A day of catching up with a long walk along the promenade with the rest of Sofia on a Sunday afternoon. Mount Vitoshka, a big slumbering blue ahead of me as I go in search of the 13 Hundred Years Monument. it also fell victim to badly mixed concrete and is mainly armature now and bears a nickname that makes those who know it giggle and claim they cannot tell me what it means, but this it is nicknamed the many sided thing with seven pricks. A monument to irony in many ways, it commemorates the anniversary of 13 hundred years of the Bulgarian state – which is an invention of sorts.
Along the way I pass a church in a hole, surrounded by streets, it is far below the level of the road and must be accessed via steps. The church is entered via another small staircase which descends the outside wall to enter a small door to the crypt, from where you take a staircase up into the church. Luchezar told me that under Ottoman rule the cross the crowned the church could not be so high as t offend a man, ie., it could not be higher than the head of a Turkish man on horseback, and so walls were often built to hide churches, and the ground dug out around them, like this one, to make the church lower then the road, as it still is. much of the saints in the old fresco work are hard to see or crumbled away. Over and in their place shine gilded varnished modern icons.
I make play with an outdoor exhibition of photos from the natural wonders of Bulgaria. the Bulgarians taking these photos seriously watch me perplexed, but I see one or two begin to take their own photos.
I am meeting a Bulgarian poetess tomorrow who will drive me to a monastery nearby.