OK, since I've noticed that almost noone knows my country, Bulgaria, I thought it would be good to include a page which represents it. When you hear Eastern Europe, I bet most of you think mainly about economic problems and I won't deny that my country's economy is not flourishing at all. However, it is a really beautiful place and it is worth visiting. Here are some pictures that I hope will convince you to stop by next time you go to Eastern Europe.

This is a picture of the largest cathedral on the Balkans- St. Alexander Nevski. It is located in the center of the capital of Bulgaria- Sofia. The domes are covered with gold and the inside of the church is decorated with hand drawn icons. With its tremendous size and misty air it conveys the genuine feeling of vesiting an Eastern Orthodox church and that makes it one of the main tourist sites in Sofia.

The Russian church in Sofia is located just a few minutes away from the Cathedral St. Alexander Nevski. Its beautiful architecture and central location make it a very popular tourist stop.

This is one of the famous Seven Great Lakes in Rila- the highest mountain in Bulgaria. This one is called "The Eye" because of its shape. The way to the lakes is very hard but the beauty of the mountain attracts many tourists to undertake the long trip. My sister went there again this summer and took this picture after one full day of hiking despite the fickle weather.

Another one of The Seven Great lakes in Rila. This picture was also taken by my sister this summer but at this time of the day there was a storm approaching which made the mountain especially beautiful and dangerous at the same time.

On the way to the Malyovitsa peak in Rila a wonderous view is revealed to the tired tourists- the Rila Monastery. It is the largest and most famous monastery in Bulgaria and is known for its magnificent icons.

Another shot of the Rila Monastery.

The walls of the Rila Monastery are covered with icons typical for the Eastern Orthodox church. This is a view revealed to the visitors in one of the outside hallways...

A closer view of one of the icons from the hallway on the previous picture.

Don't think that this is in the middle of the winter. This picture was taken in June 1995 when we had Green School in Rila. The people in the picture are some of my best friends.

Yet another picture from Rila in the summer. Here my mom and my sister are on the exacerbating but very rewarding way to the highest peak in Bulgaria- Musala.

These are the Melnik Pyramids located in Melnik which is the smallest town in Bulgaria. The appearance of this southern Bulgarian region is very different from the rest of the country with its sandy hills shaped in fascinating ways.

A view of Melnik from one of the surrounding hills. It is very close to the Greek border and that is why a certain Greek influence in the architecture, life style and music are noticed in that region. Oh, Melnik is also famous with its wine and wonderful dishes.

My sister and I on a hike around Melnik.

The region around Melnik is also famous for its ruins from old times. This is a ruin from Ancient Bulgaria which dates as far back as the 800's.

A short hike through the mountain takes you from Melnik to another Bulagrian monastery- the Rozhen monastery. Though it is not as big and famous as the Rila monastery it is a very beautiful and peaceful site that is often visited by tourists.

A picture of the icons in the church of the Rozhen monastery.

The Rozhen monastery viewed from a different angle.

This is Varshets- the town where my mom was born. It is hidden in the heart of the long mountain range Stara Planina which cuts through the whole country. Famous for its mineral srpings and beautiful location, Varshets used to be a popuar tourist place, but due to recent economic problems, the tourism there subsided.

This is a picture of my high school taken in the winter of 1996. Every winter the campus would resemble a magic, snow-covered little village whose beauty made the workload and the strenous commute much easier to handle :-).

This is a bridge in the small north-eastern town Byala, built by the famous Bulgarian Kolyo Ficheto. Kolyo Ficheto was a self-taught, empoverished architect who constructed the bridge using only stone and no other supporting materials. In search of the magic skill behind the bridge, modern architects destroyed a part of it in order to see how exactly it was built and never managed to rebuild the devastated part.

The mountain in which this picture was taken, The Rhodopes, is one of the most beautiful mountains in Bulgaria. Very close to this bridge is the Yagodinska Cave which impresses many Bulgarian and foreign tourists with its stalactites and stalagmites.

Nessebar- one of the oldest cities in Bulgaria, is at the Black Sea and is the perfect place to spend the summer. In addition to sunny weather and nice beaches, it has a lot of archeological sites.

In the countryside in Bulgaria people rely heavily on agriculture and farming for their food. This is at my grandmother's village- Ivancha. At this picture I am holding two little ducklings only 4 days old.

Another picture from the village of Ivancha. This is the working horse of my grandmother's sister.
In case I managed to get you interested in Bulgaria and you want to learn more, check out http://www.bulgaria.com.