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Laser F/X On-line Newsletter - Virtual Visits

A Virtual Visit to Spectronika Ltd.

Spectronika Logo

    

BULGARIA TOURISM

Map of Bulgaria

    Bulgaria is located in Eastern Europe and borders on Greece and Turkey to the south, Macedonia and Serbia [the former Yugoslavia] to the west, Romania to the North and the Black sea to the east. Bulgarians are a friendly and cheerful people who have developed a great sense of humour during the days of communism as an antidote to the repressive regime. Drawing on over 13 centuries of history, Bulgarians have a rich and colourful culture and a fantastic cuisine.

A statue memorialising the brothers who invented the Cyrillic alphabet One of the many communist era monuments in Bulgaria
A statue memorialising the brothers who invented the Cyrillic alphabet stands before the National Library in Sofia - an example of the alphabet can be seen behind the statue. One of the many communist era monuments in Bulgaria

    The history of Bulgaria from antiquity until recently has been influenced by it's geographical location on the trade routes between Europe and Asia. Waves of settlers have swept from both continents into the country at various times in the past. This has often turned the Balkan mountains into an arena of fierce clashes - most recently in the former Yugoslavia. Prior to the settlement of the Bulgarians about fifteen hundred years ago, the Balkans have been some of the most occupied lands in eastern Europe. This has led to a variety of cultural influences on the country, it's citizens, culture and cuisine.
    Our hosts from Spectronika wanted us to sample as much of the traditional Bulgarian culture and food as possible in the free time we had available during our visit and factory training sessions.

Bulgaria has a diverse and tasty cuisine, even a simple desert at a street cafe is a work of art
Bulgaria has a diverse and tasty cuisine, even a simple desert at a street cafe is a work of art

Staff in traditional Bulgarian dress roast a whole lamb slowly over a low wood fire
Staff in traditional Bulgarian dress roast a whole lamb slowly over a low wood fire

Ethnic dancers in regional costumes entertained us during dinner.
Ethnic dancers in regional costumes entertained us during dinner.

Bozhentsi

    We went to visit Bozhentsi, an idyllic village nestling in the folds of the Balkan mountains, 16 km from the town of Gabrovo. The centuries old village is now an artists and musicians colony with well preserved example of traditional Bulgarian village architecture and a number of fine restaurants. Until the 19th century, Bozhentsi was a local business and education centre. Many of the inhabitants were merchants and took trips by horse as far as Moscow, Vienna, Alexandria and Baghdad to trade merchandise.
    There are now just over 100 houses preserved in Bozhentsi ranging in age from 100 to 250 years old with the St. Pr. Ilia church built on a slight rise overlooking the stone roofs of the village.

A colourful display of onions on the road to Bozhentsi view of the village of Bozhentsi view of the village of Bozhentsi
Left: A colourful display of onions on the road to Bozhentsi. Centre and Right: Two views of the village of Bozhentsi.


Interior of a traditional 19th century village home

    We wandered about looking at the well preserved buildings and making our way slowly up one of the hills until we came to a small restaurant heated by a traditional wood stove. Here, with only 6 tables in the entire establishment, we dined on Banitza, Bulgarian Bean shop, Shopska salad and a very tasty main course of rabbit casserole - all served by the friendly owner and his charming daughter. We enjoyed the attentive old world service with the owner/cook sitting at the table next to us discussing the recipes and ingredients first before we could order, and then hastening off to his wood fired stove in the kitchen to custom make our dinner.

Dinner is served!
Dinner is served!

Etura Architectural and Ethnographic Complex

    Eight km from Gabrovo, lies the Etura Architectural and Ethnographic Complex. Here master craftsmen fashion beautiful icons, tablecloths, rugs, gold, silver, copper, leather and wooden articles using centuries old hand crafting techniques. Much of the equipment, such as the lathe used for turning wooden bowls and the braid weaving machines, are powered by water. The sent of bread baking in stone ovens mixes with the smell of wood smoke and drifts down the streets between the beautifully preserved and restored old buildings. A small coffee shop served us streaming sweet Turkish coffee in a copper pot with white jam and fresh sweet bread rolls on the side.

Etura Architectural and Ethnographic Complex Etura Architectural and Ethnographic Complex

Etura Architectural and Ethnographic Complex

Veliko Turnovo

    The city of Veliko Turnovo is situated on 4 hills - Tsarevets, Trapezitsa, Momina Krepost and Sveta Gora with the Yantra river meandering through the gorges below. The ridges and cliffs of the hills provided ideal natural fortifications in ancient times, thus the royal palace was built atop one of the hills. Tsarevets was the capital of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom in the 12th century. Ancient travellers described the city of Turnovo as "second only to Constantinople" in its beauty and might. Seven centuries ago, as a capital of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom, the town of Tsarevets had had a major role in the political and the spiritual life of Bulgaria. Now the town of Veliko Turnovo is an administrative, economical and cultural centre. Tourists flock to visit the partially restored royal palace with it's Patriarch Church on the summit of the walled hill.

Veliko Turnovo
Veliko Turnovo Veliko Turnovo Veliko Turnovo
Veliko Turnovo

The weekly summer "sound and light" performance, which includes Spectronika lasers
The weekly summer "sound and light" performance, which includes Spectronika lasers, illuminating the restored ruins of the royal palace is a major tourist attraction (scan of a postcard)

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