Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Кърджали, България / Kardzhali, Bulgaria

About a month ago I went on a day trip with my friend Иван Чакаров (Ivan Chakarov) to the south-central Bulgarian city Кърджали (Kardzhali), which is about a 95 km bus ride from Plovdiv and which lies about 60 km north of the border with Greece.

I was on a quest to find another Bulgarian friend I knew from my mission in Germany who I'd lost contact with. (Keeping in touch with people who moved around in the pre-Internet era was not easy!) This friend had long lived in Kardzhali and said it was a beautiful place he planned to go back to. The chance we would find him 22 years later was small, but it was worth a try and was a good reason to go see a different part of Bulgaria in the Rhodope mountains.

We came close to finding him. We found his old apartment and people who knew him, and he supposedly still lives in Kardzhali. But after much trying, we were not able to find him. The journey was interesting and mostly fun, and we got to see the river, city, suburbs, memorials, forest, park, cemetery, and a neighboring village (Сипей) with cows and goats. And we met some helpful and friendly people along the way.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Plovdiv Bogoroditsa church bells ringing

Here I happened to be walking by as evening began and the bells were ringing at the Church of the Holy Mother of God in Plovdiv, Bulgaria (църква Света Богородица, Пловдив, България):

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Husův sbor / Hus' house, Vinohrady, Prague

Near the end of our stay in Prague I came across this interesting Hussite columbarium in the Vinohrady area of Prague. I wasn't familiar with the term columbarium, which is an indoor graveyard of sorts for cremated remains. The Hus' House (Vinohrady) Wikipedia page and Prague city website page about it have interesting history to read.

First let's look at the outside:

The plaque below reads:

V květové revoluci 1945, kdy budova Čs. rozhlasu byla poškozena, vysílal pražský rozhlas z budovy zdejšího husova sboru ve dnech 7.-9. května zprávy o postupu spojeneckých armád, volání o pomoc bojující Praze.

Památník znázorňuje génia povstání s plamenným mečem revoluce.

Z vděčnosti Bohu a na věčnou paměť připomíná náboženská obec CČSH (Církev československá husitská) zde v Praze-Vinohradech.

Which Google Translate plus some manual corrections gives as:

In the May revolution of 1945, when the Czechoslovak Radio building had been damaged, Prague radio broadcast from the building of the local Hussite Church on 7th-9th May the message of the Allied armies, a cry for help of struggling Prague.

The memorial shows the genius of the rebellion with a flaming sword of revolution.

In gratitude to God and the eternal memory recalls the religious community of the Czechoslovak Hussite Church here in Prague-Vinohrady.

It is dedicated "to those who have gone before" (Těm, kteří nas předešli):

Some of my interior photos are of pretty low quality, taken by cell phone in dim lighting. But it's a really cool place:

Erin went by later to see it with the kids and they were able to see the church too. Here is the chapel:

Here is a short video of the columbarium done by Prague city; the title translates as Largest columbarium in Czechia:

And there is a nice user-controllable panoramic view from the above the church and columbarium here: stovezata.praha.eu.