Bulgaria: Thursday May 25 2017, Day 5
Bus trip to Varna (Варна)
Varna a major industrial city. 400k people in metro area (relatively large for Bulgaria) On a formerly freshwater lake; in 1970 they built channel from lake to sea to support shipping
Shkorpiu brothers, Archaeologists that dug Varna and elsewhere. Czechs, stayed in Bulgaria after liberation.. Established archaeology society.
Currently believed that the Black Sea was once fresh water, km below sea level Earthquake split the Bosporus and Mediterranean rushed in Possible explanation for great flood myths
The centerpiece archaological find for this culture is the Varna Necropolis, discovered in the early 1970s; gold bracelets scepters and other artifacts created between 4,600 and 4200 BC: the oldest gold artifacts yet discovered anywhere in the world
* Advanced stone tools, Ceramic pots and relics * Varna cemetery found 1976 dated to 5000s BC three graves including oldest known wrought gold * Grave of 35yo king with golden scepter, large gold armbands, buttons from a cloak. Also copper and stone axes * Amount of gold in this one grave as much as total gold found anywhere from this same period * Shells from Mediterranean -- there was trade * We have found necropolis but not the corresponding city * Copper came from the SW Black Sea coat and from east Thrace. Varna was metallurgical center for the East Balkan Peninsula * Most pots found in graves were smaller shoddier symbolic replicas of pots used in household. Rich graves had full sized pots with thin walls and high aesthetic standard
- Middle Stone Age 10,000-7000 BC
- Stone tools
- Stone-Copper age 5000s-4000s BCE Varna culture , first civilization with a sophisticated social hierarchy in Europe.
- Bronze Age 3200-1200 BC
- Thracian identity forms.
- floods came at end of Copper age; lack of continuity of people into Bronze Age
- Big carved tombstones with shape of a person in relief
- Large funerary urns, one with Swastika. Then a tumulus (menhir) erected; high status person could reach 5-10m. Deified deceased predecessorsl
- Early Iron Age 1200-500
- Varna (then called Odessos) was major population center for western Black Sea coast
- Trade with Greece and across Black Sea
- Classical 580-323
- Hellenistic 323-15
- Wine trade as far as Rhodes, Georgia, Crimea.
- Roman 15-200 CE
- fountains, heating system (thermae) for baths, aqueduct
- Elaborate relief marble tombstones
- Grave of a doctor priest: scalpels, tweezers, hooks
- Gravestone with the Horse-Man ("Heros") figure that later developed into St George imagery
- Rings with impossibly small marble figures carved imto
- Late Roman 200-330
- In later Roman times, Varna becomes part of lower Moecia; from Nessebar down to Byzantium and west to Sofia (Serdica) is Thracia
- Dice, silver bronze and glass items
- Became an important Christian center
- First Christian community established 1st c AD by St Andrew the Apostle.
- In 311 Constantine and Licinius issued edict of tolerance for Christians, basilicas appeared in following years
- Late Antiquity 330-650
- not destroyed in downfall of empire but suffered as economy crumbled
- Remained the only large sea port in lower Moesia
- The "evacuation" from Dacia in 3d century when Roman Empire abandoned in face of Goth
- Slavs came from Carpathians and from near Berlin first looting of Illyrians in 611 century
- Settled, mixed with Illyrians, Arromanian (latin-speaking) people
- Resulting peoples will retain Bulghurs name but Slavic language and identity.
- First Bulgarian Empire 681-1018 CE
- Byzantine rule 1018-1187
- Second Kingdom 1187-1396
- Ottoman Rule 1396-1878 Bulgaria's "Dark Age"
- 1878-1943 Third Bulgarian Kingdom
- 1945 Communism
- After fall of communism Bulgaria has lost a million people due to emigration and low birth rate
Lunch at restaurant built into frigate
Super touristy but quite fun restaurant
On Being Gay in Bulgaria
Discussed LGBT attitudes in Bulgaria with program alumna, who came out while on American exchange -- Iranian Muslim dad was OK, Methodist mom still coming to terms. No physical bullying from peers but many negative attitudes. Iowa high school was more liberal than Bulgaria. Prom is a huge deal in Balkans, a very uncomfortable situation if you’re queer.
Walking tour of Varna
Channel where Black Sea meets Lake Varna
"July Morning" -- U2 song, on June 30th people gather on the beach and watch the sun rise on July 1st. Bono wrote the song looking out at the sun rise over Black Sea
Weather is sunny and high-60s F with nice breeze
20km long nature walk along the coast -- shops and cafes and museums Love Bridge : walk backwards across the bridge and chuck a coin to make a wish Observatory looks out over sea garden
First cathedral with gold domes. Greek style with Russian Domes. Russian domes are in shape of a candle, devotional offering. Built of limestone Gift from Emperor Alexander of Russia to wife Catherine 1896 opening Dedicated to St Mary and to the Russian Army Frescoes including a rondel showing the Chi-Rho (with alpha omega kicker). Frescoes date to 1950s
Varna cathedral had chairs: Cyprus, Greece, Bulgarian, some Serbian churches have pews, traditional Serbian Orthodox Church have no pews. Serbian dioceses are very independent, decentralized
- sweet muscat
- Apricot Rakia (brandy)