Breath-taking Veliko Tarnovo.
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For the first time the ‘Best Town to Live in Bulgaria’ prize is awarded to two towns; the competition is organized by one of the leading radio stations in Bulgaria in cooperation with a top-rank newspaper. ‘The Best Town to Live in Bulgaria’ campaign was first organized in 2007.
Veliko Tarnovo and Burgas won the top spot with 40 points. All participating towns were appraised by 20 criteria. Veliko Tarnovo was crowned for the first time and Burgas for the third. The two winners received their awards by the Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski at a ceremony held at the National Art Gallery in Sofia.
Both towns were scrutinized according to the following criteria: ecological conditions, in town sports options, availability of bicycle lanes, number of kindergartens, main streets condition, number of parking spaces, time spent in traffic jams, free Wi-Fi in public areas, hospitals equipment and conditions, proximity to airports, number of universities and high schools with foreign languages learning, criminal activity statistics, per capita birth rates, etc.
Twenty-seven Bulgarian municipalities took part in the campaign.
The cost of the highway will amount to 1.5 billion lv without VAT
The ‘Improved Blue Version’ is the chosen route.
Click on the image for a larger view of the map.
The main advantage of the newly chosen route is that it is going to pass along as many towns and villages as possible. The highway is to connect the capital of Bulgaria to the Black sea town of Varna. The completion of the motorway is expected to improve the economic state of three Bulgarian regions – the North-Western, the Northern Central and the North-Eastern. Up to 2,9 million people will have immediate use of the main arterial road.
Four alternative routes have been thoroughly reviewed. After the analysis two of the possibilities received even further examination. These are the ‘Improved Blue Version’ that passes at an equal distance by Pleven, Veliko Tarnovo and Lovech and the ‘Green Version’ that goes along the currently existing I-4 main road. The ‘Improved Blue Version’, which is the chosen one, is considered to be the best option even from an ecological point of view. Some of the villages in Veliko Tarnovo region that will be relatively close to the highway, when finished, are Varbovka, Butovo, Rositsa, Mihaltsi, Stambolovo, Vodoley, Resen, Nikyup, Paskalevets, Polski Senovets, Kutsina, Krusheto and Draganovo and also the town of Pavlikeni.
The construction of Hemus highway is going to be divided in 8 lots and will be completed in three stages. The end of March is the deadline for a construction firm, which will have to work out a plan for the execution of the first stage, to be picked out. The aim is for construction works to start in 2016 but it is still not clear where the funding for the project will come from.
A grand piano, worth 170,000 euro, will be delivered from Bucharest for the concert of the renowned piano player and composer Richard Clayderman. The show starts at 7.00 pm on March, 21st. It will be held at Veliko Tarnovo’s Sports and Culture Hall ‘Vasil Levski’. The construction of the stage will start from the previous day so that the precious musical instrument can be placed on a suitable platform.
Clayderman has personally chosen the grand piano for the concert. He says that he needs to feel the instrument he is going to play. It is insured due to its high value and will be transported in a specially equipped truck; the vehicle freight section will be insulated in order to maintain a room temperature, needed for the preservation of the grand piano, throughout the journey. Also a specialist, who is aware of the piano player style, is hired to tune the instrument after its arrival.
Richard Clayderman, his percussionist and a band of 9 people are arriving on March, 21st. The piano player has a distinctive style that renders his concerts unforgettable experience. This event is unprecedented in Veliko Tarnovo’s cultural life and will surely leave a trace in the hearts of those who will attend the concert. Tickets are in the 20 to 60 lv price range.
Veliko Tarnovo municipality gets the Motel Dam back
Veliko Tarnovo finally managed to take back the tenure of the emblematic Motel Dam. Tides of investors are pressing their demands for the exclusive right to operate, maintain and carry out their investment plans. Most of them are willing to build a restaurant with panoramic views, construct outside seating and eating areas and offer different water sport activities like jet skiing and rowing. The dam is just outside Veliko Tarnovo, on the main arterial road Sofia-Varna. It was left unutilized for years and town authorities didn’t have access to it because of its previous user. Veliko Tarnovo municipality is back in possession of the dam and is waiting for the position of a Special Parliamentary Commission as to whether the exploitation of the dam should be granted at an auction or by a concession.
There is already an offer by a Sofia based entrepreneur who is willing to take the reservoir by a concession agreement. He is planning an investment of 300 000 lv but at the background of a promise of at least 10 year contract. He intends to stock the dam with fish and to set up special zones for sport fishing as well as picnic areas and a camping site. The recreational complex will be complemented by a fish grill restaurant situated right by the dam itself. Kayaks and paddle boats will be located at another section of the reservoir.
The Parliamentary Commission has the last word now – if they allow the dam to be granted at an auction and not by a concession, the procedure will be much swifter and cheaper and the winning bidder will be able to implement and realize their project much faster.
On 8th March ladies will receive greeting cards and gentlemen will be cheered up with wine and kebapcheta
The Mayor of Arbanasi said that the village is ready to welcome its guests with 300 kepapcheta*, 30 litres of wine and 300 greeting cards for International Women’s Day. Veliko Tarnovo’s brass band will keep up the good mood throughout the day. This year the so-called Horse Easter coincides with the annual celebration of women’s day. Arbanasi’s Mayor joked that this is his lucky year because he will not have to spend money twice and the double celebration will be covered in one bill.
On Saturday the residents of Arbanasi will mark Todorov Den* for the 24th time. Many events will be organized throughout the day. The day will start with a horse procession along the streets of the village. At 11.30 am jockeys will be greeted by His Eminence the Metropolitan Bishop Grigoriy of Veliko Tarnovo. The Minister of Youth and Sports Prof. Mariana Georgieva is also invited. It is now a tradition that the Sports Minister visits the horse feast in Arbanasi each year because the Equestrian Club in the village is one of the leading in the country.
There will also be a contest for the most beautifully adorned horse as well as horse racings. Winners in different competitions will receive prizes.
*Kebapche is a traditional Bulgarian dish with oblong form that is grilled; it is made of minced meat and spices.
*Todorov Den – people with names like Todor and Theodor have their names celebrated on that day; also according to old traditions many horse races are being organized throughout the country.
After a halt of 30 years the Town’Clock next to the Post Office is working again
All the necessary actions for restoring the Town Clock mounted on the building next to the Post Office were undertaken by initiative of Veliko Tarnovo’s Mayor Daniel Panov. On 3rd March, Bulgaria’s National Day, one of the town’s contemporary symbols was given new life after nearly 30 years of abandonment.
The clock which used to chime with the melody of the Shishman song is now fully renovated and working. Its mechanism was removed, fixed and put back in place again; its wiring and power supply have also been renewed. A back-up power supply is provided in case of electricity blackouts.
Currently the technical option to make the clock sound with Veliko Tarnovo’s anthem Shishman song is being tried out.
A blossomed tree adorned with a martenitsa
On 1st March Bulgarians celebrate a centuries-old tradition and exchange martenitsi (small pieces of adornment made of white and red yarn) on what is called the day of Baba Marta. The tradition of giving friends red and white interwoven strings is said to bring health and happiness during the year and is a reminder that spring is near. Baba Marta (which literally means “Granny March”) is the name of a mythical figure that brings with her the end of the cold winter and the beginning of the spring. She is a feisty old lady whose mood swing very quickly. When she’s happy the weather during March is fine and when she’s cross it’s snowing. The common belief is that by wearing the red and white colours of the martenitsa people ask Baba Marta for mercy. People usually wear martenitsi until the end of March when the first signs of the coming Spring appear, namely blossoming trees or when one notices a stork. At that point men, women and children usually tie their martenitsi to a tree following the ancient tradition; thus they call for a fruitful year.
Baba Marta on 1st March last year
Baba Marta herself will arrive in Veliko Tarnovo on 1st March and together with her granddaughter Martenka will bring joy to the citizens and guests of Veliko Tarnovo. Both of them will make a tour around the town in a motley carriage adorned with many martenitsi. Their first stop will be at 10.30 am in front of the ‘Konstantin Kisimov’ Musical Drama Theatre. Then at 11.05 am the carriage will go to the square in front of Tsarevets Fortress. At 11.40 the jolly granny and her granddaughter will meet children at ‘Iskra’ Community Centre. All day long the cheery couple will give away free martenitsi.