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Probably, this is not the most grateful occupation - in a few words or pages to describe a country in which the wonderful nature, historical architecture and modern rhythms of Europe are wonderfully combined. The country in which you fall in love more and more. But not by the romantic ignorance that everyone who hurries "gallop across Europe" or Asia sins - no, but by that delighted delight that invariably arises as you only begin to delve deeper into the history of the country, the uniqueness of its natural beauties.

It is impossible to remain indifferent, getting acquainted with the traditions of antiquity, the diversity of centuries-old cultural heritage, with the artifacts of ancient Bulgaria (Thrace), during the heyday of which its people ruled and also owned territories in Macedonia, Romania, Turkey and Greece. The first ancient Thracians known to scientists lived in the area of ​​the city of Varna, and it was 4 thousand years BC ...

St. Vlas, promenade

What is the first thing we remember when we think of Egypt? Camels, pyramids. About Italy? Colosseum, pizza. About France? Eiffel Tower, Paris. What is the first thing foreigners think about Russia? Probably matryoshka, vodka, hat with earflaps.

Mountains of Bulgaria

A set of stereotypes is a stubborn thing. And, most likely, a novice tourist will be transported to all the sights of the city and country advertised in booklets. And that is really very good. However, it is nevertheless thought that everyone who visits the country at least once will have some individual idea of ​​their own, outside the proposed sets of standard excursions. To do this, it is very important to feel, feel, “breathe” smells, sounds, city streets and their turns, the expected and unexpected architecture of the towns, walk alone along the non-façade part of those pieces of a foreign country where fate brings. And in this sense, Bulgaria is amazing.

Bulgaria. The ruins of an ancient fortress in Nessebar

Make up your mind about it. Spend some time in it, and let it be vain — with water parks, restaurants, excursions, and frivolous — in leisurely solo walks through the streets, off-center shops, small temples. What will you remember when you remember about Bulgaria, about your Bulgaria?

Old Bulgarian house

It is believed that in terms of the number of historical and archaeological sites, Bulgaria completely competes with Italy and Greece, the history of its capital Sofia dates back 10 centuries, and the history of Bulgaria - about 1300 years BC Primitive people inhabited these territories as far back as the Paleolithic. The first Bulgarian state arose in 679, when the proto-Bulgarian tribes of Turkic origin crossed the Danube and recaptured part of the territory from Byzantium. The 9th century saw the peak of the power of the state of the Bulgars, who conquered neighboring Slavic tribes, and from mixing with their culture, language, traditions, a new ethnos was formed, which has survived to this day. The influence of the Slavs was expressed in the community organization, and the influence of the Bulgars in the military organization of society. With the death of Tsar Simeon, the first Bulgarian kingdom ceased to exist, but the Bulgarians honor the memory of this outstanding ruler. Under him, Sofia became the largest center of education, literature and Slavic culture in Europe, in the Balkans. Today, almost one and a half million people live in Sofia. In total, the country has more than 7 million people and more than 3.5 million guests annually coming to relax on the Black Sea coast in the summer and skiing in the mountains of Radopi and Rila in winter.

Bulgaria. Scenery

And a few more figures about the country's population. In Bulgaria there are only three large ethnic groups: Bulgarians - 84%, Turks - 8% and Gypsies - 5%, about 3% are from other nationalities. Almost 80% of the local population lives in large cities. The third largest Russian diaspora in Bulgaria mainly settled on the sea coast and Sofia (80%), some settled in the center of the country (15%), and some in the areas of ski resorts (5%). It should be noted that the relief in the country is mainly mountainous, divided into five high-altitude zones. And if you look at the map from the north with its temperate continental climate to the south with its Mediterranean climate, you can see the Danube plain, the Stara Planina, the Thracian lowland and the Rilo-Rhodope mountain range.

Autumn in Bulgaria

The country has about 80% of Orthodox Christians, 12.3% of Muslims (mainly the north-east and south-east of the country near the border with Turkey), 9.1% of Christians of other faiths, representatives of other types of religion - 0.2%. Christianity came to the country by the beginning of the 1st century A.D. with the disciple of the Apostle Paul, the first episcopal department was founded by him in Varna. Islam came to Bulgaria together with the Turkish conquerors in the middle of the 14th century, it is mainly preached by ethnic Turks and ethnic Bulgarians - Pomaki. However, the Bulgarians and in the Ottoman Empire retained their culture (literature, history) and identity.

Bulgaria. National emblem

Currently, all religions coexist peacefully, regardless of religion, everyone is welcome here. You just have to be a good person.

Do you know what is important for a person, what is his strength? There will probably be a lot of answers, they will be different! And here is how the Bulgarians answered this question: “Unity makes strength.” Strength is in unity, translation is obvious. These words are written on the Bulgarian coat of arms. And perhaps everyone needs to remember this.

Bulgaria. Nessebar

Bulgarians are hospitable and welcoming. Learn a few Bulgarian words, and in response to this easy exercise you will definitely see a smile: hello - hello, hello - good afternoon, praying - please thanks - thank you, sorry - sorry, a lot of problems - no problem. Perhaps you, as a tourist, will not need a deeper knowledge of Bulgarian on the coast. The older generation knows Russian well and for the most part recalls the times of the USSR with nostalgia, it will be easier to communicate with young people using English, especially if you travel not only along the tourist coast.

Bulgaria. St. Vlas. Yacht Club

And traveling around Bulgaria is simply necessary ... Of course, it is unlikely that you will be able to fit everything on one vacation - both sea vacations and full-fledged trips around the country in extremely simple searches for attractions. They are abundant here!

For those who prefer a relatively passive type of vacation by the sea, there are all conditions for a pleasant sea pastime: clean city and hotel beaches, a sea of ​​comfortable temperature, and at any time of the day, water parks, delicious national cuisine, mild Mediterranean climate, as well as more than the available opportunities to travel literally to any city for an individual acquaintance with its architecture and culture. Most of the beaches in the country boast a sign of environmental cleanliness - the Blue Flag of the European Union. At the same time, housing prices, food and excursions are quite adequate and incomparably lower than the same services and goods in neighboring European countries. For vacationers in Sunny Beach, for example, it is absolutely easy to visit Sveti Vlas and Nessebar (city buses for 1.2 - 2.5 leva), Burgas or Varna (intercity buses for 6-14 leva) on their own.

Bulgaria. The ruins of an ancient city

Why? It should be said about the national currency, this is the lion (obsolete. - lev). It has been used in the state since 1881, and since 2002 (the European Union), the lev has been pegged to the euro and amounts to a fixed 1.95583 leva. In 2012, the lev was planned to replace the euro, then there was another date - 2015. But for quite objective reasons, “it’s still there,” that many Euro-skeptics evaluate more positively than negatively, linking the entry into the eurozone with possible credit support for unstable economies, such as Greece, Portugal, etc., because Bulgaria does not belong to the rich European countries. Therefore, to date, the use of lev in the country outside the transaction costs for the transition to the euro is a factor that allows you to grow prices slowly and makes the ordinary and business life of Bulgarian citizens more predictable. The same applies to tourists, who are more concerned with the euro exchange rate to the currency of their countries and their own income. If you are traveling outside a group or hotel vacation on trips, then for an independent trip to the vacation spot, you better exchange euros (dollars or the currency of your country) at the airport immediately upon arrival, just enough to pay the way to your apartments and complex. On site you will find many exchange offices with a more pleasant course. Bulgarian airports always have Wi-Fi, and upon arrival at the place of rest you can choose the services of one of the three mobile operators - Telenor, Vivakom and Mtel, the conditions and prices in these companies are about the same and quite affordable. Some restaurants, cafes and hotels provide free Internet, but this is not the rule, so it’s better to choose the appropriate tariff yourself, SIM cards can also be bought at retail outlets, tour agencies.

Bulgaria. Sunset

For those who prefer a more active holiday, you can offer to travel around the country. You certainly will not remain indifferent! To do this, you can rent a car (from 19 euros per day) and create your own itinerary or contact our company for intermediary assistance. You understand that the country is small, so its size allows you to cover several different regions that differ from each other at once. And you will be able to fill with emotions for a long time, literally until your next visit to this hospitable region. Everything is nearby, very compact - healing springs and holy places, ski and sea resorts, clean air of ecological routes and a modern entertainment industry.

There is something to see! By its nature and history, the republic is able to surprise even the most sophisticated tourist. And even though there are few large cities in Bulgaria, even a vacation is unlikely to be enough to visit them: they abound in traditions, ancient architecture, impressive old times. In each of them you can find ancient temples, churches or monuments.

Bulgaria. National dance

In Nessebar alone, the history of which began long before our era, according to local belief, there are 40 churches - and this is on a tiny islet of land of 24 hectares (850 m by 300 m). Before the earthquake that occurred in antiquity, the territory of the city was almost twice as large, in 1452 it was destroyed by the Turks. The ruins of Turkish baths, the old fountain, ancient colorful houses remind us of the Ottoman Empire today. Even earlier, in 72 BC, the city was captured by the army of the Roman Empire and enlisted in it under the name "Mesemvria", and only in 1934 it was renamed Nessebar. This city of forty churches is so fascinating with its unique and unique architectural appearance that the first thing you dream about when you just leave it is to find yourself in it again. Perhaps this is not only the most beautiful place in Bulgaria, but also throughout Europe. Check it out.

Even if you do not consider yourself frantic religious travelers, you should still visit such treasures of Christian Bulgaria as the Rila and Bachkovsky monasteries, which until the beginning of the 19th century remained almost the only cultural centers in the country, even the Communist Party of Bulgaria respected temples and monasteries, financing , in particular, restoration work in the Rila and Bachkovo monasteries. In total, there are more than 150 monasteries in Bulgaria. So, the religious construction of the 4th century - the Sofia rotunda “S. George ”, after restoration, her church functions were resumed; restored church "St. Yoan the Baptist »11th century in Kardzhali (Southern Bulgaria). In a small essay it is impossible to describe the hundredth part of the attractiveness of the popular and highly sought after pilgrimage destinations for tourism in Christian shrines.

Bulgaria. Sunrise

No matter how attractive the nature and history of the country, the main thing is that they are people with their culture, traditions, music, folk art, national cuisine and other manifestations of creativity. Nature is created by God, historical artifacts are the heritage of the past time and man. Today is also filled with diverse manifestations of Slavic and European cultures. It will be of interest to you to know that from spring to autumn, Bulgarian cities, including resort ones, host a wide variety of festivals, competitions - in the areas of cinema and music, dances and cartoons, various types of folk art.Therefore, please take care in advance, find out, through knowledgeable acquaintances or on the Internet, exactly what events will be held in your vacation spots or in the neighborhood, in order to be sure to be filled with new emotions, plunge into bright memorable festival colors, attend unusual international events and other cultural events.

Ultimately, what remains with the person? My answer is his memories. Over time, we become more indifferent to all visible manifestations of material wealth - houses, cars, carpets ... and all the signs of spiritual wealth become vivid for us - vivid positive emotions, cordial affection, pleasant life memories.

So go ahead for the memories! Then if you are asked which one, your Bulgaria, you will know what to answer.

Tatyana Sankina

member of the International Federation of Journalists,

member of the Moscow Writers Union