Sightseeing in the Mindfields
 


 


 

Current Events 66: Changing Course

June 29, 2022  •  Leave a Comment
From Arbanassi, the bus did not return us to Nikopol, where we had breakfasted. Instead, we went to a berth downriver, at Ruse. Ruse is Bulgaria's major Danube port. It was also our last stop on the river, contrary to our original itinerary. From Ruse, we were to have cruised through the Danube delta to the black Sea port of Constanţa. Little rain...
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Current Events 65: More Oddities of Arbanassi

June 22, 2022  •  Leave a Comment
We ended our afternoon in Arbanassi on a steep street where artisans produced jewelry, pottery, and embroidered linens for sale. There were art and antique galleries, too, among the inevitable souvenir shops. Prices were fairly low. Some of the ceramic wares would have made nice gifts, but I did not fancy hauling them back in my luggage. There were...
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Current Events 64: Archangels in Arbanassi

June 15, 2022  •  Leave a Comment
Our guide, Radi, introduced the next attraction as remarkable, and advised us to have our cameras ready. We filed into a modest church dedicated to the Archangels Michael and Gabriel. From the outside, it could have been another merchant's manor. Inside, the walls and the entire barrel-vaulted ceiling were covered with stunning frescoes. On a dark...
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Current Events 63: Arbanassi

June 09, 2022  •  Leave a Comment
Velikovo Tarnovo's population was close to 70,000. Velikovo, meaning "great", had been added to the name in 1908, when it was designated the capital of an independent Bulgaria. The adjective remained part of the city's name even after the seat of government moved to Sofia, the present capital. Velikovo Tarnovo was one of the few places in Bulgaria...
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Current Events 62: Velikovo Tarnovo

June 02, 2022  •  Leave a Comment
I was feeling ill when I awoke on the morning that we docked in Nikopol. The Aria had sailed there from Vidin while I slept. My throat was sore, and I had developed laryngitis. We were not slated to tour Nikopol, another port that the Romans had fortiifed. Instead, our destination was the medieval capital of Bulgaria, Velikovo Tarnovo. It was about...
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Current Events 61: Roofless in Vidin

May 27, 2022  •  Leave a Comment
After the Jews' departure from Vidin, the vacant synagogue deteriorated. In the 1970's, the Ministry of Culture drew up plans to restore the building for use as a center for the arts. Work began in 1983 and was still in progress six years later, when Communism ended. The timing could not have been worse. Workers had just removed the roof. There was...
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Current Events 60: A Dubious Heroism

May 19, 2022  •  Leave a Comment
Radi was pleased to disclose the reason for the Bulgarian Jews' escape from the Nazis' extermination camps. Though his country had been aligned with the Axis powers, King Boris of Bulgaria had resisted Hitler's demand to surrender 50,000 of the king''s Jewish subjects. King Boris traveled to Germany in order to express his defiance in person. A few...
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Current Events 59: The Abandoned Synagogue

May 12, 2022  •  Leave a Comment
As we walked from Baba Vida back towards the town center, I heard a riot of barking and growling. Suddenly, a pack of dogs bolted down the street in pursuit of a car. Vidin had not taken the sort of stringent measures to reduce its stray canine population that Belgrade had done. Radi cautioned us not to approach the dogs where they stood, panting,...
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Current Events 58: Baba Vida

May 05, 2022  •  Leave a Comment
Bulgaria had been a formidable kingdom during the early Middle Ages. A remnant of Bulgaria's former might was the fortress of Baba Vida, Vidin's principal landmark. According to legend, Vida was one of three daughters of a Bulgarian king. After their father's death, each of his daughters inherited a third of the kingdom. Both of Vida's sisters wed...
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Current Events 57: The Faces of the Dead

April 27, 2022  •  Leave a Comment
The Bulgarians have a custom that I had never encountered anywhere else, and it was in Vidin that I was introduced to it. The local people printed the pictures and names of their deceased relatives on sheets of paper, the size of computer printer paper, and posted them around town. People pinned these Memento mori to metal, cork-lined frameworks pl...
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