Posts Tagged ‘Bulgarian Kingdom’

Trip to Balckhik Sea Resort City, Saint George Church Liturgy and The Palace Sea Garden of the Romanian Queen

Wednesday, May 11th, 2016

Balchik_Sea-Resort-Bulgaria_Aerial_photo-from-Black-Sea


Last Sunday 08.05.2016, we travelled with my beloved friend Elica on Opel Astra car (The so called Police Opel as this opel is well known in Bulgaria because it is the most used car by Police forces in Bulgaria. The distance  from Dobrich to Balchik Sea Town is very near (by car its only 31.5 km).
Nearby Balchik situated in 20-30 km, there are plenty of other uniquely beatiful Sea resorts, just to name a few Albena, Kranevo, Golden Sands, Kavarna.

From Balchik Seacoast it is visible Albena's remote shore, which is one of favourite tourist destination for Russian and one of the most famous tourist resort in Bulgaria are visible. What makes Balchik a great place to visit is also its unique and rich history, the city was inhibited more than 2500+ years ago, according to Herodotus in 585 – 550 year B.C.

Balchik-sea-resort-boats-near-coast

Balchik's history is very dramaticit was of the important sea cities to control by Thracians (during Thracian Empire) later by  Romans, conseqnently by Greeks in Byzantine times and since the creation of Bulgaria in year 681 by Bulgarians (during first and second Bulgarian Kingdom) and under Turkish Slavery 1396-1878 by Turks (during Ottoman Turkish Empire), then after the liberation again by Bulgarians, during the Balkan wars controlled by Romanians as part of Romania and finally since September 7 1940 after the restoration of Southern Dobrudzha region to Bulgaria again part of Re-United Bulgaria.

Once reaching Balchik, we attended Sunday Holy Liturgy in the Saint George majestic Church which on a first looks by its size gives the observer the impression of a small Eastern Cathedral Cathedral. On this date it was the Sunday of the Doubting Thomas the last day of the so called Bright week (the first week after Eastern Orthodox Pascha).

The service was amazingly beautiful with ac choire of only few ladies headed for my surprise by a non-Bulgarian (Belarusian) chorister lady Svetlana. The serving priest Father Stratia is a really tall and ascetic looking priest by the way he served the service and he prayed it was evident he possess a deep faith in God and perhaps a true heart relationship with Christ. The Church is full of icons and has a very unique iconostatis which by the words of the priest is the most unique Church iconostasis made by a Russian person and is the most unique and beatiful Church craftwork in the whole Dobrich region.

saint_George-Church-Eastern-Orthodox-Church-Seacity-Balchik

Saint George Eastern Orthodox Church Entrance – Balchik Sea City Resort, Bulgaria


The Russian influence in the Church is also evident by the many icons of well known Russian saints such as Saint John of Kronstadt, Saint Seraphim Seravski, Saint Xenia from Peterburg, Saint Matriona from Moscow, Saint King Vladimir etc. etc. Also it is very remembering experience in this Church the high number of different icons of saint George, many of which are well known and miracle making from Mount Athos (Fanailova) icon etc.

Saint_George_church-alter-in-Balchik-SeaCity-resort

Saint George Eastern Orthodox Church Alter – Balchik, Bulgaria

After the end of the Church service we had a walk through a piece of old stone strairs which are common for Balchik.

Balchik-old-city-stone-strairs

At the end of the service he blessed and wished a lot of "brightness and love" for the coming week and we went down from Balchik city center through a beautiful old stone stairs leading down to the Seacoast and Balchik's beach.

Balchik_cheap-caffeteria-sideview-to-black-sea-shore

We spend some time on the coffee waiting for Mitko and Samuil to drop by because we had agreed the previous day to travel by Mitko's Citroen C3 Pluriel (tutle sized car) from Balchik to Sofia.

Nearby the sea coast as in most of resorts there is a line with caffeterias and restaurands with a nice view facing the sea and a remote tiny mountain hights.
Balchik and the region is one of the most beautiful and green locations all around Dobrudja region with a beatiful plants, trees, herbs, woods. There are also few springs mineral drinable water in and nearby Balchik and the town is also famous for the healing mud center and many thermal springs of Tuzlata.

The temperature of the health water is 33 degrees centigrade; it is without color, low mineralized, and has excellent gustatory properties. The curative mud which comes from two firth lakes is dark brown, coarse-grained and has perfect physic-chemical properties. Near to the lakes there is a balneological center. Using the healing properties of the mug, good results have been reported on the treatment of gynecological, nervous diseases, diseases of the locomotory system and so on.

Balchik Tuzlata healing mud for recovering from and healing all kind of neurological, psycho-emotional and other diseases.

Balchik-Tuzlata-healing-mud-for-recovering-from-and-healing-of-all-kind-of-neurological-and-other-diseases

Perhaps the most famous and worthy thing to see in Balchik is Baclhik Palace (Dvoretz Balchik) which was constructed during 1926 – 1937  for the rest needs of the Romanian Queen during romanian control of the region in communist years of Bulgaria (1945 – 1989) and onwards it was reorganized to become one of the major and biggest Botanical garden in Bulgaria and is famous as Balchiks Botanical Garden exposing the largest collection of large cactuses in Bulgaria arranged in 1000 m2, the second biggest collection of Cactuses following after the one in Monaco.

Balchik-Botanical-garden-cactuses-second-largest-europe-collection-of-cactuses-in-Bulgaria

Few Cactuses shot – Balchik Botanical Garden Second Largest Botanical Garden in Europe

Balchik-Botanical-Garden-in-late-spring-Bulgaria-one-of-biggest-botanical-gardens-in-Europe

View to a Roman Catholic Chapel in Balchik Garden
 

The current Balchik Botanical garden has area of 65,000 m² and accommodates 2000 plant species belonging to 85 families and 200 genera a similar garden but smaller garden was build in Vrana's Bulgarian King Palace nearby Sofia

Balchik-sea-Botanical-Garden-and-a-queen-palace-one-of-most-beatiful-botanical-gardens-in-europe-and-world

The garden is absolutely unique to see mixing together architectural characteristics for Balkans and oriental motifs such as from Islam the garden was build by Italian architects Augustino and Americo and the overall arrangement of the Palace was made by a Swiss frorist.

Balchik-unique-one-world-best-botanical-gardens-Bulgaria

The main Palace building's extravagant minaret coexists with a Christian chapel, perfectly illustrating the queen's Bahá'í beliefs.

Balchik-heaven-like-botanical-garden-one-of-best-in-Europe

A virtual tour of Balchik Palace check is on the official site of Palace here


Dvorec-Balchik-Botanical-Garden-Islamic-Minare

Though Balchik is only about 10000 to 12000 of citizens it is the second largest town in Dobrich region, rich for historical reason in diverse culture and architecture.

Below is a small chunk of the many interesting old historical things the lover of beauty can enjoy.

Balchik_old_townhouse_1871_-_door_detail

Though it is a little in size it has obsiouly rich citizen spirituality as the city has 5 Churches 4 of which in active service.

Saint_Nicholas_liberation-movement-Church-Balchik

Saint Nicolas Church built in Liberation of Bulgaria period

Sveta_Petka_Tarnovska-Church-in-Balchik


Another unique beatiful Eastern Orthodox Church to visit if you happen to be in Balchik is Saint Petka Tarnovska Church

Balchik is situated on a steep hills thus, the roads are а bit uneven like in mountains, one can see in city center also some builtiful 'bulgarian renesanse' buildings left from 19th century architecture in the famous for that time Austrian / Italian Architecture.

Bulgaria-Balchik-old_building-from-19th-century

As Balchik is small in size it is perfect for people who want to have rest in a cozy town and still have all conveniences of a beach resort. The overall feeling of being in Balchik is like in a small Italian sea town with the only difference that the prices of food and drinks in Balchik are quite affordable if compared to Western Europe resorts. A four people meal with some small drinks nearby see would be cheap like 40-50 euro.

Trip to Shipka Peak,Sopot and 3rd of March Liberation of Bulgaria from Turkish Slavery 1878

Sunday, March 6th, 2016

Shipka_memorial_stone-of-Russian-Turkish-war-and-liberation-of-Bulgaria

Its 3rd of March for one more year, (Bulgaria Independence Day), the Liberation of Bulgaria from Turkish Slavery.
Eternal Glory be to all Bulgarians, Russian, Ukrainian, Belarusian, Romanian, Finish, Serbian and Moldovans and All Russian army Soldiers (Eastern Orthodox Christians) who fall fighting for the liberty of  my homeland Bulgaria!

3rd of March is Biggest and perhaps brightest among all the feasts of new history of Bulgaria because on 3-rd of March 1878 San Stefano Treaty (peace contract) between Russian Empire and Ottoman Empire.
My homeland Bulgaria was enslaved under the yoke of Turkish Empire from 1393 (when it fall under Ottoman Slavery) to 1878 received independence and Bulgaria as a country was rebuild for 3rd time (The 3rd Bulgarian Kingdom) arised.

San Stefano's Treaty The treaty created the Principality of Bulgaria with a territory including current territory of Bulgaria plus the Macedonia region (nowadays country of Macedonia) which has historically been most of the time part of Bulgarian Empire and Bulgarian country which at  the time of signing the treaty was mainly populated with Bulgarians. Later the Berlin contract revisioned San-Stefano Treaty because the countries of power at the day didn't wanted such a big country at the heart of Europe.

3rd of March has a very special way of  celebration especially at the places where there was battles between the side of Russian Empire (Ukrainians, Moldovans, Belarusians, Finnish) with the help of  few hundred thousands of Bulgarians, Romanian, Serbians has fought and defeated heroically the Turkish Army – which at the time was better equipped and more numerous than the Russian / Bulgarian and other ally soldiers, but as the saying goes The Power is not in the Multitude but in God alone, so the almost 494 397 soldiers army of Turkish Empire was defeated by just collectively 312  thousands of Russian, Bulgarians and other Christian allies.
This year here in Bulgaria we celebrate 138 years since liberation of Bulgaria from Turkish Slavery, so for one more year, we enjoy freedom from the darkness of economic and religious Turkish slavery.

In the war most of the soldiers that took participation had been Eastern Orthodox Christians so it could be said the war was almost a war of Faiths – On one side All Eastern Orthodox believers and on other Muslims.
The Turkish-Russian war (1877-1878) is hence absolutely epochal and becomes a good history lesson to look back to especially with the latest exarcebation of relations between Russia and Turkey.

The war had been disadvantageous at a certain time and there was a high chances that the Eastern Orthodox armies could have been defeated if it wasn't the heroic win of the Battle for Shipka Peak where about 35000 well equipped Turkish soldiers were defeated by just 5500 mostly Bulgarians and some  Russians.

Shipka-Ottoman-Turkish-fighting-with-Bulgarian-and-Russian-armies-on-Shipka

The Bulgarian and Russian armies has been fortified themselves and has severely fought for 3 days while on Shipka peak with some old fashined battle guns and some old riffles (many of which self produced) and insufficiency of ammos.
The Bulgarians didn't have any food so kept hungry for 3 days while being under a siege of the Ottoman, when they run out of Ammos, the only way to fight was to catch stones and throw over the enemy, when the stones were over, they started picking up the dead bodies of other mates and through over Turkish enemy.

The Bulgarian poet, publicist and Romanist Ivan Vazov has written a glorious poem being inspired by the heroism called "Epic of the Forgotten / Opylchencite na Shipka"
which occured in July / August and September 1877.

Shipka_Bulgarian_turkish-slavery-liberation_memorial_stone
Some years ago I had the chance to visit the Shipka  Monastery and the Majestic Russian Church nearby Shipka  but not until this year I haven't been on the Shipka peak itself nearby the battles where a majestic central majestic monument was build as a memorial stone and few other little memorial stones were build by the Russian Tsarist Army.

Memorial_stone-Shipka-Alexander_II_emperor-of-Russia

Memorial Russian Stone build in honour of the fallen Russian, Moldovian, Belarusian and Ukrainian for the Liberty of the Brotherly slavonic nation.

The stone depicts the Byzantine Empire Eagle (coat of arms) adopted by Russian Empire after fall of Byzantium and a memorial note in honor of Russian Emperor Tsardom Alexander (Nikolaevich) II.

This year by God's grace I had a chance to visit also the central monument stone exactly on 3rd of March as a friend of mine Pavel with his wife Ivanka had already planned a Trip to Shipka for the feast and they didn't objected to join them and visit Shipka Peak.
The monument of Shipka started on 1922 and completed in 1930, the monument was first officially opened in 1934 on top of the entrance of Shipka monument is an enormous bronze Lion (which is a Symbol of Bulgaria and also a symbol of Juda the tribe from which the Saviour God-Man Jesus Christ descended by flesh bloodline. The 3 writtings on the monumentum Shipka, Stara Zagora, Sheinovo are written to commemorate the great battles for liberation that occured on that 3 places.  Traditionally each year since 1934, there is our Eastern Orthodox prayer (Moleben) for the fallen in the fights and great feasts gatherings with Bulgarian and other country officials and a lot of people from VMRO (a nationalist organization), Voini na Tangra (Tangra Warriors) and many mostly nationalists and patriots. It is curious fact that Putin visited Shipka on 3rd of March 2003.

 

We travelled from Sofia to Shipka quite early in the morning 5:45 morning in order to escape the traffic jams and drived to there about 250 km with a short break on an oil station.
Being there nearby the village we had to wait on a long queue with cars of other people going for the Shipka feast and after some 50 mins of jam, we finally parked because it was already impossible to continue because of the multitude of parked cars all around the road.
From there we had to walk about 8 kilometers climb up the mountain as Shipka peak is about 1326 metres high.
Normal way was in a asphalt car road, but as there was many cars going back and forth and the air there was quite dirty after about 2 km we catched alternative wild route through some mountain paths.

God had been good to us these day as even though it is still the end of Winter in Bulgaria and usually March is a cold month the day was Sunny and Warm and there was no rain at all, this was a big grace to us and all of the tens of thousands of people all around …

Being there we entered the monumentum which happens to also be a 4 staged museum with some beautiful monuments inside.

Shipka-Marble-Sarcophagus-with-bones-leftovers-of-Shipka-Heroes-thanks-to-which-Bulgaria-is-free

Sacrophagus with Bone Remains of Soldiers fallen for the Victory of Bulgarian-Russian Brotherly armies on Shipka

Then we had a walk back the road fallowing the 892 steps down from the monumentum to the asphalt road leading back to Shipka village.

Shipka_890-steps-down-the-peak-liberation-monumentum

Going down the stairs from Shipka there are plenty of Souvenirs being sold some Fast Food vans selling coffee, beer sausages and burgers so we took Karnache-ta with Bread (which is a kind of traditional famous Bulgarian hunter sausage) 🙂

Having a kind of dinner we travelled back and went to see the Majestic Russian Church built from 1882 and sanctified in 1902. The Church Crypt (containing also bones of the dead soldiers who left their bones for our freedom), the Church was build with donations from Russians and contains at the moment also a lot of Holy Relics of Eastern Orthodox saints and thus is a great destination for pilgrimage.

memorial-Russian-Church-of-soldiers-fallen-for-liberation-of-Bulgaria

We wanted to sleep in a hotel or a guest house in Shipka but because of the feast everything was already occupied so we travelled to nearby famous Bulgarian revolutionary city Sopot (which is famous for being a very central for the Bulgarian liberation movement of Vasil Levsky) and most importantly the birth place of the patriarch of Bulgarian literature and probably the best poetries, romanist and publicist of Bulgaria of all times Ivan Vazov.

We had called a gues house phone and found a accomodation place to stay for the night in one of the many Guest houses in Sopot and then we our dinner in some local pub called CHICHOVCI (Uncles), nearby Sopot center church which is in famous of Saint Peter and Saint Paul.
Here is time to say that perhaps the fact everything went smoothly with finding an accomodation so easily in so late time and having such a nice dinner nearby the Church was not a coincidence, because earlier on our road back from Shipka, my wife Svetlana was teaching Pavel the Church Troparion of Saint Peter and Paul, which is in honour of st. Paul the protector saint of Pavel.

The guest house accomodation (we got the number to seek for rooms) from a Ads in front of restaurant pub of CHICHOVCI in Sopot turned to be also quite cheap 12 lv (6 eur) per person. So 2 person room costed only 12 euro. We were accomodated straigh in the beatiful crest of the mountain nearby a pine forest.
This night I slept quite peaceful, probably because the air in a small town as Sopot is crystal clear as it is in most mountain parts of our heavinly country Bulgaria.

In the morning we had a quick meal and went for a coffee and tea as we have the custom to do here in Bulgaria mornings on free days in a small but cozy coffee place.

saint_Peter-and-Paul-Church-Sopot

From then on we took some food for a lunch Duners from nearby and went to see the St. Paul, St. Peter church.
The Church is from y. 1840 and is in its authentic form and had plenty of old 100+ years Eastern Orthodox icons and the Christ Grace inside is so heavy. The central icon of the Church in honour of Saint Paul and Peter is considered miraculous and has an all time unexplainable heavy scent.

saint-Peter-and-Paul-church-inside-interior-Sopot

Our next destination was the Museum birth house of Ivan Vazov author of the most famous Bulgarian novel after liberation "Pod Igoto / Under the Yoke", which illustrates very precisely the way of life of common Bulgarian before and throughout the efforts to organize inside bulgaria, liberation war and struggles of Bulgarian ordinary people because of the inhuman Ottoman Turkish enslavers.

Sopot-Ivan-Vazov-monument

As you see behind the monument in remembrance of Vazov, Sopot's mountains and nature just like Shipka's is amazingly beatiful.

Ivan-Vazov-birth-house-the-most-famous-Bulgarian-novelist

Vazov's house is a great place for anyone who wants to go back in time with 130 years back in time and see the way rich Bulgarians housed used to look like, what were people working, what was the common interior of a Bulgarian house for that time as well as many specifics about the glorious (intellectuals) family of Vazov, two of his brothers (Georgi Vazov and Vladimir Vazov), studied in Russian Empire and were succesful and famous Generals in Bulgarian army, where Boris Vazov was famous politician.
Nearby Sopot, there is a special lift for paraglinding and is a famous destination for paragliding very near I heard there is monastery Sveti Spas (Holy Saviour).

Unfortunately this time the time was short and we had to go back so we couldn't visit the monastery, but I'm determined to go there in Sopot / Shipka and nearby hopefully soon in some of coming next holidays – if God bless so.