much more than just a vacation destination

02.08.2019 10:25

Bulgaria: Much more than a holiday destination

The new "Bulgaria Manual" informs about the geography, history, language, literature, culture, society and politics of the Balkan State. Teacher. Dr. Thede Kahl and dr. Gergana Börger of the Friedrich Schiller University of Jena also published this work of nearly 440 pages. The book combines u. at. Work on the development of language, typical architecture and the reception of Bulgarian literature in Germany.

Bulgaria is also a popular destination for Germans this summer. Many tourists are drawn to the Black Sea coast, where they relax on the golden sandy beach. But the Balkan country has much more to offer than the sun, the sand and the sea. It becomes clear when we open the "Manuel Bulgaria", that the Prof. Dr. med. Thede Kahl and dr. Gergana Börger of the Friedrich Schiller University of Jena co-edited. For the work of nearly 440 pages, they have collected more than 20 contributions of renowned Bulgarians, highlighting various aspects of the country in many areas. Among these are works on language development, typical architecture and the reception of Bulgarian literature in Germany.

Culture shock

"With this manual, we want to complement and continue the existing research in Bulgaria," says Thede Kahl, specialist in South-East Europe. "On the other hand, we would like to arouse interest in a country that, unfortunately, is reported too infrequently." This applies even to the appointment of the Bulgarian city of Plovdiv as the cultural capital of Europe for the year 2019. Outside Bulgaria, only a few people would have heard of this award , although the city is full of attractions. Thus, Plovdiv is probably the best preserved example of a trading city in south-eastern Europe, where people from different cultures live together over the centuries.

The clash of cultures is a recurrent theme in the texts of the new textbook, starting with the introduction, which deals with geography and history. Bulgaria occupies a particular geographical position at "the interface of two continents", namely Europe and Asia. Therefore, in the course of history, various peoples, cultures and religions have left their mark in the country. First Thracians, Greeks and Romans. At the end of the Middle Ages, the Ottoman Empire occupied the area and ruled for nearly 500 years until the declaration of independence of the late 19th century.

Choose a different way from the countries of Western Europe

The other contributions also show that Bulgaria has taken a different approach from that of Western European countries. Whether in the language, architecture, theater or traditional folklore of the country: everywhere appear Greek, Turkish and Russian influences. These dates back to the period of communism that followed the Second World War, when Bulgaria had particularly close relations with Moscow. Especially since its accession to the European Union in 2007, the rest of Europe is playing an increasingly important role. According to Thede Kahl, this broad spectrum of cultural influences contributes to the fact that "Bulgaria is a colorful country in which everyone can feel comfortable and with which we should take care more".

Study Southeast European Studies at the University of Jena

If you are interested in Bulgaria or the region of Southeast Europe as a whole, study at the Institute of Slavic Studies and Studies on the Caucasus of the United States. University of Jena. For example, you can study studies in Southeast Europe as a degree and master's degree (see: The registration deadline for the next winter semester ends on September 15th. "Studying is worth it because of the unique number of languages ​​available in Germany," says Professor Thede Kahl. "Our graduates are well placed to work, for example, in companies active in the region."

Scientific contact:

Teacher. Dr. Thede Kahl
Institute of Slavic Studies and Caucasian Studies of the Friedrich Schiller University of Jena
Ernst-Abbe-Platz 8, 07743 Jena
Phone: 03641/944725
E-mail: thede.kahl[at]

Original publication:

Gergana Börger, Sigrun Comati, Thede Kahl (ed.). Handbook Bulgaria: Geography – History – Language – Literature – Culture – Society and politics. Publisher Frank & Timme, Berlin 2019, 438 pages. Price: 59,80 Euro. ISBN-13: 978-3732905225

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