Friday, July 14, 2006
Thursday, July 13, 2006
The Rila Monastery
presentday place, 119 km south of
independent ruler. In 1335 he built the five-storey defence tower, topped by the Transfiguration Chapel, fragments of whose murals can still be seen today. By the end of 14th century, the Rila Monastery had turned into a powerful feudal entity with many villages, lands and properties. Tsar Shishman alone, the last Bulgarian ruler, donated it over twenty villages in different districts. The monastery's unquestionable authority influenced the Turkish sultants who confirmed the rights granted by the Bulgarian kings by special firmans. Irrespective of this, the Monastery was devastated around the mid-15th century. It started rising again after the relics of Ivan Rilski were brought from Veliko Turnovo here in 1469 (passing through the whole of
To learn more about the Rila Monastery and many other Bulgarian Monasteries please visit www.bulgarianmonastery.com
Bulgarian music is part of the Balkan tradition, which stretches across Southeastern Europe, and has its own distinctive sound. Traditional Bulgarian music has had more international success than its neighbors due to the breakout international success of Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares, a female choir that has topped world music charts across Europe and even farther abroad.
Bulgarian vocals are said to be "open-throated", though this is actually a misnomer. Singers actually constrict their throats to amplify the voice's focus and strength, giving it a distinctive
Regional styles abound in Bulgaria. Dobrudzha, Sofia, Rodopi, Thrace and the northwestern Danube shore all have distinctive sounds. Folk music revolved around holidays like Christmas, New Year's Day and the Feast of St. Lazarus, as well as the unusual Nestinarstvo rites from Strandzha, where villagers fell into a trance and danced on hot coals as part of the feast of Sts Konstantin and Elena. Music was also a part of more personal celebrations, accompanying weddings and the departure of young men for military service.
The most important state-supported orchestra of this era was the Sofia-based State Ensemble for Folk Songs and Dances, led by Philip Koutev. Koutev has become perhaps the most influential musician of 20th century Bulgaria, and updated rural music with more accessible harmonies to great domestic acclaim.
The distinctive sounds of women choirs of Bulgarian folk music is partly because of their unique harmony and polyphony, where a singer appears to be singing two notes at the same time. In addition to Koutev, who pioneered many of the harmonies, and composed several songs that were covered by other groups, (especially Tedora), various women's vocal groups gained popularity, including Trio Bulgarka, consisting of Yanka Roupkina, Eva Georgieva, and Stoyanka Boneva, some of whom were included in the "Mystery of the Bulgarian Voices" tours.
During the Communist era, some musicians lived outside the state-supported music scene. Without official support, wedding bands were also without official limitations on their music, leading to fusions with foreign styles and instruments. Thrace was an important center of this music, which was entirely underground until 1986, when a festival of this music, which became a biennial event, was inaugurated in the town of Stambolovo, and artists like Sever, Trakiîski Solisti, Shoumen and Juzhni Vetar became popular, especially clarinetist Ivo Papasov. On the picture on right you can see me with Ivo Papazov. He had his concert here in Seattle last year and since I know him from Bulgaria, it was nice to see him here.
Traditions & Customs
St. Trifon Zarezan
Nestinars - Fire Dancing
Festival of Roses
Officially converted to Christianity in the ninth century, many of
There are some family holidays that are of great significance for the Bulgarians. The most important of them are Christening (the Holy Christening), the First Steps (to celebrate the first steps made by the small child), the Birthday, the Nameday, Offering (the offering of an animal or some food to heathen gods and saints to make them show more grace or to thank them for good fortune, health and long life); the Engagement, the Wedding. Inauguration of a New House, Parting (before sending out someone on a long journey). All of these have been preserved for many ages and are a live tradition in Bulgarian families regardless of their religious beliefs.
The most interesting and unique Bulgarian holidays and customs are the Kukeri Carnivals of the masked koukeri; the martenitzi – white and red threads and anthropomorphic pendants exchanged between relatives and friends on Granny Marta’s Day to wear for health and happiness on the occasion of the coming spring; the customs German and Russalii (Mermaids); the nestinarski dances on red coals on the Day of St. St. Konstantin and Elena; the custom of well wishing by tapping people on the back with a “sourvachka” - decorated cornel-tree twig on Christmas and New Year’s Day; the Day of Humour and Satire; Cross Day with an imposing prayer procession and pilgrimage in Krustova Gora (Forest of the Cross) area in the Rodopi Mountains., etc. Many Bulgarians and foreign tourists visit these celebrations, the former celebrate them the way their forefathers did for centuries on end and the latter take pictures and participate in them, too.
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
Another traditional meal is to kill and eat pig on Christmas. Almost every person has a village, where relatives get together to celebrate holidays. Christmas, like in the
There are many other traditional foods, like the kabapche and kufte. This is mostly considered the Bulgarian "fast food". The picture on the right shows the kebapche with fries and tomatoes. It is considered fast food, because you can buy it anywhere on the streets, every restaurant, and even you can find in every home. It is kind of the hot dog here and that is how it is being served.
Here are a couple web sites for other foods and recipes:
I will be glad if you try and make any of this dishes and then let me know how you liked it. Please don’t hesitate to ask me if you have any questions.
Monday, July 10, 2006
Summer in Bulgaria
The summer in
One of the attractions at the coast are the hotel architectures. Every hotel is unique, interesting and just beautiful to look at. The young architects have the greatest opportunity to express themselves, their ideas and we are more than happy to be able to enjoy that.
The typical places where people would like to eat are restaurants, taverns, cafes, grocery stores and grab 'n go. Like every nation,
Friday, July 07, 2006
Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, also has a mini version of Disney Land, it is called Sofia Land. There is a web site for you to check it out, but I apologize they dont have the english version of it. If you are more interested and have questions, please ask and I will be more than happy to tell you.
Mall of Sofia
Thursday, July 06, 2006
Travel by Air
Here are some healpful links to help you book your flight:
To the north it borders on Romania, to the west on the Republic of Macedonia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, to the east on the Black Sea, to the south on Greece and to the southeast on Turkey's European part.