Category: Culture

The story of the yellow cobbled streets of Sofia centre

The yellow brick roads in the centre of Sofia are a cultural heritage for sure. Now a new law is to be voted in the Bulgarian parliament that would make it mandatory for every Bulgarian to declare any item in his possession which is more than 100 years old against a tax of 5 Leva. Imagine one having a huge old collection of books on the shelf.


ludmila filipovaThe earliest Bulgarian literature was written in Old Bulgarian or Old Church Slavonic language which was later introduced into Russia and Serbia. Most of these writings, produced between the 9th and 14th centuries, consisted of historical chronicles and religious works.

During the Turkish domination (1396-1878) Bulgarian literature almost ceased to exist. The 19th century marked The Revival in the history of Bulgaria including the literature. It had its origin still in 1762 in the works of the monk Paisiy Hilendarski “History of the Slavic-Bulgarians”. Later began the establishment of Bulgarian schools, publication of Bulgarian grammars and other educational works, that played a great part in developing of a new Bulgarian literature.

Most Bulgarian writers in this period were concerned with social and political problems and mainly the struggle for national independence. Among the best known are Hristo Botev and Ivan Vazov. Other important writers of this period were Stoyan Mihaylovski, Dobri Voynikov, Lyuben Karavelov, Zahari Stoyanov, Aleko Konstantinov.

In the post-liberation period, the Bulgarian writers increasingly began to emphasize on the form, style and harmony of the language. Important writers of this period are the short-story writers Elin Pelin and Yordan Yovkov; the poets Peyo Yavorov, Kiril Hristov and many others.

The Bulgarian literature after 1940 is strong affected by the Soviet socialist literature but despite this influence it certainly must be mentioned the remarkable novelists Dimitar Dimov and Dimitar Talev.

Modern authors include Yordan Radichkov, Nikolay Haytov, Nedyalko Yordanov, Viktor Paskov and ludmila Filipova whose picture features this article.

Bulgarian Folk Music

Valya BalkanskaBulgarian folk music was and is inseparable part from people’s daily life and holiday celebrations, in times of joy or sorrow.

Songs were created to any occasion – for traditional holidays, for seasons’ working activities as harvest, grape-picking, etc., dance songs and many others.

The regional variations are not strictly divided, but certain typical characteristics have formed several musical areas.

The main features of the Bulgarian folk music:
1. It is homophonic. Even when there are two or more singing parties, the song sounds like single-voiced.
2. Its rhythm and vocal wealth are described as ranging from fantastic richness to primitive monotony.
3. It is based on extended time. This technique makes Bulgarian folk music unique, because it doesn’t exist in the rest of the European music. It is most expressively used in the Rhodopian songs.

There are more than 70 000 folk songs in Bulgaria. Even today the folk song tradition is as alive as ever. There are many folklore ensembles, folk dance groups and folk orchestras all over Bulgaria. In addition, the folk music of Bulgaria has very important place in the modern Bulgarian music.

You can enjoy the authentic Bulgarian folk music at the traditional folk festivals held in Koprivshtitsa, Shiroka Laka, Predela and many other places in the country as well as at the traditional holidays and customs in Bulgaria.

The most typical traditional Bulgarian musical instruments are “gayda”/Bulgarian bagpipe/, “kaval”/wooden flute/ , “gadulka” /string instrument/ and “tapan”/drum/.

The uniqueness of the Bulgarian folk music is proved by the fact that on the Voyager-1 and Voyager-2 spacecrafts among the selected masterpieces of mankind’s musical treasury and along with a Beethoven symphony is a Bulgarian folk song from the Rhodopes region, performed by Valya Balkanska whose picture decorates this article.


Thracian Tomb of SveshtariThe Bulgarian lands have been inhabited by various ethnic groups that have developed a rich and varied culture.

The earliest monuments are the drawings found in the Magura cave (Second Millennium BC), the remains from Paleolithic cultures in several caves in Stara planina (Balkan Mountains) and the Rhodope Mountains.

Traces of some seaside Neolithic and Palaeolithic cultures have been found in the areas of cape Kaliakra and the southern seaside town Ahtopol. Read more

Bulgarian culture

Sofia opera houseBulgaria is a cradle and crossroad of ancient civilizations. Thracians, Romans, Slavs and Bulgars have left their mark in the past on the culture of Bulgaria contributing to a heritage that combines long history, fine literature and unique folklore.

Bulgaria is the birthplace of the Cyrillic alphabet, developed in the Preslav and Ohrid Literary Schools during the tenth century.

More than 200 million people from different countries today use the developed version of the Cyrillic alphabet, which by 1 January 2007 with Bulgaria’s accession to the European Union became its 3rd official alphabet next to the Latin alphabet. Read more