Bulgaria, the heart of the Balkans!

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Bulgaria occupies the eastern part of the Balkan Peninsula, situated in the extreme southeast of Europe. Bounded on the north by Romania (the Danube is a natural border), west to Serbia and Macedonia and the south by Greece and the European part of Turkey. When it opens to the Black Sea.
Its relief is varied, from west to east Bulgaria is crossed by the “Old Mountain”, Stara Planina (Balkan also called). Also, are the Rila Mountains, the Rodopi, the mountains and Strandzha Sagar. Sofia, the capital is situated at the foot of Mount Vitosha.
2 / 3 of his area are forests and has 3 National Parks (Rila, Pirin and Central Balkans) and 10 national parks.

Geography and Politics:
110,000 km2 and with 7 million inhabitants, Bulgaria is a parliamentary republic (the monarchy abolished in 1946), was incorporated in 2007 with the European Union and is adapting quickly.
Its very troubled history is conditioned by its geographical position, being a strategic location and passage between East and West.
Its first inhabitants, the Thracians established a significant culture, is recovering thanks to the recent discoveries of tombs (tumuli), containing jewels, utensils, weapons, etc.. Then came the Greeks, in their culture that influenced later by the Romans, who assimilated as the province of the empire. In the year 395, integrated into the Byzantine Empire.

In the sixth century, and Slavs come Old Bulgarian, from Asia and 681 in establishing the first Bulgarian kingdom, as a result not of conquest but of an agreement and a merger of the proto-Slavs with Bulgarians, who allied themselves to protect themselves from the Byzantines. Initially, the proto-Bulgarians were the ones who took the highest ranking political and military, so, although their language and racial type has been lost completely in the majority Slavic component of the country, his name has continued in the centuries in the name ‘Bulgaria’.

In 1386, are invaded by the Ottoman Empire until 1878, they are “liberated” by the Russians. Under pressure from the Great Powers, was signed a treaty of peace, mutilated land Bulgarian people, separating them into three: a Principality of Bulgaria, an Ottoman protectorate, called Eastern Rumelia, ‘and a part, Thrace and southern Macedonia, which remained in the boundaries of Turkey.
The inexperienced government and lack of protection led to high Bulgaria two national catastrophes in the Balkan War and the War of 1912-13 and the Allies in World War I, next to Germany. Serbia, Greece, Romania and Turkey Bulgarian territories were divided. In the period 1941-43 in Bulgaria formally entered World War II, again at the side of Germany. Without sending troops to the front or deport its Jews in 1941 was part of Thrace and Macedonia (regions traditionally Bulgarian population, which nominally belonged to the neighboring countries), and declared a ‘war symbolic’ to United States and United Kingdom. In 1944 there was a coup d’etat of the communists.

In 1946, after a referendum abolished the monarchy, and Simeon, the son of Tsar Boris still lower, had to leave the country with his entire family. In 1947 began the era of the Bulgarian Communist Party, during which other parties were dissolved, the constitution was rewritten in the interests of rulers, all private property was expropriated property, the introduction of political censorship in all areas of expression, were carried out against the communist purges estalinianas not accept the new direction of the Revolution, built labor camps for dissidents, a state police who faithfully copied the Soviet totalitarian model and inefficient.

In 1989 democratic changes began the assumptions that were not the result of a revolution, but a slow decay of the system, a deliberate allocation of resources and a conscious abandonment of political power by the communists. The restoration of civil liberties and a return to constitutional model, multiparty parliamentary and were the biggest advantages of that stage.

In 2004 he joined NATO and the European Union in 2007.

Culture:
In culture, Bulgaria has made the Cyrillic alphabet. Most of its inhabitants are Orthodox Christians, although there are also Muslims, Jews and Catholics.
Conversely, one of the most shameful is the violent process of assimilation of the Turks in Bulgaria, seeking in the eighties of last century by Communist leaders. In a campaign entirely imposed from the top devoted to divert public attention from economic problems of the state, who never had serious grounds, or the acceptance of the population, in 1984-1985 the authorities forced thousands of citizens of Turkish origin to change its name from the cradle by a Bulgarian. The pressure and humiliation was so shocking to Muslims, a large part of them emigrated to Turkey, even though they were born in Bulgaria and in many cases do not speak Turkish, nor had they visited in your life this neighboring country.

Folklore was the only area where the Bulgarian genius could shine without interruption during five centuries under the Ottoman Empire. Are very interesting and original music, architecture and handicrafts.

Gastronomy:
Bulgarian cuisine is very rich, seasoned and quite similar to that of its Balkan neighbors due to the long coexistence of the peoples of the peninsula on the edge of the Ottoman Empire. In many cases, the difference between a dish Bulgarian, Greek, Turkish or Serbian may consist only in its name or an ingredient in an ingredient or less.
If you must choose to file a culinary symbol Bulgaria, this would be yogurt. In fact, not by chance that the scientific names of microorganisms that convert milk into yogurt is’ Lactobacillus bulgaricus’, ‘Bulgarian bacillus milk. Any other way to get added starch, milk powder, artificial flavorings and preservatives-transforms simple fermented milk product without the quality and taste of real yogurt Balkan. Using yogurt as a key element in the soup is cold ‘tarator’ (liquid yogurt, cucumbers, garlic, oil and nuts), which is taken as the gazpacho. Very popular summer drink is refreshing ‘airán’ yogurt diluted with a little salt.
The ‘sirene’ is a kind of white cheese, hard, cow or sheep, used in many dishes, eg salad classic ‘shopska SALATA’ (tomato, cucumber, green pepper and onion).

The ‘kavarma’ (stew with pork, leek, wine, chile and herbs), the ‘méshana Skara’ (mixed grill), the ‘gyuvech’ (stew of meat or vegetarian, cooked in the oven in a ceramic bowl) and ‘sarmí’ (well-seasoned minced meat wrapped in vine leaves or cabbage) can be tasted in the whole country, and virtually any time of year.

In beverages, fine wines are the Bulgarians, the beers (Zagorka, Shumensko and Kamenitsa) and raki (grape or plum brandy).
On purchases, the most typical are the muskal (rose oil), Orthodox icons, wood, ceramics, embroidery and traditional folk music.

Bulgaria, a country little known and worth a visit to enjoy its scenery, its rich culture, fabulous cuisine and friendly people.

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