History and Culture

The Martenitsas and A Little History

Martenica Martenica The initial idea for the creation of that this rubric was to make a short introduction in the history and culture of Bulgaria. As every sightseeing tour the legends of the local people are indispensable part of the well prepared story of the guide. Therefore, we want to present you today a famous Bulgarian legend, which would allow you to appreciate the mentality of the Bulgarians. It tells about the creation of Bulgaria on its today`s territory in 681. Unlike the Serbians or the Albanians, we don`t use the expression Great Bulgaria for the country which would reunify in its territory all the people from Bulgarian origin. Bulgarians use this notion for the old Bulgaria which was a great power in Asia until the 7th century when Khazars tribes attracted it and conquered the state. The legend tells about the moment when the sons of the old Khan- which is the title of the Bulgarian king before the Christianization- in 681 leave the territory of its occupied country in order to establish a new Bulgarian state somewhere else.  

It is as well related to the origins of one of the most typical Bulgarian customs. Every year on the 1 of March we put martenica- white-red thread- on our relatives` and friends`   wrists or cloths. We do it for health and happiness. This tradition is not interrupted for more than 1300 years. Martenitsas are widespread in some parts of today's Romania, Macedonia, Greece, Serbia and Albania.

Bulgars' settlements VI-VII century Bulgars' settlements VI-VII century “At the end of his life the king of the proto-Bulgarians Khan Kubrat called his five sons. He gave them a bundle of sticks and asked each one of his son to take one stick and to try to break it. All of them listening to the last works of their father took a stick and broke it on two parts. Then, the king put all the sticks back in the bundle and asked his sons to try to break it once again. This time it was impossible for them and the sticks remained whole. The intention of the wise king was to show his sons that they have to stay always united in order to be strong. 

Time passed and the old king died. Then Khazars attacked the proto-Bulgarians. They managed to capture the daughter of Kubrat - Huba. The leader of the Khazars Ashina said to the sons that they must recognize him as their ruler. Only thus, he would release their sister and leave their land. That was a hard test for the king`s sons.

The biggest son Bayan recognized the domination of the invaders. However, the result of his sacrifice was that he remained in captivity with his sister. The other brothers did not compile with the orders of the old Khan and they had split. They left Great Bulgaria in order to seek for free land for their people. One of the brothers went to the North and the others- Asparuh, Kuber  and Altsek decided to go to South by different routes. Before leaving, the brothers told to Huba and Bayan to stay with Khan Ashina while they find new land. Asparuh promised his sister to send her a bird with a golden thread tied to its foot, which will be a sign to escape from Ashina and follow hem, because he had found new land. The four brothers left their fatherland. Bayan and the girl stayed in the hands of the enemy. City of Varna on the 1 of March City of Varna on the 1 of March

Not longer after a bird came to Huba. It had a golden thread of the foot. At the moment Huba and Bayan had received this happy news they escaped from captivity and reached the land around the river Danube. But Huba and Brayan did not know exactly which way to take- only the bird could show them the path. Bayan took white thread, which Huba put to its foot bird. Suddenly, pursuers of Khazars people appeared and started to fire at the girl and her brother. Bayan was hurt by an arrow. His blood stained the end of the white thread that became red from his blood. At this point, on the other strand of the river appeared Asparuh with his soldiers. When the Khazars saw him they run away. 

Asparuh greeted Huba and Bayan and leaded them to his camp. He took the thread from his brother and tight its white end to its red end. He put a piece of this sacred thread to his solders. So after many battles with his victorious army, he gave the beginning of the new Bulgaria. Asparuh told his men never to tear the red and white thread because that will forever connects and unify the Bulgarians. The red and white thread was called Martenitsa on behalf of the month when all this happened. It became a symbol of luck, love, heath and happiness. Since then, the first of March all Bulgarians are decorated with red and white Martenichki. Since then, white-red Martenica represents the strong thread that connects the Bulgarians all over the world in one.


Bulgarian Survival Guide


Here it is the lesson of Bulgarian for today. Good luck!  

1.Good evening- Dobar vecher

2. How are you?- Kak si?

3. Do you want- Iskash li

4.to have a drink- da piesh edno pitie 

5. with me?- s men?

6. I knew it ! Znaeh si:(



Bulgarian Survival Guide

You might not believe it but some Bulgarians can`t speak English. So, we decided to create this improvised course of Bulgarian language. The aim is to help you to explain your position about the global water management or about the issue of self-determination to every random Bulgarian. Or, just to order vodka at the bars. If you don`t trust these guides- you can always check the list of Bulgarians words written down in your official delegate handbooks.   

 1. Excuse me- Izvinete

2. do you know- znaete li

3. when the temperatures- koga temperaturite4. will fall to less than forty degrees- shte padnat pod chetirideset gradusa?

5. Really?- Naistina li?

6. How far is Black Sea from here? Kolko dalech e Cherno more? 


The glorious time of the First Bulgarian Kingdom

  The movement of the Bulgarians from Old Great Bulgaria in the VII century The movement of the Bulgarians from Old Great Bulgaria in the VII century The Republic of Bulgaria is situated at the centre of the Balkan Peninsula in South-Eastern Europe. Currently the country is member of the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the WTO, the  NATO and the EU. After the apogee and the fall of Old Great Bulgaria which was situated on huge territory in Asia, Bulgarian people who was led by Asparukh established the First Bulgarian Kingdom in 681 in the Balkan Peninsula. When the Bulgarians arrived- this territory was in the boundaries of the Byzantium Empire. It was populated by Slavic tribes. The Bulgarian king (“khan”) who had very strong army deiced to make union with the local Slavic people, who were not content of the way Byzantium’s` authorities treated them. Thus, Bulgarians and Slavs got together in the fight against their common enemy- the Byzantium` emperor. Historians estimate this event as the first peaceful union of different ethic groups wanting to establish one country.

In the new state the Bulgarian khan had the highest authority, but the leaders of the Slavs- the fathers of the different tribes- kept their powers as well. Both peoples preserved their language and religion.  During the period VII - XIII century Bulgaria became really powerful state. There were many great khans who had strengthened the country and widen its territory. The son of Asparukh Tervel was the ruler of the Bulgarians at the beginning of the VII century. He was probably a Christian. In 704 Tervel was approached by the exiled Byzantine emperor Justinian II. Justinian acquired Tervel's support and he helped the Greek emperor to restore his throne.

Read more: The glorious time of the First Bulgarian Kingdom



Honorable delegates, honorable journalists,

Let us welcome you once again in SOFIMUN 2009. We are going to spend seven exiting days together in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria. During this time we will deal with and we will cover issues of major importance for the whole world and the entire humanity. Though, meanwhile, a little known country situated at the edge of Europe will host us for a week. When you hear France, the USA or even China most of us have at least a stereotype for these counties or for their citizens.

 When most people hear Bulgaria- it is difficult for them to decide is it this state is actually a Balkan country or rather if shares the features of the Eastern European countries. Therefore, we would like to devote a small heading on our site where you will find information and interesting facts about the history, the language and the culture of Bulgaria. The aim of this is not to promote the glory or to expose the failings of the country. 

For seven days we will not be able to introduce you in detail the character of Bulgaria or in the values of the Bulgarians. Nevertheless, in these seven days  you will have the possibility to read our brief notes about this country, what is more you will get to know many Bulgarians during the debates and the parties; you will meet some other Bulgarians during your stay outside the conferences halls.

Consequently, at the end of the experience SOFIMUN we will not want you to bring home just a stereotype about the next country on Earth, but to feel the unique spirit of Bulgaria- even though nobody can answer firmly whether Bulgaria is more a Balkan or more an Eastern European country!

Bulgarian MAP