Bulgarian Probe

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In late January, when the weekend I went to Bulgaria. Few people think of the Bulgarian specifically to travel, even if the majority of Europeans, it will not set foot in this land. Bulgarian is the beginning has been to reduce the population from the end of the last century, on the one hand is generally low fertility rates in more developed countries, the other is to leave a large number of Bulgarians living in Bulgaria go abroad. Especially after joining the EU, Bulgarians go to Western Europe to work to reduce the threshold of a sudden a lot, so it is out of the flock. In Switzerland I met Bulgarian friends said, his childhood friend playmate almost all students now working and living in other countries, so they are gathering in Paris, Berlin is far more convenient than the party in Sofia.

Because only a weekend, to Bulgaria and Switzerland do not have time and price are right flight, after careful study chose Friday night by train from Zurich to Basel, then flew to Belgrade, Serbia from Basel, sub train to Sofia . Sunday evening to fly to Athens, finished overnight at Athens airport to fly back to Zurich the next morning. This down both to ensure there is enough time in Bulgaria, but not so expensive to travel, doing a total cost of train tickets plus more than 100 euros, which is common in Switzerland restaurant just to eat two meals a price.

Use one word to describe my impression of Bulgaria, it is depression decline. Best reflect the decline of the place is depopulated country a ghost town, dead village. Bulgaria 1989 peak, there are 900 million people, and now the official statistics of a population of only seven million head, 20 years decreased by almost a quarter, almost like a plague in the history of almost. Most importantly, the loss of the Bulgarian population are young adults, especially the highly educated elite society, we can say than the big plague of death are also seriously sick and elderly. In fact, this problem is not unique to Bulgaria, Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union almost all countries after the collapse of the communist system, are caught in a prolonged depression. There are two factors contributing to this situation, the internal factor is the nationwide system after overnight subversion, state-controlled planned economy to a standstill, a large number of factories closed down, and the new industry has not yet been established; external factors, the Western European countries in order to against its own population the same downward trend in Eastern Europe door open, a large number of immigrant absorption. These two factors are a push-pull, so that the loss of Eastern European countries in recent years the population, continue to increase the depression.

Communist Party Memorial Hall, Buzludzha

Another place to reflect the depression is a lot of infrastructure was abandoned Communist era, a large number of buildings fell into disrepair, crumbling. Bulgarian man named Buzludzha place, away from the city in the Balkan Mountains, the erection of a giant flying saucer looks exactly like building that was once "the Bulgarian Communist Party Memorial Hall." Buzludzha is to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the establishment of the Bulgarian Communist Party and the construction was completed in 1981, it had served as the Congress and met with foreign dignitaries place.

Buzludzha appearance domineering compelling, specific shape, and now this place has been completely abandoned, its past and present contrast cause for regret. Buzludzha also became Urban Exploration (UrbanEx) enthusiasts a large pilgrimage from all over the world pour in audience this huge building. To go Buzludzha is actually not very easy, I specifically requested a tour guide, drove four hours from Sofia past. Because there is snow on the mountains, but also in the snow trek some distance to close this place. Buzludzha main entrance has been locked, and only from one side of the window before they can jump in, which although devastated, but can not conceal its former glory.

From the outside Buzludzha, I saw a flying saucer building stands in the top of the hill.

Buzludzha now

It is a tower behind the UFO, UFO entrance inside.

Buzludzha now

UFO inside the hall, where the Communist Party had to convene a meeting, circular wall was covered with Byzantine mosaic murals.

Buzludzha now

UFO outer ring, the glass is gone, but still scenic beauty.

Buzludzha now

Buzludzha former glory

Buzludzha past

Buzludzha past

Buzludzha past

Buzludzha past

Like being abandoned buildings can be found everywhere in eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, or even completely abandoned towns are not uncommon, but like Buzludzha large-scale, sophisticated decoration but also the historic building, and it was abandoned also rare. Can with a par, only Chernobyl was later abandoned city Pripyat (Прип'ять) a.

Incidentally, Buzludzha is actually Turkish, meaning "cold." Bulgaria, once the territory of the Ottoman Empire, in the past there are many Turks living in Bulgaria, the Bulgarian independence until after being expelled, so many place names are Turkish.


Bulgarian tourists in the city, in addition to the Black Sea coast resort, and only the capital of Sofia (Sofia) and the ancient city of Plovdiv (Plovdiv) a. After reading it I Buzludzha, next to a nearby Plovdiv. Plovdiv's long history, known as the oldest city in Europe, with 6,000 years of history. Even if there is a documented history, dating back two thousand years BC, the Mycenaean civilization, which is the era of the legendary history of ancient Greece, Homer, "The Iliad", "Odyssey," described. Plovdiv This place was once a Thracian settlement, after being Macedonia Philip II (father of Alexander the Great) conquered and renamed Philip Indianapolis (Philippopolis), and later was conquered by the Roman Empire, became the color Caceres province capital. Romans Plovdiv repair in a large number of public buildings, especially the amphitheater has been preserved.

Plovdiv Roman Theatre


Sophia is my last visit to the place. And other Eastern European countries, only the capital of fairly prosperous, but in many new buildings behind the communist era have been large-scale construction of houses dilapidated streets. Sofia biggest surprise, it may be the only "attraction" to calculate the Alexander Nevsky church. The Orthodox Church domineering appearance, interior refinement, comparable to the Church of St. Sophia in Istanbul.

Alexander Nevsky church is a Byzantine-style building dating from the Roman basilica. This shape of the church called "Greek cross" building, as is a plan view of a cross shape, and four arms of equal length, unlike the extended arm "Latin cross", the Catholic Church generally Latin cross. In addition to appearance, in my opinion the biggest difference between the Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church are little inside seating or no seating.

Alexander Nevsky church appearance

Alexander Nevsky church interior

Bulgaria has two specialties, namely Yogurt (Yogurt) and roses. Bulgarian yogurt consumption per capita ranks first in the world, is a very important part of dining. Bulgarian rose oil is a high-end cosmetics, price is the market price of up to $ 7,000 per kilogram, the price of manufactured goods to turn on several times. Since there is no good time to visit, I was in Sofia airport to buy a little rose oil, 0.5 ml price over 30 euros. Bulgarian Rose origin in the central Kazanlak (Казанлък), June 5 is the annual Rose Festival, will attract large numbers of tourists to watch folk and buy roses. In addition Kazanlak Buzludzha distance or the nearest city, I'm still here to eat a dinner.

Bulgaria, also called Banitsa food specialties (Баница) is a multi-layered pie, which is a mix of eggs and cheese stuffing, usually sell breakfast, with the yogurt to eat.

Bulgarian Banitsa

After I came back from Bulgaria still recall this country see everything Depression scene, in fact, think of China's rural and small town, then why not a dilapidated scene. With advances in agricultural technology, mankind has bid farewell to the reclamation expansion stage, replaced by efficient centralized agricultural and urbanized life. Whether it is China or Europe, the United States, Japan, South America, the Middle East and even Africa, urbanization are carrying. Even the United States out of the car driven by the stage of "counter-urbanization" and began "re-urbanization", or called " urban gentrification ." In Europe, things get very complicated because of the presence of both countries, but also within the EU agreement free movement of people, the end result will be a large number of the population is concentrated in the developed cities in developed countries, and Eastern European countries will continue to decline continues, until it ceased to exist.

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