The month of March is full of celebrations in Bulgaria. One of them is Baba Marta, on the 1st of March, a celebration of the upcoming spring, when people offer each other « martenitsi », which are little bracelets or figurines made of white and red threads, symbolizing peace, love, fertility, spring, I mean, a lot of positive things in general, and protect you from evil (yes, could be useful). In my opinion, it is also the perfect moment for teachers to check if their students like them or not as you can count how many presents one receives (and then show off during break time at the Teacher Break Room) (I received 8, which is a fair score I believe).
But my popularity in the classroom which is still yet to prove or the upcoming spring which apparently definitely arrived according to the weather forecast today (rain, rain, and more rain – but I guess it is what spring is made of right) are not the topics I want to share with you today. I want to tell you about another celebration: the 3rd of March, which marks Bulgaria Liberation Day from Ottoman Empire with the signature of San Stefano Treaty back in 1878. It is indeed a very important national holiday in Bulgaria when people usually gather at the « Liberation Squares » all over the country with huge flags, traditionnal songs and dances and so on. Bulgarian celebrates « Liberation » even though, as far as I have understood « Liberation » didn’t really mean « Freedom » at that time, as Bulgaria became an autonomous principality, still under the authority of the Ottoman Empire but with its own Prince, chosen by… well the Russian Empire.
But I mean it is still a step forward independance right ?
Anyway, it is a holiday, which means : no class! And ready to go explore Bulgaria a bit further. As my boyfriend (and his car) were visiting me at that time, we decided to go on day-trip and visit another city, not far away: Veliko Tarnovo, the ancien capital of Bulgaria during its Second Empire (yes, believe me, Bulgaria used to be an Empire and much bigger than the country is now) (but it was 700 years ago so you know, things change). For people following this blog for some time, you know I often visit the famous Serbian village Donja Trnava, which names really resonates to me with Veliko Tarnovo and made me curious about this place even more. I tried to explain how the two names were similar and why it sounded exciting for me but I think locals don’t really grasp the spirit of this comparison. True to say that the same city names appear everywhere all the time in the Balkans region so I guess it was not really something special, except for me.
After one hour and a half drive, we arrived in Veliko Tarnovo to visit the Tsarevets Fortress, walk around this very strange city which goes ups and downs (literally) all the time and have a little visit of the main monuments. I don’t know if it was because it was a National holiday, but there was so many people in the city! I thought it really looked more active than Ruse (where I live) but again, I imagine Ruse was also full of people on that special day. In Veliko Tarnovo, unfortunately we had to skip the « Mini Bulgaria » museum as we didn’t arrive as early as expected but it is fine as I hope not to visit the mini momuments but the real ones directly. We also didn’t stay for the Light Show in the evening for some other reason I can’t recall, though after checking some videos online it did look quite cool. So, here are some photos from our Liberation-Day-Trip, I hope you will enjoy!
I hope you enjoyed this article and it gave you the wish to visit Veliko Tarnovo and Bulgaria in general!