Top 10 AMAZING Facts About BULGARIA
From some of the best yogurt in the world to the origins of the ever confusing Cyrillic alphabet, in this video, we are going to count down 10 remarkable facts about Bulgaria.
Olympic World Records
Stefka Kostadinova was born in March of 1965 and is a retired Bulgarian athlete and a current world record holder in the women’s division of the high jump. She went to a specialist sports school, but was only introduced to the high jump at an athletics meet in Bulgaria’s capital, Sofia, when she was around 12-13 years old. To this day, Kostadinova holds the record for the most height gained in a jump which was set on August 30th, 1987 with a remarkable height of 2.09 meters or 6.8 feet. Stefka also won a gold medal at the 1996 Summer Olympics with a jump of 2.05 meters or 6.7 feet, and won the silver medal eight years prior at the Olympics in Seoul, South Korea. Currently Kostadinova resides as the president of the Bulgarian Olympic Committee.
Sunny Beach is a major seaside resort on the Black Sea coast of Bulgaria. This is the most popular of all tourist attractions in the country and is home to over eight hundred hotels, which boast over 300,000 rooms to spend the night in. Nine months out of the year, Sunny Beach is more like a ghost town than anything, and has very few permanent residents, but during the summer it serves as a home to thousands of tourists. Much like New York and other major cities around the world, it seems to be a place that never sleeps when the crowds flood in during the summertime. With 130 restaurants, live music, and lots of stores, there is always something to do if you’re not into swimming. Much construction took place during the late 1950’s, at which time Bulgaria was ruled by the Communist party.
March 1st marks the annual celebrations of “Baba Marta”, better known to English speaking folks as “Grandmother March”. On this holiday, the upcoming spring is welcomed in many ways such as the exchange of small tassels and trinkets. The traditional gift given is a white and red yarn bracelet called martenitsa. These adornments must be worn until the individual sees a stork – a long legged bird – or blooming tree; both signs of springs arrival. Interestingly enough, Grandmother March is the name given to the mythical figure that brings with her an end to the cold.
John Atanasoff was a Bulgarian descendant born in Hamilton, New York on October 4th, 1903. During the winter months of 1937, the young man slaved for hours on end looking for a new type of ‘calculator’ that could solve more complex problems than the ones built during his time period. One night after running into more bumps in the road, Atanasoff hit the road in discouragement and began to drive with no destination in mind. A good three hours away from his starting point, the man pulled over to a roadhouse in Illinois. It was in there, after a drink of bourbon, that he finally came up with the basic principles for the first computer ever built. The rest quite frankly is history; it is quite apparent that computers have even gone through an evolutionary process and developed into the laptop. Despite a patent dispute, in 1973, John Vincent Atanasoff was named the inventor of the electronic computer by a federal judge. Other than this, we thought you might want to know that Mark Zuckerberg, the famous entrepreneur and founder of Facebook, has Bulgarian roots. Zuckerberg got is name from his grandfather, Marko. Apparently wealth runs deep in the family, Marko fled Bulgaria in 1944 when a revolution was brewing. Rich people were tried by a people’s court and subsequently killed for their social status and the feeling of unfairness they felt towards the rest of the ‘not so fortunate’ Bulgarians.
The Golden Discovery
The oldest gold treasure which has been uncovered was found just west of the stunning Varna, Bulgaria. It was discovered admist a burial site, and was unearthed in 1972 by a tractor crew. The dig brought forth an abundance of priceless gold objects that may have been some 5,500 years old. Such things were found scattered among some 294 graves, this is evidence of a belief in the afterlife. About 30% of the necropolis has still yet to be excavated; it sure does make you wonder what may be lying in wait under the surface.
Too much Farmville
Dimitar Kerin was a member of the Plodiv Municipal Committee in Bulgaria. He along with many others were addicted to a popular Facebook game known as Farmville. During budget meeting debates he was caught red-handed “milking virtual cows,” and doing so on government issued laptops. Novinite, a Bulgarian news network reported that Chairman Ilko Iliev had caught several of those playing, but it was Dimitar Kerin that had been a repeat offender after being warned. A 20 to 19 vote had the man kicked off City Council; Kerin defended himself by saying that he was only a level 40 and that Daniela Zhelyazkov a Democratic acquaintance of his was already six levels ahead.
The Cyrillic Alphabet
Bulgaria is home to the Cyrillic alphabet, which is the template its citizens use to read and write. The country is actually the home to Cyrillic writing, having adopted it before Russia. Credit for its founding can be giving to Saint Cyril and Methodius, two Catholic brothers born in the 9th Century. The missionary duo used it in an effort to improve literacy among Slavic pagans during the First Bulgarian Empire. These two are perhaps the most celebrated saints in the Bulgarian Orthodox Church.
Almost all Bulgarian meals incorporate salad as an appetizer. Main courses are typically water based such as a wide variety of soups, served both hot and cold. Lamb and goat meat make up most of the protein found in the countries diet, which is rarely deep fried and almost always grilled. Maybe the most well-known Bulgarian dish is their “shopska salata”. This simple meal is made from diced garden tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, and fresh peppers topped off with organic grated sirene cheese and parsley. All this delicious food sure does make you hungry, and for that reason a fair share of Bulgarian adults and older children enjoy “Rakia”, a popular fruit brandy, with their water. It is so well liked that several countries including Croatia, Slovenia, Bulgaria, and Macedonia consider it to be their national drink.
Bulgarian yogurt is reportedly the best in the world by many critics. Like all yogurts, Bulgarians is produced through the bacterial fermentation of milk. Lactobacillus bulgaricus is only found naturally in Bulgarian air and is said to give the treat such an unforgettable taste. The longer the yogurt remains warm, the more bitter it becomes upon being cooled. Other reasons their yogurt appeals to such a large crowd is that the milk used to make it is all collected through a much more natural process in which at times, sheep milk is even used. Although this does pose some health concerns, traditional Bulgarian yogurt is never sterilized after fermentation.
The Queen of Roses
Bulgarian roses are some of the most beautiful flowers in the world. They are not just a mental stimulant because of the calming odor they give off, but a source of income for many Bulgarians. Their petals produce up to 85% of the world’s rose oil which is an essential ingredient used in many popular perfumes such as Jo Malone’s ‘Red Roses.’ This is a somewhat labor intensive job, but has its benefits. The best time of the year to visit Bulgaria is undoubtedly sometime between May and June when the product is being harvested. Kazanlak is home to the annual Rose Festival which takes place during the first week in June. The event first took place in 1903 and has been held annually ever since. A beauty pageant has been made part of the festivities; whoever is crowned grand champion also receives the title “The Queen of Roses.”