3276 <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">HYPOCRISY AD INFINITUM</span> <div class="field field--name-field-author-name field--type-string field--label-hidden field__item">by Stamen Manolov</div> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/index.php/user/251" lang="" about="/index.php/user/251" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">DimanaT</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Tue, 12/28/2021 - 19:22</span> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-subtitle field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><h3>A short video has been circulating in the Bulgarian media lately</h3> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="images-container clearfix"> <div class="image-preview clearfix"> <div class="image-wrapper clearfix"> <div class="field__item"> <div class="overlay-container"> <span class="overlay overlay--colored"> <span class="overlay-inner"> <span class="overlay-icon overlay-icon--button overlay-icon--white overlay-animated overlay-fade-top"> <i class="fa fa-plus"></i> </span> </span> <a class="overlay-target-link image-popup" href="/index.php/sites/default/files/2021-12/joke%20of%20the%20month.jpg"></a> </span> <img loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/2021-12/joke%20of%20the%20month.jpg" width="1000" height="515" alt="joke of the month.jpg" title="The 29-year-old Changes Continued MP struts and frets his minute upon the stage..." typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field uk-text-bold uk-margin-small-top uk-margin-medium-bottom field--name-field-image-credits field--type-string field--label-hidden field__item">The 29-year-old Changes Continued MP struts and frets his minute upon the stage</div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p>The video, shot in the National Assembly, shows an young MP for the ruling Changes Continued political party who takes up the rostrum to make a statement to the house and then... forgets what he was about to do.</p> <p>Radoslav Vasilev, an MP for Radnevo (in southern Bulgaria), starts speaking in accented Bulgarian about the energy crisis. He makes a reference to the "past 12 years," then stutters. Then he picks up again with a few incoherent words, then stutters again. "I meant... I wanted to say... Sorry," Vasilev spews out and leaves the stage under the unabashed laughter of Boyko Borisov's GERB MPs.</p> <p>It was a sorry scene showing that being 29 years of age and having studied economy is not enough to make you a politician or, indeed, a good public speaker. Changes Continued should probably think about brushing up their public speech skills and employ good media advisers if they do not want to become the butt of jokes, which Radoslav Vasilev already did.</p> <p><img alt="joke of the month" class="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" id="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/183-184/joke%20of%20the%20month/joke%20of%20the%20month%202.jpg" title="joke of the month" /></p> <p class="text-align-center"><em>...while GERB's brass gleefully boo him </em></p> <p>The joke was not the uncouth MP for Changes Continued, however. The real joke were those gloating GERB MPs who laughed at Vasilev and ridiculed him. Anyone, even the most experienced politician, can err in front of a hostile audience. Those same GERB MPs had no trouble kowtowing to their Boyko Borisov with his outrageous outburst in the course of 12 years. They did not mind his on- and off-stage pronouncements about the former speaker of parliament, whom he billed a "stupid c*nt from Kardzhali," nor his animosity to President Rumen Radev, who according to the former prime minister needed a "pi*zle up his a*s." They did not dare question the gold ingots in the former prime minister's bedroom. They never ridiculed the burly strongman who administered "small beef steaks" to a police dog – speaking at a child murder scene. And they just looked the other way when Boyko Borisov referred to God as "the big boss."</p> <p>There have been plenty of instances of this kind of double standards under Boyko Borisov's GERB. Booing down the 29-year-old Changes Continued MP indicated GERB's hypocrisy may be just ad infinitum.</p> </div> <a href="/index.php/archive/issue-183-184" hreflang="en">Issue 183-184</a> <div class="field field--name-field-mt-post-category field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--entity-reference-target-type-taxonomy-term clearfix field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/index.php/fun/joke-of-the-month" hreflang="en">JOKE OF THE MONTH</a></div> </div> <section class="field field--name-comment field--type-comment field--label-above comment-wrapper"> <h2 class="title comment-form__title">Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3276&amp;2=comment&amp;3=comment" token="6Ft5PzlP_8XO-_md8726rOFKaXyDEkV1sgG693yPA34"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Tue, 28 Dec 2021 17:22:55 +0000 DimanaT 3276 at https://www.vagabond.bg https://www.vagabond.bg/index.php/hypocrisy-ad-infinitum-3276#comments DARK TALES IN BELENE https://www.vagabond.bg/index.php/dark-tales-belene-3275 <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">DARK TALES IN BELENE</span> <div class="field field--name-field-author-name field--type-string field--label-hidden field__item">by Dimana Trankova; photography by Anthony Georgieff</div> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/index.php/user/251" lang="" about="/index.php/user/251" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">DimanaT</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Tue, 12/28/2021 - 19:13</span> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-subtitle field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><h3>Communist Bulgaria's most notorious political prison still stands</h3> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="images-container clearfix"> <div class="image-preview clearfix"> <div class="image-wrapper clearfix"> <div class="field__item"> <div class="overlay-container"> <span class="overlay overlay--colored"> <span class="overlay-inner"> <span class="overlay-icon overlay-icon--button overlay-icon--white overlay-animated overlay-fade-top"> <i class="fa fa-plus"></i> </span> </span> <a class="overlay-target-link image-popup" href="/index.php/sites/default/files/2021-12/communism%20bulgaria%20political%20prison%20belene.jpg"></a> </span> <img loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/2021-12/communism%20bulgaria%20political%20prison%20belene.jpg" width="1000" height="667" alt="communism bulgaria political prison belene.jpg " title="communism bulgaria political prison belene" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field uk-text-bold uk-margin-small-top uk-margin-medium-bottom field--name-field-image-credits field--type-string field--label-hidden field__item">An unfinished monument to the camp&#039;s victims rises over the prison&#039;s remains</div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p>Belene is a backwater of a town on the Bulgarian bank of the River Danube. It is inhabited by less than 8,000 people. Yet, for more than one reason, its name is known to all Bulgarians.</p> <p>To some, it is the location of a planned nuclear power plant whose failure to materialise illustrates how corruption and incompetence in post-Communist Bulgaria can ruin what was to become a major power engineering project. To others, it is synonymous with the most atrocious crimes of the former Communist regime.</p> <p>To understand the place that Belene has held in the Bulgarian consciousness for decades, we need to go back to the first years after the 9 September 1944 Soviet-backed Communist coup swept over Bulgaria. One of the first things the Bulgarian Communist Party had to do as it strengthened its grip over Bulgarian society and the economy was to "deal" with its real or imaginary opposition.</p> <p><img alt="Communist political prison Belene" class="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" id="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/183-184/dark%20tales%20in%20belene%20political%20prison/communism%20bulgaria%20political%20prison%20belene%20ruins.jpg" title="Communist political prison Belene" /></p> <p>Fully in keeping with the Stalinist commandment of the day, the Bulgarian Communists considered an enemy everyone who wasn't a friend. "Bourgeois" intellectuals and politicians from the dismantled democratic parties, high school and university students, and farmers refusing to give up their lands for forcible collectivisation were among the perceived foes. Others included former military and police officers, entrepreneurs whose businesses and properties were nationalised, anarchists and even leftists who had become disgruntled with the new rulers. Then there was the clergy. Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholics, Protestants and Muslims were seen as subversives or spies. As this is the Balkans, the personal element always came first. The perceived "enemy groups" were enlarged, often completely arbitrarily, to include anyone some new Communist ruler disliked – or whose property he had eyed.</p> <p>In the first weeks after 9 September, many people who belonged to the tsarist regime were just killed without a court trial. In 1945 the so-called People's Court sentenced thousands to either death or long prison sentences. Though the People's Court was endorsed by the victorious Great Powers, its proceedings in Communist Bulgaria often did not even have a semblance to a proper legal process. As a result both people directly responsible for Bulgaria's alliance with Nazi Germany and people who had nothing to do with it were sentenced alongside each other. The Communists did not discern between victim and victimiser.</p> <p><img alt="Belene prison bridge" class="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" id="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/183-184/dark%20tales%20in%20belene%20political%20prison/communism%20bulgaria%20political%20prison%20belene%20danube.jpg" title="Belene prison bridge" /></p> <p class="text-align-center"><em>A notorious pontoon bridge connects the Island of Persin to the mainland</em></p> <p>Not even that was enough. The obvious solution, the Bulgarian Communists had learned from their mentors in the USSR, was to set up prison camps for whoever they considered a political opponent.</p> <p>The first camp for political prisoners in Communist Bulgaria was opened as early as January 1945. Over the next few years, several new facilities were inaugurated. With a few interruptions, the political prisons system in Bulgaria operated until 1962. It was modelled almost entirely on the Soviet Gulag. In fact the only difference between what went on in the USSR and its Bulgarianised version was the size of it.</p> <p>There is no precise data, but it is thought that from 1944 to 1953 about 12,000 people spent time in these camps. Between 1956 and 1962 that number was an estimated 5,000. There were a total of about 40 labour camps of this kind in Bulgaria.</p> <p><img alt="Elizabeth Kostova" class="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" id="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/183-184/dark%20tales%20in%20belene%20political%20prison/communism%20bulgaria%20elizabeth%20kostova.jpg" title="Elizabeth Kostova" /></p> <p class="text-align-center"><em>The political prison in Belene was featured in several novels about 20th century Bulgaria, including </em>Solo<em> (2009) by British-Indian writer Rana Dasgupta and </em>Shadow Land<em> (2018) by American bestselling author Elizabeth Kostova</em></p> <p>Today the locations of most of those have been forgotten. Yet the name of one of them has become the symbol of all: the camp on Persin Island in the Danube River, near Belene.</p> <p>Belene was the most notorious political prison in Bulgaria. The first inmates arrived in 1949, when the Communist Party fought not only against its obvious opponents, but also with "enemies with a party ticket" – a concept directly lifted from the Soviet Union to designate a comrade who had fallen out of favour.</p> <p>Like the Gulag system in the Soviet Union, the location of Belene was chosen to be out of sight. It was on the outskirts of the country and on the outskirts of life. Even if anyone managed to escape from the island, the only place they could go to was Communist Romania – from where they would be sent back instantly.</p> <p><img alt="Belene political prison" class="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" id="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/183-184/dark%20tales%20in%20belene%20political%20prison/communism%20bulgaria%20political%20prison%20belene%20remains.jpg" title="Belene political prison" /></p> <p class="text-align-center"><em>The sinister notoriety of the former labour camp surpass what is left of it </em></p> <p>At the end of 1949 there were about 4,500 political prisoners in Bulgaria, 800 of whom were in Belene. In 1950 a decision was made to "concentrate" all political prisoners at Belene and by the end of that year the camp had 2,348 inmates. Some of Belene's famous inmates included the last Bulgarian prime minister before the Communist coup, Konstantin Muraviev, as well as the politician Stoycho Moshanov. The camp was run by State Security.</p> <p>Belene was officially shut down in 1953, after Stalin's death and the subsequent thaw. Some of the inmates were freed, but the rest – about half of the camp's population – remained in detention.</p> <p>The failed Hungarian Revolution of 1956 played a significant role regarding the Belene camp and the fate of Bulgaria's political prisoners. Fearing the emergence of an organised opposition at home, Todor Zhivkov, who had just become the de facto ruler of Bulgaria, ordered the reopening of the Belene prison. It remained active until 1959, and when it was closed some of its inmates were sent to another, even harsher political prison near Lovech. Some of Belene's notoriously sadistic prison guards were relocated as well.</p> <p><img alt="belene political prison" class="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" id="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/183-184/dark%20tales%20in%20belene%20political%20prison/communism%20bulgaria%20political%20prison%20belene%20farm.jpg" title="Cow farm at Belene Prison " /></p> <p class="text-align-center"><em>Cow farm at Belene Prison </em></p> <p>Significantly, the overwhelming majority of people sent to Belene had not been tried in a court of law – not that a court of law in a hardline Communist state meant much. Belene was not officially considered a prison but a "correctional labour camp." A sentence was not needed. These people were disposed of by the feared State Security – often on mere allegations of "wrongdoing," which might have included telling political jokes or listening to Western music. Again, as this is the Balkans, the personal element came first. Some inmates had to endure the bestial conditions at Belene, or die there, simply because some Communist apparatchik had eyed their house – or their wife.</p> <p>Twenty-five years later, in 1985, Belene reopened again. About 500 men and women, mainly ethnic Turks, who protested against the forcible Bulgarisation campaign against Bulgaria's Turkish minority, were sent to Belene.</p> <p>As many as 10 percent of all Belene prisoners died. The scars that the camp at Belene left on the Bulgarian consciousness went far beyond its immediate effect on the prisoners and their families. Having a relative who had been in Belene was unspoken damnation. It affected the second and even third generation of former prisoners, preventing their sons and daughters from attending university or having a good career. The camp's name spread by word of mouth, whispered in fear, and would become a byword of being stigmatised for the rest of your life.</p> <p><img alt="belene island" class="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" id="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/183-184/dark%20tales%20in%20belene%20political%20prison/belene%20island.jpg" title="belene island" /></p> <p class="text-align-center"><em>Belene island tries to reinvent itself as a wildlife haven</em></p> <p>Stories of the horrors that had taken place at Belene began to emerge as soon as Communism collapsed in 1989. Most of them were real, some were exaggerated. Belene became one of the slogans of the inchoate anti-Communist movement.</p> <p>Attempts to bring some of the perpetrators to justice ensued. Those included some of the people who had given the orders as well as some low rank officials who had run the camp and done the actual beatings. None of those were sent to prison, often because there was no sufficient evidence. Some of them died in the course of their trials. One committed suicide.</p> <p>What was left was a lack of closure, a lingering trauma that continues to divide Bulgarian society as it is used, even in the 2020s, by various activists and "researchers" to suit current political purposes.</p> <p>Unlike other former East bloc countries that have turned Communist prisons into museums, Bulgaria has nothing of the kind. Persin Island is now an ordinary prison. The humble remains of the political camp – some crumbling dormitories and farm outhouses – are still there. The easiest way to visit them is during the annual commemoration of the victims of Communism organised by the Island of Belene Foundation. The only witnesses of the past are a memorial plaque and an unfinished monument to the victims of the camp.</p> <p><img alt="belene roadsign" class="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" id="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/183-184/dark%20tales%20in%20belene%20political%20prison/communism%20bulgaria%20political%20prison%20belene%20roadsign.jpg" title="belene roadsign" /></p> <p class="text-align-center"><em>To the prison or the nuclear power station? Street signs in Belene are thought-provoking</em></p> <p>For the ordinary people of Belene, who are old enough to remember, talking about what happened on the isle of Persin under Communism is difficult. Just like those who would in the 1930s-1940s live near Nazi camps, many of them claim they knew nothing about what was going on on their doorstep. And it is even more difficult for them to admit that in fact everyone who lived in Belene in those times had been trained to treat anyone suspicious, any unknown face in the neighbourhood, as a potential escapee – and turn them in. Tacit collaboration with the Communist masters was obligatory.</p> <p>Some of the worst aspects of Communism continue to live on in Belene in the 2010s and 2020s as illustrated by the following example.</p> <p>Belene is the home of a large Roman Catholic community, which has existed since the 17th century and whose life revolves around the church of the The Nativity of the Holiest Mother of God, built in 1860. The church is near the infamous pontoon bridge entrance of the prison and has a chapel dedicated to perhaps the best-known Catholic in Bulgaria, Bishop Evgeniy Bosilkov. He was sentenced to death and executed by the Communists in a trumped-up trial, in 1952. In 1998, he was beatified by the Pope. His blood-stained shirt is now exhibited in the chapel. The church is now run by an Italian priest, Father Paolo.</p> <p>Suspicion of if not outright hostility to outsiders continues to this day. In 2017 the town arose against the planned settlement of a family of Syrian refugees. The local government and the police looked on. The only person who stood up for the refugees' rights was... the Italian, Father Paolo. </p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-disclaimers field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--entity-reference-target-type-block-content clearfix field__item"> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><hr class="uk-divider-icon" /><p><a href="https://us4bg.org/?hl=en" target="_blank" title="AMERICA FOR BULGARIA FOUNDATION"><img alt="us4bg-logo-reversal.png" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/banners/AFB_LOGO.jpg" width="30%" class="align-left" /></a><strong>Vibrant Communities: Spotlight on Bulgaria's Living Heritage is a series of articles, initiated by Vagabond Magazine and realised by the Free Speech Foundation, with the generous support of the <a href="https://us4bg.org/" rel="noopener" target="_blank" title="America for Bulgaria Foundation">America for Bulgaria Foundation</a>, that aims to provide details and background of places, cultural entities, events, personalities and facts of life that are sometimes difficult to understand for the outsider in the Balkans. The ultimate aim is the preservation of Bulgaria's cultural heritage – including but not limited to archaeological, cultural and ethnic diversity. The statements and opinions expressed herein are solely those of the FSI and do not necessarily reflect the views of the America for Bulgaria Foundation or its affiliates.</strong></p> <p><strong>Подкрепата за Фондация "Фрий спийч интернешънъл" е осигурена от Фондация "Америка за България". Изявленията и мненията, изразени тук, принадлежат единствено на ФСИ и не отразяват непременно вижданията на Фондация Америка за България или нейните партньори.</strong></p> <hr class="uk-divider-icon" /></div> </div> <a href="/index.php/archive/issue-183-184" hreflang="en">Issue 183-184</a> <a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/221" hreflang="en">America for Bulgaria Foundation</a> <a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/223" hreflang="en">Communist Bulgaria</a> <a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/108" hreflang="en">Communism</a> <a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/250" hreflang="en">The Danube</a> <a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/280" hreflang="en">Bulgarian history</a> <div class="field field--name-field-mt-post-category field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--entity-reference-target-type-taxonomy-term clearfix field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/index.php/travel/vibrant-communities" hreflang="en">VIBRANT COMMUNITIES</a></div> </div> <section class="field field--name-comment field--type-comment field--label-above comment-wrapper"> <h2 class="title comment-form__title">Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3275&amp;2=comment&amp;3=comment" token="VuI-iwcAiSXX5nfuvfLIqNpUpmAD0tzqSDbLSRXEx3g"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Tue, 28 Dec 2021 17:13:10 +0000 DimanaT 3275 at https://www.vagabond.bg QUOTE-UNQUOTE https://www.vagabond.bg/index.php/quote-unquote-3274 <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">QUOTE-UNQUOTE</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/index.php/user/251" lang="" about="/index.php/user/251" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">DimanaT</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Tue, 12/28/2021 - 13:28</span> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-subtitle field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><blockquote> <p>You cannot have a wealthy country with low wages.</p> </blockquote> <p>Finance Minister <strong>Asen Vasilev</strong> on increasing social security payments</p> </div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><blockquote> <p>Dudes, you are not gods.</p> </blockquote> <p><strong>Toshko Yordanov</strong>, MP for There Is Such a People, to GERB who wanted a longer vacation in December and January on religious grounds</p> <blockquote> <p>Fulfilling all of our goals in the set timeframe will be hard, but we all realise that you can eat an elephant a bite at a time.</p> </blockquote> <p>Prime Minister <strong>Kiril Petkov</strong></p> <blockquote> <p>I will ban the State Railway bosses from using government cars. Let them travel by train.</p> </blockquote> <p>Transportation Minister <strong>Nikolay Sabev</strong></p> <blockquote> <p>The time of the authoritarian prime minister has ended.</p> </blockquote> <p>President <strong>Rumen Radev</strong></p> <blockquote> <p>The three-party coalition led by Stanishev left behind devastation, but we dealt with it. Oresharski's government left behind even bigger devastation, but we dealt with it, too. This government will cause a catastrophe.</p> </blockquote> <p>Former Prime Minister <strong>Boyko Borisov</strong></p> </div> <a href="/index.php/archive/issue-183-184" hreflang="en">Issue 183-184</a> <a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/261" hreflang="en">Boyko Borisov</a> <div class="field field--name-field-mt-post-category field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--entity-reference-target-type-taxonomy-term clearfix field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/index.php/fun/quote-unquote" hreflang="en">QUOTE-UNQUOTE</a></div> </div> <section class="field field--name-comment field--type-comment field--label-above comment-wrapper"> <h2 class="title comment-form__title">Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3274&amp;2=comment&amp;3=comment" token="gVFKptiwSOG2sSFVbdgK4N6tMWYYb50L4PN1OWg3_uY"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Tue, 28 Dec 2021 11:28:09 +0000 DimanaT 3274 at https://www.vagabond.bg https://www.vagabond.bg/index.php/quote-unquote-3274#comments QUIRKY ROCKS OF BULGARIA https://www.vagabond.bg/index.php/quirky-rocks-bulgaria-3273 <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">QUIRKY ROCKS OF BULGARIA</span> <div class="field field--name-field-author-name field--type-string field--label-hidden field__item">by Dimana Trankova; photography by Anthony Georgieff</div> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/index.php/user/251" lang="" about="/index.php/user/251" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">DimanaT</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Tue, 12/28/2021 - 13:15</span> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-subtitle field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><h3>In mountains or at sea sea, strange rocks add mystery to landscape</h3> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="images-container clearfix"> <div class="image-preview clearfix"> <div class="image-wrapper clearfix"> <div class="field__item"> <div class="overlay-container"> <span class="overlay overlay--colored"> <span class="overlay-inner"> <span class="overlay-icon overlay-icon--button overlay-icon--white overlay-animated overlay-fade-top"> <i class="fa fa-plus"></i> </span> </span> <a class="overlay-target-link image-popup" href="/index.php/sites/default/files/2021-12/petrified%20wedding.jpg"></a> </span> <img loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/2021-12/petrified%20wedding.jpg" width="1000" height="665" alt="Petrified Wedding in the Rhodope" title="Petrified Wedding in the Rhodope" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field uk-text-bold uk-margin-small-top uk-margin-medium-bottom field--name-field-image-credits field--type-string field--label-hidden field__item">Petrified Wedding in the Rhodope</div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p>The ability to spot visual patterns in seemingly chaotic landscapes, preferring false positives to false negatives, has been cruciвal for the survival of the human race. For thousands of years, those who lived long enough to pass on their genes to the next generation were the ones able to spot a lion hidden in a bush. Even when there was no lion at all.</p> <p>Today, we mostly use this subconscious skill to see Jesus's face on toast and to "read" clouds, tea leaves and coffee grounds. Strange rock formations are high on the list, too. Since time immemorial people have been fascinated by oddly shaped rocks and cliffs, seeing in them human faces and bodies, a menagerie of animals, or gods and devils petrified for eternity.</p> <p>Bulgaria has its fair share of strangely shaped rock formations that can turn any trip into a Rorschach test challenge. Many also come with legends to match.</p> <h4>Belogradchik</h4> <p><img alt="Belogradchik Rocks" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" id="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/183-184/quirky%20rocks%20bulgaria/belogradchik%20rocks.jpg" title="Belogradchik Rocks" /></p> <p>The red weathered Belogradchik Rocks cover an area about 30 km long and 3 km wide. Solitary or in groups, small or rising up to 200 m, they all have strange, imagination-provoking shapes.</p> <p>The formation of the Belogradchik Rocks began about 230 million years ago with the deposition of sandstone soils. Later, a sea appeared, adding to the detritus. The two layers merged into rock, and oxidised iron gave them their reddish colour. When the sea disappeared the sun, wind and rain sculpted the former sea bed into the phantasmagoric rock columns and pinnacles we see today.</p> <p>The locals have given names to the most outstanding formations of the Belogradchik Rocks. The Madonna indeed looks like a woman with a child, and Momina Skala, or Maiden Rock, reminds us of a girl's head. Some of the most imposing rock groups have legends attached, usually involving terror, envy, doomed love and dark passions.</p> <p>Monahinyata, or The Nun, for example is a petrified girl who bore a child after a secret affair with a monk. Borov Kamak, or Fir Stone, is a Bulgarian shepherd who used to go there every day and play the kaval, or wooden folk flute, while looking at the nearby Turkish farm where his beloved was kept as a concubine. The Schoolgirl and the Dervish rocks appeared after a Turkish dervish developed an unholy passion for a beautiful Bulgarian girl and lured her into an affair.</p> <p>In the past, people cherished the Belogradchik Rocks for practical reasons too. The Romans turned the highest and most spectacular rock group into a fortress, which was later strengthened and enlarged by the medieval Bulgarians and by the Ottomans.</p> <h4>Stone 'Mushrooms' of Beli Plast</h4> <p><img alt="stone mushrooms" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" id="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/183-184/quirky%20rocks%20bulgaria/stone%20mushrooms%20rhodope.jpg" title="stone mushrooms" /></p> <p>Beside the road close to the Rhodope village of Beli Plast there stands a group of stone "mushrooms." The most spectacular of them is 2.5 m tall. This phenomenon is the result of underwater volcanic activity, combined with erosion when the sea, which used to cover most of what is now the Rhodope mountains, withdrew.</p> <p>As with many strangely shaped rocks, the Stone Mushrooms became the stuff of legends. An old tale suggested that they were petrified Bulgarian girls who preferred death to falling into the hands of Ottoman invaders. A more recent one claims that the zeolite rock the natural phenomenon is made of has almost magical healing powers. You only need to put a small chunk of it into your drinking water and you'll be instantly cured, supposedly.</p> <h4>Stone 'Mushrooms' by Sini Rid village</h4> <p><img alt="stone mushrooms" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" id="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/183-184/quirky%20rocks%20bulgaria/stone%20mushroom%20bulgaria.jpg" title="stone mushrooms" /></p> <p>The three stone hoodoos by Sini Rid village, near Ruen in the eastern reaches of the Stara Planina mountain range, are among the lesser known phenomena of this kind in Bulgaria. They are up to 4 m tall and are the result of wind, water and time working on the soft limestone rocks.</p> <p>They are also the last remaining trace of the village of Dobrovan, which ceased to exist in 1963, and so they are also called the Dobrovanski Mushrooms.</p> <h4>Kaliakra</h4> <p><img alt="Kaliakra Cape" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" id="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/183-184/quirky%20rocks%20bulgaria/kaliakra%20cape.jpg" title="Kaliakra Cape" /></p> <p>There are two explanations about how the rocky, red Cape Kaliakra, which is the longest cape at the Black Sea, appeared. According to geologists, 11-12 million years ago limestone, corals and sandstone accumulated on the spot and were later carved by erosion into a 2 km long cape that is 66 m high. Earthquakes that shook the area from time to time contributed to the rugged appearance of the cape.</p> <p>Of course, there is a legend as well. It brings you to historical times, the early 15th century, when the Ottomans were closing in on the Kaliakra Fortress, the last unconquered piece of Bulgarian territory. St Nicholas was there and the Ottomans rushed to capture him. The saint ran towards the sea, praying to God as he went. With each step he took towards the abyss, new rock arose under his feet. The cape formation ended at the spot where St Nicholas collapsed, exhausted, and was killed. Today, a chapel on the tip of the peninsula is dedicated to him as his symbolic tomb.</p> <p>The more famous story about the Ottoman invasion of Kaliakra is even darker. Forty Bulgarian maidens braided their hair together and jumped from the cliffs, as they preferred death to capture.</p> <p>Today Cape Kaliakra is a peaceful place, frequented by tourists who want to experience its picture-perfect beauty and restored ancient and medieval fortifications.</p> <h4>Melnik Sand 'Pyramids'</h4> <p><img alt="Melnik sandstone pyramids" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" id="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/183-184/quirky%20rocks%20bulgaria/melnik%20sandstone%20pyramids.jpg" title="Melnik sandstone pyramids" /></p> <p>Bulgaria's smallest town combines the natural and the manmade in a surreal landscape of sand columns, pinnacles and buttes, and traditional houses, which may make you think you've been overindulging in the strong local wine.</p> <p>The sand "pyramids" in the Melnik area appeared recently, geologically speaking, and are in a constant state of flux as unstoppable erosion destroys old formations and creates new ones. Between 4 and 5 million years ago, a shallow lake was here. As the surrounding Pirin, Belasitsa and Ograzhden mountains rose, the lake dried up and left a 600-metre-thick deposit of clay and sandstone for the elements to play with. The result is the landscape of Melnik.</p> <p>The modern mind can now "see" a variety of shapes in the sand columns: from church spires and ships' prows to stone mushrooms. The erstwhile inhabitants of Melnik had other ideas: they carved wine cellar after wine cellar into the soft rocks.</p> <h4>Pobit Kamak</h4> <p><img alt="standing rock bulgaria" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" id="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/183-184/quirky%20rocks%20bulgaria/standing%20rock%20bulgaria.jpg" title="standing rock bulgaria" /></p> <p>The inhabitants of the Rhodope village of Pobit Kamak are bemused by tourists who arrive to photograph a lone rock standing in a meadow. For the locals, the rock is just that, a rock, in spite of the fact that their village is named after it: Pobit Kamak means Thumped Stone.</p> <p>Why are the tourists here? The rock, which probably evolved naturally, has become famous because of the rumour that it is one of Bulgaria's few manmade menhirs, erected by the ancient Thracians as a phallic symbol of their Great God.</p> <h4>Pobiti Kamani</h4> <p class="align-center"><span><img alt="standing rocks bulgaria" src="/sites/default/files/issues/183-184/quirky%20rocks%20bulgaria/standing%20rocks.jpg" /><span title="Click and drag to resize">​</span></span></p> <p>One of Bulgaria's most surreal landscapes is just a short drive from Varna. Extending over 600 acres, the Pobiti Kamani, or Thumped Stones, fit the name perfectly: among a windswept, sandy expanse dotted with shrubs stone pillar after stone pillar rise up. Most are relatively small, but some reach up to 7 m in height and three metres in diameter.</p> <p>These rock columns give the unnerving impression that they are manmade. In reality, they appeared millions of years ago, though how exactly remains unclear. Some say that they are the remains of primeval organisms: prehistoric coral reefs or petrified trees.</p> <p>A legend (most probably a recent one) claims that the rocks are the petrified bodies of giants. Seen from the air, they spell out the biggest secret in the universe: the true name of God. Do not try to do this, as you risk being petrified, just like the giants.</p> <h4>'Sphinx' at Sinemorets</h4> <p><img alt="Sphinx rock Bulgaria" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" id="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/183-184/quirky%20rocks%20bulgaria/spynx%20rock.jpg" title="Sphinx rock Bulgaria" /></p> <p>Located on and around a small cape, Sinemorets overlooks one of the most picturesque natural landscapes in Bulgaria. To the north of the cape, the Veleka River flows into the Black Sea in a spectacular manner: it first creates a shallow lake and then drains into the sea, squeezing between rocks and a sand spit.</p> <p>At the southern edge of the spit there is a rock formation. Look carefully, and you may discern in it a sphinx-like silhouette.</p> <p>Many visitors believe that this rock formation is somehow connected to the supposed tomb of the Egyptian goddess Bastet deep into the Strandzha mountains. Others believe that it is a petrified, but still active, oracle. Yet another group of people (one that should think hard about deeply ingrained colonialist cliches) thinks that the rock is a Native American chief who will make your wish come true if you leave some trinket at its foot. And then there are those who believe that the "Sphinx" is an energy vortex powered by the Great Goddess of the ancient Thracians. To soak up more of its supernatural power, they camp for a night at the spot.</p> <h4>Palikari Rocks at Sozopol</h4> <p><img alt="rock faces bulgaria" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" id="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/183-184/quirky%20rocks%20bulgaria/rock%20faces%20bulgaria.jpg" title="rock faces bulgaria" /></p> <p>Located by the seaside promenade at the northern part of Sozopol's Old Town (the one without a fake ancient fortress wall), the Palikari Rocks are one of the symbols of the city.</p> <p>Their name means a boy in Greek, the language that from Sozopol's foundation in the 7th century BC until the state-organised population exchanges in the 1920s used to dominate the local soundscape.</p> <p>The story of a local boy who loved diving from the rocks, exploring an underwater cave beneath, explains their name One day a storm arose. The boy was trapped in the cave, never to resurface again.</p> <p>A hint: If you know from where and when to look at the Palikari Rocks, you will discover that they quite convincingly resemble the Easter Island stone heads. </p> <h4>Tyulenovo Village</h4> <p><img alt="tyulenovo village rocks" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" id="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/183-184/quirky%20rocks%20bulgaria/yaylata%20plateau.jpg" title="tyulenovo village rocks" /></p> <p>The rock and cliffs near the village of Tyulenovo, north of Kavarna, form arguably the most picturesque part of the northern Bulgarian Black Sea coast. Coves and stone pillars, arches and hidden grottos chewed and beaten by the sea waves: the coast here looks as if it was made by a crazy superhuman sculptor on a particularly creative day.</p> <p>While other strangely shaped rocks have tragic legends explaining how they appeared, the Tyulenovo rocks have witnessed a real-life tragedy. Until the 1970s, the cliffs and hidden coves and caves were the home of a colony of monk seals (hence Tyulenovo, or Seal Village). By the late 1970s, the local fishermen had wiped out the seals because they damaged their nets. Now there are neither nets, nor seals.</p> <h4>Zimzelen</h4> <p><img alt="Petrified Wedding Bulgaria" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" id="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/183-184/quirky%20rocks%20bulgaria/petrified%20wedding%20bulgaria.jpg" title="Petrified Wedding Bulgaria" /></p> <p>One of the most popular rock phenomena in the Rhodope is the Vkamenena Svatba, or the Petrified Wedding. Close to Kardzhali, near the village of Zimzelen, it is just beside the road. The wind and water have carved the soft volcanic rock into a group of white conical columns. Among them, two reddish pillars stand out. According to legend, these are the petrified remains of a bride and a groom. The white stones around them are the rest of the wedding party.</p> <p>This is the story of how they all froze into eternity and into legend. While the wedding party was descending the slope on its way to the home of the groom, a gust of wind lifted the veil covering the bride's face. The father-in-law saw the beauty of the bride and an unholy passion overtook him. Enraged, God turned everyone to stone. Fit for a Roman Polanski movie.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-disclaimers field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--entity-reference-target-type-block-content clearfix field__item"> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><hr class="uk-divider-icon" /><p><a href="https://us4bg.org/?hl=en" target="_blank" title="AMERICA FOR BULGARIA FOUNDATION"><img alt="us4bg-logo-reversal.png" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/banners/AFB_LOGO.jpg" width="30%" class="align-left" /></a><strong>Vibrant Communities: Spotlight on Bulgaria's Living Heritage is a series of articles, initiated by Vagabond Magazine and realised by the Free Speech Foundation, with the generous support of the <a href="https://us4bg.org/" rel="noopener" target="_blank" title="America for Bulgaria Foundation">America for Bulgaria Foundation</a>, that aims to provide details and background of places, cultural entities, events, personalities and facts of life that are sometimes difficult to understand for the outsider in the Balkans. The ultimate aim is the preservation of Bulgaria's cultural heritage – including but not limited to archaeological, cultural and ethnic diversity. The statements and opinions expressed herein are solely those of the FSI and do not necessarily reflect the views of the America for Bulgaria Foundation or its affiliates.</strong></p> <p><strong>Подкрепата за Фондация "Фрий спийч интернешънъл" е осигурена от Фондация "Америка за България". Изявленията и мненията, изразени тук, принадлежат единствено на ФСИ и не отразяват непременно вижданията на Фондация Америка за България или нейните партньори.</strong></p> <hr class="uk-divider-icon" /></div> </div> <a href="/index.php/archive/issue-183-184" hreflang="en">Issue 183-184</a> <a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/221" hreflang="en">America for Bulgaria Foundation</a> <a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/248" hreflang="en">Nature</a> <a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/255" hreflang="en">Legends Bulgaria</a> <div class="field field--name-field-mt-post-category field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--entity-reference-target-type-taxonomy-term clearfix field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/index.php/travel/vibrant-communities" hreflang="en">VIBRANT COMMUNITIES</a></div> </div> <section class="field field--name-comment field--type-comment field--label-above comment-wrapper"> <h2 class="title comment-form__title">Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3273&amp;2=comment&amp;3=comment" token="8MlizHeCMJmPaoYWVrJqHcC4wKi4vjhRA99SAoUto_A"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Tue, 28 Dec 2021 11:15:47 +0000 DimanaT 3273 at https://www.vagabond.bg https://www.vagabond.bg/index.php/quirky-rocks-bulgaria-3273#comments BULGARIANS CELEBRATE EPIPHANY WITH... https://www.vagabond.bg/index.php/bulgarians-celebrate-epiphany-3272 <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">BULGARIANS CELEBRATE EPIPHANY WITH...</span> <div class="field field--name-field-author-name field--type-string field--label-hidden field__item">by Bozhidara Georgieva; photography by Anthony Georgieff</div> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/index.php/user/251" lang="" about="/index.php/user/251" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">DimanaT</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Tue, 12/28/2021 - 12:37</span> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-subtitle field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><h3>Think you know Bulgaria and the Bulgarians? Take our test to doublecheck</h3> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="images-container clearfix"> <div class="image-preview clearfix"> <div class="image-wrapper clearfix"> <div class="field__item"> <div class="overlay-container"> <span class="overlay overlay--colored"> <span class="overlay-inner"> <span class="overlay-icon overlay-icon--button overlay-icon--white overlay-animated overlay-fade-top"> <i class="fa fa-plus"></i> </span> </span> <a class="overlay-target-link image-popup" href="/index.php/sites/default/files/2021-12/epiphany%20bulgaria.jpg"></a> </span> <img loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/2021-12/epiphany%20bulgaria.jpg" width="999" height="666" alt="epiphany bulgaria.jpg" title="Christmas, Easter or Epiphany?" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field uk-text-bold uk-margin-small-top uk-margin-medium-bottom field--name-field-image-credits field--type-string field--label-hidden field__item">Christmas, Easter or Epiphany?</div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p><strong>1. The first census in modern Bulgaria ended on 1 January ...</strong></p> <p><strong>A. </strong>1913</p> <p><strong>B.</strong> 1944</p> <p><strong>C.</strong> 1881</p> <p><strong>2. What is a traditional winter dish in Bulgaria?</strong></p> <p><strong>A. </strong>Roast peppers</p> <p><strong>B.</strong> <em>Tarator</em> cold soup</p> <p><strong>C.</strong> Stuffed sauerkraut leaves</p> <p><strong>3. Which region abounds with ancient Thracian megaliths?</strong></p> <p><strong>A.</strong> The Northeast</p> <p><strong>B.</strong> The Rhodope</p> <p><strong>C.</strong> The Northwest</p> <p><strong>4. Who was the most Googled person in Bulgaria in 2021?</strong></p> <p><strong>A.</strong> Kiril Petkov</p> <p><strong>B.</strong> Maria Bakalova</p> <p><strong>C.</strong> Boyko Borisov</p> <p><strong>5. Where is Bulgaria's nuclear power plant?</strong></p> <p><strong>A.</strong> Kardzhali</p> <p><strong>B.</strong> Kavarna</p> <p><strong>C.</strong> Kozloduy</p> <p><strong>6. Bulgarians celebrate Epiphany with...</strong></p> <p><strong>A. </strong>Jumping in open waters</p> <p><strong>B. </strong>Making peony wreaths</p> <p><strong>C.</strong> Slaughtering a pig</p> <p><strong>7. The last letter in the Bulgarian alphabet is...</strong></p> <p><strong>A.</strong> я</p> <p><strong>B. </strong>ю</p> <p><strong>C.</strong> ж</p> <p><strong>8. Which of those is not a ski resort?</strong></p> <p><strong>A. </strong>Bansko</p> <p><strong>B.</strong> Sunny Beach</p> <p><strong>C. </strong>Pamporovo</p> <p><strong>9. Which city is located on the banks of the River Danube?</strong></p> <p><strong>A.</strong> Vidin</p> <p><strong>B.</strong> Varna</p> <p><strong>C. </strong>Veliko Tarnovo</p> <p><em>The correct answers to the questions:</em></p> <p><strong>1.</strong> - C; <strong>2.</strong> - C; <strong>3.</strong> - B;<strong> 4.</strong> - A; <strong>5. </strong>- C;<strong> 6.</strong> - A; <strong>7.</strong> - A;<strong> 8.</strong> - B; <strong>9.</strong> - A.</p> </div> <a href="/index.php/archive/issue-183-184" hreflang="en">Issue 183-184</a> <div class="field field--name-field-mt-post-category field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--entity-reference-target-type-taxonomy-term clearfix field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/index.php/fun/bulgaria-s-monthly-quiz" hreflang="en">BULGARIA&#039;S MONTHLY QUIZ</a></div> </div> <section class="field field--name-comment field--type-comment field--label-above comment-wrapper"> <h2 class="title comment-form__title">Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3272&amp;2=comment&amp;3=comment" token="gSLCqoY2gJBHI16H9UaKjW3XC0GROkot17AE0hOCE3k"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Tue, 28 Dec 2021 10:37:23 +0000 DimanaT 3272 at https://www.vagabond.bg https://www.vagabond.bg/index.php/bulgarians-celebrate-epiphany-3272#comments BULGARIA'S FIRST CAPITALS https://www.vagabond.bg/index.php/bulgarias-first-capitals-3271 <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">BULGARIA&#039;S FIRST CAPITALS</span> <div class="field field--name-field-author-name field--type-string field--label-hidden field__item">by Dimana Trankova; photography by Anthony Georgieff</div> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/index.php/user/251" lang="" about="/index.php/user/251" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">DimanaT</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Tue, 12/28/2021 - 12:30</span> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-subtitle field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><h3>Travel northeast to discover medieval beginnings</h3> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="images-container clearfix"> <div class="image-preview clearfix"> <div class="image-wrapper clearfix"> <div class="field__item"> <div class="overlay-container"> <span class="overlay overlay--colored"> <span class="overlay-inner"> <span class="overlay-icon overlay-icon--button overlay-icon--white overlay-animated overlay-fade-top"> <i class="fa fa-plus"></i> </span> </span> <a class="overlay-target-link image-popup" href="/index.php/sites/default/files/2021-12/palace%20remains.jpg"></a> </span> <img loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/2021-12/palace%20remains.jpg" width="1000" height="666" alt="palace remains" title="palace remains" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field uk-text-bold uk-margin-small-top uk-margin-medium-bottom field--name-field-image-credits field--type-string field--label-hidden field__item">The remains of Khan Krum&#039;s Palace in Pliska. Archaeologists believe this was the first stone building erected in the then Bulgarian capital. It was torched during a Byzantine raid, in 811, and was later restored by Khan Krum&#039;s successor, Khan Omurtag</div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p>If power and the economy were gravity, the gravitational centre of modern Bulgaria would be Sofia, where the population and the important agencies of the state, economy and culture are located. If we go back to the Middle Ages, when Bulgaria was still young, the country's centre of gravity would be elsewhere – in the northeast, close to the city of Shumen. There, the remains of Bulgaria's first capitals, Pliska and Preslav, still survive – next to an astonishing piece of medieval art, the Madara Horseman.</p> <p>Bulgaria was born in the late 7th century when the proto-Bulgarians, led by Khan Asparuh, crossed the Danube on their quest southwards. After a decisive battle with the Byzantines, he created a loose union with the Slavs and the Thracians who inhabited what is now the northeast of Bulgaria. This region was perfect for the new nation. It was fertile, pleasantly flat for the horse-riding Bulgars and protected by the Stara Planina mountain range.</p> <p>As the centuries went by, Bulgaria's fate oscillated between territorial gains under talented rulers, and defeat and stagnation caused by cunning Byzantine politics, coupled with never-ceasing internal strifes among the early Bulgarian noblemen. Monumental events came and went, changing history forever. Christianity was adopted in the 860s and the disciples of Cyril and Methodius, the creators of the Slavic alphabet, arrived soon thereafter.</p> <p><img alt="grand basilica pliska" class="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" id="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/183-184/bulgarias%20first%20capitals/grand%20basilica.jpg" title="grand basilica pliska" /></p> <p class="text-align-center"><em>The remains of the Great Basilica in Pliska were heavily restored under Communism. In the 2010s there were plans for "restoring" them even further in a bid to boost patriotism. The Great Basilica was the biggest church in early medieval Bulgaria, which adopted Christianity in the 860s</em></p> <p>In the early 11th century, Bulgaria fell to the Byzantines. For most of its existence, the northwest had remained the seat of rulers.</p> <p>Pliska was the first capital of the young Bulgarian nation. Founded by Khan Asparuh, it covered an area of about 6,000 acres. Protected by a rampart and a moat, it had an outer and an inner city, and a citadel. The size of the site indicates the need of the early Bulgarians, who were nomads, for enough space for their horses and their tents. The khan and his family lived in a wooden palace. After it was burned in 811 during a vicious siege by the Byzantine Emperor Nikephoros, Khan Krum built a grand palace of stone.</p> <p class="align-center"><span><img alt="khan krum skull wine" src="/sites/default/files/issues/183-184/bulgarias%20first%20capitals/skull%20wine%20cup.jpg" /><span title="Click and drag to resize">​</span></span></p> <p class="text-align-center"><em>A wax figure of Khan Krum represents the ruler in his most notorious moment, when he turned the skull of Byzantine Emperor Nicephorus, whose head he had cut off, into a wine chalice. Nicephorus invaded Pliska, in 811, and slaughtered its people. Krum's revenge was brutal. The Byzantine emperor was eventually defeated, killed and turned into table ware. The wax figure is showcased in a private museum in Pliska</em></p> <p>In 863, Pliska found itself at the centre of a historical event that still defines modern Bulgarians. Prince Boris adopted Christianity, forcing all of his people to follow suit. A grand basilica, thought to be the largest in the Balkans at that time, was built and soon the students of Cyril and Methodius were warmly welcomed in Pliska. The capital became the centre of the new Bulgarian clerical culture.</p> <p>There was, however, a backlash. Boris's successor went back to paganism, which forced the retired prince to leave his monastery and summon a council. Held in 893, the council took some important decisions. The erring prince was deposed and his young brother, the Byzantine-educated Simeon, took the throne. Bulgarian replaced Greek in the liturgy and Bulgarian priests, instead of Greeks, were from now on to serve in local churches. Pliska would be the capital no more. With a view to breaking with the pagan past, a new city was chosen for this role, nearby Preslav.</p> <p><img alt="Golden Church Preslav" class="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" id="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/183-184/bulgarias%20first%20capitals/golden%20church.jpg" title="Golden Church Preslav" /></p> <p class="text-align-center"><em>The heavily reconstructed ruins of the Golden Church at Preslav. When it was in use, in the 10th century, it was exquisitely adorned and was used by the king and his retinue</em></p> <p>Preslav was a beautiful city, as contemporary chronicles and the remains on site show, but it was significantly smaller than Pliska. Understandably so – the Bulgarians had settled down and now needed less space. The ambitious King Simeon waged a number of successful military campaigns, enlarging Bulgaria all the way from the Black Sea to the Adriatic and the Aegean, and spent lavishly on his capital. Exquisite churches were built and monasteries proliferated. However, Simeon's wars and his Golden Age exhausted Bulgaria's finances. After a long period of decline, Preslav was sacked twice, by the Russians in 970 and the Byzantines in 971. A time of conflict began. It lasted for decades, ending in 1018.</p> <p>Pliska and Preslav survived the destruction of Bulgaria's independence, and remained lively urban centres until the 12th-13th centuries. They, however, never reclaimed their glory. Gradually, they were abandoned, then forgotten. In the 1860s, their ruins were plundered for materials to construct the Ruse-Varna railway line. It was only in the early 20th century that researchers identified them as the locations where the first Bulgarian capitals used to be.</p> <p><img alt="Preslav fortification walls" class="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" id="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/183-184/bulgarias%20first%20capitals/presav%20fortification%20walls.jpg" title="Preslav fortification walls" /></p> <p class="text-align-center"><em>Reconstructed section of Preslav's fortification walls</em></p> <p>Today, both sites are on the tourist map. Bulgarian school kids are taken on obligatory bus tours to see them, and there is even in inchoate tourist industry. Importantly, in both cities, the remaining ruins are hardly a representation of the glory of the past. For the sake of making them more interesting and "inspiring" to modern tourists, reconstructions were built in the final years of Communism, when the fortifications and the Grand Basilica and the fortress of Pliska and the Golden Church of Preslav were built from scratch. Bulgaria's restoration squads do not take any hostages.</p> <p>In the 2000s, with its nationalism and the craze for constructing new ruins, things got worse. The concrete walls of the reconstructed Golden Church were painted yellow and King Simeon the Great was honoured with a black marble plaque that looks just like the tombstone of a latterday mafia boss. A "miraculous" spring was found beside Pliska's Grand Basilica. The government, spurned by some historians, wanted to "reconstruct" the church although no one had an idea what it had looked like in the first place.</p> <p>Still, a trip to the first Bulgarian capitals is a rewarding experience. This part of Bulgaria is beautiful in a subtle way, a mosaic of lush plains, meandering rivers, hills and rocky plateaus. Spread over the plains, Pliska will awe you with its sheer size, when you realise that you are driving, and driving, and still driving through the outer parts of a mediaeval city. Preslav's charm is different: tucked amid lush hills, it is the perfect combination of a green park and an archaeological site.</p> <p><img alt="madara horseman" class="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" id="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/183-184/bulgarias%20first%20capitals/madara%20horseman.jpg" title="madara horseman" /></p> <p class="text-align-center"><em>The Madara Horseman depicts an idealised pagan Bulgarian ruler</em></p> <p>Then, there is the Madara Horseman. Considered to be the biggest medieval relief in Europe, the horseman still chases a lion, followed by his dog, on the rocks of the Madara Plateau. The relief has bene heavily weathered, but is still mesmerising. When and why exactly the rider was created is a matter of debate, but the most common explanation is that it is a representation of Khan Tervel, the son of Khan Asparuh. Around the horse, several inscriptions retell the deeds of khans Tervel, Krum and Omurtag, some of the men who laid the foundations of Bulgaria.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-disclaimers field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--entity-reference-target-type-block-content clearfix field__item"> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><hr class="uk-divider-icon" /><p><a href="https://us4bg.org/?hl=en" target="_blank" title="AMERICA FOR BULGARIA FOUNDATION"><img alt="us4bg-logo-reversal.png" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/banners/AFB_LOGO.jpg" width="30%" class="align-left" /></a><strong>Vibrant Communities: Spotlight on Bulgaria's Living Heritage is a series of articles, initiated by Vagabond Magazine and realised by the Free Speech Foundation, with the generous support of the <a href="https://us4bg.org/" rel="noopener" target="_blank" title="America for Bulgaria Foundation">America for Bulgaria Foundation</a>, that aims to provide details and background of places, cultural entities, events, personalities and facts of life that are sometimes difficult to understand for the outsider in the Balkans. The ultimate aim is the preservation of Bulgaria's cultural heritage – including but not limited to archaeological, cultural and ethnic diversity. The statements and opinions expressed herein are solely those of the FSI and do not necessarily reflect the views of the America for Bulgaria Foundation or its affiliates.</strong></p> <p><strong>Подкрепата за Фондация "Фрий спийч интернешънъл" е осигурена от Фондация "Америка за България". Изявленията и мненията, изразени тук, принадлежат единствено на ФСИ и не отразяват непременно вижданията на Фондация Америка за България или нейните партньори.</strong></p> <hr class="uk-divider-icon" /></div> </div> <a href="/index.php/archive/issue-183-184" hreflang="en">Issue 183-184</a> <a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/221" hreflang="en">America for Bulgaria Foundation</a> <a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/257" hreflang="en">Medieval Bulgaria</a> <a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/301" hreflang="en">Archaeology Bulgaria</a> <a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/280" hreflang="en">Bulgarian history</a> <div class="field field--name-field-mt-post-category field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--entity-reference-target-type-taxonomy-term clearfix field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/index.php/travel/vibrant-communities" hreflang="en">VIBRANT COMMUNITIES</a></div> </div> <section class="field field--name-comment field--type-comment field--label-above comment-wrapper"> <h2 class="title comment-form__title">Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3271&amp;2=comment&amp;3=comment" token="EyeAJz5qmPH5NuWfRcbxBwt5h2q4ufDC3iuFptdFRhk"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Tue, 28 Dec 2021 10:30:33 +0000 DimanaT 3271 at https://www.vagabond.bg https://www.vagabond.bg/index.php/bulgarias-first-capitals-3271#comments WHERE IN BULGARIA ARE YOU? https://www.vagabond.bg/index.php/where-bulgaria-are-you-3270 <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">WHERE IN BULGARIA ARE YOU?</span> <div class="field field--name-field-author-name field--type-string field--label-hidden field__item">by Stamen Manolov</div> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/index.php/user/251" lang="" about="/index.php/user/251" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">DimanaT</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Tue, 12/28/2021 - 12:27</span> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-subtitle field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><h3>An UNESCO World Heritage site, this is the largest East Orthodox monastery in Bulgaria</h3> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="images-container clearfix"> <div class="image-preview clearfix"> <div class="image-wrapper clearfix"> <div class="field__item"> <div class="overlay-container"> <span class="overlay overlay--colored"> <span class="overlay-inner"> <span class="overlay-icon overlay-icon--button overlay-icon--white overlay-animated overlay-fade-top"> <i class="fa fa-plus"></i> </span> </span> <a class="overlay-target-link image-popup" href="/index.php/sites/default/files/2021-12/where%20in%20bulgaria%20is%20this%20place.jpg"></a> </span> <img loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/2021-12/where%20in%20bulgaria%20is%20this%20place.jpg" width="999" height="666" alt="where in bulgaria is this place" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field uk-text-bold uk-margin-small-top uk-margin-medium-bottom field--name-field-image-credits field--type-string field--label-hidden field__item">© Anthony Georgieff</div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p>An UNESCO World Heritage site, this is the largest East Orthodox monastery in Bulgaria. Founded in the 10th century by a man who was so pious he forsook all earthly pleasures and went on to live in a cave the monastery has survived various foreign dominations and several fires. An Irish journalist, James Bourchier (1850-1920), who reported extensively from Bulgaria chose to be buried by its walls when he died. So was the last Bulgarian king, Boris III – inside the church. The monastery now is considered to be one of the symbols of Bulgaria. Its mysticism is particularly charming in wintertime, when it is usually enveloped in fresh snow.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-disclaimers field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--entity-reference-target-type-block-content clearfix field__item"> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p><strong>Where in Bulgaria are you?</strong></p> <p><em>Email your answers to editorial@vagabond.bg and you can win a copy of <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><a href="https://vagabond.bg/fsi/hidden-treasures-of-bulgaria-2" rel="noopener" target="_blank">Hidden Treasures of Bulgaria 2</a></span></em></p> <p><a href="https://vagabond.bg/fsi/hidden-treasures-of-bulgaria-2" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"><img alt="HTB2" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/images/stories/V127/HTB2.jpg" title="Hidden Treasures of Bulgaria" width="100%" /></a></p> </div> </div> <a href="/index.php/archive/issue-183-184" hreflang="en">Issue 183-184</a> <div class="field field--name-field-mt-post-category field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--entity-reference-target-type-taxonomy-term clearfix field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/index.php/fun/where-in-bulgaria" hreflang="en">WHERE IN BULGARIA ARE YOU?</a></div> </div> <section class="field field--name-comment field--type-comment field--label-above comment-wrapper"> <h2 class="title comment-form__title">Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3270&amp;2=comment&amp;3=comment" token="DRgDQAMbX-yN8DHS5WOgadEfQJS1m_Xozo4L6SZOIwI"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Tue, 28 Dec 2021 10:27:58 +0000 DimanaT 3270 at https://www.vagabond.bg https://www.vagabond.bg/index.php/where-bulgaria-are-you-3270#comments VAGABOND'S INTERNATIONAL WALK OF FAME https://www.vagabond.bg/index.php/vagabonds-international-walk-fame-3269 <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">VAGABOND&#039;S INTERNATIONAL WALK OF FAME</span> <div class="field field--name-field-author-name field--type-string field--label-hidden field__item">text and photography by Anthony Georgieff</div> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/index.php/user/251" lang="" about="/index.php/user/251" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">DimanaT</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Tue, 12/28/2021 - 12:22</span> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-subtitle field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><h3>From Kavarna to Havana rock stars of varying magnitude adorn sometimes unlikely public spaces</h3> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="images-container clearfix"> <div class="image-preview clearfix"> <div class="image-wrapper clearfix"> <div class="field__item"> <div class="overlay-container"> <span class="overlay overlay--colored"> <span class="overlay-inner"> <span class="overlay-icon overlay-icon--button overlay-icon--white overlay-animated overlay-fade-top"> <i class="fa fa-plus"></i> </span> </span> <a class="overlay-target-link image-popup" href="/index.php/sites/default/files/2021-12/john%20lennon%20wall%20prague.jpg"></a> </span> <img loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/2021-12/john%20lennon%20wall%20prague.jpg" width="1000" height="667" alt="John Lennon&#039;s Wall in Prague" title="John Lennon&#039;s Wall in Prague" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p>You went to LA, okay. You think you've seen it all – and walked over it: the pinkish stars on the pavement of Hollywood Boulevard with names of actors, musicians and celebrities, many of whom long forgotten, but immortalised in the Hollywood Walk of Fame. You vied with the Chinese and the Koreans for a better selfie spot, and yes – you've stumped on Donald Trump's star from the days he was only a reality show performer.</p> <p>This journal will now take you on a completely different jaunt spanning several oceans and continents. Welcome to Vagabond's very own International Walk of Rock Star Fame.</p> <p>Let's start in Kavarna. Until the 2000s it was a rather nondescript small town at the northern Bulgarian Black Sea coast (not to be confused with the much bigger and a lot more exciting Varna 50 miles to the south). There isn't much to say about what in essence was a typical Bulgarian backwater. But once you pull over by the park off the main road and go past the obligatory Communist-era much larger-than-life statue of a Second World War <em>partizanin</em> holding a gun you will be in for a completely different kind of treat. From a rock you will see the rising figure of someone who apparently has nothing to do with class struggle, a man with long hair holding a mike. Who on earth might that be, you will find asking yourself? And then you will see the inscription, in English: Holy Diver. If you are the right age you might remember that Holy Diver was the title of the debut studio album of the American heavy metal band Dio, and you are now looking at an image of its vocalist Ronnie James Dio, previously of Black Sabbath fame.</p> <p><img alt="Rony James Dio statue Bulgaria" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" id="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/183-184/international%20walk%20of%20rock%20fame/Rony%20James%20Dio%20statue%20bulgaria.jpg" title="Rony James Dio statue Bulgaria" /></p> <p class="text-align-center"><em>Rony James Dio aka Holy Diver, of Black Sabbath fame, is immortalised in Kavarna, Bulgaria</em></p> <p>In the 2000s Kavarna got its chance to grab a piece of the international rock music cake through its mayor, Tsonko Tsonev, a diehard hard rock aficionado. Tsonev started a rock festival called Kavarna Rock Fest. The sort of individual musicians and bands who attended largely reflected both Tsonev's personal taste (1970s and 1980s) and the sort of cash he could cough up. None of the current big names came, but Bulgarians and at the time a growing number of expats had fun shouting out "There I was on a July morning" along the real John Lawton, formerly of the Uriah Heep.</p> <p>Kavarna Rock Fest is now discontinued as the successor to Tsonko Tsonev, citing financial reasons, proposed holding "evenings to popularise Russian folklore" instead.</p> <p>Kavarna may be one of a kind in Bulgaria but it is certainly one of many in Eastern Europe where people who had been denied access to Western rock music under Communism have woken up to the modern world – and have decided to set their musical sentiments in stone or metal.</p> <p><img alt="Bob Dylan in Durres, Albania" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" id="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/183-184/international%20walk%20of%20rock%20fame/bob%20dylan%20statue%20durres.jpg" title="Bob Dylan in Durres, Albania" /></p> <p class="text-align-center"><em>Bob Dylan in Durres, Albania</em></p> <p>Take Durres in Albania, a port town at the Adriatic Sea in what until the 1990s was a hermetically sealed country, the closest you could get in Europe to... North Korea. By the Durres seaside promenade you get not one by three monuments to musicians that you could hardly ever imagine standing side by side. There is Mick Jagger in his trademark step-forward posture, there is Tina Turner, the good old Queen of Rock 'n' Roll, and you get... Bob Dylan! Welcome to Durres, Albania. The times – yes – they have changed.</p> <p>One man who caused significant controversy throughout his career and was sometimes banned from US radio stations because of obscenity concerns got his cut of sculptural notoriety in Vilnius, Lithuania. You've guessed it right. Frank Zappa, who died in 1993, is still remembered warmly in Eastern Europe, possibly over his infamous adage trying to explain why Communism would never work: "People will always want to own things." No matter what you think about Sheikh Yerbouti or The Illinois Enema Bandit, Zappa, without any doubt, was a freethinker. He went to Czechoslovakia as soon as the Velvet Revolution brought down Communism, and Vaclav Havel was so happy he proposed to have Zappa appointed American ambassador to Prague. Perhaps sanely for the US State Department, he wasn't. The Vilnius memorial is totally counter-counterculture. It is set against the backdrop of some drooping ivy in a peaceful square near the centre of the Lithuanian capital and it suggest in absolutely no way the man it depicts once wanted to have a cast of his own penis on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.</p> <p><img alt="Frank Zappa statue Vilnius" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" id="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/183-184/international%20walk%20of%20rock%20fame/Frank%20Zappa%20monument%20vilnius.jpg" title="Frank Zappa statue Vilnius" /></p> <p class="text-align-center"><em>Frank Zappa, who is depicted with a larger-than-life monument in Vilnius, Lithuania, parodied Bob Dylan in the 1979 Sheikh Yerbouti</em></p> <p>The Beatles, of course, and especially John Lennon are widely celebrated internationally with memorials dedicated to them from the Canal Link in their native Liverpool to the Red Light District in Hamburg and Central Park in New York City. One place in Eastern Europe that keeps fond memories of John Lennon and what he stood for is Prague. The John Lennon Wall is a graffiti covered wall near the French Embassy in Mala Strana. In the runup to the Velvet Revolution it played quite a practical role: angry citizens fed up with Communism gathered around it before they took to the streets and exchanged subversive information in the form of graffiti. No iMessages in those days. The Prague John Lennon Wall remains to this day. It is now a tourist attraction.</p> <p><img alt="The former John Lennon Wall in Sofia" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" id="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/183-184/international%20walk%20of%20rock%20fame/john%20lennon%20wall%20bulgaria.jpg" title="The former John Lennon Wall in Sofia" /></p> <p class="text-align-center"><em>The former John Lennon Wall in Sofia</em></p> <p>In the 1990s and 2000s there used to be a John Lennon wall in Sofia as well: just behind the statue of Patriarch Evtimiy, lovingly called "Popa" by Sofianites. Nothing remains of it as the City Council decided it defaced what was already a defaced ruin of a building that during the Second World War was the German Reich Embassy.</p> <p>Our favourite monument to John Lennon, however, is across the pond, in sunny Cuba. The still Communist nation in the Caribbean has had a chequered history when it comes to the Fab Four. Their music was banned as they were seen as agents of decadence and imperialism. Apparently, neither John Lennon nor Paul, George or Ringo ever set foot in Cuba. Yet, in 2000, on the 20th anniversary of John Lennon's assassination, a monument to Lennon was erected in a Vedado park in Havana. Lennon can be seen sitting on a bench, but usually wears no glasses. Originally, he was equipped with a pair of telltale round spectacles but those have been stolen and/or vandalised on numerous occasions.</p> <p><img alt="John Lennon statue in Havana" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" id="" src="/sites/default/files/issues/183-184/international%20walk%20of%20rock%20fame/john%20lennon%20statue%20havana.jpg" title="John Lennon statue in Havana" /></p> <p class="text-align-center"><em>A caretaker woman will equip with glasses the John Lennon statue in Havana, Cuba – if you ask nicely</em></p> <p>Yet not all is lost if you really want to take a selfie with the man. The Cuban government employs a security guard who usually lingers around the monument. She can put on a pair glasses on Lennon's nose and then quickly fold them and put them back in her bag. You have to ask politely.</p> </div> <a href="/index.php/archive/issue-183-184" hreflang="en">Issue 183-184</a> <div class="field field--name-field-mt-post-category field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--entity-reference-target-type-taxonomy-term clearfix field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/index.php/travel/foreign-travel" hreflang="en">FOREIGN TRAVEL</a></div> </div> <section class="field field--name-comment field--type-comment field--label-above comment-wrapper"> <h2 class="title comment-form__title">Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3269&amp;2=comment&amp;3=comment" token="TfD5knW-IjQFD0NxYn0tDgXEUNYZI1L1EeA0SswieNg"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Tue, 28 Dec 2021 10:22:43 +0000 DimanaT 3269 at https://www.vagabond.bg https://www.vagabond.bg/index.php/vagabonds-international-walk-fame-3269#comments