Thursday, 23 March 2017

Routes Less Travelled


Byllis, Albania: Ancient City in the Sky

With its fascinating ruins amid breathtaking views, the ancient city of Byllis is one of the numerous hidden treasures of south-central Albania. Founded by the Illyrians, then conquered and... Full Story



Romania
Romania’s Haţeg Land: Shades of Blue

On a quest to find Romania’s oldest church, Sorin-Alexandru Cristescu of www.incogniterra.org browses the region around Haţeg Town in Transylvania, central Romania. He discovers old, older and even older churches, and realises that he is... Full Story


Turkey
Turkey: The Troubadours of Allah

The mystical whirling dervishes, which have been hypnotising Europe for centuries with their unearthly dances that lead them into a trance, are nowadays becoming a part of Turkey’s tourist industry. On the Old Continent, it is a little known fact... Full Story


Serbia
Medieval Monasteries in Serbia

The three most impressive monasteries in Central Serbia – Žica, Studenica and Sopoćani, are the first examples of the energy with which the Nemanjić Dynasty took on the consolidation of an independent Serbian state between the twelfth and the... Full Story


Kosovo
The Medieval Serbian Monasteries in Kosovo

If there were anything understandable about the Serbs' despair at losing Kosovo, it would be their grief over the medieval monasteries that now remain outside the country's borders. For with their splendour, the Orthodox sites in Gračanica,... Full Story


Kosovo
The Serbian Convent of Gračanica: Heavens Made of Stone

This monastery is the smallest of the three key treasures of Serbian Orthodoxy in Kosovo, but it is arguably the most exquisite one. As the twentieth-century Serb poet Desanka Maksimović wrote, “O Gračanica, if you were not made of stone, you... Full Story


Kosovo
The Serbian Patriarchate of Peć: Wild, Barbaric Colours against the Dark Prokletije Mountains

The contemporary convent of Peć once hosted the medieval Patriarchate of Serbia and it is one of the earliest preserved Orthodox edifices in Kosovo. As headquarters of the Serbian church from around 1250 till 1766, it was created as the most... Full Story


Kosovo
The Serbian Monastery of Dečani: a Blind Prodigal King in a Sea of Frescoes

King Milutin's son Stefan built this remarkable Balkan monastery to commemorate a royal family drama, which Shakespeare himself could have hardly thought up better. As a young prince, Stefan rose against his father. As punishment, he was blinded,... Full Story


Bulgaria
Kurdzhali: Where Men Trade in their Uniforms for Cassocks and the Town Clock Sings

At first sight, Kurdzhali is just like many other provincial towns in Bulgaria: it seems to stand still in time, its communist-style buildings lining the quiet streets and boulevards. But, upon closer inspection, the town’s peculiar history and... Full Story


Bosnia and Herzegovina
Balkan Mysteries: The Bosnian Pyramids of Semir Osmanagić

Visoko, around 30 kilometres away from Sarajevo, became the empire of an adventurer who attempted to turn ideas about Europe’s history upside down

I drive along, like a snail, on the only stretch of highway in Bosnia, surrounded by ancient... Full Story




Epicure


Bulgaria
Foreign Wines Outnumbered Bulgarian Ones on Vinaria 2014 Competition

11 March 2014 | National wine tastings, preceding Bulgaria’s biggest wine fair, Vinaria 2014, started today with a surprise: foreign wines exceeded in number Bulgarian ones first time in history of the competition. Full Story



Curiosity Chest


Bulgaria
Dimitur, who visualisеd the Bulgarian expression “Pumpkin Head!”

26 February 2014 | He is 26 and he tried to enroll in the national Fine Arts academy. Academics, though, refused to recognize his talents, and this is how he searched for consolation in food carving. Full Story



Useful Reads


Greece
In Sfakia: Passing Time in the Wilds of Crete (2008) | By Peter Trudgill

Crete has long been acknowledged as one of the most singular and unique parts of Greece. Its people keep a fierce hold on their traditions, customs and history. Practically a country of its own, this vast island looms over all others in Greece. Nevertheless, as In Sfakia author Peter Trudgill aptly notes in his preface, “some parts of Crete are more special than others, and Sfakia, on the remote south coast, is certainly one of those.” Full Story




Music


Serbia
Serbia Surprises with Choice of Little-Known Singer for Eurovision

12 March 2009 | A little-known Serbian singer and composer, Marko Kon, has surprised many by emerging as his country's representative at the 54th Eurovision in Moscow.
Full Story