Mountains are the soul of Bulgaria. They are everywhere, inescapable. They cradle monasteries, villages, small towns. Houses are tucked in among the trees. From a distance they look like soft dark green velvet and has been folded and folded.
In the 1950’s I remember my father, who travelled a lot for work, would invite people over to see his slides. These were always very long evenings with people asking questions about what they saw and I my father explaining. We served carrot and celery sticks with some sort of cottage cheese dip, all very healthy. The evenings went on and on.
You will be happy to know that this video only lasts a minute. You don’t have to ask me questions but if you do, I will endeavor to answer.
The video is called ideosyncratic glimpses because I am not, unlike my father, trying to show you Bulgaria. Instead, I am sharing with you moments that caught my eye. Most of the pictures are things I have photographed before and I am so happy to find them again in Bulgaria that I take the picture.
This August when I visited Bulgaria, I took some pictures of the religious paintings. Since I didn’t use a cell phone, I observed the please do not take pictures signs. My camera makes a very loud noise as the mirror swings back and forth. None-the-less, I was able to take a few pictures.
The very contemporary Virgin and Child at the beginning of the video was painted by Teofan Sokerov. He was privileged to paint the entire Patriarchal Church of the Ascension. Unfortunately when he completed the project in 1985, the Church fathers decided they didn’t like the Virgin and Child so they never consecrated the church. It is at the top of the enclosure of the Tsarevets Fortress in Veliko Turnovo, the midieval capital of Bulgaria.
The brightly colored images are from the porticos of the Rila Monastery. You may notice in some of the pictures that there are three levels, at the bottom, hell; in the middle, earth; and finally heaven at the top.
The remainder of the pictures are from the Church of the Nativity, an Ottoman era church in Arbanasi. Once again the same division of space is followed on the iconostasis. There are two really unique paintings, the wheel of life and the explanation of the trinity.