Bulgaria protests against the corrupted government, now at the 26th day with reported more than 100 000 people gathering protesting from the early morning to midnight.
Posts tagged ‘Sofia’
One of the most famous spots in Sofia (Bulgaria), the Zhenski Pazar (Women’s market), is currently undergoing a reconstruction. This charming market if mostly focused on food like fresh vegetables and fruit, homemade honey and wine, but you can also find clothes, plumbing equipment and other random things. Even though the market is in the center of Sofia, walking around the market area gives you a feeling of exiting the city and being somewhere totally different.
Now this market will undergo a total redesign, with the first step being to reduce the number of market stalls in one area from 114 to 65, giving more space to open areas. There is also a plan for creating an amphitheater later on.
Here are a few pictures from the market taken during the past years:
The Zhenski Pazar is even open in the winter:
The demolition of the market has already began:
On THIS LINK can you see the planned design for this enormous Bulgarian project, which is estimated to cost around 3 million Euro and be financed together with a private partner.
It is really sad to see this old market go, giving way to a new modern Sofia.
One of the things I like to spend my time with here in Sofia during the winter is to do indoor climbing. While I really prefer climbing outdoors in the nature, indoor climbing is still a good option when the weather is cold. Here in Sofia there are 3 places for indoor climbing, with two of them being in the area Studentski grad outside the center. I don’t include the small climbing hall in the mall “City Center Sofia” because it’s mostly for promotion or children.
Here are the indoor climbing halls in Sofia, Bulgaria:
This is my favorite indoor climbing place with big walls of different difficulties. Here you will also find “rock” grips together with overhangs which gives you all the different sorts of indoor climbing you need. This climbing hall also have the possibility to rent equipment if needed.
Opening hours: 10-22 (weekends until 21)
National Sports Academy (NSA)
Also a very nice indoor climbing hall similar to Gravity and again with possibility to rent equipment. NSA is a little bit smaller with it’s 650 m2 in comparison to Gravity’s 1000 m2.
Opening hours: 10-22 (weekends closed)
Inside one of the domes of the Sofia university is the only climbing hall in the city center of Sofia. This hall is mostly for bouldering and you will need to have your own equipment and a membership to climb here.
Opening hours: varies
I am wondering, is indoor climbing still an outdoor sport?
Protests are part of everyday life here in Sofia but during the last month they have been more than normal, especially with regard to the record cold winter that is currently hitting Bulgaria.
Most protests this winter have been against the ski resort on Vitosha’s illegal expansion into nature protected areas, which resulted in the ski lifts on Vitosha being closed leaving people with no option then to go further away from Sofia to go skiing or snowboarding. Here is what Radio Bulgaria has to say about the whole event:
Issues there emerged when in 2007 the Municipal Agency sold all lifts in the most visited part of the mountain to a private company. It did not take long before the new monopolist showed its views for the future of the mountain. Saying it was renovating the ski runs it dug out 350 huge boulders part of the protected stone rivers on Vitosha. Plants and habitats were destroyed but the reaction of the management of the Vitosha Park and a coalition of 30 non-governmental organizations stopped the work of bulldozers in the park stopped. According to the management plan of the mountain, the company was not allowed to change in any way the relief or natural vegetation, owned by the State Forest Fund. The new owners did not replace the old lifts, but stopped them and lobbied for law changes, guaranteeing them construction of a new bigger ski zone. Days before New Year’s Eve the changes were adopted, giving a green light to the private owners’ aims to start building new lifts in Vitosha without even paying taxes for that. According to experts, these changes cause losses of more than 25 million euro of budget revenues.
Then there were the shale gas protests. I am happy the Bulgarian’s really care about their amazing nature and want to protect it, which is very visible on how many people are showing up for these protests. This time the protests actually worked and on the 18th of January the Bulgarian government banned shale drilling.
Last but not least is the anti-ACTA protests that will take place tomorrow in 17 Bulgarian cities, and here in Sofia will start in front of NDK (National Palace of Culture) at 11 am. These protests are a result of Bulgaria signing the ACTA agreement in Tokyo on the 26th January together with 21 more EU countries.
This week it has snowed almost constantly here in Sofia. I usually don’t like the winter season but at the same time am I happy to be here, as Sofia is one of the most beautiful cities in winter time for me. Yesterday I got inspired while taking a walk and made the movie below, enjoy! This is my love song to Sofia:
Of course who can resist to take some pictures also?
Yesterday I went to a robot fair here in Sofia that is arranged to show off the projects that the students in the university are working on and for them to make connections. The theme of the robots were supposed to be robots that can help people in their homes, but most of the robots were more to show the possibilities with robot technology then to do something practical. The robot that amazed me the most was the Cockroach robot, which is like a car for a cockroach. The cockroach is walking on a ping pong ball and this is then telling the robot which way to drive. If there is a risk for collision this is detected by the robot and small fans start blowing in front of the cockroach to make it change direction.
The guy who made this robot, Valentin, have the idea that for the next step connect a small robot to the cockroach brain and this way be able to control the cockroach with a remote. Although I feel bad for the cockroaches I think Valentin treats them good as he has a big collection of bizarre animals at home as a hobby.
Although Valentin invented this exact cockroach robot the idea was inspired from ConceptLab.
Also right now in Sofia there is a 3 day extreme sport movie festival with movies of varied quality. Today is the last day of the festival and for more information and the program, follow this link: http://www.predizvikatelstva.com
I can not believe how bad I have been in updating the blog recently. Well, I am still in Bulgaria, thinking of staying here for a while even though the winter probably will arrive within some month(s). Right now the weather is amazing and yesterday I was relaxing on our roof terrass in only a t-shirt, with weather that could trick anybody that it was still summer.
One of the best things with Sofia is how near it is to the mountains. It’s a very nice feeling to be able to see the mountains from the city, and knowing that it takes less then an hour with a car to reach amazing nature with possibilities for trekking, climbing, caving and much more.
Last Sunday I went with some local climber friends to Lakatnik. I had been trekking in the area before but this was my first climbing there. As usual, the autumn scenery was really beautiful and the unplanned detour we managed to take on the way there was just added pleasure.
Sofia Vitosha mountain view (from my living room)
The last days in Sofia and other Bulgarian cities there have been street gangs in the centers together with massive police- ambulance- and firetruck gatherings during the evening. The reason is a 19 year old kid who was run over and killed last Friday by a Roma man. According to rumors the kill was ordered by the Roma Tsar Kiro (Kiril Rashkov), and one day before the accident one of the Tsar’s grandsons wrote on his Facebook profile “The one who is my enemy should die in a traffic accident!”. This have resulted in big continuous street riot with hundreds of people, mostly soccer hooligans and ultra-rightists, arrested and the Tsar together with his family and clan members taken in protection by the police. Also one of the Tsar’s homes was burned down last Saturday by hooligans that were gathered from several Bulgarian cities.
A lot of people think that everything that happen here right now is partly because of the upcoming elections. Both before and after the accident several probes of the Tsar’s real estate properties and assets were done by the National Revenue Agency (NRA).
It’s common in Bulgaria that the police is leaking information in their press releases, like names and addresses of people. In this case they for example stated that “The family is going to be taken to an unidentified location, 80 km away from Sofia.” which can only be three cities. Also they told that the driver of the car was a 55 year old man with the initials C.Y.
Where this will lead nobody knows, but many of the Bulgarians seem to support the riots as they think the Roma people are unfairly privileged. It’s a shame that the Roma people will get an even worse reputation after this event.
There are about 400-800 000 Roma people living in Bulgaria depending on different sources.
One thing I had really missed and looked forward to do again was to climb in Bulgaria. The first weekend after being back in Sofia I went out with a friend to climb two places.
The first day we went to Kominite in Vitosha. This climbing site offers sport climbing routes with several rope lengths (multi pitch). At this place slow climbing is best while enjoying the nature and view, and the level of difficulty is not so high.
The second day we climbed Pod Polynata (translated “under the moon”) in Bozhenitsa. This is the only sandstone routes in Bulgaria and a lot of the indoor handles for climbing halls are actually molded from these rocks and exported all over the world. Climbing style here is also sport climbing but with only one rope length and more technical/difficult options.
This is a follow up post to “Graffiti – street art with a message (part 1 of 2)”
Want more? Start with this web site: http://www.banksy.co.uk