We, the tour guides of the Free Plovdiv Tour, are extremely lucky as we have had the chance to meet people from all over the world. We have shared our knowledge with them and they have done the same by revealing to us the culture of their homelands. In addition to that, all of us have also received unique gifts that brought us even closer to our guests (find out more by checking our Gifts and souvenirs from tourists article) and left us with memories for a lifetime.
We know how important the gifts and souvenirs from a place are. They can help us capture a special moment and relive experiences we have had years ago. This is why we are now sharing with you a list of alternative Bulgarian souvenirs that you can bring back to your friends and families.
No, we are not talking about the spicy vegetable and the flower. We are giving you a hint to buy typical Bulgarian candy because- who doesn’t like sweet treats?
Onions (lukcheta) and violets (temenuzhki) are types of candy that were initially produced in Bulgaria at the beginning of the 20th century. They reached the top of their fame around the 1950s. Still, these candies are quite popular among Bulgarians even nowadays. They can be found on the shelves of almost every single store at a very low price (around 1 lev for a regular package). But little do foreign people know about onions and violets!
Oh, we forgot to mention something about their taste. The onions are mint candy and have nothing to do with onion itself. While violets… we have never really tried anything that has a similar taste to the one of the violets. But we promise- it is pleasant!
Bulgaria is quite popular around the world for the production of its rose oil, also known as “liquid gold”. But it seems that Bulgarians are gifted when it comes to the production of rose products so a few other interesting recommendations pop up. Rose liquor and rose jam!
Usually rose liquor is a beverage with low contents of alcohol and pleasant smell. Unfortunately, it is not easy to find in the regular stores but luckily, we have the House of Distillation (21 Saborna Str.) where you can go and try it for free!
What about rose jam? It is similar to the other types of jam as it is sweet and you can eat it at any time regardless of your mood. What makes it special is that it is made of rose blossom and its taste and smell are specific. It is not the most popular product on the market but still, it can be found in some of the regular supermarkets and some souvenir shops.
Producing wool clothing by hand has turned into a specific Bulgarian craft throughout the years. Even though it has become less popular in time there are still some proud artisans who keep this tradition alive.
So now we would like to divert your attention to a special piece of clothing that will keep your feet (and your soul) warm during the colder months of the year- hand-knitted woolen socks. As we mentioned earlier, hand-knitting is not as popular as it used to be. Still, you can find such socks in a few places around Plovdiv. We can wholeheartedly recommend the Rosi Store, located in the heart of the Kapana district (10 Hristo Dyukmedzhiev Str.) where everything is produced by the owner. There you will find some interesting alternative Bulgarian handmade souvenirs that are therefore unique.
Our experience as tour guides shows that our guests are interested in the topic of Bulgarian Communism. Undoubtedly a controversial period that left its mark on our country. But also left tons of items that can make every history fan happy.
There is a huge variety of such souvenirs and gifts that can be found in every single antique store but we will point out just two that can be transported easily on your way back home.
A good gift and a decoration for a house would be the „Образцов хигиеничен дом“ sign which translates as “Exemplary and hygienic household”- a title fixed on the front door of each decent family that kept its house in good order.
Another good deal would be purchasing a traditional medal or a badge. Such items were usually given as rewards for special achievements or just as a distinguishing sign for someone who belonged to a certain organization.
Here is a list of our recommendations for alternative Bulgarian souvenirs. You wouldn’t find them in the regular touristic souvenir shops. But they are more original. We are also sure that our tour guides can come up with other bright ideas so why don’t you join us for a tour around Plovdiv? We are waiting for you!
Author: Free Plovdiv Tour Guide – Ivan Dzhamulov