Bulgarian villages

Take it altogether, I should say the inhabitants of Panscherevow—in common, for that matter, with those of most Bulgarian villages—seem to me not to have a bad time. If there is no luxury, there is a good deal of rough comfort, and if their wants are few, these wants are fairly well satisfied. Barring the taxes and military service, they lead much the sort of lives they would like to lead; and that, after all, is about as much as human nature can reasonably expect However, I ought to add that I visited most of the Bulgarian villages when the trees were green, the air warm, and the sun shining. In the long, bleak winter time a peasant’s life in Bulgaria may well wear a less cheerful aspect. The general aspect of all the villages I visited seemed to denote the prevalence of a general coarse well-being amidst the villagers, equally removed from refinement on the one hand and from destitution on the other. In the whole course of my travels I never came across a single dwelling, outside the towns, which you could imagine by any flight of fancy to be the abode of a man of fortune, or even of a well-to-do tradesman. Still, I have no doubt that the great majority of the occupants of these mud cottages have more money hoarded up than you would find in the possession of any English peasant farmer who would be content to live in a similar tenement, under similar conditions of existence. Whatever their hoarded wealth may be, no trace of it is to be noticed inside the houses, where the Bulgarian peasant families live from the hour of their birth to that of their death. The most comfortable dwelling I ever saw, in any of the Bulgarian villages which I visited, was that of a pope in charge of one of the many half-deserted monasteries which are to be found throughout the country.

The monastery lies half hidden

The monastery lies half hidden in one of the ravines which intersect the sides of Mount Vitosch. It stands some five or six hundred feet above the plain, and commands exquisitely beautiful views of the Champaign flats, over which the shadows of the clouds float and shift under the sparkling sunlight. If ever Sofia becomes a capital after our Western fashion, the slopes of Mount Vitosch will become valuable as chosen sites for suburban residences. Even as it is, the monastery in question is frequently visited on Sundays and feast-days as a pleasure resort by the people of Sofia. Sparkling rivulets run down the mountain-side close to the convent, and in these streams there is excellent trout-fishing. Good shooting, too, is to be found in the neighborhood; and if you wish to make the ascent of Vitosch, the monastery is as good a place as any other from which to make your start. If you are not over particular as to your quarters, you can hire rooms for the night from the prior of the convent, who provides entertainment for man and beast. The general look of the place is something between a roadside tavern and a farmyard; all that remains of the ancient monastery is a small chapel almost hidden from sight amidst the stables and outhouses.

You like to know what the things to do in Bulgaria are? I can tell you. These are adventures, peaceful walks in the nature, noisy beaches, of course history and a lot more…

Aspect of the People

In the course of my life, it has been my lot to reside in many out-of-the-way places. But I know of few where I have felt so much cut off from the outer world as in the city of Sofia. It is a bright town, with most of the appliances of civilization. The shop windows display all the articles, and nothing but the articles, one is familiar with in Western cities. The place, people, dresses bear to Western eyes a home-like aspect Indeed, I think, if I were placed suddenly in the center of Sofia, not knowing where I was, I should guess that I was in one of the commonplace modern cities of the German Fatherland, in which every travelled Englishman feels that, though he is not at home, he is not far from home. Yet, the longer I stayed at Sofia, the stronger the impression grew upon me that I was a stranger in a strange land.

Ordinary Western mind

I think this impression is due partly to the fact that the inscriptions over the shops, the names of the streets, the placards on the walls, and the notices in the windows convey absolutely no meaning to the ordinary Western mind. The letters employed seem to have a sort of remote kinship to the Greek alphabet, but to any one not conversant with Sclav languages, the letters look as if jumbled up in inextricable confusion, like the figures of a child’s map puzzle thrown, as printers say, into “ pie.” Then, too, the ordinary smattering of foreign tongues, by possession of which our countrymen contrive to make themselves more or less understood in most parts of the world, is here well- nigh useless. If you want to ask your way about the town from ninety-nine out of a hundred of the people you meet in the streets, you may as well address them in Chinese as in English, French, German, or Italian. The great mass of the people speak no language except their own. The officials and the men of education can commonly understand French, but they rarely speak it either readily or fluently. Some dozen words of Russian, which, out of the very few that I ever knew, have stuck somehow in my memory, proved singularly useful to me here. At the hotels and cafes there is a sprinkling of waiters who are either Germans by birth or who can understand German when spoken. But kavasses, dragomans, valets de place, and all the class of people who serve as guides and interpreters to strangers in other Capitals, are here an unknown race.

I am from the generation that witnessed communism. I had my good moments, I had my fears but I love Bulgaria the most. Many interesting things can be learnt and seen on a communist Bulgaria tour. Definitely, this is something to be experienced – a tour in an ex-communist country.

 

Deatails of the Grave

Burial Appurtenances

In the second group of graves there are skeletons lying on their backs but stretched in different positions. Most frequently the upper limbs are placed over the chest or the stomach, but in some rare cases they are stretched alongside the corpse. The legs are parallel to each other and stretched out. The burial appurtenances are placed according to their everyday functions. Around and behind the head the earthenware is laid, the tools are close to the upper limbs or on the chest and the decorations are in accordance with their designation.

There are no significant differences in the quantity and kinds of appurtenances in the various graves. So far the particularly rich burial No. 43 is an exception. It was unearthed in the neighborhood of the other rich symbolic graves. The gold finds in it alone number 990 and weigh 1518 g. The jewelry and tools indicate that here was buried the corpse of a man of exclusively high rank. A copper and a flint point of a spear, the studding’s of quivers and a bow and a large flint knife show that the man held the rank of a chieftain. The most characteristic feature pointing to his high rank is the scepter placed in his right hand and resting on his right shoulder. The scepter is in the form of a bone ax, gold tipped and with several gold tubular decorations and loops with which the handle was plated. Besides all that has been said so far, there should also be mention of the athletic figure he surely had, according to the anatomical researches and his relatively outstanding height at that time – 171-175 cm.

Anthropological researches

In the third group of graves the skeletons were lying bent, only a few of them being placed in positions turned on their right sides, only a few of them were placed on their left sides or lying face downwards. There were no considerable variations in respect to the appurtenances in comparison with graves with stretched-out skeletons. Anthropological researches into some of the bones show that most of those buried in a bent position had been women, while those in a stretched-out position had been men. Possibly, because of this difference in the graves with skeletons in a bent position, there have been found fewer axes and bone implements, while in most of them there are needles and bodkins, which are bound up with work done by women.