Thursday, June 30, 2005

mozzy food

Meaning me. I am covered in mosquito bites which I’m trying not to itch. I caught and squished one in the shower this morning, but I don’t expect that was the only one.

I couldn’t face another breakfast of dry white bread, butter, feta-ish cheese and salami, so I’ve breakfasted on chocolate and banana in my room. Most healthy!

Yesterday was useful from a work point of view and fun. When the day’s work was over we had a guided tour around Sofia, mostly historic churches and museums. Sofia became the capital of Bulgaria in 1879, at a time when it was a small village of around 120 people. Now, around 1.2 million people live there, about 15% of the population of Bulgaria. Most of the buildings from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, apart from the churches, the earliest of which were started in Roman times. There’s not much evidence of Bulgaria’s Communist past. There’s probably more evidence of the rule of the Ottoman Empire, although they were around for about 500 years. Perhaps it’s all been destroyed. Certainly we saw a park which until recently had been the site of the mausoleum of the first (Communist) Bulgarian president after the first World War. According to our guide, there was a sharp divide between those who wanted to destroy the mausoleum because Bulgaria now has nothing to do with Communism and those who wanted to preserve it as a piece of history. It seems the destroyers won.

The churches here are Orthodox. I think our guide said the Bulgarian Orthodox church is separate from both the Russian and Greek Orthodox churches. Lots of historical splits. Enough history, find a library or Google it. Orthodox churches are big and empty of pews. They share some of the aspects of Catholic churches, candles, imagery, but without that feeling of Catholic Disney land you sometimes get with huge statues. The churches we went into were covered with old frescoes, mostly very faded. Some looked Byzantine in style. And of course there were icons and the smell of incense and a priest with a huge black beard.

1 comment:

Jimmie Flurry said...

Very interesting.