First trip abroad since Covid.
Notes below :)
Bulgars from Iran. Mixed with Slavs. First Bulgarian state.
Roman invasion. Roman/Greek influences.
Natural springs, Romans thought they were healing. Became a famous and lucrative health resort. It was also on a crossroads between Germany, Greece, and Russia. Impassable mountains made natural city walls. Only three natural entrances to defend.
Romans fall. They briefly consider making Sofia the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire but settled on Byzantine.
Second Bulgarian state.
Byzantium invaded. Turkish influences.
Bulgarian free themselves.
Russians kick out Ottomans. Bulgarian free (minis British interference at negotiating stage)
1925 terrorist attack by local Communists against the local Tsar. Kill a general to force a state funeral. Blow up and murder 200 officials. Missed the Tsar (he was late).
Bulgaria declares neutrality in WW2. Hitler demands access through the country in 1941 to assist Italy in Greece. Bulgaria joins on axis side but does not declare war on USSR. Only UK and US. UK and US bomb Sofia. The area damaged will later be cleared by the Soviets and used for the new administration buildings.
In 1944 Red army occupies. 4000 arrested, 300 3xecuted. 2 years of intimidation and propaganda before a referendum in 1946 which confirms the end of monarchy and establishment of the socialist state.
George Dimitri. Leader of Bulgarian Communists. Attempts to murder the King and flees to Germany and joins their Communist party. He is arrested with two others (presumably Lube) for the burning of the Reichstag. He represents himself in court and is found not guilty. So impressive was this performance he becomes a hero for Communists and Stalin made him Leader of the International Communist Movement. When Bulgaria is 'liberated' by Red Army he is made Leader of Bulgaria from 46 to 49. When he does in 49 his body is preserved in a mausoleum. All school children are taken to see him. It is taken down in 1990(?).
Corecom. A shop selling imported goods, accepted US dollars. Many people aspired to buy dollars on the black market and visit and buy western goods.
To discourage church attendance police officers would take details of everyone entering and leaving. Father Christmas was banned and replaced with Grandfather Frost and presents had to be exchanged on New Year's Day. On Easter and Christmas state TV would show French movies that were otherwise not shown, encouraging people to stay home.
State security. Network or spies. 1 in 10 were informants. Many false reports were made. Sometimes to protect, sometimes to accused, sometimes just to look busy.
Top Bulgarian director, Georgi Markov, made a movie about the Bulgarian Comminost partisans. Given permission to leave the country to make more documentaries. Defects and joins BBC. Makes radio broadcasts into Bulgaria against the regime. Is assassinated on Waterloo bridge by poison dart in 1978, using ricin. Fired from an umbrella.
Gender equality and free Higher University introduced. The gender pay gap is still low to this day as a result.
Large housing blocks built around industrial centers and good public transport to get workers in.
In 1986 the Mayday parade was unusual as none of the leadership were on the balcony of the leader's mausoleum as they normally were. It was raining... the leadership knew about Chernobyl but couldn't say anything. So they'd stayed away and let the workers march through the radioactive rain instead. Levels were 100x higher than usual. This obviously made people aware that something was wrong.