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Bulgaria - Culture

Bulgaria's reputation as the cradle of Slav culture can be attributed to its rich history, from the treasures of the Varna Chalcolithic Necropolis (4600-4200 B.C), described by experts as 'the world's oldest gold and Europe's most ancient civilization' to the legends of Spartacus and of Orpheus, born in the Rhodopi Mountains.

An ancient art, for which Bulgaria became renowned, is that of religious icon-painting - many outstanding pieces are on view in churches today, others form museum displays. Other traditional applied arts are still practised, among them fine embroidery and weaving richly-coloured rugs.

A number of ancient festivals have survived the centuries and still take place, among them the 'Pirin Sings' and 'Rozhen Sings' festivals, attracting an impressive 150,000 visitors. The range of the Bulgarian voice is unique enough to have been included in music sent up on the 1977 Voyager space mission!

Bulgaria is also known for its roses - several varieties were even grown by the Thracians in ancient times. The climate and fertile soil provide perfect conditions for roses, which are used in perfume production all over the world.

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