Bulgaria's cultural heritage includes the
world's oldest gold finds, centuries-old musical
traditions and visual arts from the medieval Orthodox
The oldest known find of refined gold to date dates
back to the 3000s BC and was found off the coast of
Varna on the Black Sea. Most of the archaeological finds
in Bulgaria come from the Thracians, an ancient
Indo-European people who inhabited parts of the Balkans.
At Kazanlak, 20 km from Sofia, there is a famous
Thracian tomb, an over 2,000 year old cemetery decorated
with frescoes. The palace ruins of the old cities of
Plovdiv, Pliska and Veliko Tarnovo are also world
Latest population statistics of Bulgaria, including religious profiles and major languages spoken as well as population growth rates in next three decades.
Bulgarian archaeologists found in 2012 what they
believe are the remains of the oldest settlement-like
settlement found in Europe to date. The walled
settlement near the modern city of Provadia in
northeastern Bulgaria dates to between 4700 and 4200 BC.
The city is believed to have had a few hundred
residents who depended on salt production.
The almost 500 years of Ottoman / Turkish rule
(1396-1878) meant a stagnation of Bulgarian culture.
Only in connection with the nationalist revival in the
19th century did indigenous cultural life begin to
develop again. The role models were taken from Western
Europe. Poetry, art and theater began to emerge. The
first Bulgarian theater performance in modern times was
held in 1856.
Songaah: List and lyrics of songs related to the country name of Bulgaria. Artists and albums are also included.
Theater and opera play an important role in cultural
life. Bulgarian singing traditions have gained
international attention through the ladies choirs Le
Mystère des voix Bulgares and Angelite. The songs are
often performed without accompaniment, and the
repertoire includes orthodox church music from the 13th
century onwards as well as traditional folk songs.
In 1889, author Ivan Vazov wrote the novel Under the
Yoke, which is considered Bulgaria's national post.
Among modern writers, the poet Blaga Dimitrova (vice
president 1991–1993) is one of the more well-known.
Elias Canetti, who received the Nobel Prize in
Literature in 1981, was born in Bulgaria. However, he
left the country as a child and wrote in German.
Until 1990, cultural life was heavily controlled by
the Communist Party and in the largest cities there were
state-funded symphony orchestras, opera houses,
theaters, cultural houses and museums. Nowadays, there
is a free cultural climate, but at the same time a large
part of the state grants have disappeared and many
cultural institutions have difficulty surviving.
Legal reform is adopted
Following the adjustments made by the Minister of Justice a week earlier,
Parliament is adopting, by a wide margin, amendments to the Constitution to
reform the judiciary. The amendments mean that the Supreme Judicial Council,
which is responsible for appointments in the judiciary, is divided into two
sections: one for judges and one for prosecutors. The intention is to reduce the
prosecutor's influence over the council. The EU has long criticized the
judiciary for inefficiency and corruption.
The Minister of Justice resigns in protest
Justice Minister Hristo Ivanov resigns in protest that, according to him,
Parliament sabotaged his attempt to reform the judiciary. According to Ivanov,
the law that Parliament is prepared to adopt is so watered down that in practice
it does not change anything. Ivanov belongs to the Reformist Party, which has a
strained government cooperation with Prime Minister Borisov's conservative Gerb,
but who still decides to remain in the government.
Gerb is going strong in local elections
The conservative government party Gerb strengthens its grip on power in
nationwide local elections. After the second round, it is clear that Gerb's
mayoral candidates have won in 22 of the 27 major cities, including the capital
Sofia and the second largest city of Plovdiv. For the first time since the fall
of the Communist regime, the Socialists do not receive a single important
Refugee is shot to death by border guard
An Afghan man is shot to death by border guards as he, along with some 50
others, tries to cross the border from Turkey. This is the first known case of
such a shooting death during the ongoing refugee crisis in Europe. The incident
prompted Prime Minister Borisov to leave an EU summit in Brussels on the migrant
crisis to return home.
Parliament does not want corruption investigated
Parliament voted down a government proposal to set up a new authority to
combat corruption; The new authority was supposed to be able to examine the
finances of some 10,000 high-ranking persons, including leading politicians,
government officials, judges, municipal politicians and university rectors. A
government representative notes that a majority of parliamentarians feel their
own interests threatened by anti-corruption efforts.
The former spy boss is imprisoned
The former head of the intelligence service is sentenced to ten years in
prison for corruption. Kirtjo Kirov, who was the country's spy chief in
2003–2012, is accused of claiming the equivalent of EUR 2.4 million through
false information about the expenses he incurred in the service. Half of his
personal assets should also be confiscated. Kirov claims that the allegations
are politically based and that the money would be used to recruit prosecutors.
Kirov is considered to be close to the ruling Socialist Party and was opposed to
the publication of communist year intelligence agents and informants.
Criticism for interference with freedom of the press
The European Security and Cooperation Organization (OSCE) criticizes Bulgaria
for penalizing newspapers for reporting on the activities of companies and banks
and for refusing to disclose their sources. According to the Reporters Without
Borders organization, Bulgaria is the least EU country that takes into account
freedom of the press.
Border fencing is being expanded
The government decides to extend the three-mile-long fence at the Turkish
border by between € 8 and € 13 to curb the flow of asylum seekers to the EU. The
UN Refugee Commission criticizes the decision that it will give refugee
smugglers a bigger role and tempt more refugees to try to cross the border with
danger to life.