GET OFF THE BEATEN TRACK IN EUROPE – BULGARIA !
23 facts and places of Bulgaria that can inspire you to visit this hidden heaven on Earth.
1. In 1977 Nasa included one of Bulgaria’s best-known folk songs on the Voyager Golden Record! The song was recorded in a classroom by American collector (Martin Coning) of folklore only with the sound of one bagpipe and the voice of the Valya Balkanska – Izlei e Delyo Haidutin. The bagpipe on the Balkans is called Gayda. The images and sounds selected for the two phonograph records are meant to portray an image of life on earth to any extra-terrestrial beings the craft may encounter.
2. Plovdiv was chosen for the European Capital of Culture for 2019. It was found during the Neolithic period in the 2nd millennium BC and it is the oldest inhabited city in the world! Plovdiv was the largest Roman city on the Balkan Peninsula and the Episcopal Basilica with its mosaics was included just recently in the UNESCO’s Indicative List of Significant Cultural and Natural Objects. The Ancient Theatre it is a home very often to some of the world’s known performances.
The oldest processed gold in the world was found near the Black Sea in Varna, Bulgaria!
3. A worker who was excavating in the area in 1972 discovered an ancient Necropolis (grave site). To date, 294 graves have been found at the site, which dates to between 4600 and 4200 BC. One particularly rich grave contained 3,000 gold artifacts, an amount greater that the combined total of all other known sites in the world form that era. The cache was shown for first time in United States in 1988, in New York City in 2009 – 2010 and it was exhibited for 7 months in Japan as “The Oldest Gold in the World – The First European Civilization“.
Glagolitic alphabet was devised by St. Cyril and Methodius
4. Glagolitic alphabet was devised by St. Cyril and Methodius in the 850s and introduced to the world by the First Bulgarian Empire in 886 AD. At the beginning of the 10th century the Glagolitic alphabet was gradually substitute by the Cyrillic script developed around the Preslav Literary School, Bulgaria. The Cyrillic script became the third official script of the European Union in 2007, following the Latin and Greek ones.
Bulgaria is the world’s largest producer of lavender
5. Bulgaria is the world’s largest producer of lavender and the second world’s largest producer of rose oil. Did you know that for one kg of rose oil you need 3.5 tons of rose petals?
The Bulgarian tradition of carpet-making in Chiprovtsi became part of the UNESCO list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2014
6. The handwoven carpets (kilimi) have been made by the women of Chiprovtsi using a unique technique of weaving on a vertical handloom that is unchanged since the 17th century. The women say prayers and make wishes for luck and success before starting a new carpet, and sing and tell stories while working at the loom.
7. More than 2 000 mineral springs in the country and in additional you can pour the healing water into your bottle almost on every corner. Well, not only corner… Almost on every curve of the route, in the middle of the main square or just from your tap at home. Yes, only in Sofia we have 31 separate reservoirs and 75 water sources of mineral waters, which makes the Capital one of the richest municipalities in the world by mineral water wealth.
8. Now get into your 5 senses…which pops into your mind first? Perhaps it will be your sense of taste. Dairy lovers may be aware that the bacteria strain needed to produce yoghurt‘s mild texture is called “Lactobacillus Bulgaricus”. But did you know that these natural bacteria are found only in mammals and plants living in Bulgaria? It’s true!
European Capital of Survas & Mummers
9. In ancient Bulgaria, wearing masks was believed to provide protection from evil, ensure a successful harvest, and guarantee health and fertility for humans and farm animals. Many legends date back to the 7th centuries the First Bulgarian Empire, however other tales relate to the Thracian times. In 1995 the International Federation of Carnival Cities accepted the town of Pernik as a full member. In June, 2009, Pernik was proclaimed as the European Capital of Survas & Mummers and included in the UNESCO list of the Intangible Heritage of Humanity.
Zagreus was a Thracian god later known as Dionysus – the God of wine
10. Our grape growing is dating back to the 4th millennium BC, when our lands were inhabited by the Thracians. Zagreus was a Thracian god later known as Dionysus – the God of wine. Did you know that the Thracians wine was even mentioned in the Iliad – an ancient Greek poem? The Wine Museum of Pleven is a perfect combination of a natural cave, degustation room and cold white wine. But not only! The museum holds selection of over 7000 bottles of wine, ranging from 30 to 90 years and items related to the vine growing in the Bulgarian lands from the ancient Thracian times until today.
The Misionis Fortress
11. The Misionis Fortress (5-6th century) is located in the Preslav Mountains just 20 min away from the main route to Varna, Bulgaria. The place was mentioned three times in the book of Muhammad al-Idrisi – “The book of pleasant journeys into faraway lands” as a flourishing town. He was the drawer of one of the most advanced ancient world maps in 1154 – The Tabula Rogeriana – Arab Muslim cartographer, geographer and Egyptologist.
The Deaf Stones
12. “The Deaf Stones” Thracian Sanctuary are Rock blocks with deep gorges cut. A large cult monument in Bulgaria and you can see several of these unique formations in Rhodopi Mountains. The bed, the niche cut in the eastern part and a carved tomb chamber seems to be unfinished, but who would know how they’ve looked like before the Earthquake in the 4th century AD?!
13. Arda River is a tributary of Maritsa River connecting Bulgaria and Greece. The villages around this river are included in one of the most famous routes called the “Sultans Trail” – long-distance footpath from Vienna to Istanbul(2 200 km/ 1 400 ml)
14. Near Ivaylovgrad, Haskovo province of Bulgaria – Villa Armira is dating back to the 1st century and it is believed that belonged to a noble Roman Thrace. Some of the most unique mosaics can be seen in the 22 separate rooms. The marble decoration, geometric figures, animals and plants display features typical of Ancient Roman art. She was named after the River Armira, minor tributary of River Arda.
15. We all have heard about Orpheus – legendary musician, prophet and poet who had the ability to charm all living things (even the stones) with his music. It is believed that Orpheus and king Rhesus (another Thracian ruler) were the only two leaders buried overground – on a top of a hill. Tatul is a Thracian sanctuary where this ritual is closely linked to the cult of Orpheus and many clay altars dating back to 18-19 century BC are proving that it was used without interruption during the Iron Age.
16. Magura Cave is one of the few cave complexes in the world where you can stand within inches of prehistoric paintings that were painted between 8,000 and 10,000 years ago. And the visit of the cave can be combined with a tasting of some of the best wines in the country, specially selected to mature in natural conditions.
St. Alexander Nevsky”Cathedral
17. One of the largest Orthodox Churches in Europe “St. Alexander Nevsky”Cathedral can hold up to 10 000 people at once. The temple has 12 bells and the heaviest is weighing 12 tons. The Cathedral was designed by Alexander Pomerantsev and it was built in honour to the Russian soldiers who died in the Russo-Turkish war and liberated Bulgaria from the Ottoman Rule.
18. Over 140 eco trails on a 111 000 square kilometres – this is our Bulgaria. More than 20 are near Sofia and having a picnic in the forest is the first thing that comes up to my mind when I think of quiet weekend
The Rock-hewn Churches of Ivanovo
19. Unique frescoes from the rock-hewn monasteries in the limestone cliffs of Rusenski Lom. The Rock-hewn Churches of Ivanovo became part of the UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 1979. Remarkable artistry for the 13-14th century and mastery in the art of the Second Bulgarian Empire.
The salvation of the Bulgarian Jews from the Holocaust
20. Memorial of “The salvation of the Bulgarian Jews from the Holocaust”. Did you know that Bulgaria is one of the countries that saved all their Jews three times from deportation to the concentration camps? Dimitur Peshev, Exarch Stefan of Bulgaria and Kiril, Metropolitan of Plovdiv are names that we should remember and be proud of. The rescue has been praised by public figures worldwide.
The National Theatre of Ivan Vazov
21. The National Theatre of Ivan Vazov in Sofia. A name that will live forever as the Symbol of the National Awakening in Bulgaria. Did you know that “Under the yoke” by Ivan Vazov was translated into over 30 languages in 1888? The famous “Epic of the Forgotten” was written right after the liberation of Bulgaria and left a huge mark in our hearts.
Sofia is Bulgaria’s capital
22. Sofia is built in three layers. This hidden Rotunda or the Church of St. George can be found in the middle of the city centre of Sofia, Bulgaria. She was built in the 4th century as a second layer … Read more about our history before that period and soon you will find out why Bulgaria is claiming to be the First European Civilization.
23. The Black Sea turned last summer into a turquoise heaven thanks to a phytoplankton bloom. It was so bright that even NASA took a satellite image of the bloom. Blue sky, fresh air and sun-kissed beaches…The Summer is on its way!
We are traditionalists who are passionate about our folklore, culture, food, history, and nature. In order to provide our guests with an unparalleled experience, we explored every nook and cranny of our country. We met the winegrowers, farmers, and the elderly people who shared their stories with us. We simply fell in love with everything what Bulgaria has to offer and can hardly wait to show it to you.
Looking for more ideas:
IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR A PRIVATE TOUR AND WANT TO DISCOVER MORE THAN THE TOURIST SIGHTS, THAN YOUR GUIDES ARE WAITING FOR YOU…
Did we get your attention? Let’s start our journey through Bulgaria together and discover it all!
Renee RicharJune 16, 2018 at 15:52
It sounds like you have a beautiful country rich in history! I was pleasantly surprised of the same when I visited Croatia. I will definitely keep Bulgaria in mind for the future. We westerners get caught up in seeing what everyone else has seen rather than checking out the whole world. Thank you for sharing these fun facts.
undiscoveredadminJune 21, 2018 at 13:06
Thank you for taking the time to read this article. There is so much more to discover and we would love to inspire more people to look beyond the tourist sights. If you ever decide to travel to this little know destination, let us now and we would be more than happy to share our recommendations. Keep in mind that next year Plovdiv will be the European Capital of Culture and there will be a cultural events throughout the year. Sending sunny smiles from Bulgaria.
Danielle Newberry*October 23, 2018 at 08:25
Reviewed 5 days ago
A memorable and fantastic trip with an amazing guide
We spend 10 days with Dessy and Nicoli driving all over Bulgaria and discovering the history, culture and beauty of this small less travelled country. Desi was able to personalize our trip to meet all our needs in her effortless way. She introduced us to the food and the culture in a very personal way, helping us to really feel like we were a part of this rich and beautiful country. The passion and enthusiasm that Dessy has for Bulgaria was transparent and it was impossible not to share it, She was such a skilled guide, always being flexible and planning interesting and memorable days. She and Nicoli were a good team. The roads were very curvy and narrow but Nikoli navigated them like a champ. We spent our time winding our way through this beautiful country meeting the people and discovering the the Bulgaria that few know about but now with their expert guidance, will have an opportunity to discover.