The statue of Sofia, goddess of wisdom, graces a pylon from which Vladimir Lenin lately perched in the governmental core of the city named after her. She is as hot as she seems, the wreath of glory in her right hand, the crown of power on her brow, and the owl of wisdom on her left arm.
She may not be as amusing as the statue of Darth Vader that replaced a statue of Lenin in Odessa, but she is the most sexually attractive 12 meter tall statue in the world. She looks down on the Bulgarian national assembly. One of the reasons you never hear about Bulgaria is that it is tranquil, and tranquil because well run. Consider the party composition of its national Assembly: a small group of leftists, a large block of centre-rightists, and three or four brands of populists, xenophobes, and Slavic irredentists.
Only the red circles represent leftist parties, and I gather they are not especially left-wing. Everyone from the purple through dark blue is more conservative, until we reach the yellow, green and grey parties, who or more nationalist and may or may not be loons – I surmise wildly.
The currency is pegged at just about half a Euro, it is a member of NATO, the European Common Market, and its GDP/capita is about $10,000 Canadian.
Its basic political impetus is resistance to the Ottoman Empire. This is the dedication at the Alexandr Nevsky Cathedral in the core of the city.
Alexandr Nevsky Patriarchal Cathedral is a Memorial Church built with the efforts of the whole Bulgarian people in memory of the thousands of Russian, Bulgarian, Ukrainian, Moldavian, Finnish and Romanian soldiers who, from 1877 to 1878, laid their lives for the liberation of Bulgaria from the Ottoman Empire.
Four hundred years of Ottoman massacres, oppression (look up “devshirme”), and Islam have left their scars. The remaining ten percent of the population who are Islamic are not a problem.
Yes the place has problems: declining population, some corruption, and a wave of emigration before the economy rebounded from communism in the aughts of this century. Yet, despite this, the place is visibly transforming into a modern society,even as its one leva coin depicts an Orthodox saint.