An inspiring figure in Bulgarian history – doctor Konstantin Stoilov.

As many of you may know, Plovdiv is a city full of history and famous people.

We want to stop your attention on one particular person in bulgarian history, whose story is only mentioned in our tours because of lack of time- doctor Konstantin Stoilov.

The house of Doctor Konstantine Stoilov in Plovdiv.

 

In our tours we only pass by his house, but in our history he is real stepping stone. Born in Plovdiv, Stoilov studied at Robert College in Istanbul, before studying law at Ruprecht Karl University of Heidelberg to doctorate level. It is believed that he knew perfectly turkish, german, italian, french, russian and english and he is described as the most European-like politician in Bulgarian history. Stoilov was twice Prime Minister of Bulgaria (1894-1899). Between 1879-1885 he took different jobs in the government and the tsar`s administration. In 1885 he was a soldier in Bulgarian army in our war against Serbia and even won a Bravery medal.

Few years later he became vital part of Stefan Stambolov`s government- one of the masterminds in bulgarian new history. Stambolov was a genius man ( and we will be glad to tell you more about his inspiring story on our tours), but also really cruel one and in one point Stoilov could not stand anymore and resign. From this moment, they became rivals. Stoilov claimed Stambolov was a dictator, while Stambolov said Stoilov was too soft to be  a politician in Bulgaria. In 1894 Stoilov became a prime minister „dethroning“ Stambolov. Despite of his hate, he continued Stambolov economic politic and by the end of his mandate, Bulgaria was the richest country in the region. 

This blogpost is courtesy of Yasen Ovcharov.

Tarator – the strange but delightful Bulgarian cold soup

Tarator

Traditional Bulgarian yogurt cold soup

Few things are so traditionally Bulgarian as Tarator. It is one of the most beloved and easy to make Bulgarian dishes.

Ingredients

Tarator1 long cucumber, chopped or grated (we prefer it peeled)
1 garlic clove, minced or smashed
4 cups yoghurt
1 cup water
1 teaspoon salt (we like it saltier)
1 tablespoon dill, finely chopped
4 big pecans, well crushed
3 teaspoons olive oil

Preparation

 

Put all those together and mix well. When ready garnish with olive oil (or other favorite oil).
Best when chilled.

Hint: Try it with no dills and pecans – Bulgarian restaurants favorite.

About Tarator

Tarator is a cold summer soup made of yogurt and cucumbers. It is served chilled. Local variations may replace yogurt with water and vinegar, omit nuts or dill, or add bread. The cucumbers may on rare occasions be replaced with lettuce or carrots.

Bulgarian: таратор

 

 

 

A tarator popcikle :

 

 

If you add gelatine to your tarator you can get interesting results

 

 

The mascot of the city – Milio

If you are walking on the main street of Plovdiv you will notice a bronze statue of a man sitting on the steps infront of the Bar Kaligula, this is Milio , one of Plovdivs symbolic figures.

 

Brandes by some as a „harmless crazy“ he lived in the city in the sixties and was a famous gossip. The legend goes that he knew the gossips of the whole town and told them to everyone interested (and occasionaly uninterested) in them.

He was a muse for several famous Bulgarian artists, most notably the world famous Zlatio Boyadjiev.

 

Today is the Night of the Museums and Galleries!

Today is the Night of the Museums and Galleries!

Is anyone else excited about it?

 

 

In the ninth edition of the event part will take The archeological museum, The ethnographic museum, The regional museum of history and many more.

Plovdiv tours recommends that you just go to the city centre tonight, get a brochure (there are brochures in |English too) and a map and start exploring!

Remember, tonight all museums and galleries work late and there is no entrance fee!

Dont forger to visit the official page for more details!

 

 

Bulgaria celebrates the creation of the Cyrillic

If you are visiting plovdiv on the 24th if March you will have the oportunity to see how we, Bulgarians celebrate the creation of   our alphabet by the brothers and Bulgarian Saints Cyril and Methody.

The brothers Cyril and Methody were born in Thessaloniki (today in Greece) but they practiced missionary work in the middle east and the Slavic countries. They created the first alphabet used in Slavic manuscripts – the Glagolic alphabet. Later on they created the more elaborate Cyrillic alphabet named after one of the brothers.

The creation of the Cyrillic alphabet marks a great point in Bullgarian history.

They  were the first to translate the Bible in Slavic which was historicly very important for all the Slavic countries because until then only those who knew Hebrew, Latin оr Greek could read the Bible or understand the sermons (which until then were held in Greek, although the population did not speak the language). The creation of the alphabet held an extremely important role for the separation and distinction of the Bulgarian church from the Greek one.

The day of the brother saints is celebrated by Bulgarian pupil, students teachers and universities. There are Processions on the main streets of towns, flowers are put in front the statues of the saints and many schools hold recitals

 

 

During those celebrations the Anthem of the Brothers Cyrill and Methody is sung and you can  hear it here :   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OLcqe368uik

 

Saint George`s Day

Did you know that on the 6th of May Bulgaria celebrates the day of the Christian Saint George?

 

 

It is a national holiday, and also the day we, Bulgarians , celebrate the Valiance of the of the Bulgarian Army.

 

During the Communist days of Bulgaria the day was celebrated as a day of the shepard.

 

 

The day of Saint George is one of the most celebrated holidays in Bulgaria, not only because it is in the beginning of spring, but also because George is one of the most common Bulgarian names.It is estimated that more than 180 thousand men in Bulgaria are named George (Georgi). On the same day women named Gergana ( the female version of the name Georgi) celebrate too.

 

The day of saint George was really important for Bulgarians in the past. It was believed that he helps the crops grow and blesses the morning dew, so early in the morning they walked in the pastures and meadows and collected dew, washed their face, hands and feet in it for good luck and even in some rural parts of Bulgaria it was a custom to roll in it naked.

 

 

 

It is also believed that on Saint Georges day herbs have special magical powers and that it was the best day to break evil spells and make good fertility spells. It was a custom (a somewhat barbaric one ) that every Christian home should kill a lamb.The lamb to be offered was picked in different ways- some picked the firs lamb to be born that year, some the first to go out of the barn, some the first white or black lamb etc. Then the lamb was fed with bread, salt, fresh grass and herbs. It was given holy water to drink and sometimes a priest blessed it.

 

In different parts of Bulgaria there were different customs about where the lamb should be killed.

Some believed that it should be killed in the home, to bring prosperity to the family, others that it should be killed in the fields as an offering to God and as a prayer that the crops would be good.

Nowadays although seldom families kill their own lambs it is a custom to cook lamb and gather the whole family around the table on Saint Georges day.

Plovdiv- the city of many names.

Plovdiv was given various names throughout its long history. It was originally a settlement by the name of Eumolpias, named after the mythical Thracian king Eumolpos. When Philip II of Macedonia conquered the area he renamed the city Philippoupolis. The Thracian name for the city, Pulpudeva, is a translation. After the Romans took control of the area, the city was named in latin :Trimontium, meaning the Three Hills. The slavic name occurred in different variants, Pəldin (Пълдин), Pləpdiv (Плъпдив) and Ploudin (Плоудин), based on the city’s later thracian name Pulpudeva, while the current variant Plovdiv was documented (as Пло(в)дївь) for the first time in a Bulgarian apocryphal chronicle of the 11th century. The city was known as Philippopolis in Western Europe well into the early 20th century. The city was known as Filibe in turkish during the Ottoman Empire and the name is still in use in Turkish.

 

Just like the city the river Maritsa (which is the longest river in Bulgaria) has changed names through the years. The oldest known name of the river is Rombus. In the antiquity it was also known as Habar, Hbrus, Evros,Ebrus,Marizo and its earliest mention as `Maritza` is in the 7th cencurywhere she is mentioned by the Byzantine historian Pahimer.

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