Bulgaria in Search for Its New Miracles
The campaign "The Miracles of Bulgaria 2" was officially launched Thursday by the Bulgarian "Standard" daily.
The event was held at the National Palace of Culture in downtown Sofia and gathered ministers, archeologists, businessmen, historians, and representatives of the media to form a Public Council. They were invited by "Standard's" Editor-in-Chief, Slavka Bozukova, to discuss and select new Bulgarian treasures to be added to the list of protected cultural heritage of the UN Cultural Organization UNESCO.
The forum opened with a dance, choreographed by Bulgaria's legendary rhythmic gymnastics coach, Neshka Robeva, and performed by her troupe.
Bozukova delivered the keynote address saying the past of a nation cannot be a campaign with a beginning and an end, thus new material and tangible Bulgarian miracles must be included in the initiative. She informed that the biggest travel agencies already offer packages entitled "The Miracles of Bulgaria."
Culture Minister, Vezhdi Rashidov, greeted the participants and praised "Standard" for the effort and for sending a strong, positive message to young people in Bulgaria.
The results of the first such campaign have shown that the mayors of the town of Sozopol and of the city of Kardzhali are top performers when it comes to having projects for the cultural advancement of their areas, while millions of Bulgarians have taken part in the vote.
The Chairman of the Bulgarian Association of Hotel and Restaurant Owners, Blagoy Ragin, also gave high marks to the campaign and launched the idea to have "Standard" become the initiator of an international forum with the participation of European and world media to showcase to them the treasures of Bulgaria.
Ragin said the Association will provide to foreign journalists accommodations free of charge while prominent Bulgarian archeologist, Prof. Nikolay Ovcharov, vowed his colleagues and himself would be offering free guided tours.
Ovacharov acclaimed the initiative, but appealed to all to vote for the truly valuable Bulgarian material and intangible miracles.
Bestselling Bulgarian author, Dimitar Nedkov, proposed to the cabinet to include "The Miracles of Bulgaria" in the Bulgaria 2020 strategy, stressing the initiative has turned into the top performing institution in the country. His idea met the approval of Deputy Economy Minister in charge of the tourist sector, Ivo Marinov.
The discussion was also attended by the Chair of the Parliamentary Culture Committee, Daniela Petrova, prominent Bulgarian poet and writer, Lyubomir Levchev, mayors, experts from the Culture Ministry and from the National Institute for Intangible Cultural Heritage, and researchers from the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, BAS, among others.
53 material and 15 intangible Bulgaria treasures have already been included in the second campaign.
The Public Council will vote first through a special website "The Miracles of Bulgaria" and every member can nominate up to two treasures that have not been included in the list.
The final list of Bulgaria's nominations for 2012 will be decided on through a national online vote. The Council will work in partnership with the UNESCO World Heritage Committee to assist Bulgarian institutions in the preparation of applications, while in the fall "Standard" will organize a splendid show under the motto "The Miracles of Bulgaria."
The goal of the initiative is to help the State in protecting at least two more Bulgarian treasures by including them in UNESCO's World Heritage List of properties forming part of the cultural and natural heritage which the World Heritage Committee considers as having outstanding universal value.
Eleven Bulgarian miracles – 9 material and two intangible – are already included in UNESCO's World Heritage List.
The material ones are: the Boyana church, the Ivanovo rock churches, the Kazanlak tomb, the Madara rider, the old town Nessebar, the Rila monastery, the Sveshtari tomb, the national natural park Pirin and the natural preserve "Srebarna."
The intangible include the choir of the Bistritsa Babi (Bistritsa Grand Mothers) and the Nestinari dancers.
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