Following years of incompetent management, neglect and theft, the Bulgarian State Railways system is
now in tatters. Many stations have been closed, demolished or just abandoned, and the railways' staff are
constantly engaged in industrial action to prevent more closures and job losses. The reasons why a series of
Bulgarian post-Communist governments decided to ruin the railways system are many and varied, but come
down to the usual mixture of corruption, shortsightedness and the by now proverbial lack of interest in the
Yet, Bulgaria once used to have a smoothly running (in Balkan standards) railways system that would
take you from Sofia to Varna in less than five hours (as opposed to the current eight), operating restaurant
carriages with hot food and several types of modest but perfectly OK sleepers. Perhaps the most obvious
vestige of the once glorious railways days are the still surviving railway stations, about which we will bring
you a detailed report about in the next issue of Vagabond.
But now we will take you up the clock tower of one of Bulgaria's most remarkable fin-de-siècle stations,
located on the southern Black Sea coast. The winding staircase is usually hidden from the eyes of the general
public as it is kept locked, but we were allowed access - and were rewarded with exclusive views and insights.
Where in Bulgaria are you?
Email your answers to
and you can win a weekend for
two at the traditional Tsutsovi
House, Kalofer.The winner will
be selected in a draw.
WHO WINS A WEEKEND FOR TWO?
Despite never having
been to Lovech before,
Katya Isporska from Sofia
guessed correctly that the
picture in the competition
“Where in Bulgaria are
you?” from Vagabond
61-62 shows the labour
camp near the town.
Katya is an accountant at
the Red House Centre for
Culture and Debate. She
is looking forward to her
prize – a weekend for two
at the Chateau Montagne
Hotel in Troyan – and is
certain that the Troyan
region will get to be her
70 years ago, on 10 March 1943, Bulgaria's pro-Nazi government decided to defy Berlin and halt the deportation of Bulgaria's 50.000 Jews. This was down to the actions of one man - Dimitar Peshev. Just two years later he faced Communist justice and found himself on trial for his life. His niece Kaluda Kiradjieva remembers