Happy 8th March, the International Day of Women!

I wanted to tell you more about Bulgarian women today, so I browsed the web and found several forums with previous years’ polls about the Greatest Bulgarian Women from the past to the present. These are my top ten Bulgarian women-idols, in no particular order:

Valya Balkanska – the folklore singer we are most proud of, as her song “Izlel e Delyu Haydutin” became part of the Voyager space odyssey in 1977. 

Baba Tonka – Tonka Obretenova was a revolutionary during the movement for our independence from the Ottoman yoke in the 1810s. She was an elderly but courageous lady who greatly supported the secret revolutionary committee and offered shelter to many of the heroes of that time who in turn affectionately called her Baba Tonka (grandmother Tonka).

Raina Kniaginia and the flag of the April Uprising, 1876Raina Kniaginia – Have you seen the woman- personification of the French revolution in the painting Liberty Leading the People? Raina Kniaginia is that person for us, but she was a real historical figure. When she was 20, she famously sew the flag of the April Uprising against the Ottoman yoke in 1876 and waved it together with the revolutionary hero Georgi Benkovski.

Baba Vanga – Blinded by a wind storm as a child, Baba Vanga received the mystic powers to see the future. She lead a very pious life in a region with hot thermal waters called Rupite near the Kozhuh mountains. Many ordinary people and even doctors and government officials went to see her and believed in her advice. Many of her prophecies have come true. I should write a longer article about her soon!

Stefka Kostadinova – she is our most celebrated female sports champion. In 1987, she set a world record in high jump, 2.09 meters, which still has not been surpassed. She is currently the president of out Olympic Committee.

Nevena Kokanova, "First lady of Bulgarian cinema "Nevena Kokanova – the “First Lady of Bulgarian cinema”. One of the most beautiful and talented actresses ever to live!

Dora Gabe and Elisaveta Bagriana – I can never decide which one of these two ladies I like more, so I will just include them side by side. Dora and Elisaveta were contemporaries: socialites, beauty icons, best friends, rivals for the heart of the same man, and the two most talented poets of their time.

Raina Kabaivanska – one of the world’s best opera singers. Luciano Pavarotti once said, “Tosca of the past was Maria Callas. Tosca of the present is Raina Kabaivanska”.

Neshka Robeva – a genius choreographer who intertwines modern ballet with tradition folklore dances. Her magical performances have inspired audiences from every continent to fall in love with Bulgarian dance and rhythm.

Lily Ivanova – She has been the prima of Bulgarian pop music for over 50 years and has delivered over 10,000 stage performances all over the globe. Her songs have and will continue to bring joy to several generations.