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For the next three days, the village of Zheravna will be a one-of-a-kind time machine.  The Festival of The National Costume Zheravna 2010 will take place from August 20th to 22nd for the third year in a row. It will gather thousands of people from all regions of Bulgaria to celebrate with dance and music as their ancestors did 100-150 years ago.

The only condition for attending the festival is to wear a traditional costume. It could be authentic, theatrical, or custom-made. It could represent any region, social status, profession, or craftsman guild. See pictures and read more about Bulgarian folk costumes on the official website from the link above.

Participants will enjoy traditional cuisine: meze, cheeses, dried and grilled meats, banitza, breads, wine, and rakia. They will observe and take part in old-style wrestling, kukeri parades, nestinari dances, and the work of various craftsmen. The celebrations will be accompanied by traditional bagpipes, kettle drums, and cymbals as well as by dance performances by professional folklore ensembles and troupes from all Bulgarian ethnographic regions and other Balkan countries.

The use of modern devices and technology, even of chairs, forks, and watches is very restricted in order to ensure the authenticity of the experience. The festival is organized by Foundation “Bulgare”. Zheravna 2010 is a truly magnificent reincarnation of Bulgarian culture and heritage.

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The Madara Rider is an emblematic rock relief found in Bulgaria’s Shoumen region. The relief dates back to the beginning of the 8th century and marks the beginning of the First Bulgarian Kingdom. It depicts a rider piercing his spear through a lion and accompanied by a dog and an eagle. The relief was carved into the vertical rock at a height of 23 meters (75 ft). It symbolizes victory over the enemy and is thought to represent the might of the Ancient Bulgarian khans from the days when we were a nomadic tribe of warriors. Some historians think that the image represents Khan Tervel who saved Europe from Arabic Invasion during the Siege of Constantinople in 718 AD (read about it in my blog).

Also known as the Madara Horseman, it was declared a Monument of World Heritage by UNESCO. It will become Bulgaria’s symbol on our first Euro coin.

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