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Bulgaria is a European country located in the eastern part of the Balkan peninsula. Like every Balkan state, we have a unique nature, rich history and corrupted politicians.
For years we have been described as a "bad" country, every movie that I watched over the past years that included Bulgaria in it... well, we were always the stupid bad guys that got their backside kicked. I understand that in many ways we are thought to be just like that, but with this article, I am going to show you that we are just one normal nation dealing with problems that every other country has faced.
Fact №1 - The oldest country in Europe that has never changed its name.
Bulgaria was created in 681 AD when a peace treaty was signed between the United Slavic and protobulgarian tribes and the Byzantium empire. The new country that was formed this alliance was called Bulgaria and since we did not change our name even though many other nations came to the Balkans - some seeking protection, others seeking new lands to conquer. Save to say we did win many battles, but we lost a lot as well, but we never gave up on our name - Bulgaria.
Fact №2 - We saved Europe from the first attack from the Arabs.
We all know the battle of Tours in 732 (also called the Battle of Poitiers) that denied the Arabs to conquer continental Europe. That was their second try to be fair. The first one was the siege of Constantinople in 717-718 where the Arab forces were on of the biggest to ever assemble in the early Middle ages - about 80 000 men (some sources say that they were 200 000). The siege was doing fine, the people of Constantinople were starving, all kind of diseases were spreading in the capital and the Byzantium Empire was at the edge of defeat. Until Khan Tervel from the Bulgarian kingdom came with his cavalry and defeated the Arabs. The decisive battle between the Arabs and Bulgarian was in the summer of 718 which was an unheard defeat for the Arabs. Over 22 000 men were killed and until the end of the war, their number increased to 32 000. Because of this horrific victory over the Arabs, they did not try another attack for the next six centuries.
Fact №3 - We were the first country to write in Cyrillic.
Almost every Balkan and Eastern-European state that writes in Cyrillic says that the creators - Saints Cyril and Methodius are their citizens. That is not correct - their father was from Byzantium origin and their mother was said to be Slavic, which automatically shuts down every argument in favour of any of the countries.
To be historically correct - we used the Glagolitic script at first not Cyrillic which was developed years later. The first tries of the brothers to spread the newly-formed Slavic alphabet was in a country inherited by the West Slavs - Moravia. Unfortunately, Cyril passed away on 14 February 869 in Rome and left Methodius alone with their only seven students. They continued their mission to impose the Slavic language, but their success did not last long - the Moravian clergymen only used it for about two decades. When Methodius died the German clergy expelled the students of the two brothers and they were sold in slavery.
Some of them escaped and came to Bulgaria where they were welcomed by kniaz (king) Boris I. Clement and Naum, the only two students which were alive by that time created schools in the future capital of the Bulgarian Kingdom - Preslav and one of the big cities back then - Ohrid. There the Cyrillic was formed and it was spread to the rest of the Slavic world.
Fact №4 - We saved our Jews.
During the World War II, everyone was aware of the plans of Nazi Germany to capture every Jew on continental Europe. When we became allies with the Axis (March 1941) we had to immediately deport our Jews to the German concentration camps. Led by Dimitar Peshev, a deputy in the National Assembly, we refused to send our Bulgarian citizens to certain death. Tsar Boris III and the Bulgarian Church also did not step back and protect our brothers and sisters.
Statistically, about 50 000 Bulgarian Jews were saved during Holocaust.
Fact №5 - Kukeri
Kurkerstvo is a national Bulgarian tradition. It is celebrated during Christmas and Sirni Zagovezni (a Bulgarian holiday which is celebrated seven weeks before Easter and lasts one week). Kukeri are called the people who are dressed in costumes which are designed especially for fighting evil spirits. Their apparel are made of wool, and they have specific bells called "chans" and their masks are often made of wood with a combination of textile. Their ritual for fighting the evil spirits is dancing! And their weapons are the bells (the so-called "chans"). The kukers are not stand alone warriors - they act as a group of 20, 40, 60 in some areas they are above 100. Imagine a group of 40 kukers, each having several bells on their belts all acting as one during the traditional dance. The sound is horrendous for every evil creature.
In recent years there is a Bulgarian project of bringing to animated life these fearless warriors. The series are called "The Golden Apple" created by Studio Zmei.
Kuker- Warriors from The Golden Apple series.
They are now trying to find the needed financial resources to start the series. You could find more at https://goldenappleseries.com and if you liked what you've seen than give them a little boost by helping them - click the link!
So that was five facts about Bulgaria to see that even an Eastern-European country can have is own unique beauty.