September 17, 2019

Bulgarian superstitions and curious traditions

A black cat crossing your path or walking under a ladder. Knocking on wood. Friday the 13th. These are all among the „classics“ of superstition all over the world. But did you know that Bulgarians have a number of superstitions, which aren’t that common in other countries? Some of them have roots in pre-Christian rituals. Others are so old that no one knows how they came to be anymore. But all of them are quite bizarre. Here you can take a deeper look into four of the most interesting and curious ones! The charm of the chimney sweep Cleaning chimneys usually involves getting one’s clothes all black and dirty. Therefore, it is understandable why most people wouldn’t want to shake hands with a chimney sweep after a hard day’s work. This isn’t the case in Bulgaria. Because according to one of the country’s most popular superstitions touching a chimney sweep and getting soot on your hands will bring a person good fortune for the rest of the day. Of course, […]
June 11, 2019

5 typical Plovdiv slang words and phrases

Many cities are famous for something unique- food, cars, rich history, amazing festivals, and colorful day or nightlife. Yet others are famous with special urban slang – phrases used only there. Plovdiv is very modest and we have everything-  8 thousand years of history, one of the biggest folklore festivals in Europe and indeed very bright lifestyle, no matter day or night time. But the Plovdiv slang is by far the most unique aspect of its culture. Here is our list of funny untypical words and phrases that can be found in the vocabulary of a local citizen. Maina First of all – Maina (Майна). This is so unique to Plovdiv that you can’t find it anywhere else. Maina is a meaningless word, even though it is loosely related to the word “mother”. Maina is an exclamation used quite often in the everyday language of almost 100% of the inhabitants of the city and no matter if you were born here or you are just living in Plovdiv you’ll have […]
May 12, 2019

Bulgarian Traditional Crafts coming back to life – Knitting

The Traditional Craft Knitting and the overall processing of wool from the animal to the end product have always been a big traditional craft for Bulgarian people. It is a very special reflection on rural life in the country. Every household has the typical tools for knitting. Back in the days, girls learned how to do it ever since they were small. Because the better they knit, the bigger the chance to find a husband. Knitting was and still is also a good reason for elderly women to socialize. Whenever they gather to talk and gossip they’d simultaneously prepare socks for their grandchildren.  Knitting in Plovdiv nowadays There is a brand-new place in the heart of Plovdiv (Kapana neighborhood), which brings us closer to that traditional craft. It opened around Christmas 2018. The highlights inside are the handmade rugs, souvenirs, and mainly socks. They feature motives typical for each different mountain regions of Bulgaria. You can especially see that in the colors. Predominant red and blue color are typical for […]
May 4, 2019

The Amazing Revival Houses of Plovdiv

Every person who ever walked in the Old Town of Plovdiv was stunned with the beauty of the Plovdiv Revival Houses. At the end of the 18th century and especially during the 19th century, rich merchants were trading with Europe and the Orient. They had an understandable ambition to demonstrate their wealth by building large luxurious homes. Bulgarian craftsmen, skilled architects, masons, carpenters and painters combined their skills, proving extremely effective for the prosperity of the buildings in Plovdiv in those years. During this time Plovdiv was an important economic center. Because of that, many wealthy and educated people who lived in the city traveled extensively in Europe. From their travels, they brought not only exotic goods but also new cultural ideas. Wealthy merchants showed their wealth by building beautiful, richly ornamented houses which as a result became symbolic for the Old Town. The new houses were symmetrical – they had an oval hall with 4 rooms in the corners, erkers (sort of architectural windows/balconies)and gossip rooms on the top floor. […]
March 21, 2019
Mevlevi hane

Mevlevi – the dancing Dervish

Most people know what the spinning dances of the Dervish mean, and it is more than an interesting scene to see. They are a religious movement, that was primarily set in Plovdiv. Who are the dancing Dervish? The Dervish were representatives of the Sufi movement, part of Islam. That movement revolves around the inner self. They were humble and poor, often begged. The Persian word for door is ‘’Der’’, so Dervish literally translates as “walking from door to door”. Also they were forbidden to beg for themselves, so they gave everything away. The order of the Dervish people was called “Mevlevi”, aka the dancing Dervish. During Ottoman times, they settled on our lands. Because of their wisdom, they gained an important social and political status. Ottoman heritage in Plovdiv – Mevlevi hane Mevlevi hane is an exquisite building in a typical Persian architectural style, both on the outside and inside. Located on the slopes of Dzhambaz hill (one of the tree hills of the Old Town), it sits on the […]
June 4, 2016
10 Quick Facts about Bulgaria you Might not Know

QUICK FACTS ABOUT BULGARIA

History can be both an interesting subject and a boring discipline. So, you are curious about this small country on the Balkans? This time you don’t have to open a huge textbook and cram for an exam. All you need is to find a comfortable chair and set aside a couple of minutes to immerse in this short reading. Here are some Quick Facts about Bulgaria. Quick facts about Bulgaria: 1. The territory of Bulgaria  It’s from time to time likened to the lion’s appearance. (Just use your vivid imagination!) 2. Biggest cities  Find more about the lovely Bulgarian cities by joining our tours! Sofia is the capital city. Plovdiv is the second largest city followed by Varna and Burgas.   3. Musala Musala is 2,925m (9,596ft) in height. The peak is situated in the Rila Mountain in southwestern Bulgaria. Its name literally means ‘Near God’. That is the highest peak not only in the country, but also in the entire Balkan Peninsula.    4. Rayskoto praskalo Rayskoto praskalo  is an ideal route for those who are […]
May 1, 2016

“Hristos Voskrese” or Happy Easter from Bulgaria

Easter is one of the most important Christian holidays. Easter is the day when Jesus Christ has risen from the dead three days after his crucifixion on Good Friday. The date of the holidays changes every year as it is connected to the first full moon after the coming of the spring. But it’s always on Sunday. Easter is the time of springtime festivals, a time to welcome back the tulips, the crocuses and the daffodils. It is also the holiest day in the Christian calendar (followed by Christmas). Easter is recognized as a legal holiday in most countries with a significant Christian tradition. The preparation for Easter starts the week before – Holy Week. On Great Thursday all the families paint eggs in different colors, predominantly in red (as a symbol of the blood of Jesus Christ). That can be done on Saturday before sunrise too. The first egg is always painted red to symbolize the blood of Christ and should be put aside – either to be buried […]
April 24, 2016
Palm Sunday In Bulgaria - St. Lazar's Day - Free Plovdiv Tour

Palm Sunday In Bulgaria

Palm Sunday is a moveable feast celebrated a week before Easter by all Christians. Palm Sunday marks Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem. On the previous day – Saturday – Jesus Christ raised Lazar from the dead. The holiday is named after the resurrected Lazar (St. Lazar’s Day). Traditionally, on St. Lazar’s Day from 6 to 7 lassies walk around the town/village. They perform a variety of customs connected to the holiday. Most often they sing praises to all the family members. It is believed that a house visited by the young ladies (also known in Bulgaria as ‘lazarki’) will have good luck throughout the whole year. On Palm Sunday willow twigs are sanctified and given away. Everyone takes one and brings it home as it is a widely spread belief that these twigs not only bring health and happiness, but can also heal a diseased person. The willow twigs symbolize the palm trees placed on the ground by the people as Jesus entered Jerusalem. He came into the town on a […]
February 14, 2016
St. Valentine’s Day or St. Trifon’s Day

St. Valentine’s Day or St. Trifon’s Day

Along with St. Valentine’s Day in Bulgaria we do celebrate Trifon Zarezan. As we all know St. Valentine’s Day is the day of Love. What about Trifon Zarezan? It is the national festival of vine-growing and wine-producing. According to the old calendar, Trifonovden used to be on the 1st February. Nowadays, everyone chooses on which date to celebrate it, but some Bulgarians have decided to honour the name of St. Trifon both on the 1st and the 14th February! The festival of the wine dates back to ancient times. The Thracians were the first to think highly of wine and wine-trade. The legend tells that King Lycurgus the Thrace once sent the Dionysus’ retinue away. Later, Dionysus – the god of wine – took revenge making the king kill his own son while believing he was trimming the vine. There is a similar story telling the life of St. Trifon. He was punished to cut off his nose with a pruning-knife as he mocked at the Virgin Mary. These days, […]