Hisariya, an ancient Roman spa

Europe, Bulgaria, Central Bulgaria

Hisariya, an ancient Roman spa

No Comments 21 July 2010

Sore legs, aching muscles—what’s a monkey to do to escapes the rigors of travel? In 2002, the Monkey made haste for the healing waters of Hisariya, one of the great spa towns of antiquity.

Continue Reading
Plovdiv, Bulgaria’s second city

Europe, Bulgaria, Central Bulgaria

Plovdiv, Bulgaria’s second city

No Comments 21 July 2010

Not every country can boast a 5,000 year-old city, but some can. As the Monkey learned during several 2002 visits, Plovdiv wears its age as a badge of pride.

Continue Reading
Koprivshtitsa and the April 1876 Rising

Europe, Bulgaria, Central Bulgaria

Koprivshtitsa and the April 1876 Rising

No Comments 21 July 2010

You say you want a revolution? Will an uprising do? Back in 2002 the Monkey traveled to Koprivshtitsa, in Bulgaria’s Stara Planina Mountains, to learn about the village’s role in an uprising against the Ottoman Empire.

Continue Reading

Get involved

Volunteering makes a difference. Even an hour of volunteer work per week can help nonprofits and community causes achieve success. Why not look for a volunteer opportunity by searching Idealist.org, Global Volunteer Network, or UN Volunteers?

No time to volunteer? Even a minor donation to GlobalGiving.org can support critical projects in communities around the world.

Or why not become a microlender via Kiva.org? Lend to a person in need, and watch as they achieve their aims and repay your loan.

Recommended reading

A Concise History of Bulgaria
R.J. Crampton (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997)
This short book has become the go-to summation of this Balkan country’s long and complex history. A perfect introduction to the country.

Beyond the Frontier: The Politics of a Failed Mission, Bulgaria 1944
E.P. Thompson (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1997)
A fascinating exploration of a British mission to rendez-vous with Bulgarian Partisans and raise a force against the Nazi-allied royalist dictatorship during World War II. Reads like a spy novel at times, but also a memorial to the author’s brother, who was killed in the effort.

Communism and the Remorse of an Innocent Victimizer
Zlatko Anguelov (College Station: Texas A&M Press, 2002)
Part personal memoir, part exploration of the all-encompassing nature of Bulgaria’s Communist government, this book poses uncomfortable questions about the banal, everyday forms of repression and victimization that take root under coercive governments. Anguelov’s observations resonate far beyond Bulgaria’s borders…

The Balkans: A Short History
Mark Mazower (New York: Modern Library Paperback, 2002)
As the title says, a short history of the Balkan region. A helpful intro to this corner of Europe.

The Balkans: Nationalism, War, and the Great Powers, 1804-1999
Misha Glenny (New York: Penguin, 2001)
A rather epic undertaking by a former BBC correspondent for Central Europe, this book traces the tumultuous two centuries of the Balkan states’ struggles for independence from the Ottoman Empire, the emergence of pan-Slavic tendencies and their tribulations, and the reign of various regimes of the right and left during the 20th Century. A worthwhile read—don’t let its dimensions frighten you…

Description of a Struggle: The Vintage Book of Contemporary Eastern European Writing
Editor: Michael March (New York: Vintage Books, 1994: Out of print)
A great anthology of short stories from the former Eastern Bloc, providing an evocative snap shot of the early post-Cold War era. Stories are organized by state, with the Bulgarian Victor Paskov’s tale of “Romanian” exiles in the Paris Metro a particular highlight.

© 2002-2017 Monkeytravel.org