"Bulgaria has changed swiftly over the last decade, though in the villages you can still find folk who ride the donkey to work, eat homegrown potatoes and make their own cheese. The difference now is that they wash it all down in front of a satellite TV.
When Bulgaria ran away with the topsy-turvy capitalist circus, no-one told its people they were swinging without a safety net. But what the visitor encounters now is a country struggling valiantly to adapt and people who remain remarkably hospitable in the face of social and economic chaos. Urban Bulgaria, especially Sofia, is much changed."
St. Trifon's Day Dating back to the ancient Thracians, wine grower's celebrate with vine-trimming ceremonies.
St Lazar's Day Marriage-eligible village girls perform ritual songs and dances.
Kazanluk Rose Festival Held in early June to coincide with rose petal picking in the Valley of Roses; folk-costumed dancers and singers perform traditional songs and dances. This annual event has been scaled back in recent years.
Great Koprivshtitsa Folklore Fest Due to the magnitude of staging this mega-event, it is held only every five years during August. Recent changes include a scaling back in scope to make the event more frequent (most recently held August 13-15 1999), plus the addition of ethnic (Roma, Turkish, Armenian, Jewish etc) folk music along with the traditional Bulgarian folk.
Rila Monastery "Rila Monastery is the most outstanding monument of Bulgarian culture and architecture of the Revival period. It is situated at the heart of Rila Mountain at the altitude of 1147 m above sea level on the right bank of the Rila River.
The monastery is a wide complex build in a remarkable architectural style.
Right in the center of the complex raises Hrelyo Tower - a powerful stone fortification, the sole preserved building of Medieval Times (1335).
A museum has been arranged in the newly built eastern wing of the monastery building which houses the gate of the Hrelyo Church, ancient weapons of the monastery guards and certificates of merit of Bulgarian tsars.
The Rila Monastery is listed in the UNESCO World heriatge List, as a monument of an extraordinary value and significance for world culture."
Bachkovo Monastery "Bachkovo monastery is the second in size and importance monastery in Bulgaria. It is located on the right bank of the Chepelare River, 29 kilometers away from Plovdiv.
A prominent Byzantine statesman, of Georgian origin, founded it in 1083. It does not look the same as it was when established because it was destroyed by fire more than once and then restored. The only part from its original structure that has survived is the charnel- house with an interesting architectural design."
Preobrazhenie Monastery Preobrazhenski Monastery is 7 kilometers north of Veliko Tarnovo. It is situated under hardly accessible rocks on the left bank of Yantra River. During the 14th century it flourished. During the Ottoman rule it suffered numerous attacks and was rebuild in 19th century. It is one of the most remarkable monuments of the Bulgarian revival Period.
Troyan Monastery "The Holy Virgin Troyan Monastery is situated in the northern folds of the Troyan Balkan (Central Stara Planina), on the left bank of the Cherni Ossum River. It is 10 km south- east of Troyan, between the villages of Oreshak and Cherni Ossum.
The monastery is famous for its miraculous icon Holy Virgin Troeruchitsa."
SOFIA Sofia is the capital city of Bulgaria. The city is located in the southern part of the Sofia valley and at the foot of the mountains Vitosha and Lyulin. The town occurred in the 8th - 7th century B.C. arround the mineral spring which is now in the center of the city. The Romans conquered the town in the I century and called it Serfica. In the 9th century is was given the name Sredets. It has been bearing the name of Sofia since 14th century - the name comes from the name of the church St.Sofia. Since 1878 Sofia has been the capital city of Bulgaria.
Time Zone GMT +2 Hours.
Language Spoken Bulgarian , Turkish , Romani.
Passport/ VISA "Passports: Passport with at least one blank page valid for at least three months beyond departure required by all.
Visas: Required by all except the following: (a) 1. nationals of EU countries for stays of up to 90 days within each six-month period (except nationals of Estonia, Ireland and the UK, who may stay for up to 30 days within a six-month period);
Note: UK nationals living overseas do need a visa."
"The predominant climate in Bulgaria is moderate and transitional-continental. There are 2,000 to 2,400 hours of sunlight per year. Four seasons. Dry, hot summer: average temperature (April - September) is 23C. Cold winter with snowfalls: average temperature is 0C. The average temperature for the year is 10.5C.
A Mediterranean climate, with dry summers and mild, humid winters, prevails in the valley of the south-western Rhodope Mountains. The northern limits of the climatic zone are the Balkan Mountains.
The average January temperature in Sofia ranges between -4C and 2C. The July temperature ranges between 16C and 27C. Along the Black Sea, the average January temperature ranges between -1C and 6C, and the July temperature ranges between 19C and 30C."
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