Presidential election looms on horizon, yet there is no one standing
Proverbs and sayings are the experience of generations distilled by time until they become pure wisdom offering guidance in life. They also reflect the particular values of the community that has created them.
Bulgarians are no exception.
Only exceptional buildings are worthy of becoming legend. One such building is in the village of Mogilitsa in the Rhodope. Between 1825 and 1842, the local Muslim lord Aguş Aga built a sumptuous konak, or residence, for himself and his three sons. High whitewashed walls protected the aga's greatest treasures: his peace, his money and his family.
I believe in a Bulgaria bordering on three seas.
One does not make a special effort to visit Tutrakan. Located in an overlooked part of the Bulgarian Danube, this quiet town is nothing to write home about. Or is it?
Crowds have ruined Sozopol, we have told you time and again, as recently as our previous issue. This, however, does not mean you have to avoid this former fishing settlement and current tourist trap. You just have to plan your visit wisely, avoiding the high summer season. September is the perfect time to enjoy Sozopol for the first or the tenth time. Most of the crowds have gone, and the old town with its meandering lanes, traditional wooden houses and rocks pounded by the sea is calmer. The other visitors are mainly actors, musicians, authors and the like who are here for their annual gathering, the Apollonia Arts Festival.
As you drive through a rather uninspiring section of the Danubian Plain, known mainly for its extreme summer and winter temperatures, you suddenly see a church spire jotting up on the horizon. Church spires are untypical for Orthodoxy, so your attention has been grabbed. You approach, and you enter what you thought would turn out to be one of those dilapidated villages that dot northern Bulgaria.
Indeed, in the central square you see the obligatory Communist-era monument and next to it a grounded Soviet-era plane, a favourite climbing spot for local kids. But as you take one of the side streets leading away from the square you end up in another world more befitting the early 20th century Hapsburg Empire. You are in one of Bulgaria's two... German villages: the telltale architecture, the abandoned Catholic church dedicated by someone from as far as Amsterdam, the German language-inscribed icons of Saints Cyril and Methodius, and so on and so forth.
There are no longer any Germans living here as Hitler lured them to go back to the Heimat whence he steadfastly sent them to the Eastern Front, and the odd couple or two who remained were too scared to concede their German-ness under Communism. But exploring the modern archaeology of the site is bound to change your perceptions of Bulgaria as being fairly monolithic forever.
Where in Bulgaria are you?
Katrin Conroy guessed correctly that the photo from the "Where in Bulgaria are you?" quiz was from Elena. She wins a copy of Hidden Treasures of Bulgaria 2. Katrin is a French who in 2013 took an early retirement and moved from London to Turkincha village, near Dryanovo. She and her partner plan to stay there for the rest of their lives. They sometimes perform music (pictured) in their local church at Dlagnya village and play at folk festivals with their Bulgarian friends. In Vagabond Katrin enjoys the articles on Bulgarian attitudes and history, the layout and the photographs. The three things she loves about Bulgaria are "the friendly and welcoming people, the countryside, which is beautiful in all weathers, and the musical tradition that is still so alive." The thing she dislikes about the country are the "deadly drivers."
"No, I haven’t slept with the prime minister," Apostol Apostolov, the mayor of Simitli, in southwestern Bulgaria, has stated. He was speaking in response to a friendly shout by Metodi Bachev, an entrepreneur in the road construction business, whose company, Agromax, is known for rarely failing to win a public bid as long as the GERB are in power. Since 2014 alone it has won 293 million leva in contracts.