The movement, related to the acquaintance with the 100 national tourist sites is growing bigger and has already fans from abroad, the Bulgarian Tourist Union /BTU/ voiced. Many foreign tourists travel around this country with the idea to get to know it better. Data of the BTU says that 20,000 new people have joined the movement over the past 6 months – mostly young travelers from Bulgaria, but also from neighboring Balkan states. There are more than 510,000 people currently enlisted in this initiative.
Belogradchik Rocks are not only a natural phenomenon present in the top 100 tourist sites list but an attraction of international renown!
Many fans have become obsessed with the collecting of stamps from all the 100 sites in a booklet, exclusively issued by the BTU. Practically anyone can pay attention to those people, waiting in a queue for tickets for the most famous historical museums, archaeological sites etc. – many of them hold in their hands the BTU booklet. “I was really surprised, when I found out about this unique of its kind initiative,” a French businessman says. He recalls a case when a very serious colleague of his – a lawyer, got late for business negotiations in the town of Kazanlak, because he queued for s stamp in front of the famous Thracian tomb! “He simply turned into another person, while waiting at the queue – he was as happy as a child!” the French businessman remembers. He is also a fan of the movement and combines his business trips to Bulgaria with acquaintance with the 100 national tourist sites. “It is good that more and more foreigners join the movement,” says CEO of the Echo Publishing House with the BTU Mariana Filcheva. Tourists from Romania, Macedonia, Serbia, Russia and Ukraine can recently praise with gold or silver badges, verifying that they have conquered all or a certain number of the listed sites. Foreign diplomats and entrepreneurs, living in Bulgaria have also become enthusiasts and visit the 100 national tourist sites one after another.
Mariana Filcheva explains the growing interest to the initiative like that:
“I think it is due mainly to the idea that one gets acquainted with Bulgaria’s beauties, historical, cultural and archaeological heritage in the very best way,” Mariana Filcheva says. “This is a unique movement that has no analogue in other countries. These sites can give us an idea about the whole cultural, historical and national heritage of this country. Besides that I think that Bulgaria has recently become a more attractive destination, since the state itself does its best to improve its tourist image abroad.”
Frescoes in the Thracian Toumb at Kazanlak - a site under UNESCO protection
The 100 sites list is constantly improving with new and new destinations, depending on the tourist interest towards certain places. The latest ones included are the Varosha Architectural and Historic Reserve in the town of Blagoevgrad, the bishop’s basilica and archaeological museum in the town of Sandanski, the unique cliff formations in the west end of the Rila Mountain, known as Stobski Pyramides, the Misionis early-Byzantine fortress near the town of Targovishte, the Thracian tomb near the Haskovo village of Aleksandrovo etc. Practically the sites included in the list are now about 130 and this is an initiative of the tourists themselves. “However, the number 100 remains symbolic for us, regarding the summation of Bulgaria’s riches and that is why the movement will keep its name,” Mariana Filcheva explains. In her words people do show interest towards our historical heritage, but when they have the chance to visit some of the sites included in the list, they opt for natural landmarks. It looks like this country’s nature has a magnetic beauty and no one can resist it! Mrs. Filcheva gives us details on another new thing, related to the 100 Tourist Sites of Bulgaria initiative.
“Last year we started issuing new editions of booklets. One can stick a post stamp in those now,” Mrs. Filcheva explains. “Each site has created its own post stamp, in order to respond to the interest of stamp collectors. This is something that speeds up really fast and last year we had 12 participants in the national movement with all the 100 sites visited, with 100 stamps in their booklets and 100 post stamps gathered!”
English version: Zhivko Stanchev