Travel advice blog. Tours in Bulgaria, Bulgarian culture and tradition.
As for the geographical position of our country we can simply say that it is like winning the jackpot in terms of its location. In ancient times, the favorable geographical position of our country got the attention of many different countries and challenged them to conquer Bulgaria, trying to take control of these valuable territories lying in a land with important strategic location. The name of our country –Bulgaria - is well known because the country is situated on the crossroad between Europe and Asia. The country is not only in close distance to several European countries, but it also allows access to several important transport corridors. Its borders reach the Danube River and the Black Sea, which has a positive impact on its economic and cultural development. Therefore, the "small" Bulgaria has become a great place for trade and tourism. There are many reasons to visit Bulgaria and see amazing places and local attractions.
Those who choose to visit Bulgaria will be amazed to find out that it is an ancient country with ancient history, one of the countries with the largest historical records. The foundation of the First Bulgarian kingdom dates back to 681 AD, when the bold Khan Asparuh set the beginning to an entire era of great events that led not only to the establishment of the country but also turned it in a symbol of authority and grandeur. Bulgarian rich history was described in the ancient chronicles, telling us about epic battles and victories. Bulgarian historic heritage includes breathtaking historical monuments built on the territory of our country, whispering stories of brave Bulgarians and legends of its heroes. The Madara Rider, the Omurtag Mound, the old capital Pliska and the Tsarevets fortress in Veliko Tarnovo are only part of the ruins in Bulgaria that are worth visiting. We recommend you to put them of your list of sights to see. Take only comfortable shoes and let your journey exceed your expectations. For all the rest the beauty of Bulgaria will take care!
The Bulgarian folklore! We can write a whole book on this topic and we won’t be able to tell you everything about it. Bulgarian folklore is something special, that holds our breath and makes us filled with admiration. Our folklore has been created through so many centuries, that now it carries the echo of thousands voices and legends.
To mention Bulgarian folk dances. There are hardly any people who can easily list all kinds of Bulgarian ring dances and ruchenitsa. There are so many variations, combinations and styles of folk dances. But we all know the most well-known folklore districts in our country such as: Dobrudja, Pirin, Rhodopi, Northern district, Strandzha, Thracian and Shopski district. Each of them has its own unique dancing style. Every time when hearing folk music, for professional Bulgarian folk dancers it is difficult not to jump and start dancing, and their hearts start beating with joy. It is really amazing how the slightest movement or small step may seem quite different, depending on in which district of Bulgaria the folk dance originates from. I will give an example of the northern district, the district where I come from.
The dancing techniques of the people in the north-west are extremely fast and dynamic. For those who watch them it may seem that the dancers hardly touch the ground, moving their feet extremely fast. People in this region have different body shapes which challenge them when trying to learn the complicated steps but they carry a high emotional charge and instantly charge you with positive energy. People from the shopski region are just the opposite - with slow pace and heavy footsteps. Their legs beat heavily and produce a typical solemn sound. Shopski people often perform the dance with simpler movements, but the movements are very specific. These folk dances are suitable for weddings and celebrations. Regardless of the kind of the folk dance, we guarantee a lot of fun and positive energy!
Bulgarian folk dances are performed by folk dancers in authentic Bulgarian folk costumes. Our traditional Bulgarian folk costumes are hand-made from the finest fabrics and elaborated with embroidery that is a real enchantment for the visitors. It is not a surprise that so many small elements are put together in order even a simple shirt to be made - braids of flowers, bangles and geometric figures. The traditional decoration of the costumes in our lands is called "embroidery" and it is used both in men's and women's costumes. The shear is sewn on the fabric by equal stitches and again depending on the concrete region in Bulgaria, the color combinations are applied. When finished, the Bulgarian folk costume looks like a real masterpiece and work of art. We personally can watch Bulgarian costumes all day long and discover more and more new wonderful elements in them.
Bulgarian crafts and customs
Another element of the Bulgarian folklore and what we can tell the world about our lives and customs are the Bulgarian crafts. Pottery, carving, weaved carpets, knitted slippers, rose oil and making bread in traditional ways - these are just some of the things about which the secrets are passed down from generation to generation. All handmade works in Bulgaria are greatly appreciated. In their works our craftsmen embed not only the skill of their fingers but also their love. I have met people who perform these traditional crafts, and what they appreciate the most is not the profit they make, but the excitement and the joy in the hearts of the visitors and buyers. Come to Bulgaria and see these craftsmen - people with smiles on their faces who are ready to give you a little but wonderful pieces of our loved motherland.
When speaking about Bulgarian cuisine, it can be said a lot and yet it will not be enough. We will not exaggerate if we say it is unique, because it is indeed. What is typical for our lands is the use of different spices that enhance the taste of the food and make you recognize its specific taste. In Bulgaria, every housewife, when cooking different dishes, uses different herbs such as basil, mint, dill, savory, lovage, parsley and savory. It is commonly accepted that the more the herbs, the better taste. These spices are easily combined, and the cooks use their imagination while cooking, so instead of using them in precise proportions, they simply use a handful of them in each dish. When it comes to some typical food products in Bulgaria, we usually rely on what we produce. What can be a better choice than fresh cheese, yogurt, home-made butter and lovely pink tomatoes from your grandmother's garden? Bulgarians wholeheartedly devote their energy to the food they cook. It is no coincidence that our mothers, grandmothers and great-grandmothers prepare meals that make you lick your fingers and ask for the recipes.
Roses and rose oil
Is there anyone who has not heard about the Bulgarian traditional rose oil? We are proud to associate this magical elixir with our homeland. Production of rose oil is a traditional sector of the agricultural industry in Bulgaria and it every year it attracts the attention of more and more visitors. They come here and are curious to see how the miraculous rose oil is prepared. Our rose oil is extremely aromatic and has a positive effect on the skin due to its soothing properties. We strongly recommend Bulgarian rose water –do you know that it is a really enjoyable drink?
Holidays and customs
Bulgarian people are very fond of celebrating and organizing special events. In our country there are holidays that are unique and are not known in other countries. Such an example is our beloved traditional celebrating of Baba Martha, which marks not only the beginning of the month March, but also the arrival of the spring and the wake-up of the nature after the winter. Another special celebration that challenges all the brave men, is Jordanian Day, or still called Epiphany, the special day when the cross is thrown in the icy water of the river and all the male enthusiasts jump into the water to take out the cross. The men dance horo /a folk ring dance/ in a curving line in the icy cold water, and the winner is believed to be healthy and successful throughout the year. Another interesting Bulgarian tradition is during the first Sunday before Lent, when children in the family try to catch a mouthpiece of halva attached to a thread.
Bulgarians are known all over the world for their hospitality and the roots of our hospitality lie in our traditions. When inviting someone to our place, we open not only the door of our home, but also our hearts. Every guest can be sure that his stay will be full of joy, laughter and jokes carrying the features of the Balkan nature. The table will be set accordingly in a traditional way, with plenty of typical Bulgarian dishes and we guarantee that no one will remain hungry. When having guests, Bulgarians are extremely generous, serving plenty of food, because it is important for them to make their guests feel at home. As we like to say - there is always room for another one at the table. What we want is our hearts to stay open for love and friendship!
Bulgarian nature is unique. There are so many wonderful places in our nice country that I sometimes wonder how they all fit into our small land. For instance, the Strandja Mountain - an extremely interesting natural phenomenon – that reaches the Black Sea to the northeast and the east. We recommend you to see our lavender fields, the variety of sharp and sloping mountains, clear streams and rivers, national reserves, mysterious caves and endless cornfields. When we speak of caves, we pay special attention to the Devil's Throat, which is definitely worth seeing, as well as the Trigrad Gorge, because there you can feel the real magic. Not to mention the Bulgarian beaches with their turquoise water and fine sand. Yes, this is Bulgaria. Its beauty goes beyond what can be visible, and there where your eyes see the horizon, you realize what an astonishing artist the nature is. How bold the nature can be when it paints and mixes blue colors for the sky, a palette of green, yellow and brown for the plains and fields, and here and there glimpses of clear crystal water. Pine tips gently swing in the wind and dance in the sunlight. And when you look down, at the lowland you can see, thousands golden grains of wheat. I have traveled to many places in my life, but I have never seen green forests and blue rivers, as clean as crystal, as the ones that you can see only in Bulgaria.
Our nature is an invaluable gift. It is a priceless heritage that was given to us by our ancestors to remind us that all these pieces of a paradise are here in our country Bulgaria. When saying that places such as the Madara Rider – a medieval large rock relief on the Madara Plateau in the northeastern Bulgaria, the Seven Rila Lakes in the northwestern Rila Mountains and the Trigrad Gorge – a canyon of vertical marble rocks in the Rhodope Mountains are "Bulgarian" places it makes us wave our hands to invite people to come and visit our country. So come here and see Bulgaria. Only those who have visited Bulgaria know how wonderful and beautiful it is. Come and see us, you will never regret!
Why you should visit Bulgaria?
Bulgaria is one and is amazing. A country with many centuries of traditions and history, worthwhile visiting. Check out our top 10 reasons why it is worth visiting this beautiful country.