There’s no other place like home where we feel safe and comfortable. No matter if we travel and how many countries and continents we’ve visited, our roots bring us back and drag us to our homelands where our families and friends are, where we were born and brought up. We love our countries of origin and at the same time we pray for a change of the things we dislike there. We live here and there in the world and all the time we are always tightly connected through an umbilical cord with our motherland. And you will agree with me that it’s one entirely true and inevitable fact – Home, sweet home.
Well, Bulgaria…. 🙂 It’s a small country situated somewhere there on the Balkan Peninsula. We are divided from Romania through the Danube to the North. Our western neighbours are Serbia and Macedonia. Our borders are with Hellas and Turkey to the South. And we have the Black Sea coast to the East.
We are known to be very hospitable people who live in one of God’s lands. And yes, we have everything. Our mountains are magnificent and the highest peak in the Balkans – Musala, is situated in the Rila mountain range. Our valleys and fields are extremely green-yellow and filled with crops and aromatic plants. The villages scattered everywhere are extremely picturesque with preserved old buildings and surrounding ancient ruins of all times.
As to the Bulgarian food and cuisine, it’s a little bit confusing. Because of the similar Balkan history of all of the countries on the Peninsula, we all have similar dishes with slightly different names and pronunciation. All of us pretend and try to emphasize that a certain meal or sweet belong to the national cuisine of that country. That’s why I always say that we the Bulgarians have a Balkan cuisine with some peculiarities.
But there are, for sure, lots of things and features that make us different from our neighbours, other countries and the rest of the world. And which are they?
In the first place, we are proud of our Bulgarian Rose. Its aroma fills the air in our Rose Valley (especially in May and June during the colourful harvest) which is one of the major producers and exporters of essential rose oil.
Our second pride is Lactobacillus bulgaricus and makes Bulgarian yogurt the best in the world because namely these bacteria are naturally found only here, in Bulgarian air.
I am not sure whether our nodding tradition is something we should be proud of but at least we shock foreigners with our replies and confuse them entirely and that makes us different from all other nations. Ah, yes, that puts both sides in funny situations, too, before they understand one another. When you come to Bulgaria and we nod our heads up and down, just know we disagree with you and give you a negative reply. While our “No” is your “Yes”, i.e. when we move and shake our heads horizontally we say “Yes”. Strange birds, a? 😉
What else is confusing to foreigners? …. Of course, our Cyrillic alphabet and all those “hieroglyphics” we use. We adopted it long before the Russians and we are, as a matter of fact, the country of origin of Cyrillic alphabet. The two brothers and creators (Saints Cyril and Methodius) of the 9th century are our most celebrated Saints and we commemorate their deed on May 24 every year.
As for our history, our country is dotted by ruins and remains of ancient Greek and Roman times, of the Byzantine and Ottoman periods and, of course, of our glamorous First and Second Bulgarian Tzarstvo (a Bulgarian Tzarstvo is like a western Empire and Kingdom).
Well, it’s the right place to mention that the oldest gold treasure in the world was found in Bulgaria. It dates back to 4560-4450BC and was discovered in 1972 in an enormous necropolis consisting of about 300 graves.
And one more thing (among too many others). There’s a fresco in Ivanovo Rock Monastery that presents a Last Supper scene with the apostles that is 140 years older than that of Leonardo da Vinci’s.
So, guys, if you come to Bulgaria, you’ll not regret it at all. You’ll dive into our history. You will get confused with our traditions and gestures. You will have much fun with us because we are very hospitable and party people who will make you feel at home, sweet home. 🙂