Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Balkan Towns

Turkey: Stroll Along Istanbul’s Theodosian Walls

Visitors to Istanbul usually head straight for the city’s traditional landmarks – the Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, the Topkapı Palace or the enormous Kapalıçarşı bazaar. Full Story

Macedonia: Skopje, the Balkans' Least Known Capital

A car comes racing out of the Ottoman charshiya, or bazaar, in Skopje, screeches past the steps in front of the Tito-era shopping centre and slams into a streetlamp. The driver throws the car into reverse and speeds away. Moments after he’s... Full Story

Turkey: Panta rhei, Ephesus rhei

The expression Panta rhei, which embodies the ancient Greeks’ resignation to this world's state of flux, was first used to characterise the thought of Heraclitus, a philosopher born in Ephesus.

And it is no wonder. His native town is a precise... Full Story

An Incomparable Inertia: Skopje to Saloniki by Rail

Unless you take the other one, in the dead of night, the train arrives in late afternoon and by that time you just want to sit down and sleep against the window. But usually the press of people, all pushing and clamouring to board (grandmothers... Full Story

The Macedonian Town of Ohrid, Where Time Stopped

Ohrid is slowly leaving behind its past, which embraces Medievalism, Revivalism and Communism. So much the better Full Story

Plovdiv: A Felicitous Stop on the Orient Express Route

During the Ottoman Empire’s decline, merchants of rose oil, silk and linen built one of Bulgaria’s most impressive urban centres

In the middle of Djumaya – the square that marks the historical centre of Plovdiv, stands a high pillar topped... Full Story

The Book Craze that's Got a Hold on Belgrade

Whether from a nostalgia for its existence as an imperial centre or as an escape from reality, the literary obsession of the Serbian capital grows with every passing season.

If a 24-hour bookstore is ever opened on the Balkans, the place where... Full Story

Ani Fades Away in the No Man's Land between Turkey and Armenia

We pass by Ocakli, the last Turkish village before the border with Armenia. The mythical Armenian capital Ani, which at the end of the ninth century outshined Constantinople, Cairo, and Baghdad with its splendour, lies somewhere before us.... Full Story

Urfa: Before the Syrian Desert Begins

Urfa, Prophet Abraham’s city in Southeastern Turkey, inspired Gothic style, the Urfa kebab and the concept of monotheism
Full Story

La Dolce Vita in Koprivshtitsa: Then and Now

“What do you think? Koprishtitsa was a republic for centuries, without senates and ministers, without charters and presidents, ten times more liberal than the French, a hundred times more democratic than the American,” Zahari Stoyanov wrote in... Full Story


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

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

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


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