what you get here

This is not a blog which expresses instant opinions on current events. It rather uses incidents, books (old and new), links and papers as jumping-off points for some reflections about our social endeavours.
So old posts are as good as new! And lots of useful links!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Off the Bulgarian beaten track

There are two parts of picturesque Bulgaria which are off- the beaten track – the south-east borderland (with Greece and Turkey) and the entire stretch of the Danube in the north. A small but fascinating book on the Danube Riverside which I picked up in a Sofia store had a substantial section on the town of Svishtov (birthplace of artists Nikolae Tanev, Alexander Bozhinov and Nikolae Parvevitch)  persuaded me to take a detour for it – despite the bank of fog which was darkening the otherwise cloudless skies over norther Bulgaria. It was a worthwhile journey – through small desolated settlements and rolling hills until I reached a town which has seen much better days. In its heyday it was a bustling city which history (and shifting transport patterns) have left isolated. 
Having viewed a few of the old houses, I took the road for Russe and, a few kilometres out of Svishtov, hit an amazing sight – what appeared to be a building site was in fact the reconstruction of the old Roman camp of Novae and I was lucky enough to meet up with the Polish archaeologist who had been working the site for 35 years!
There is a nice little guide here about visiting the site which gives an excellent sense of the whole area. And I learned that this was the very site from which the Russians launched the campaign in July 1877 which brought Bulgaria independence from the Ottoamn Empire - I had earlier passed through one of the villages which houses a grand house which was the Russian HQ. Several hundred Russian soldiers lost their life here........
The subsequent drive to Russe was very beautiful - with the autumn leaves in their most glorious foleage.

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