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Free Sofia Tour's Blog

August 18, 2019
musicians

Interview with Vyara Boyadjieva – Bulgarian Symbols

It is time for us to introduce you to yet another talented female artist, that has been involved with our Bulgarian Symbols project. It is our Association’s first attempt to present popular Bulgarian symbols in a modern and fashionable way. This time we would like you to meet Vyara Boyadjieva! Vyara Boyadjieva Vyara is originally from Sofia, Bulgaria, but now lives and studies in Cambridge. She is one of those bright minds in the field of illustration and design. For her work in “Bulgarian Symbols” she chose to portrait a visual image of Bulgarian folklore music – one of the undisputed symbols of our country. The illustration itself shows the unity of traditional Bulgarian folklore instruments and the way their sound touches everyone’s heart and soul. This music is part of the Bulgarian national identity, but also reaches far beyond the Bulgarian borders.   You can read a bit more about the idea behind the illustration from the author herself: The Interview Describe yourself using only a few words! An […]
August 9, 2019
kuker

Interview with Victoria Paeva – Bulgarian Symbols

If you have been following our social media and blog post articles, you already know that our Association realized its first merchandise idea this year. The concept was to involve 5 young and talented Bulgarian artists to create an illustration in an attempt to show their vision of Bulgarian symbols. Now it’s time to introduce our second illustrator – Victoria Paeva. Victoria Paeva Victoria Paeva is from Sofia, Bulgaria. In her illustration, the thought provoking Viki picked the topic of a cherished Bulgarian tradition – “Kukeri” – mythical creatures, who wear scary masks and dance loudly to scare away the bad spirits. Viki researched on the topic and managed to create a unique blend by merging it with the widely discussed idea of the human ego. It’s a reference to the masks that we are all wearing and the way we hide our inner self from the outside world. The mask in her work is not only a Bulgarian symbol of a long lasting tradition, but also a symbol of […]
July 29, 2019
bulgarian cities zina

Interview with Zina Nedelcheva – Bulgarian Symbols

As we already announced in our previous blog post, our new merchandise line – Bulgarian Symbols is finally here! It is our Association’s first souvenir collection. The concept was to involve 5 young and talented Bulgarian artists to create an illustration in an attempt to show their vision of Bulgarian symbols. Today, we would like to introduce you to our first illustrator – Zina Nedelcheva. Zina Nedelcheva Zina Nedelcheva is from Plovdiv, Bulgaria. In her illustration, Zina chose to portray Bulgaria as one big house. Underground cellars, the oh-so-unusual Klek Shops, the balconies, our graffiti culture and many more symbols of Bulgaria adorn the building. A few days ago we sat down with Zina and talked to her about her style of work and her participation in the “Bulgarian Symbols” project. The Interview Describe yourself using only 5 words! A shy, naive dreamer with a lot of wishes left to fulfill. What is your main focus at the moment? I am preparing a new production of a limited series of clothes, accessories […]
July 28, 2019
Symbols of Bulgaria

“Bulgarian Symbols” – Our Brand New Merchandise Line

Exciting news! Our organisation, the 365 Association, is always up for a new challenge. In 2019 we set 3 new, ambitious goals in front of ourselves – to open up a new interactive space dedicated to the last stages of the communist regime in Bulgaria – The Red Flat, to create a new walking tour, which tells the story of the Bulgarian Jewish community  – Sofia Jewish Tour and to also initiate a new line of merchandise that lays out some of our favorite Bulgarian symbols. Bulgarian Symbols The idea of creating our own merchandise is something that we have been discussing for the past few years. As tour guides we are best at presenting Bulgaria’s symbols and landmarks on the streets of Sofia and Plovdiv. We felt that 2019 is the right moment for us to start working on another ambitious project. It is now time to eternalize these moments. And by that we mean giving you the opportunity to take them back home with you. Being a non-governmental […]
July 10, 2019
yellow bricks

Sofia’s Yellow Brick Road

Ever wondered whether Bulgaria and Hungary have something in common or whether there’s some other connection between their capital cities – Sofia and Budapest? It turns out that yes, there is. The following post will tell you about one of them: Sofia’s yellow cobblestones. THE STORY OF SOFIA’S YELLOW COBBLESTONES After Bulgaria’s Liberation from the Ottoman Empire in 1878, Sofia was designated as capital of the newly established country. However, it was chosen for its geographic location and not its architecture; at the time, it did not look much like a city, let alone a capital. Dirty puddles, mud, and stinking water covered the city center. This is why Prince Dondukov, head of the Provisional Russian government in power at the time, quickly ordered changes. In 1901, Sofia’s first trams set off on six routes, served by 25 individual trains, and in 1905, Maria Louise Boulevard became the first city street to be paved. Afterwards, the Municipality began an ambitious plan to pave a big portion of the city. It bought two quarries in the neighboring Vitosha mountain – […]
June 21, 2019
sofia bulgaria guide

Sofia – Capital of Bulgaria – The Ultimate Travel Guide

Sofia is Bulgaria’s capital and largest city. Situated in the very heart of the Balkan peninsula,  it is one of Europe’s oldest cities. While still undiscovered by many, more and more people are now falling in love with the city’s unique east meets west vibe. HISTORY OF SOFIA For the past 6000 years this city has seen it all. Once called Serdica – an important trade center in the Roman empire. Then conquered by the Bulgarians in the 9th century, then conquered by the Byzantine Empire, then re-claimed by the Bulgarians and then a stronghold of the Ottoman empire. After Bulgaria gained its independence in the late 19th century, Sofia was chosen as the country’s new capital. It’s now been capital for 140 years. The city’s appereance today has been widely shaped by the twists and turmoils of the 20th century. Up until WW2 Bulgaria was a parliamentary monarchy and Sofia’s architecture was influenced by the examples of Austrian, French and German architecture. The second half of the 20th century […]
May 12, 2019
museum of communism sofia

The Red Flat – Life in Communist Bulgaria

Do you remember the Cold War? Have you read and listened about it? Perhaps you have seen movies focusing on the dramatic stand-off between the two powerhouses of the world at the time – the US and the Soviet Union. You probably know about the arms race, the never ending competition between them, constantly designing more and better weapons and ways to destroy each other. You also likely know about the space race, the start of humankind’s exploration of the so-called final frontier. If you come from the West, you would have been exposed to propaganda about the evil communists whose main objective was to destroy your peaceful and prosperous way of life. If you come from the East, you would have been constantly flooded with propaganda about the evil capitalists, who live and breathe to ruin your attempt at a just and perfect social system. But have you ever wondered how the regular citizen of the “Empire of Evil”, as per Ronald Reagan, actually lived like? If yes, then… The Red […]
May 3, 2019
Buzludzha

The Buzludzha Monument

Is it a bird? A plane? Is it a UFO? It’s the Buzludzha Monument! Once, a huge symbol of the power and might of the Bulgarian Communist regime, attracting people from both the country and all over the world with its bizarre look, monumental construction and embedded ideology. Nowadays, it is completely abandoned. It has been falling apart ever since the end of the communist regime in 1989. This time we are covering one of the most extraordinary and controversial ideological monuments left from Bulgaria’s communist past. And of course, we are going to tell you everything you need to know about it. You might have seen this outlandish looking building before as it has been included in the list of the 33 most beautiful abandoned places in the world. Its futuristic appearance looks as if taken straight from a science fiction series. This is the main reason for people to call it “the flying saucer”. If you are wondering where the Buzludzha monument is… you will find it in […]
March 25, 2019
Free Sofia Tour Summer Schedule 2019

Summer Schedule 2019: Free Sofia Tour, 4 Times a Day!

Spring is here and all of us at Free Sofia Tour are extremely excited! Not only because of the great sunny weather but also because we are now able to share our Summer Schedule 2019 with you. Free Sofia Tour – 4 Times a Day! We know how tight your schedule is when visiting a new city. That’s why we decided to give you an extra opportunity to explore Sofia with us. Starting April 1st (until 31st of October), our daily Free Sofia Tour will be running not two, not three, but four times a day – at 10AM/11AM/2PM/6PM!  Free Sofia Tour is the general sightseeing walk around the main historical landmarks in the center of Sofia. In just 2 hours you will get acquainted with what Sofia has to offer – the perfect introduction to any trip to Sofia. We will be waiting for you in front of the Palace of Justice. Our tours run 365 days a year, no matter the weather conditions (including all national and religious […]