Bulgaria Is Famous

On October 10, 2011, Bulgaria’s daily newspaper 24 Chasa published an article entitled “They Found Proof That We Thought Up Rakiya,” in which is detailed the Old Bulgarian inscription “I drank rakiya during the feast” on a small 14th-century bowl fragment found at Veliko Turnovo. Naturally this was thought to go some way in forwarding … Continue reading Bulgaria Is Famous

Lamartine in Bulgaria

Many years ago in graduate school, I took a course that required each student to have a subscription to the renowned and self-described “authoritative” British weekly magazine The Economist. I don’t recall what the professor’s purpose in such a requirement was, but for me the unexpected benefit was reading about the world—and in particular the … Continue reading Lamartine in Bulgaria

Nothing New Under the Bulgarian Sun

Time may pass at a fixed rate, but the velocity of history is ever swifter and ever more incomprehensible. Consciously or unconsciously, we seem to exercise some level of control or sanity or comprehension by repeating patterns of history, behavior—even ways of thinking. “What has been is what will be, and what has been done … Continue reading Nothing New Under the Bulgarian Sun

10 Fun Facts for the Bulgaria Curious

Bulgaria has been known since antiquity for its soothing and healing mineral baths. There are hundreds, some say over 1000, mineral springs and spas galore. Bulgarians are literally world-class pessimists, even when living the good life drinking expressos for hours in cafés and visiting their country cottages on the weekends and holidays. The world-class ski … Continue reading 10 Fun Facts for the Bulgaria Curious

Mr. Miller and the Balkans

You wouldn’t think that a 19th century academic self-professedly interested largely in the French and Italian states established in Greece after the 1204 Fourth Crusade would write The Balkans: Roumania, Bulgaria, Servia and Montenegro. But Oxonian medievalist and academic William Miller did exactly that, and the book was simultaneously published in Britain and the United … Continue reading Mr. Miller and the Balkans

Judgment on Deltchev

The southeastern Europe country controlled by the “People’s Party” is never named in the late Eric Ambler’s international political thriller Judgment on Deltchev, but there are more than a few teasing details that make Bulgaria the plausible center of events. The novel focuses on a Stalinist-style show trial. I don’t know if Ambler ever visited … Continue reading Judgment on Deltchev

What the Red Army DIDN’T Do

“Russian embassy in Sofia attempts new spin in row on claims Soviets rescued Bulgarian Jews from Holocaust” “Sofia Rejects Russia’s Claims About Saving Bulgarian Jews” For those in the Kremlin who might need a refresher course in history, the facts are as follows: The deportation of Bulgarian Jews requested by Germany was cancelled in May … Continue reading What the Red Army DIDN’T Do

You Say Да, I Say Нет

Last week The New York Times published an articled entitled “Bulgaria Grows Uneasy as Trump Complicates Its Ties to Russia.” Given the media’s only rare nod to Bulgaria, it’s not surprising that journalists do not have sufficient acquaintance with its history to elucidate just how longstanding the Russian complications are. Thus the article has the … Continue reading You Say Да, I Say Нет

Not About Politics

I have an unwritten rule that my blog will not discuss politics. Not because I do not have strong feelings about various matters political, but because most people do and the possibility of unknowingly giving offense is quite large. Giving offense is unpleasant and unproductive so one should try not to do it, however much … Continue reading Not About Politics

Close Proximity

The first time my husband left Bulgaria it was with his family for a New Year’s vacation in Bucharest, Romania. It was also the first time anyone of them had been on a plane and Rumen remembers his father muttering with closed eyes, hands gripping the armrests, that it would be the last time he … Continue reading Close Proximity