Saturday, December 16, 2006

Bulgaria - A Big-Small Treasure

By Ivaylo Kantardzhiev

SUMMARY: Bulgaria – a small territory country housing a huge variety of nature reserves and phenomena, different and rich culture and great historical places.

One can describe many things as big-small. Actually, big-small is something small that has the characteristics of something much bigger than itself. And with that in mind, I come to think of Bulgaria. I am sure that many of you who read this have heard of this country and will ask "Why is Bulgaria a big-small" Well, I will try to explain.

Bulgaria covers a total territory of 111 000sq/km - that is why it is small. But I am sure you have no idea of how many beautiful things there are in this small area - and here comes the big part.
Bulgaria is a country with a long history, full of ups and downs and critical events. The country's culture has been influences by many other nationalities and that is why Bulgaria has now many important historical places. One such place is Etara. It is an open-air museum, but seems more like a whole town, still capturing the traditional spirit and architecture of the Bulgarian national revival. The people there still practice the old Bulgarian crafts, including pottery. Etara is like a place out of time, where the past is still alive. Another such place is the village Arbanassi. It is an old settlement and holds some ancient monasteries. One of them is the St. Nikola monastery that was built during the Assen dynasty - there still can be seen preserved wall decorations and icons dating back to 1716. Near Arbanassi is the town of Veliko Turnovo, where you will be amazed by the great fortress Tsarevets, which was the capital of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom. It still is a mighty settlement and there even is a "Sound and Light" show in the evenings. An amazing place is the Madara Horseman - a picture, carved into the stone during the 8th century with dimensions, which equal these of a real horseman. It still looks breath-taking and is included in the World Heritage List of UNESCO. Some other historical places include the Rila Monastery, Pliska (first capital of Bulgaria), the Troyan Monastery and many more.

Bulgaria has also a gorgeous nature. There are many places to go and admire the beautiful landscape. First of all, there are many mountains in the country. Rila Mountain is a wonderful place - there is the highest peak on the peninsula - Mousala (2925m). You can also visit the Seven Rila Lakes, many huts and ski tracks. Another mountain is Pirin - the most fascinating one in Bulgaria, also part of the World Heritage List. There are many nature reserves in Bulgaria and one of them is Srebarna which houses nearly 100 different bird species, most of which endangered. Actually, I don't need to list any more natural places worth visiting, because when you go to the surroundings of almost every town in Bulgaria, you will find something incredible to look at.

As far as culture is concerned, the best places to visit are the bigger towns - Varna, Burgas, Veliko Turnovo and of course the capital Sofia. Sofia can be compared to many European capitals - it is a large city with many people and numerous places to go if you are a culture-lover or just enjoy the nightlife.

With all this I hope that even some of you will agree with me that the little country Bulgaria holds so many interesting and marvelous things that it can be easily called big-small.

1 comment:

Geoff said...

We just loved our trip to Bulgaria.
My wife found a house on the internet that we have bought as an invfestment property, just outside Veliko Tarnovo. Such a beautiful country and beautiful people, I highly recommend Bulgaria for travel and investing.
Can check out our trip at my Blog