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BANSKO
Winter 2008/2009

Skiing

World cup, Helicopters and More

Bansko Nights
Party now, Sleep later

No 3 www.inyourpocket.com

Enjoy your COMPLIMENTARY COPY of Bansko In Your Pocket

Contents

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E S S E N T I A L C I TY G U I D E S

Contents
Arriving in Bansko
Comings and goings 5 7

The Basics
Essential reading for those not sure where they are

History
How the past has shaped the present Introducing Bansko Facts, figures and Mayor

9 10 11

Culture & Events
Events and Holidays Famous Bulgarians – Nikola Vaptsarov Name days

Where to stay 13 Places to recharge the batteries and catch up on your beauty sleep

Dining & Nightlife
Restaurants 20 Where to wine and dine Cafés 22 Feed the addiction Nightlife 24 Enough to keep any pub crawlers on their hands and knees

What to see
Museums Churches Pirin Mountain

26

Winter sports
Ain`t no mountain high enough

30

Directory
Shopping Go on a spree Lifestyle and Business directory Doctors, Dentists and Services 32 33

Maps & Index
Street index Index Skiing map Town map Bulgaria map 35 35 36 38 39 Winter 2008/2009

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ForeWord
As days get shorter and the smell of winter fills the chilly air of December mornings, vacation, partying and hitting the mountain slopes becomes our top priority. While you are sharpening the edges of your skis and snowboards, the people of Bansko are preparing for the winter season with all their strength. The piles of firewood are ready for the long, cold nights, wines, rakias and the good old Banski Starets are seasoning in the basements and vigorous maintenance gives a new life to the lonely lifts and ski runs. They are all waiting for the colorful throngs who come each winter to enjoy the snow and the mountains. Going uphill on Bansko’s main Pirin street, we can see that things are changing for good. You can still step into an occasional muddy hole, or get splashed by a heavy cargo truck, passing by, but there are few construction sites left to litter the picturesque vicinity. It is an end of an era of uncurbed, megalomaniac building, which almost ruined the magic of this cosy, rural community. Apart from some finishing touches, building has stopped and entrepreneurs are mostly investing in quality and comfort at reasonable prices. Talking of luxury and glamour, we have visited some new and pretty posh places for you to stay in and some recently opened food, drinking and party-time joints for you to check out while not skiing or snowboarding. See the newest accommodations in town on page 13 and find out where to fill up those empty stomachs on page 20. Learn about the cool places for partying on page 24, but drink reasonably, because Bulgarian alcohol is pretty strong. We should not forget all these old and traditional features of the place as the mehanas with their “kapama”, ”chomlek” and revolutionary Macedonian music, the beauty of the Old town and of course, the Pirin mountain and winter sports, which made this trade and agricultural centre into the biggest winter resort in Bulgaria. As most of us will go to Bansko for skiing and snowboarding, on page 30 there is some useful information about the slopes, mountain rescue service, the lifts and gondolas and even about a helicopter service which will take you to the best ever free ride spots. Do not forget that this year Bansko will host the World cup Skiing event for women, as well as some local race events. Go check them out for some inspiration, but know that these people are professionals and if you are new to winter sports, you would better “ride” with the little kids next to the gondola. Be safe, relaxed, take your time with fun and may this winter in Bansko be your best ever… Editorial
E S S E N T I A L C I TY G U I D E S
Editor-in-chief Steven MacAulay Assistant Editor Vesela Lyudskanova, Mitko Nikolov Research Mitko Nikolov, Rumiana Benova, Maya Kozareva, Vesela Lyudskanova Layout & Design Krassimir Apostolov Photos Veronica de Boer Cover Vladimir Hadzhiev - www.banskotravel. com

Europe In Your Pocket

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Bansko In Your Pocket Mladost 4, bl.473, vh. 2-3, pristroika, parter (opposite the Business Park) 1715 Sofia, Bulgaria tel:+359 2 881 01 02 fax: +359 2 881 53 32 bulgaria@inyourpocket.com www.inyourpocket.com ISSN 1312-742X Discover Bulgaria Ltd Printed by Delta High Print EAD Published 1 time per year 15 000 copies

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Bansko In Your Pocket

arriVing in BansKo
The nearest airport to Bansko is Sofia, 150km northwest, although some charter companies use Plovdiv, 160km to the east. Transfer time from Sofia is about three hours in normal conditions, and from Plovdiv is four hours - longer at weekends, or in snowy weather.

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Message from the Mayor
Welcome in Bansko – one town with rich history, wild present and strongly believe – wonderful future. Ever ybod y touched to th e ma gi c of Bansko can not forget the narrow cobblestone paved streets, taverns with the delicious specialties of Bansko, songs and round dances, represented by the folklore groups, incredible beauty of Pirin Mountain. All those turn Bansko in an attractive center in the all four seasons of the year. Past and present join here in one. The present-day generations have kept the entrepreneurship and innovation of the older natives of Bansko. The natives and the investors change Bansko in a modern and different mountain resort. The European ski zone and the new hotel base offer wonderful conditions for development of winter and summer sports as well as all kinds of tourism. Welcome in Bansko and let the national magic surround you! Aleksandar Kravarov Mayor of Bansko

By bus
Travelling from Sofia to Bansko by bus takes between three and three-and-a-half hours. Buses depart from either Sofia’s Central Bus Station (Tsentralna avtogara), near to the train station on bul. Knyaginya Maria Luiza, or from Ovcha Kupel bus station, 5km southwest of the city centre (on the route of trams no. 5 and no. 19). Bansko’s bus station is at the northern end of town, a ten minute walk from the main square. There is a taxi rank in the bus station forecourt, and a taxi booking office, belonging to local firm Trans Taxi, inside the ticket hall. There is a public toilet, and a small shop, selling coffee, nibble-snacks and soft drinks, but no other facilities.

Street smarts
Street Square Boulevard Highway Bridge Улица (ул.) Площад (пл.) Булевард (бул.) Магистрала Мост Ulitsa (ul.) Ploshtad (pl.) Boulevard (bul.) Magistrala Most

By car
Bansko lies two-and-a-half hours’ drive from Sofia, although journey time can lengthen to three or four hours on busy weekends (when getting out of Sofia is often half the problem). Quickest route is to take the main E79 south to Simitli, from where a well-marked east-bound turn leads over the Predela Pass to Bansko. Parts of the Simitli-Bansko road have been re-surfaced and offer a smooth ride. Several kilometres in the middle however are still badly surfaced and can be slow going. Construction work in Bansko itself has made it a difficult town to navigate: some roads are blocked off altogether and road signs are either non-existent or unhelpful.

Bus schedule
Sofia to Bansko – (3hr – 3hr30min) – 07:30, 08:30, 9:45, 11:25, 13:15, 14:00, 16:45 Plovdiv to Bansko (2hr) – 11:00, 14:10, 15:00 Bansko to Sofia (3hr – 3hr30min) - 5:40, 7:00, 8:40, 13:15, 15:20 Bansko to Plovdiv (2hr) – 07:10, 08:20, 10:50 Bansko to Blagoevgrad (1hr) - 8:00, 8:10, 10:30, 11:20, 14:00, 17:20, 18:20, 15:00 and 16.00 (Sunday only) Bansko to Gotse Delchev (1hr) – 08:30, 10:15, 12:20, 16:00, 17:10 For further information for Bansko Bus Station on tel: 82 420 and at tel. 0900 21000 for Sofia Central Bus Station.

By foot
There are very few things that can ruin a nice evening in Bansko and getting lost ( with or without being drunk ) is one of them. Apart from making a fool of yourself, by helplessly roaming the streets in search of your hotel, in the winter it may be pretty dangerous, wet and annoying. The stone walls and look-alike houses can turn this little town into the Labyrinth of King Minos, but actually all you will need are good land marks. There are two main streets in Bansko - Pirin and Glazne, all the rest are either parallel, or crossing them. Find your way to the main streets and remember any shop, hotel or mehana, which is at the beginning of the street, leading to your new holiday residence, or just use the map on p. 38. Follow the same route every night and everything should be just fine.

 The Bansko telephone code is: 0749
Winter 2008/2009

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arriVing in BansKo
Tourist information

By train
Nobody ever takes the train to Bansko if they’re in a hurry. The journey from Sofia takes over 7 hours and involves a change of trains at the middle-of-nowhere junction of Septemvri. However the trip from Septemvri to Bansko is one of the most scenic that Bulgaria has to offer, with a narrow-gauge track, snaking its way across the western spurs of the Rhodope mountains. It’s an especially magical journey in winter, with the fir trees covered in frost, and snow-white minarets spearing skywards from the Bulgarian-Muslim villages, sprinkled along the route. Bansko’s train station is near the bus station, an easy 10-minute walk north of the town centre. If you need a taxi and there are none in the forecourt, head for the bus station (turn right outside the train station then bear left) to find one. The train station has a ticket hall but no other facilities, although the pair of vintage steam locos, parked outside, add an air of jollity to the scene.

Bansko Information Centre B-2, pl. Nikola Vaptsarov 1, tel. 88 580, fax 88 633, infocenter@ bansko.bg. Friendly English-speaking staff at Bansko’s tourist information centre will tell you all you need to know about the region and give you advice on local accommodation. They also have a selection of brochures and maps for sale. Bansko Tourist Information C-2, ul. Pirin 70A, tel. 0886 543 262, Johnny@banskotouristinformation. com, www.banskotouristinformation.com. Commercial tourist information centre providing information and assistance to all tourists and local business in Bansko. Accommodation, activities, equipment hire, information on places of interest and excursions. QOpen 10:00 - 20:00. Information Centre of Alliance for Promotion and Development of Tourism in Bansko Region
C-3, ul. Bulgaria 22, tel. 88 480/0898 700 890, alliance_bansko@abv.bg., www.alliance.bansko.bg. Tourist information, reservations, business contacts. Maps, brochures and other materials available.

Car rental
Inter Sport C-2, ul. Pirin 37, tel. 0888 703 184/0899 933 343, inter_sport@abv.bg, www.intersport-bansko. com. Minimum driver’s age 21, minimum rental period 24 hours. Car delivery in Bansko for 10 EUR additional fee. Driver service for 15 EUR additional per day. Pick-up service from Bulgaria and Greece. Popov Rent A Car C-2, ul. Garibaldi 15, tel. 0898 226 885.

Train schedule
Sofia to Bansko – 6:40 (arrives14:08), 10:40 (arrives 17:48), 15:25 (arrives 22:27). Change at Septemvri Station. Plovdiv to Bansko – 08:00 (arrives 14:08), 12:00 (arrives 17:48), 16:40 (arrives 22:27). Change at Septemvri station Bansko to Septemvri – 06:59 (arrives 11:53), 10:16 (arrives 19:53), 15:19 (arrives 20:06), 18:45 (arrives 23:36) Bansko to Dobrinishte – 07:35 (arrives 07:50), 14:18 (arrives 14:32), 17:57 (arrives 18:10), 22:32 (arrives 22:46). For further information call the railway station on tel. 88 214 and 88 215

Taxis
Trans Taxi , tel. 0886 008 505/885 05. Taxi ranks at the bus station, lift station, hotel Strazhite and hotel Pirin. Vayk Taxi , tel. 865 05/0898 467 777.

Bansko In Your Pocket

BasiCs
Alcohol
The archetypal national tipple is rakiya or brandy, which usually comes as either grozdova rakiya (grape brandy) or slivova (plum). It’s usually served up in 50g or 100g shots and is consumed alongside salad or some other form of nibble – wait-staff will consider you peculiar if you don’t order at least something to snack on while you’re slugging down spirits. As far as beer is concerned, Bulgaria produces several palatable if unexciting lagers – Zagorka, Shumensko and Kamenitsa are the most reliable of the big brands. Much more impressive are the dry red wines, particularly Cabernet Sauvignon from Svishtov and Oryahovitsa, Merlot from Stambolovo, Gumza from Novo Selo, Mavrud from Asenovgrad, and Melnik from the village of same name. The Chardonnays and Traminers from Veliki Preslav are among the best of the whites.

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Key phrases
The following is a list of some of the most common words and phrases a person is likely to need. Hello Goodbye Please You`re welcome Thank you Excuse me Yes / No Cheers I don`t understand I don`t know Do you speek English? What`s up? Good morning! Good afternoon / evening! Good night! Have you got…? Where can I buy…? How many / how much? Good / bad Expensive / cheap New / old Hot / cold Forgive me! You are very pretty girl You are very attractive man May I have the bill? No offence, but it`s too expensive for me I have drunk only two beers! Mister policeman, he is just a tipsy tourist. I’m feeling sick, where’s the … hotel? Days of week Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday Numbers 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 100 1000 Zdravei Dovizhdane Molya Pak zapovyadaite Blagodarya Izvinete Da / Ne Nazdrave Ne razbiram Ne znam Govorite li angliiski? Kakvo stava? Dobro utro! Dobur den / vecher! Leka nosht! Imate li…? Kude moga da kupya…? Kolko / Kolko struva? Dobro / losho Skupo / evtino Novo / staro Toplo / studeno Prostete mi! Vie ste mnogo krasivo momiche Vie ste mnogo privlekatelen mazh Mozhe li smetkata? Ne se obizhdayte, no e tvurde skupo za men Piinal sam samo dve birichki!. Gospodin policai, toi e prosto edin piinal turist. Losho mi e, kade e hotela…?

Customs
If you are travelling within the EU those over 18 can now take 10L of spirits, 90L of wine and 110L of beer. Most countries will not allow more than 200 cigarettes from Bulgaria. You’re not allowed to export antiques, artworks or coins of numismatic value unless you have a permit issued by the Ministry of Culture. Due to fears about child trafficking, travellers with small children may be asked for documentary evidence of their parental relationship before being allowed to leave the country.

Electricity
Bulgaria runs on a 220 volt electricity supply (so some visitors will need to bring a transformer). Standard continental two-prong plugs are used, so others will need to furnish themselves with an adaptor if they want to use their hairdryer/phone/ charger/laptop.

Smoking
Cafès, bars and restaurants are required by law to provide an area for non-smokers. In practice however this will probably consist of one or two tables surrounded on all sides by nicotine addicts happily puffing away.

Visas
Citizens of the EU, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the USA can stay in the country visa-free for 90 days. Nationals of other countries should contact the Bulgarian embassies or consulates in their home countries about visa arrangements. Note that visas cannot be obtained at the border. If you wish to extend your stay beyond the 90-day period you should apply for a residence permit from the Immigration Office or Bansko Municipality, B-2 pl. Nikola Vaptsarov, 886 11, www.bansko.bg.

Ponedelnik Vtornik Sryada Chetvurtak Petak Subota Nedelya

Roads & Traffic police
Most Bulgarians turn into psychopaths as soon as they get behind the wheel of a car, although given the state of the road network one can hardly blame them. Cow-sized potholes, suicidal pedestrians and drunken cyclists riding on the wrong side of the road are just some of the things to look out for – and with hazards like these you need to swerve around like a stunt driver in order to stay in one piece. In order to drive on Bulgarian roads outside Bansko you’ll need to purchase a vignette which must be glued to the windscreen. You can get these from border crossings, all post offices and OMV and Shell gas stations. For a car or

edno dve tri chetiri pet shest sedem osem devet deset sto hilyada

Winter 2008/2009

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BasiCs
SUV vignettes cost 10Lv for one week, 25Lv for one month, and 67Lv for a year. Talking on a mobile phone while driving is strictly forbidden, as is driving under the influence of more than 0.5/1000 of alcohol. Foreigners are well advised to obey the rules of the road even if they see locals behaving otherwise: the police rarely speak English and are unlikely to show any lenience. Policemen checks on major highways are common, especially when entering or leaving Bansko. Policemen are allowed to charge on the spot fines up to 50Lv.

The Cyrillic Alphabet
a b v g d e zh z i y k l m n o p r s t u f h ts ch sh sht a softens ’o’ yu ya as in as in as in as in as in as in as ’s’ in as in as in as in as in as in as in as in as in as in as in as in as in as in as in as in as in as in as in as in as in as in as in as in arm bath van go dog let measure zoo bit yoke keep like map not opera pen run sit tap rule fan hand cuts church short smashed but yoga you yard

Body language
The first thing that any visitor to Bulgaria needs to know is that “yes” is indicated by a shake of the head, while “no” is expressed with a nod. It’s a tribute to the resilience of Bulgarian culture over the centuries that such obtuse habits have been preserved. Foreigners have no choice but to practice the correct Bulgarian gestures in front of the mirror every morning before they go out.

National holidays
January 1: New Year’s Day (Nova godina) March 3: Liberation Day (Liberation from the Ottoman rule) (Denyat na osvobozhdenieto) April 19: Easter (Velikden) May 1: Labour Day (Denyat na truda) May 6: St. George’s Day (Gergyovden; Day of the Bulgarian Army) May 24: St. St. Cyril and Methodius (Sveti Sveti Kiril i Metodyi; Day of the Cyrillic Alphabet and Bulgarian Education and Culture) September 6: Unification Day (Saedinenieto; marking the unification of Bulgaria and Eastern Rumelia in 1885) September 22: Independence Day (Denyat na nezavisimostta) December 24,25,26: Christmas (Koleda)

Basic data
Territory: Bulgaria takes up 110, 550 km2 of land. It shares borders with Turkey, Greece, Macedonia, Serbia and Romania. The country is bordered to the east by a 354km-long stretch of Black Sea coastline. Rivers: The main rivers in the country are Danube, Maritsa, Mesta, Strouma, Iskar, Yantra. There are more than 600 warm and cold mineral springs. Highest Point: Musala (2925m), south of Sofia in the Rila mountains. Population of Bulgaria: 7,385,367 (July 2006 est.) Population of Sofia: 1,377,531 (July 2006 est.) Local time: Bulgaria is part of the Eastern European Time Zone (GMT +2); when it is noon in Sofia it is 11:00 in Berlin, 10:00 in London and 05:00 in New York City. Religion: Traditional religion in the Republic of Bulgaria is Eastern Orthodox Christianity. Orthodox 85%, Muslim 8%, others 7%.

Market values
How do costs compare to back home? Here is handy list of local prices to give you an idea. Loaf of white bread Snickers bar Litre of vodka Bottle of local beer 20 Marlboros Leva 1.00 0.80 40.00 2.00 5.00 Euro 0.50 0.40 20.00 1.00 2.50

Exchange rates (as of December 2008: US$1 - 1.51Lv; €1 – 1.95Lv; £1 – 2.24Lv

Important phone numbers
Fire station: 160, 88 430 Ambulance: 150, 88 270 Police: 160, 888 60, 888 61 Road assistance: 146 Telephone information: 11800 Mountain control and rescuing service: 88 132 Anti-corruption unit: 02/982 22 22, www.nocorr. mvr.bg

Bansko In Your Pocket

history
History
Antiquity In antiquity, Bulgaria, the land of Orpheus and Spartacus, belongs to the Kingdom of Macedonia. 4th century BC The territory of contemporary Bulgaria is conquered by the Macedonians, lead by Philip II and his son Alexander the Great. During the first century AD these lands become Roman provinces. 632 The History of Bulgaria as a separate country begins with the establishment of Old Great Bulgaria (also known as Onoguria). 681 First Bulgarian Kingdom is established by Khan Asparuh. 865 Bulgaria becomes a Christian country. Tsar Boris I accepts Orthodox Christianity. 9th-10th centuries “The Golden Age” period under the rule of Tsar Simeon the Great. The Slavic writing is officially accepted throughout the country. Literature schools, imposing temples and monasteries are built. Bulgaria has an outlet on three seas - the Black sea, Aegean Sea and the Adriatic. The capital is moved to Veliki Preslav, which during that period could be compared with the beauty and glory of Constantinople. 1018 Bulgaria falls under Byzantine rule until 1185. 1185 The Second Bulgarian Kingdom (1185-1396) is founded after two brothers, Asen and Peter. The capital city of the new kingdom becomes Veliko Turnovo. 12th-13th centuries Under the rule of the Tsar Kaloyan (11971207) and Tsar Ivan Asen II (1218-1241), Bulgaria becomes a dominant power in the Balkans. 1393 The Ottomans occupy the Bulgarian capital Veliko Turnovo after a three-month siege. 1396 The Kingdom of Vidin is occupied, bringing the Second Bulgarian Empire and Bulgarian independence to an end. 14th-18th centuries By the end of the 14th century, the Turks control all of Bulgaria. Ottoman rule continues for five centuries. 18th century The Age of the Bulgarian National Revival begins. In spite of the resistance of the central Turkish authorities and the Greek clergy (the so-called phanariots), the struggle for an independent church, the publication of books and, later on, of periodicals in the Bulgarian language, the establishment of lay Bulgarian schools and the official recognition of the language and culture, become real steps to the revival of the nation. One important landmark was the writing of the Slav-Bulgarian History (1762) by monk Paissi of Hilendar. 1876 Bulgarian revolutionaries launch the April Uprising at Koprivshtitsa. The Turks suppress it with unprecedented brutality. About 15,000 Bulgarians are massacred at Plovdiv and 58 villages destroyed. Outraged European allies come to Bulgaria’s rescue in the late 1870s. Russia, the chief saviour, suffers 200,000 casualties in the conflict. 1877-1878 The Russian-Turkish war leads to the liberation of Bulgaria from the Ottoman Empire. March 1878 The Treaty of San Stefano provides for an independent Bulgarian state, which spans the geographical regions of Moesia, Thrace and Macedonia. July 1878 The Treaty of Berlin, under the supervision of Otto von Bismarck of Germany and Benjamin Disraeli of Britain, splits Bulgaria into three parts: an independent Principality of Bulgaria based in Sofia, the autonomous Ottoman province of Eastern Roumelia; and Macedonia, which remains under direct Ottoman rule. April 1879 The Turnovo Constitution is passed by the First Grand National Assembly. June 1879 Alexander Battenberg becomes prince of Bulgaria, and Sofia becomes the capital of the new Bulgarian state. September 1885 Eastern Rumelia declares union with Bulgaria. 1887 A coup replaces Alexander Battenberg with Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.

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Recent History
In June 2001, the Bulgarian monarchy makes an unprecedented comeback when former king Simeon II is elected prime minister. Unable to ease economics hardships for the majority, however, he too sees his popularity plummet after a few months in power. In the same election, the country’s Turkish minority is represented in the government for the first time, and the president encourages Bulgarians to be more tolerant of TurkishBulgarians. Progress continues under President Georgi Parvanov, albeit slower than most hope. Membership of NATO is granted in 2004, and entry into the European Union follows in 2007. July 27, 2005 the Bulgarian Parliament chose Sergey Stanishev of the Bulgarian Socialist Party as the new Prime Minister in a coalition government with the Movement for Rights and Freedoms. August 15, 2005 the BSP and National Movement Simeon II formed a stable government, along with the Movement for Rights and Freedoms. This grand coalition comprises the three largest parties. This coalition has a large majority in parliament with 169 of the 240 deputies. September 1908 Ferdinand upgrades Bulgaria from principality to kingdom and declares himself Tsar. 1912-1913 The Nationalist Prime Minister, Ivan Geshov, forms an alliance with Greece and Serbia to attack the Ottomans and to drive them out of Macedonia and Thrace. The Balkan Wars are sparking. The alliance soon fall out, with Greeks and Serbs expelling Bulgarian forces from Macedonia, and then dividing up the spoils. 1915-1918 Bulgaria joins the German side in World War I. A Serb-French-British offensive in Macedonia causes Bulgaria’s collapse. Ferdinand abdicates in favour of son Boris III. 1919 Elections are won by the Peasant party of Aleksandar Stamboliyski promising widespread social change. 1923-1934 Democratically elected governments are toppled via coups that bring authoritarian regimes to power. 1941 Bulgaria enters World War II on the side of the Rome-Berlin-Tokyo Axis. The country is the only ally of Hitler’s Germany which did not allow the killing of its Jewish citizens. It was thanks to king Boris III and to the Bulgarian governments that no hostilities are waged in the country’s territory. 1944 After World War II, as a result of the Yalta agreements between the Great Powers, Bulgaria ends up in the field of influence of the Soviet Union. 1953-1989 Years of the communist rule of Todor Zhivkov who headed both the party and the state. 10 November 1989 Under pressure from domestic and international circumstances Todor Zhivkov is forced to resign. Bulgaria once again takes the road of democratic development. 7 December 1989 The Union of Democratic Forces (SDS) is formed as a unification of 13 opposition organisations. June 1990 First free parliamentary elections. 12 July 1991 A new democratic Constitution is passed. 13 October 1991 First free local authorities elections. 1992 First free presidential elections. Zhelyu Zhelev is elected head of state. 3 November 1996 Petar Stoyanov, proposed by the SDS, is elected with President of the Republic of Bulgaria with a landslide majority. 19 April 1997 The Parliamentary elections are won by the Democratic Forces United. A government is formed headed by Ivan Kostov as Prime-Minister. Bulgaria starts on the road of genuine democratic reforms.

Winter 2008/2009

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introduCing BansKo
Bansko lies upon the ruins and artifacts of different cultures, among which Thracians, Romans, Byzantines and Slavs, who built fortresses and strongholds and burial mounds around the river Glazne.

Facts, figures and Mayor
The population of the Bansko municipality is about 13700 in the year 2005. It has eight settlements on its territory. The average annual temperature in Bansko is: 10,4 degrees Celsius, so expect snow and always bring extra warm clothes, even in the brief, but cool summer. The mayor of Bansko is Aleksandar Kravarov. October 5th 1912 - Bansko is liberated at the start of the Balkan Wars. After the Russo-Turkish war the town was left in the Ottoman province of Macedonia. Two major anti-ottoman uprisings took place in the area - the one in Kresna and Razlog in 1878-79 and the so called Ilinden-Preobrazhenie uprising in 1903. These events fuel the revolutionary spirit and pride of the locals and inspire a huge part of the local Macedonian folklore songs.

History
9th and 10th century - Bansko is established when several hamlets merged together. 16th century - Bansko is first mentioned with the name Baniska in the Ottoman registers of sheep breeders. It is also a craft center for carpentry and leatherworking, with workshops, using the power of the river. It served as an important stop on the caravan trade-routes from the coasts of the Aegean Sea and Central Europe. During the Ottoman Rule, the town was among the richest in the Bulgarian lands and local entrepreneurs opened successful trading offices in Budapest, Wien, Leipzig, Marseille and London.

Bansko In Your Pocket

CuLture & eVents
Bansko isn’t big enough to have a theatre or a cinema. However numerous cultural events are organized by the local municipality to coincide with the winter tourist season. In addition, annual Bulgarian folk rituals, combined with the saints’ days celebrated by the Orthodox Church, provide plenty of excuses for a party.

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Events and Holidays
Apart from national holidays, there are several local festivities on Bansko territory, which should not be missed by any self-respecting tourist. For those who find Bulgarian art, music and dance more interesting than a day of skiing or hiking, Bansko’s museums and festival stages will give something to remember. If playing instruments, made of skinned sheep is not your cup of tea, then listen to some good jazz on the annual Jazz festival, or go eat and drink as much as you can on our personal favourite Sudzhuk Festival – Bansko’s own way of celebrating good food. December 25th – Christmas Concert – Community Center Hall – 17.00h December 25th – Christmas Mass – “Holy Trinity” Church - 8.00 – 10.30h January 1st 2009 – “Happy New Year” – A Holiday Folklore Concert and Kukeri Festival– Central Square January 14th 2009 –A Festival of the Banski sudzhuk and red wine – Central Square – 17.00h May 17-25th 2009 – Days of the Bansko traditions – dedicated to notable enlighteners, concerts of amateur artists, display of traditional outfits and cuisine from Bansko, art exhibitions, best hotel, street and summer garden competitions, Flower holiday May 24 – 25th 2009 – “Between Three Mountains” – Folklore festival for authentic Bulgarian songs May 24th 2009 – Day of the Slavonic Culture and Alphabet – Official start of the Summer tourist season June 19th 2009 - Celebrating the day of St. Paisiy Hilendarski July 23th 2009 – 67 years since the execution of Nikola Vaptsarov and 57 years of museums in Bansko August 8-13th 2009 – International Jazz Festival “Bansko 2009” September 2009 – Pirin Folk Bulgaria – Bansko International Festival for Original Bulgarian songs October 5th 2009 – Day of Bansko, 97 years from the liberation from Turkish rule November 1th 2009 – Day of the Bulgarian Enlighteners, 216 years since the birth of Neofit Rilski

Macedonian music
Bansko is in the Bulgarian part of Macedonia, a huge region stretching from southwestern Bulgaria to the eastern borders of Albania, and taking in portions of northern Greece besides. Macedonia became politically fragmented in the political turmoil of the early twentieth century. Macedonian music and folklore still form the bedrock of local Bansko traditions, however, and the music heard in local restaurants or performed by local heritage societies is subtly different from that found in the rest of Bulgaria. The use of bagpipes, shepherds’ flutes and a huge booming drum known as the tupan combine to give Macedonian music a lyrical majesty that you’ll be hard put to find anywhere else. The majority of the band’s playing in Bansko’s folk-style restaurants concentrate on a crowd-pleasing repertoire of sentimental songs which feature the word “Macedonia” in the lyrics as many times as possible. Main subject matter of such songs appears to be the plight of Macedonian maidens awaiting the return of boys who have left to join anti-Ottoman guerrillas. The majority of Macedonian songs contain seven or nine beats to the bar rather than the customary four, making it well-nigh impossible to tap your foot to them unless you have a degree in mathematics. Although female solo singing is an important part of the musical landscape in other parts of Macedonia, it is the male group that rules the roost in Bansko. In fact there’s a distinct style of male singing in Bansko, with a solo voice backed by strident, raw-sounding harmonies.

Winter festivals
Winter brings out the weirder side of Bulgarian folklore, with the menfolk of small towns and villages donning animal masks and cow bells to perform daft-as-a-brush dances to ensure peace and fertility in the coming year. Known as kukeri or mummers, the dancers aim to drive away malevolent spirits, who use the long dark nights of winter as cover for their pranks. Kukeri rites are enacted in many areas of Bulgaria around January 1, although some communities celebrate on January 14 (New Year’s Day according to an old Orthodox Christian Calendar which still endures in some areas). Bansko traditionally celebrates the kukeri rituals on January 1. On the same day, even bigger kukeri processions take place in the nearby town of Razlog, where neighbourhoods compete to dress up in the most outlandish costumes. Kukeri rituals marking the end of winter take place on Easter Sunday in Eleshnitsa 20km east of Bansko, where men in huge hairy headdresses scamper crazily round the main square.

Winter 2008/2009

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CuLture & eVents
Name days
In Bulgaria, one’s name day is considered as important as a birthday. It is customary to buy treats for family members and colleagues. Take note of the dates below and ingratiate yourself with any Bulgarians you meet by buying them a shot of rakia on their name day. Either that, or exploit your own by getting lashings of free drinks from your friends and acquaintances. When in Rome and all that. • 5th December –St. Sava - Sava, Savka, Slavi, Slavka, Vladislav, Vladislava • 6th December - Nikulden (St. Nikolai ’s Day) – Nikola, Nikolai, Nikolina, Nenka, Neno, Nina, Kolyo. • 9th December – St. Anna – Anna, Ana • 24th December – Badni vecher (Christmas Eve) – Evegenia, Evgeni, Biser, Bistra, Bozhin, Bozhana, Bisera, Bozhan • 25th December – Christmas – Hristo, Hristina, Radostin, Radoslav, Radomir • 1st January – Vasilyovden - Vasil, Vasilena, Veselin, Vasko, Vesela • 6th January – Yordanovden (St. Jordan’s day) – Yordan, Yordanka, Dancho, Danka, Bozhan, Bozhana, Dana, Bogdan, Bogdana. • 7th January – Ivanovden - Ivan, Ivanka, Vanya, Yoan, Yoana, Yova, Zhan, Zhana • 17th January – Antonovden – Anton, Andon, Antoniya, Toncho, Tonka • 18th January – Atanasovden - Atanas, Atanaska, Tanas, Naso, Nasya • 1st February – Trifonovden - Trifon, Trifonka • 10th February- St. Haralampi – Haralampi, Valentin, Valentina • 13th February – Evlogi, Zoya • 1st March – Marta, Martin, Evdokia • 4th March – Gerasim • 9th March -The Holy 40th Martyrs - Mladen, Mladenka • 10th March – Galya, Galin, Galina • 19th March – Daria, Nayden, Nayda • 25th March – Blagoveshtenie (the Annunciation) – Blagovest, Blagovesta, Blagoy, Blaga, Evangelina, Vangel • 28th March – Albena, Boyan, Boyko, Boyka

Famous Bulgarians
Nikola Vaptsarov
A controversial national hero, praised as a poet, despite of his communist ideas, Nikola Vaptsarov was born in Bansko on the 7th of December 1909. His family name originates from his grandfather’s craft, who was dying fabrics (in Bulgarian “vaptsam” means to paint or dye). He attended the Naval Mechanical School in Varna, which was later turned into a Naval Academy and named after him. His only poetry collection “Motor Songs”, praising the machines and the working class was translated into 60 languages and earned him a World Peace Award in 1952. Unfortunately, due to his anti-Nazi revolutionary activities, he was executed by a firing squad in 1942. Letter Do you remember Sea and engines Holds, full of Sticky gloom? And that wild longing For the Philippines, For the big stars Over Famagusta? Translated from: Писмо Ти помниш ли морето и машините и трюмовете, пълни с лепкав мрак? И онзи див копнеж по Филипините, по едрите звезди над Фамагуста?

Bulgarian Obituaries – Signs Of The Dead
Have you ever wondered what all those black and white posters are with pictures of people, names, dates and short text beneath them? You have seen them all over doors, street corners, kiosks and bus stops throughout Bulgaria. These are neither wanted criminals, nor candidates for the next elections, some of whom are too young or old. As morbid as it may be for some of you, these posters have been commemorating deceased relatives and friends for decades. Instead of putting obituaries in newspapers, Bulgarians print these grim notices so everyone concerned would know if someone had passed away. There are several types of “nekrologs” as they are called: one for the family, for the relatives and friends, one for the colleagues…the ones without pictures are usually made immediately after the person’s demise and after 40 days, the family of the deceased makes a new obituary with a picture of their loved one. Usually, the short texts are sombre poems about how good the person was and how much they are missed. These nekrologs are typical for smaller towns and villages, but you can still see them in big cities too.

Bansko In Your Pocket

Where to stay
Fifteen years ago Bansko boasted one hotel and a scattering of rooms, offered privately by local grannies. Nowadays the number of tourist beds in town stands at an estimated 25,000 and is still rising. With a rash of hotels in every category, it shouldn’t be too hard to find something that suits.

13

Symbol key
P Air conditioning O Casino T Child friendly R Internet F Fitness centre K Restaurant D Sauna 6 Animal friendly A Credit cards accepted H Conference facilities U Facilities for the disabled L Guarded parking G Non-smoking rooms M Nearest metro station C Swimming pool W Wi-Fi connection

Cream of the crop
Guinness C-1, ul. Yavor, Shipitsko area, tel. 0878 909 805, guinnesshotel@abv.bg, www.hotel-guinness.com. Looming above the southwestern suburbs of town, Guinness is one of the most talked-about hotel developments of recent years, and is well worth taking a look at whether you’re considering staying here or not. With panoramic elevators overlooking an inner courtyard, and a 20-metre-high fireplace, a sprouting from the centre of the lobby, the building is either masterpiece or monster. The rooms themselves are in warm beige-brown colours, and many boast mountain-facing balconies. Additional 5-star indulgences include Spa centre, indoor swimming pool, sauna, gym, and wireless internet connection for your laptop. Q120 rooms (singles €111 - 148, quads €259, suites €74 - 126, apartments €79 - 290, Studio €100 - 128). HARIFLKDCW hhhhh Kempinski Hotel Grand Arena Bansko E-1, ul. Pirin
96, tel. 88 888, fax 88 560, reservations.grandarena@ kempinski.com, www.kempinski-bansko.com. Looking like an alpine chalet inflated to palatial proportions, the Austrian-run Kempinski is perfectly placed at the cable-car end of town. The spacious and comfortable rooms come with luxury bathrooms, each of which has both shower cubicle and bathtub. Each room has a balcony, many with sweeping views of the Pirin mountains. There are two excellent if slightly pricy restaurants, numerous bars, and both outdoor and indoor heated pools. The bright, mood-enhancing Spa centre has floor-to-ceiling windows with mountain views, and offers Turkish steam bath, solarium, massages and other post-piste muscle-soothing treatments. Q159 rooms (132 doubles €135 - 250, 27 suites €380 - 540). PTHAIFEG� KDCW hhhhh

come in a combination of beige and red-brick hues and feature wooden furnishings. You can play billiards or darts in the sports bar. Room prices include use of the fantastic big swimming pool with kids’ corner, fitness hall and sauna. Q48 rooms (43 doubles €52 - 118, 3 suites €60 - 144, 2 apartments €84 180). TJAR6UIFLEKDCW hhhh

Glazne C-1, ul. Panayot Hitov 2, tel. 88 022, fax 88 029, glazne@dir.bg, www.glazne.bansko.bg. Over on the west bank of the Glazne river, the Glazne offers stylishly designed rooms in beige, blue and grey. All the rooms come with bathtubs - which is good to know, if you need a soak after a day on the pistes. The complex also offers seven family houses, built in tradional style, but featuring swanky modern interiors. The hotel’s top-floor sky bar offers a spectacular panorama of Bansko and the surrounding mountains. There’s both a European-style restaurant and a traditional mehana on site, as well as Rossignol ski rental. Q23 rooms (8 doubles €56 - 84, 8 suites €94, 7 villas €176 - 184). TJHA6I� FLEGKDCW hhhh Lion E-2, ul. Georgi Nastev 1, tel. 86 800, fax 86 868, bansko@hotelslion.com, w w w.hotelslion.com/index_bansko.php. Opened in December 2005, the Lion offers reasonably spacious rooms in a building which mixes traditional design elements with contemporary touches and swanky bathrooms - most of which are equipped with a full-size tub. Apartments and family rooms come with small kitchenettes. Relaxation areas include a lounge with open fireplace, various bars and a restaurant. Rates include use of the gym and shuttle transport to the lift station. Q191 rooms (167 doubles €90 170, 8 apartments €120 - 250, 16 family room €105 - 200). THAUIFLGKDCW hhhh Martin C-3, ul. Neofit Rilski 28, tel. 88 301, fax 86 510, hotelmartin@bansko.bg, www.banskobg.org/goto/ hotelmartin/index_bg.html. A newly kitted-out hotel in calm residential streets, ten minutes’ walk east of Bansko’s historical centre. Contemporary design and Italian ceramics in the bathrooms give the place a moderately swanky feel. The big 10-person Jacuzzi can be rented out by anyone with a particular kind of party in mind. Transfers from/to Sofia are available upon request. Q32 rooms (26 doubles €90 - 123, 6 apartments €120 - 140). THARLEKDCW hhhh Mountain Paradise C-1, ul. Moratovo ezero 10, tel./ fax 88 179, hotel@mountain-paradise.com, www. mountain-paradise.org. Large apartment complex on the western side of town offering a good choice of well-equipped apartments, from 2-person studios with kitchenette to twobedroom family affairs. There’s also a small indoor pool and a beauty centre. Q89 rooms (18 Studio: €40 - 110, 58 1-bed apartament €53 - 150, 13 2-bed apartament €81 - 210). HKDCW hhhh Winter 2008/2009

Upmarket
BelleVue Residence Hotel D-2, ul. Vardar 15, tel.
86 660/0882 429 493, reception@bvp.bg, www. bellevueresidence-hotel.com. Along with its modernistic lobby which reminded us of a James Bond movie set, this hotel boasts apartments with unique individual designs. Each of the spacious guest quarters satisfies the taste of its owner and designer, but is there for your luxury and offers an atmosphere, closest to any contemporary apartment. There is a big pool and a superb Spa, massage and fitness centre for your leisure and four conference rooms, ready to meet any corporate working demands. Q59 rooms (22 1 room apartment €44 - 100, 24 2 room apartment €28 - 58, 13 big apartment €58). HA6FLKDCW hhhh

Evelina Palace B-2, ul. Ikonom Chuchulain 34, tel.

86 428, fax 86 430, evelinapalace@mail.bg, evelinapalace.com. Recently-built hotel, incorporating traditional architectural touches, on the right bank of Glazne river, just five minutes’ walk from the old town. The large bright rooms

 The Bansko telephone code is: 0749

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Where to stay
Perun E-2, ul. Georgi Nastev, tel. 88 477, fax 88 485, office@hotelperunbansko.com, www.hotelperunbansko. com. Hotel Perun seems to offer all the amenities that its 4-star categorization deserves - a great Spa and swimming pool, and a great location only 10 minutes’ walk from the cable-car station. Rooms are swish and come with decentsized bathrooms with full-size tubs. Many rooms come with mountain-facing balconies. Table-tennis, billiards and electronic games are available in the games hall. Room price includes use of swimming pool, Jacuzzi, gym, sauna and steam bath. A shuttle bus service to the gondola station, a ski wardrobe equipment rental are also available. Q145 rooms (145 doubles €158 - 190). THARIFLEG� BKDCW hhhh
hotelpirin@bansko.bg, www.hotelpirin.bansko.bg. In the centre of Bansko, conveniently placed for the old town and its inns and about 2km north of the cable-car station (shuttle service is provided). Modern,pastel-coloured rooms with TV, minibar, and shower. There’s a games room with table tennis and billiards, along with ski and snowboard rental facilities. Room price includes use of the swimming pool, gym and sauna. Q68 rooms (4 singles €66 - 104, 56 doubles €92 - 158, 8 suites €117 - 184). PTJHARI� FLEKDCW hhhh

Pirin C-3, ul. Tsar Simeon 68, tel. 88 051, fax 88 044,

Elegant D-1, ul. Peyo Yavorov 31, tel. 88 860/0886 337 789, fax 88 861, hotel_elegant@mail.bg, www. elegant.bansko.bg. No matter which of the Elegant hotels you choose or if you go for the apartment complexes, they really do live up to their name. Between the Lux, the Spa and the Elegant itself, every wish is catered for from Jacuzzis to pools to full body chocolate wraps. All of the Elegant rooms and apartments are very tastefully designed and decorated and come with all mod cons. They offer studios, 1 and 2 bedroom apartments. Service is excellent and a whole range of cuisine is on offer at their various restuarants. It’s possible to get everything you need for a top class holiday covered by the Elegant empire. The Elegant Spa is also the home of The Crown Irish Pub. Q33 rooms (1 single €41 - 113, 23 doubles €52 - 225, 9 apartments €76 - 248). PTAI� FLEBKDCSW hhhh

Elegant

Shato Bansko D-3, ul. Solun 23, tel. 95 015, officebansko@tural.bg, www.shatobansko.com. A pretty elegant place on the outskirts of town which incorporates parts of a Byzantine fortress wall. Rooms are light, comfortable and extravagantly furnished, some with sweeping mountain views. All bathrooms have bath tubs and multicoloured marble-effect colour schemes. The Spa area offers massage, steam bath and sauna. The hotel’s two restaurants include a traditional-style mehana, kitted out in rustic style. Baby-sitting, ski rental, and a minibus shuttle to the lift station are among the extras. Q70 rooms (6 singles €35 - 109, 60 doubles €48 - 110, 4 apartments €60 - 150). THARFKDC hhhh Strazhite D-1, ul. Glazne 7, tel. 88 700/88 040, fax
88 118. At the southern end of town on the way to the cable-car station, Strazhite is more of a self-contained resort, than a hotel, with numerous bars, restaurants, discos and a bowling alley to keep you occupied. A favourite of tour groups, it’s often packed to the gills with Balkan Holidays clients. Additional facilities include a Spa centre offering massages and beauty treatments, and a small medical centre, equipped to deal with piste-related strains and bruises. Room price includes swimming pool, sauna and gym. Q160 rooms (135 doubles €100 - 140, 25 apartments €130 - 160, maisonettes). OHAFKDCW hhhh

Elegant 3 ul. Peyo Yavorov 31, 0897 950 210. 5 One bedroom apartment: €40, 5 Two bedroom apartment: €55. Elegant Boutique ul. Nayden Gerov, 86420, 0886 337 789. 21 Apartments: €50.

Elegant Lux - apartment Hotel ul. Nayden Gerov, 0886 337 789. 9 Studio: €40, 27 One bedroom apartment: €60, 11 Two bedroom apartment: €70.

Tanne D-2, ul. Georgi Nastev 7, tel. 88 100, fax 88 101, info@hotel-tanne.com, hotel-tanne.com. Bulgarian-German resort complex near the cable-car station, with modern stone buildings grouped, traditional style, behind a gated stone wall. Rooms combine traditional Bulgarian folksiness with contemporary comforts, and all the bathrooms are equipped with tubs. The ‘Viennese lounge’, with its Austrian-style cakes and pastries, is a major feature. Kids will be kept occupied by a games room, stocked with toys, electronic games, table football and other distractions. Use of gym, swimming pool, sauna and steam bath is included in the price. Q 33 rooms (25 doubles €80 - 100, 5 apartments €145, 3 maisonettes €155 - 175). THA6UIFLEKDCW hhhh Bansko In Your Pocket

Elegant Spa ul. Nayden Gerov, 86420, 0886 337 789. 3 Studio: 40 Euro, 27 One bedroom apartment: €60, 7 Two bedroom apartment: €70, 1 Three bedroom apartment: €80.

Where to stay
Hotel Avalon El Tepe No. 4 , Bansko 2700 Bulgaria Tel (00359) 74988399 • Fax (00359) 74988398 www.avalonhotel-bulgaria.com Vihren Palace behind the parking lot of the Gondola, tel. 87 777, office@vihrenpalace.com, www.vihrenpalace.com. Just a minute’s walk from the Gondola, this hotel is just big enough to get lost inside. The lobby bar is superb with leather couches and a huge fish tank. The Spa centre and the indoor pool are tastefully and luxuriously decorated. The big suites and apartments offer comfort and picturesque views. Apart from the restaurant, there is also a mehana, which incorporates the best from the traditional and modern design and style. Q145 rooms (9 singles €79 - 136, 58 suites €124 - 372, 63 Studio €96 - 160, 15 maisonettes €136 - 422). TAFKDCW hhhh
446, hotel@villaroka.com, www.villaroka.com. Tucked away in the northwestern corner of the centre, the Villa Roka will go down a storm with design freaks. Featuring stark silvery-grey cladding on the outside, the interior is filled with Japanese-inspired design touches and matt black and red colours. The low tables and sofas in the lobby immediately let you know that you’re entering a world of contemporary cool. Standard doubles feature a central shower cabin entered through Japanese-style sliding partitions. The ten split-level apartments are very bright and sunny. The Spa centre contains more matt black and natural wood surfaces, and offers swimming pool, sauna, steam bath, aroma therapy and massage - all of which is included in the room price. Q99 rooms (89 doubles €40 - 110, 10 maisonettes €80 - 125). HARFLKDC hhhh 623 704, office@banderitsahotel.com, www.banderitsahotel.com. Package-friendly hotel, which nevertheless retains a warm and welcoming feel. The rooms feature hand-made wooden furniture and soft brown-sugary decor. There’s also a large number of apartments, each equipped with kitchenette. There’s a 24hr café-bar on the ground floor and 24hr room-service too. The Spa complex includes an authentic-style Turkish bath where you can soothe your muscles with a massage. Q54 rooms (34 doubles €45 - 70, 20 apartments €85 - 95). AFLKDCW hhh 011, office@hotelbulgariabansko.com, www.hotelbulgariabansko.com. Conveniently close to the cable-car station, the Bulgaria is decked out in natural materials and warm colours. Rooms are reasonably spacious, and the apartments come with either a small terrace or a glassenclosed conservatory-like porch. Rates include use of a swimming pool, gym, sauna, steam bath and solarium. Q29 rooms (21 doubles €100 - 170, 8 apartments €140 - 310). PTHARIFEGKDCW hhhh 87 070/0887 507 097, fax 87 071, www.edelweissbansko.com. Not far from the centre, just by the local stadium is a small quiet hotel, built as a typical Bansko house, where you can rest after a busy skiing day. Far from luxury, the rooms are nevertheless welcoming and comfortable, with cable TV, mini-bars and phones. The studios are equipped with kitchenettes with all mod cons. There’s also a sauna to ease your muscles after a day on the slopes . The personnel are very hospitable and always at your disposal. The hotel has 6 double rooms, 3 triple rooms, 5 apartments and studios for 4 people and 1 apartment for 6. There is also a restaurant for 60 people without live music. The skiers are transported to and from the first lift station by mini-bus. Q13 rooms (6 doubles €32 - 48, 3 triples €48 - 55, 5 apartment €55 - 75, 2 studio €55 - 75, 1 apartment for 6 persons €50 - 110). RFLKD hhh

15

Banderitsa C-1, ul. Han Asparuh 2, tel. 86 600/0889

Villa Roka B-2, ul. Glazne 37B, tel. 88 337, fax 88

Bulgaria D-1, ul. Hristo Matov 2, tel. 88 010, fax 88

Edelweiss-Park Hotel C-2, ul. Neofit Rilski 33, tel.

Mid-range
Aneli B-1, ul. Rila 10A, tel. 88 070/0888 420 233, fax 88 071, www.hotel-aneli.com. Medium-sized family-run place in residential streets ten minutes’ walk from the town centre, offering simple but comfortable rooms with laminated floors, small desks and en-suite shower/WC. Warm colours and chequered bed-spreads add a bit of warmth. Q18 rooms (12 doubles €30 - 36, 5 triples €45 - 54, 1 apartment €). ALKDW hhh Avalon C-2, ul. El tepe 4, tel. 88 399/0886 397 245,
info@avalonhotel-bulgaria.com, w w w.avalonhotelbulgaria.com. Medium-sized place with friendly and intimate feel, located in a quiet residential part of town a short walk from the historic centre. The helpful staff radiate a winning mixture of professionalism and informality. Neat rooms feature simple but soothing décor mixing modern and traditional materials. Be sure to book the top-floor rooms (numbers 32, 33 and 34) if you want a bit of attic-ceilinged cosiness with mountain views thrown in. The lobby bar with its roaring log fire is an excellent place to unwind. The hotel has its own team of English-speaking ski instructors who can handle anything from beginners’ classes to guided off-piste excursions. Q13 rooms (2 singles €35 - 65, 8 doubles €45 - 50, 3 triples €49 - 55). ARIGKW hhh

Friends D-1, ul. Rayna Knyaginya 2, tel. 86 439/0886 660 601, office@friendshotel.org, www.friendshotel. org. Friends is aimed squarely at the young and upwardly mobile, hence the sushi restaurant on the top floor and the Jacuzzi bar in the basement. The rooms feature bright carpets and textiles and make a nice change from the predictably chintzy styles on offer elsewhere. The leather sofas of the ground-floor bar are the perfect place for a post-pistes slump. Q (33 doubles €45 - 100, 8 apartments €55 - 120). ARFGKDW hhh Hermes A-2, ul. Ivan Belezhkov, tel. 490 07 67/0885 545 477, fax 490 09 29, hermesbansko2007@abv.bg, www.hotelhermes.eu. A nice new building on the Glazne River only 10 minutes from the first Gondola station, this hotel offers its guests comfortable rooms and apartments furnished with everything necessary for a good rest. Unfortunately, the owners do not believe in credit cards, so be prepared to pay in cash. There is a restaurant for 80 people where you can try something specific from the Bulgarian cuisine or, if you are not that adventurous, you will find out that the chef is good internationally. Skiers do not have to Winter 2008/2009

16

Where to stay
be afraid of walking in heavy shoes as there is bus shuttle to the lift. At the time of our visit it was a 3-star hotel but the owners had applied for a higher category. Let’s hope the season will start with a new 4-star hotel Q78 rooms (62 doubles €26 - 70, 11 apartments €74 - 95, 5 maisonettes €66 - 90). TRULKW hhh

Holiday Group Hotel A-2, ul. Tsar Simeon 2, tel. 88 575, fax 88 574, holidaygroup@bansko.bg, www.holidaygroup.bansko.bg. A nice hotel at the northwestern entrance to the town, offering comfortable and spacious rooms, some with fireplaces. Transfer to the ski lifts. Hospitable staff. Q25 rooms (17 doubles €42, 2 apartments €52 - 180, 6 maisonettes €52 ). ARIKDW hhh Hotel Bariakov D-2, ul. Peyo Yavorov 41, tel. 82 150/0887 251 921, fax 82 017, hotelbariakov@gmail. com, www.hotelbariakov.com. This place has a lot to offer, apart from their big studios and double rooms. They have sauna and massage, along with table tennis and an area for children. They deliver food to their rooms from the Bariakov mehana and regularly host a special day for ethnic exhibitions in their “ethno” corner. It lies 150 meters from the Gondola. Q22 rooms (18 doubles €38 - 51, 4 Studio). TKDW hhh Hotel Grami D-1, ul. Vasil Drumev 6, tel. 88 407, fax
88 408, www.grami.hit.bg. This big house offers an opportunity for a fairly priced vacation with everything you may need. They don’t accept credit cards and don’t have an indoor pool, but still you can relax in the sauna and workout at the fitness, or shoot some billiards after an evening meal. Q24 rooms (9 doubles €36, 11 triples €41, 4 apartments €46). IFLKDW hh

Hotel Rodina C-2, ul. Pirin 7, tel. 88 106, reservation@rodina.bg, www.rodina.bg. Built right in the centre of town in 1998, the Rodina is an odd building, which tries to be modern, traditional and vaguely Alpine at the same time. Rooms were given a fresh lick of paint in 2006 and it is a reasonably solid mid-range choice, offering ensuite rooms, equipped with simple shower cabins. There’s an attractive atrium café and a reasonable restaurant. All rates are on a half-board basis (covering buffet breakfast and a set-menu dinner). Q42 rooms (34 doubles €25 - 50, 4 apartments €46 - 92, 4 maisonettes €36 - 77). JAUILEG� KDW hhh Ivel D-1, ul. Hristo Matov 5, tel. 88 437, w w w. bansko-ivel.com. Cosy family-run place at the cable-car end of town, offering neat en-suite rooms with TV and fridge. Terracotta-coloured carpets and mood-enhancing citrus colours make for a pleasant stay. Go for one of the corner rooms if you want a little extra in the way of light and space. In a refreshing break from the folksy décor on offer elsewhere, the breakfast room features bold modern mosaics. Q 10 rooms (10 doubles €35). TARILEKDW hhh Kralev Dvor C-1, ul. Terzi Nikola 3, tel./fax 88 527,
tel. 0894 632 066, kralev_dvor@abv.bg, www.hotelkralevdvor.com. Small and snug hotel, run by a very nice family, located ten-minutes’ walk from both the town centre and the cable-car station. There’s a choice of either standard double rooms or maisonette-style apartments, all decorated in soothing orange-beige colours. Breakfast is in the warm and intimate restaurant. Extras include beauty treatments and massage facilities. Q15 rooms (7 doubles €40 - 50, 8 apartments €60 - 75). hhh

LUXURY VILLAGE VILLAS & APARTMENTS FOR RENT & SALE
Affordable comfy quality accommodation at Penbro Aparthotel, or in our selected traditionally built luxury s/c apartments and detached villas in Banya and Dolno Draglishte villages 5 & 10 km from Bansko.

PIRILA VILLAS

PENBRO HOTEL

Scottish owned and managed since 2002 Contact Derek & June Brown at:Tel: 00 359 (0) 889 51 48 84 E-mail: brown@penbro.com Web: www.penbro.com

RD Consultants / Penbro

“Our companies are committed to supporting, promoting and protecting the local mountin fauna and flora and our village heritage, lifestyle, culture and folklore”.

GLAZNE Apts

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Bansko In Your Pocket

Matsurev Han • Hotel and Mehana • ul. Otets Paisiy 15 • www.matsureva.bansko.bg • 0899142340 • 82782

Where to stay

17

Maraya D-2, ul. Nayden Gerov, tel. 86 463/86 462, fax 86 462, maraya_bansko@yahoo.com, www.hotelmaraya-bansko.com. Situated at the southern end of town near the lift station, the Maraya Hotel is a good place for skiers with its modern interior and multiple facilities. The complex consists of two wings (the “Elvy” and the “Maraya”), each of them decorated with plush modern fittings. Rooms come with either shower or bathtub (so specify which you want if you’re particular about such things), most also have terraces with views of the faraway pistes. Included in the hotel’s long list of amenities is a “dentist’s laboratory” - sadly we did not have time to try this out. Room prices include shuttle bus to the lift station. Q37 rooms (29 doubles €60 - 148, 4 apartments €80 - 222, 4 Studio €72 - 182). HAR6F� KDC hhh Momini dvori B-2, pl. Nikola Vaptsarov 2, tel. 88 076/0885 406 595, mominidvori@mominidvori. com, www.mominidvori.com. Right across from the town hall is the oldest mehana in Bansko, Momini dvori. The reconstructed building now houses a Balkan’s style mehana and a boutique hotel. It’s a dazzling combination of Bulgarian and oriental style with elements of a hunting lodge. The rooms are uniquely decorated with Indonesian, Malaysian and Singaporean furniture and seating areas from dark wood or wicker, wooden screens, straw mats and bamboo blinds. Even the dustbins are made of wood. Some of the rooms have king size beds covered with cotton fabrics and cushions, where each room has a specially designed bathroom and most are with a hydro massage shower. The apartment has an in-room hydro massage bathtub next to a circlular bed, a fireplace, a rocking chair and a wooden sink. Q11 rooms (6 doubles €41 - 77, 4 triples €52 - 98, 1 VIP Apartment €72 - 128). JILEBKDSW hhh
227, office@mountviewlodge.com, www.mountviewlodge.com. Located in the southern part of town near the cable-car station, Mountview offers 52 elegantly-furnished studio apartments, each with dining area, fireplace, and fully-equipped kitchenette. Kindergarten, ski rental centre and Italian restaurant are all on-site, and transport is provided to the cable-car should you need it. Q52 rooms (12 Studio €58 - 85, 15 One-bedroom apartment €75 - 100, 25 Two-bedroom apar tment €85 - 120). THAR� LKDW hhh olymp-bansko@abv.bg, www.olymp-bansko.com. This hotel may be the first thing you see when you enter Bansko. A new development, it has been open for 2 years and the staff are eager to show their guests the best they can do for them. There’s an excellent restaurant for the guests. Don’t hesitate to give it a try. The hotel offers internet services and Wi-Fi in the lobby, the spa centre will help you relax and three rooms on the first floor are equipped for the disabled. Q35 rooms (29 doubles €80 - 85, 4 apartments €100 - 140, 2 Maisonette €100 - 140). THAULG� KCW hhh

Matsurev Han Hotel and Mehana ul. Otets Paisiy 15 www.matsureva.bansko.bg +359 899 142 342 +359 749 82 782
style with southerly exposure. The rooms are medium sized with single or queen size beds, sitting area, mini bar, cable TV; some are with showers others with hydro massage or normal bathtubs. There is transport organized to the gondola, breakfast is available for an extra charge. There is a small inside swimming pool, steam bath, Jacuzzi and sauna. They provide transport to the Gondola. The hotel also has a pizza and steak restaurant open to the public, but with a second entry from inside. Q9 rooms (7 doubles €21 - 64, 1 apartment €60 - 130, 1 Maisonette €60 - 130). AIKDCSW hhh office@hotelvihren.com, www.hotelvihren.com. Mid-way between the old town and the lift station, Vihren is a moderately comfy place, that offers a mixture of ensuite doubles and apartments with kitchenette. Some rooms have small balconies, looking out onto the interior courtyard. The on-site restaurant specializes in steaks. Q19 rooms (11 singles €40 - 55, 8 apartments €43 - 85). TJILEKDW hhh

Vihren D-1, ul. Pirin 55-57, tel. 88 097, fax 88 098,

Apartment hotels
Apartment House Eagle Lodge E-2, ul. Georgi
Nastev, tel. 0899 890 870. Luxur y ski chalet-style apartment complex in the southern part of Bansko, close to the ski gondola, combining Alpine chalet-style architecture with typical Bansko motifs. The serviced apartments feature modern interiors, swish bathrooms, and - if you’re lucky to be on the right side of the building - stunning mountain views. The complex has an on-site restaurant, ski wardrobe, basement car park, sauna, steam bath and Jacuzzi. Q 32 rooms (32 apartments €40 - 180). TARFKD hhh

Mountview Lodge D-1, ul. Banderitsa, tel. 0889 002

Olymp B-2, ul. Tsar Simeon 1, tel. 88 094, fax 88 096,

Panorama (Vakanova kashta) C-2, ul. Pirin 39, tel. 82 376/0888 399 156, panorama.c@abv.bg. Family-run hotel, one of the first in Bansko, on Pirin Street, 7-8 min to the Gondola. The white three-story house is built in Bansko

790/0889 599 881, tamplier@almatour.net, www. tamplier.com. Several businessmen and celebrities have their own apartments in this spacious stone and wood complex. You can actually stay in the soccer superstar Hristo Stoichkov’s apar tment, which is big, superbl y furnished and has a collection of sports t-shirts on its walls instead of boring pictures. There is a big winery and a sommelier in the restaurant, lobby bar and a beautiful pool, fitness, Spa, massage and medical centre. The apartments are comfortable and some have a remarkable views to the mountains. There is also a creche which will keep the wild youngsters occupied while you’re relaxing. Q 28 rooms (10 doubles €63 - 105, 12 apar tments €80, 4 2 room Apartment €70, 1 President Apartment €74, 1 Studio €70). TA6IFLGBKDCW hhhh

Complex Tamplier E-2, Gramadeto area, tel. 86

www.inyourpocket.com
Winter 2008/2009

18

Where to stay
deto area, tel. 82 204/0899 303 738, dream_bansko@abv.bg, www.dreambansko.com. The comfortable grounds of this apartment complex will make your family and guests feel at home. There are several types of spacious, well furnished apartments, which can satisfy all your holiday and household demands. All the apartments have terraces, kitchenettes, TV-sets, safes and internet connection. There is a swimming pool, Spa, massage and fitness centre, and their Russian bath, with a big wooden cask-tub, a vodka and caviar menu and special brooms to hit your naked friends with, will make you feel as a Russian Tsar. Q78 rooms (4 Studio €50 - 110, 50 Deluxe Suite €50 - 210, 4 Tower Suite €75 - 240, 6 Grand Suite €100 - 310, 14 Grand Tower €100 - 310). TA6IFLG� KDCW hhhh

Dream Apartment Complex Bansko E-2, Grama-

Out of town
tel. 0889 859 902, info@penbro.com, www.penbro. com. Six kilometres east of Bansko in the bucolic village of Banya, this Scottish-Bulgarian venture comprises six self-catering units in a traditional-style building. Each of the apartments is named after a Bulgarian strain of vine - which gives you some idea of the owners’ priorities in life. Inside you’ll find a fully-equipped kitchenette, neat bathrooms and mood-enhancing peach-coloured fabrics. The second floor split-level maisonettes have plenty of sleeping space and are perfect for families. All units come with south-facing balconies. Washing and ironing facilities are freely available in the basement. If you don’t fancy slaving away in the kitchen, breakfast can be ordered for a few extra leva, and there are a couple of welcoming village taverns within walking distance. Price reductions are available for stays of over four days. Q6 rooms (3 apartments €30 - 50, 3 maisonettes €46 - 50). T6LW hhh Makedonska krachma ul. Georgi Dimitrov 1, Dobrinishte, tel. 0888 792 299, makedonia@ galia-online.com. Ten kilometres southeast of Bansko, Dobrinishte is a laid-back village which has so-far been spared from the hotel-building frenzy of its near neighbour. If quiet and characterful B&B accommodation is what you’re after then you could do much worse than head for this modern-built house in the centre of the village, featuring traditional wood panelling, handwoven floor coverings and timber-beamed ceilings. Rooms feature TV, minibar and simply-furnished WC/ bathroom units. The Makedonska krachma’s fantastic restaurant is right next door. Q6 rooms (6 doubles €20). K hhh

Aparthotel Penbro A-4, ul. Neofit Rilski 2, Banya,

Lucky Bansko A-2, ul. Kir Blago Todev 4-10, tel. 806 61 61, fax 806 61 74, info@luckybansko.com, www.luckybansko.com. The 4-star complex offers a 5-star level service, furnishing and equipment. Nice and comfortable atmosphere combined with polite personnel. Guests have at their disposal a restaurant, a lobby bar, conference room with up to 100 seats, piano bar, a swimming pool, a SPA and fitness centre, numerous services, as well as the most varied forms of entertainment in their leisure time. All residences are equipped with TV sets, telephones, wireless Internet, mini-safe and fully equipped kitchenette with Lavazza coffee machines, ceramic plates, toasters, refrigerators and microwave ovens. The bathrooms are with bath tubs, showers, hair dr yers and are supplied with slippers and bathrobes. Skiers are transported to the lift by a mini-bus. Q 102 rooms (50 apartments €140 - 170, 52 Studio €100 - 140). THAULGKCW hhhh Sofia C-2, ul. Radon Todev 16, tel. 88 502, fax 88 362, hsb@mail.bg, w w w.banskohotelsof ia.com. On a quiet street near the historic centre of town, this medium-sized hotel is a relaxing and friendly place. Most of the rooms are apartments with kitchenettes, making it a good choice for families with children. There’s a ski wardrobe, winter garden, steam bath and Jacuzzi, and free transfer to the cable-car station. Q14 rooms (2 singles €34 - 91, 2 doubles €51 - 92, 10 apartments €74 - 120). HARKD hhh

Hostels
Turisticheski dom Okoto B-2, ul. Hristo Botev 2, tel. 82 310. Basic hostel-type accommodation on a quiet street bang in the centre. Nothing special, but clean and well maintained, and marginally more friendly than the Edelvais. 13 rooms and 3 apartments. Q €8-10 per bed. 6L

Aseva kashta C-2, ul. Georgi Kovachev 7, tel. 84 451/0889 121 968, aseva_bansko@abv.bg. Located 5 min off the main street Pirin and 10 min from the Gondola. The rooms are medium sized in unpretentious style with double beds, wardrobes and medium sized bathrooms with shower. For the guests they house a small mehana restaurant for 25 with a fireplace and use of the kitchen on request. Breakfast included, lunch or dinner should be requested in advance. They provide transport to the Gondola. Q 11 rooms (9 doubles €30, 2 triples €40). 6KW hhh Dedo Pene C-2, ul. Aleksandar Buynov 1, tel. 88 348,
fax 82 223, info@dedopene.com, www.dedopene. com. Bang in the centre of the old town, “Grandad Pene’s Inn” is one of the classic addresses in Bansko, a traditional restaurant in a 200-year-old stone house that offers guest rooms in outbuildings ranged around the walled courtyard. Rooms combine modern pine furnishings with timber-beamed ceilings, wood-and-coal-burning stoves, and limestone bathrooms that use antiquated milk pails as washing basins. Q10 rooms (8 doubles €25 - 30, 2 triples €30 - 40). JARILEGKD hh

Guest houses
Alpin C-2, ul. Neofit Rilski 6, tel. 88 075, fax 88 076, alpin@bansko.bg, www.alpin.bansko.bg. Opened in 1992, this old-town B&B offers en-suite rooms a stones’-throw from the historic centre. There is a tradiotional-style mehana on site. Skis and sleighs are available for rental. Q18 rooms (12 doubles €44 - 88, 3 triples €90 - 180, 3 suites €80 - 240). TJRILBKDW hh

Devonshire Lodge C-1, ul. Stefan Karadzha 71, tel.
0888 559 594, info@devonshirelodge.com, www. devonshirelodge.com. Famil y-run B&B wi th friendl y English-speaking hosts, ten minutes’ walk from the cable-

Bansko In Your Pocket

Where to stay
car station. Rooms can sleep between two and four people and feature pine furnishings and warm colours. There are tea and coffee-making facilities in the rooms, and full-English breakfast is served in the dining room. Q5 rooms (4 doubles €35 - 70, 1 Family room €100 - 150). TRLGKW hhh

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Dvata smarcha C-2, ul. Velyan Ognev 2, tel. 82 632/0887 449 021. Unpretentious family-run place, that doesn’t go overboard with folksy décor, just round the corner from the central Holy Trinity church. There’s a decent breakfast room/restaurant downstairs, and a lovely walled garden, dominated from the two soaring fir trees from which the B&B gets its name. Q5 rooms (3 doubles €10 - 15, 2 apartments €15 - 20). JLK hhh Kadiata Inn C-2, ul. Yane Sandanski 8, tel. 88 555/0899 969 370, kadiata@banskobg.org, www. kadiata-bansko.com. Despite hiding behind a trad-style mehana, this is in fact a modern family house with small but swish rooms, each featuring modern bathrooms and a small TV. The position could not be more central. Q7 rooms (4 doubles €36 - 47, 1 Studio €47 - 57, 2 Studio-lux €62 - 72). RLK hhh
123/84 556, kiritc@abv.bg, www.kiritc.com. The guest house offers rooms with a view to Pirin Mountain, balconies, kitchenette with hotplates for cooking and toaster. The rooms are on the small side, but the double beds are wide. The apartment has a separate kitchen with hotplates and a sitting room area. They don’t provide transport to the gondola which is 7-8 min away. Q10 rooms (9 doubles €21 - 36, 1 triple €26 - 41). TLW hhh

Hotel Avalon El Tepe No. 4, Bansko 2700 Bulgaria Tel (00359) 74988399 Fax (00359) 74988398 www.avalonhotel-bulgaria.com Sevda D-3, ul. Skopie 18, tel. 0887 476 729, hotelsevda@bansko.bg. A small family hotel, renovated in 2003. Rooms are equipped with modern bathrooms, cable TV and central heating. Some rooms have balconies or an extra bed. Breakfast is served in the folksy downstairs mehana. There’s also a mini spa-center with Jacuzzi and steam bath. Ask about transfers from the bus/railway stations. Q11 rooms (9 doubles €, 2 apartments €). €15 per person BB, €20 per person HB. ARLKW hh

Chalets
Chalet Isabella B-1, ul. Banderitsa 32, tel. 0885 060 095, w w w.chalet-bulgaria.com. If you want a snug home from home with a bit of pampering thrown in for good measure, then Chalet Isabella should do the trick. It’s tucked away in a peaceful residential street in the western part of Bansko - but only ever a short walk away from the things you need. The bedrooms feature a nice mixture of traditional wooden features and crisp modern décor, and the comfy lounge-cum-diner is difficult to drag yourself away from. Rentals run from Saturday to Saturday and can either be on a self-catering basis, or with main meals provided. Q All inclusive (food, drinks and transport) for 12 persons for 7 days for the total of 3000 euro. AKW hhh Chalet Jora , tel. 0889 744 367/0044 796 77 505
92, info@skichaletbansko.co.uk, www.skichaletbansko.co.uk. A beautifully renovated traditional house just 2 minutes from the main street and the town square. Run by Brits Jay, an experienced off-piste snowboard instructor, and Laura, a qualified masseur, the chalet beautifully combines the traditional with the modern. Jora caters for groups of 8-14 and comprises 5 comfortable bedrooms and 4 well appointed bathrooms, one with a bathtub. There’s an open fire. They also provide a shuttle to the gondola. With its beautiful setting and friendly hosts, the Jora is an excellent location for your Bansko holiday. Q5 rooms (5 pp/ww €160 - 223). TJIW

Kashta Kiritsovi C-2, ul. Dame Gruev 4, tel. 0887 882

Klecherova Kashta D-2, ul. Mingyo Todev 12, tel. 83 364/0886 897 744, m_klecherov@abv.bg, www. klecherovakushta-bansko.com. The two-storey Bansko style house, found in a sunny courtyard, offers several rooms and outside seating downstairs and on the wooden terrace. For the guests they have their own small mehana called Dedo Mitar. It is for 35, decorated with old rifles and deer horns, several wooden tables, bar and fireplace, breakfast included. The rooms are comfortable with double bed, nightstands, wardrobe and cable TV, nothing fancy. The bathrooms are with showers. The apartment is with two double rooms and a walkthrough kitchen with hotplates, fridge and a dining table. Q7 rooms (4 doubles €21 - 28, 2 triples €26 - 31, 1 apartment €41 - 49). ILBKW Nevi C-1, ul. Khan Asparuh 10, tel. 88 250/0889 197 286, nevi23@abv.bg, www.nevi.bansko.org. A newly built house which can offer a calm atmosphere to the tourists. This B&B is located about 5 minutes from the ski lift in a new neighbourhood with easy access. There is a restaurant for the guests where you can enjoy any meal, traditional for the region. For children up to 12 years you pay only 50% of the bed price, and children up to 2 are free. However, If it is luxury you are looking for, look somewhere else. Q8 rooms (5 doubles €26, 1 apartment €36, 2 Maisonette). ALKW hh
D-3, ul. Mozgovitsa 17, tel. 83 161/0886 840 827, hotel_roshkoff@abv.bg, roshkoff-house.netfirms.com. A cosy and intimate hotel, located within easy striking distance of the cable-car station, offering unfussy en-suite rooms with satellite TV. There’s a folksy mehana on site, and a small private parking lot. Q5 rooms (1 single €11, 2 doubles €22, 2 triples €33). L

Chalet Soltir D-2, ul. Kiril i Metidiy 19, tel. 0895 330

Roshkoff House (Roshkova Kashta) (Rosban)

349, mark@boardingbansko.co.uk, www.boardingbansko.co.uk. Hidden away in the alleyways of the old town, Soltir is a traditional nineteenth-century house complete with stone walls, exposed beams, gated courtyard, open fireplace with a sensitively renovated interior which preserves much of the original rustic atmosphere without skimping too much on the mod cons. Knowledgeable British hosts, Mark and Amy will make you feel welcome from day one and will sort you out with ski rental and piste recommendations. There’s a Wi-Fi as well. Soltir functions as a rent-the-whole-house ski chalet in winter (both self-catering and fully-catered options are available), and turns into a B&B in spring and summer. Q 12 sleeps. Fully catered - 272 euro per person, semi catered - 200 euro per person, self catered - 129 euro per person for 7 days. TIW hh

Winter 2008/2009

20

restaurants
Bansko is chock-full of mehanas, traditional-style taverns where Bulgarian food is washed down with copious quantities of local wine and spirits. Each mehana tries to cultivate a folksy feel through its choice of wooden furnishings, stripey tablecloths, brightly-coloured textiles and stone-clad walls (although these ethnic interior elements are becoming so standardized that it’s become increasingly difficult to tell one mehana apart from another). The other characteristic feature of the Bansko mehana is the ubiquitous presence of Macedonian folk music - either on the CD player or performed live by a local band. With shrill clarinets drilling holes in your grey matter and the clatter of a darbuka drummer echoing around your ears, dining out in Bansko can be a wonderfully raucous experience. If neither Bulgarian munchies nor music are quite your cup of tea, then Bansko offers respite in the form of a handful of pizzerias, a couple of steakhouses, and a reasonable range of international food in the restaurants of the bigger hotels. In the restaurant reviews below the prices in brackets refer to the average cost spread (from cheapest to most expensive) of a main course.

Symbol key
P Air conditioning E Live music T Child friendly G Non-smoking areas O Casino R Internet A Credit cards accepted S Take away U Facilities for the disabled L Guarded parking M Nearest station 6 Animal friendly

Bulgarian
Banski Han A-2, ul. Vasil Kanchev 2, tel. 0888 990 663, www.bansko.bg. Typical for this sort of restaurant, mehana Banski Han is all wood, stone and bottles of wine on shelves. It has 3 rooms on different levels for 170 guests. The staff are polite and fast, but sometimes a little insistent. There is no live music which may be an advantage if you are in a mood for a quiet evening. The food is very good and you should try the famous Katino Meze together with a half a litre jar of the local red wine. QOpen 09:00 - 24:00. (10-20Lv). Baryakova mehana C-2, ul. Velyan Ognev 3, tel. 0899 670 734/0889 534 582, baryakova@bansko.org, www. baryakova.bansko.org. This well-established and classylooking mehana has a good reputation for serving up quality local cuisine backed up by a handsome selection of Bulgarian wines. Service was so slow during our visit however that we had to vacate the premises before we died of starvation. Hopefully staffing problems will have been sorted out by the time the winter season gets into full swing. QOpen 17:00 02:00. (7-18Lv). JAILEB Bohemi C-2, ul. Neofit Rilski 8, tel. 0878 103 588/0878 103 587. Found just 200m off Pirin Street this tavern (mehana) welcomes you with an old wooden cart and the donkey Armando in the yard. This used to be the famous Hadzhiruskovi kashti tavern. The cuisine is national Bulgarian with the traditional chomlek, kapama, Banski strets (sausage), rakiena salad (rakia’s salad), stuffed turkey, rabbit the hunter’s way, baklava s lokum (Turkish sweet desert), sheep’s yoghurt, crème Brule, etc. The menu is English, Russian and Greek. You probably won’t miss the place as they hire a whooper, who will try to lure you in several languages. QOpen 12:00 - 04:00. (11-29Lv). J6IEBSW Boide D-1, ul. Pirin. Looking a bit like a rustic shack from
the outside and relatively unadorned on the inside, Boide looks like a surviving relic of pre-tourist-boom Bansko and is all the better for it. Friendly service, inexpensive grilled meats and ultra-cheap drinks put this time-warp of a restaurant in a class of its own. Conveniently near the cable-car terminal too. QOpen 10:00 - 24:00. (4-10Lv).

of its enjoyably eccentric interior - antlers, old radios, a startled-looking stuffed marten, and bits of wood that resemble human sexual organs are just some of the decorations to look out for. Pretty much everything in the local culinary repertoire is available here - from kapama and chomlek to the deliciously eccentric makedonski mandzhi (diced chicken cooked with prunes). For dessert, try the banitsa (flaky pastry pie) stuffed with bits of lokum (Turkish delight). The atmosphere is always lively and the folk music frequently excellent, ensuring that Dedo Pene is always worth a try. QOpen 09:00 - 24:00. (8-25Lv). JAIES

Dedo Yonkata D-1, ul. Pirin 84, tel. 0888 203 937. Dedo Yonkata handles the full range of Bulgarian and regional dishes in competent style, although it is hardly one of Bansko’s mustvisit culinary destinations. Main advantages of this place are that it’s conveniently located at the lift-station end of town and is much better value than the restaurants of the nearby hotels. QOpen 11:00 - 24:00. (5-16Lv) . I Chubanov Han B-2, ul. Tsar Simeon 13, tel. 0899 213 337/0898 555 611, www.banskohan.eu. This is the biggest restaurant in Bansko with 250 seats inside and 300 in the garden. The two floors are decorated in a combination of Bulgarian folk styles from different regions - Trakiiski, Rodopski and Pirin. They have live performances of folk dances by Ensemble Pirin and you will have the pleasure to watch Wedding and Kukeri dances; a true Bulgarian experience. The cuisine is Bulgarian and they have an outside barbeque for the summer months. QOpen 00:00 - 24:00. (10-24Lv). A6ILEBKSW Kadiata Tavern C-2, ul. Yane Sandanski 8, tel. 88 555/0899 969 370, kadiata@banskobg.org, www. kadiata-bansko.com. Friendly family-run place that doesn’t have the tourist-trap feel of the bigger mehanas on the same street. Expect the usual salads and grilled meats, plus a few speciality-of-the-house oddities: the Bansko-style peppers (stuffed with cheese and bacon fat then grilled) come highly recommended. QOpen 08:00 - 24:00. (5-13Lv). L Kamenica mehana C-2, ul. Pirin 31, tel. 0888 221
912/0887 638 441, kamenicabansko@abv.bg, www. kamenicabansko.hit.bg. A small pub in the central part of the town with a nice fire place and a typical atmosphere for

Kashta Dedo Pene MEHANA & GUEST HOUSE

Dedo Pene C-2, ul. Aleksandar Buynov 1, tel. 88 348/0888 795 970, fax 82 223, info@dedopene.com, www.dedopene.com. Dedo Pene has established itself as a must-visit Bansko location over the years, not least because Bansko In Your Pocket

ul. Buynov 1• tel. 88 348, 0888 795970

restaurants
Out of town
Makedonska krachma Dobrinishte, ul. Georgi Dimitrov 1, tel. 0888 792 299. Some of the best home cooking in the region is served up in the “Macedonian inn”, a traditional-style building in the middle of Dobrinishte, 8km southeast of Bansko. Meat-laden main courses include a reliably tasty Katino meze, alongside other local favourites such as chumlek and kapama. Vegetarians could do worse than try the panirani domati sirene (tomato and cheese deep-fried in fluffy batter). Hung with cowbells and dried red peppers, the evocative interior also displays century-old sepia photographs of anti-Ottoman guerrilla fighters. The lovely south-facing courtyard is something of a sun trap even in winter. Reservations advisable. QOpen 11:00 - 24:00. (5-12Lv). IB
Bansko mehanas - woollen rugs and national costumes on the walls, folkl style tablecloths and slow service. The food is good but you have to be very patient as it takes a long time for it to come to you. There is no live music, so you’ll be able to hear your friends. QOpen 12.00 - 24.00. (5-10Lv). J

21

Bulgarian food
The Bulgarian culinary repertoire relies heavily on grilled meats, with mincemeat rissoles (kebapche), meatballs (kyufteta) and grilled fillets (file) of pork or chicken forming the mainstay of most menus. There`s also a strong tradition of slow-cooking stews in clay pot or gyuveche: kavarma (deced meat cooked in a clay pot), sirene po shopski (cheese baked in a clay pot) and yaytsa po panagyurski (eggs poached in a clay pot) are all examples of this method in action. Bulgarian salads are full of fresh healthy vegetables. Shopska salata, a mixed salad topped with crumbly white cheese, is the most famous, and is considered the obligatory accompaniment to a round of rakiya, the local firewater. Don`t forget that Bulgarian yoghurt (kiselo mlyako) is among the healthiest in the world, containing bacillus bulgaricus, a beneficial bacterium unique to the country. Bansko specialities Banski starets – fat local sausage, usually sliced and served as a hors-d`oeuvre. Chomlek – pieces of meet (usually veal or beef) cooked in a large pot or a deep pan together with potatoes and carrots. Kapama – slow-cooked stew of rice, sauerkraut and chunks of meat (often bits of sausage and chicken), in a spicy sauce. Katino meze – diced meat stewed in a tomato-and-redpepper sauce together with onions and mushrooms. Banski sudzhuk – made of pork and sweetbreads. A special flavouring called polski koprets, with an aroma of caraway and dill weed is used. It grows on the meadows above Bansko between 900 and 1000 metres. Sache – a plate made of clay, on which the meal is served and kept warm. The meal itself consists of pork bon fillet, bacon, carrots, onion, mushrooms, baked peppers and white wine. Turkish delight banitsa – a dessert similar to baklava and banitsa. The pastry from banitsa, with the syrup from baklava. Turkish delight is placed between the pastry sheets.

Kasapinova kashta (Butcher’s house) C-2, ul. Yane Sandandski 4, tel. 0889 213 337/0898 317 555. Found right next to the central square Vaptsarov and the town hall and right across from the icon museum, this Bulgarian style mehana offers delicious food and you are served with a smile. Also great for lunch combined with visiting of museums and sites in Bansko. Also works during summer months, where the top floor terrace offers an exquisite view and leafy shadow. Phone for home delivery (except on holidays) 0878 317 555. QOpen 00:00 - 24:00. (10-24Lv). JA6IEBSW Kutelo C-1, ul. Khan Asparuh 11, tel. 0886 513 837. This small restaurant is in the Kutelo Apartment Hotel Complex almost in the centre of the western part of the town. Calm atmosphere without live music and good Bulgarian and international cuisine. Suitable place for an inexpensive quick bite. QOpen 07.00 - 24.00. (5-15Lv). L Molerite B-2, ul. Glazne 41, tel. 88 494/0888 844 944. One of the classic Bansko addresses, with two floors of wooden benches covered with traditional textiles and crockery and nightly live music. The fact that there’s always as many Bulgarians as foreigners eating here tends to suggest that standards are consistently good. Expect vast platters of delicious meat, including excellent roast lamb and frightening-looking sword-grilled kebabs. QOpen 12:00 02:00. (6-20Lv). AILEB Momini Dvori B-2, pl. Nikola Vaptsarov 2, tel. 88 076/0885 406 595, mominidvori@mominidvori.com, www.mominidvori.com. Found at the beginning of Pirin street, across from the town hall, this is the oldest commercial mehana in Bansko. It was first opened on May 1st, 1970 and was visited by prominent guests, writers, artists and high members of the Communist party. Today it is decorated in Bulgarian style, neat and not overwhelming with wooden seating and columns of white fir. There is a decorative water mill in the middle of the place, fireplace and a ceiling of wooden carvings by Triavna craftsmen. The cuisine is Bulgarian and there is show kitchen. The winter garden holds two big plasma TV’s and has become the meeting point of sports’ fans from all over the world. The big garden area with lots of flowers and greenery is designed with wooden sculptures, artificial brook and children’s swings. Open all year round. QOpen 08:00 04:00. (10-50Lv). TJAILEBSW

Motikata C-2, ul. Pirin, tel. 0898 434 344. A kilometre south of the lift station, Motikata (“the hoe”) lies slightly off the main mehana crawl, which may explain its popularity among locals and in-the-know outsiders. Motikata apparently gets its name from the fact that agricultural workers used to stop off here, get drunk, and forgetfully leave their hoes behind as they staggered off home. The place preserves an informal rustic feel, with an interior that goes for wood-panelling and soaring house plants rather than the folksy trinkets on display at Bansko’s other mehanas. The barbeque-grilled meats are outstanding: other well-prepared local dishes worthy of mention include Banska nadenitsa (a succulent long sausage seasoned with herbs). Motishki kartofi (baked potatoes with garlic) is the perfect winterwarming side-order. QOpen 12:00 - 24:00. (5-12Lv) . I
236/0878 317 555, dimovidis@abv.bg. One of the oldest mehanas in town with water feature in the dining hall. There’s a lip-licking variety of grilled pork, veal and turkey dishes on the menu, and a whole pig or lamb on a spit if you order 24 hours in advance. They offer game like wild boar, deer, and rabbit. Don’t miss out on the warm wine with blueberries. Party animals should be aware that Obetsanovata kashta is one of the best places in town for shkembe chorba, the spicy tripe soup used by locals as a hangover cure. QOpen 09:00 - 04:00. (13-25Lv). JAIEBSW

Obetsanovata kashta C-2, pl. Vazrazhdane, tel. 82

Winter 2008/2009

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restaurants

Mehana Bohemi

International
Jordan’s Steakhouse C-2, ul. Byalo more 5, tel. 0897
771 593. Welcoming basement restaurant offering all kinds of steaks grilled to your specifications, as well as very good grilled fish. English breakfast is served all day, and there’s a big choice of pasta dishes too. The soothing browny-ochre décor makes a refreshing change from the folk-style places elsewhere in town. QOpen 10:00 - 23:00. (8-25Lv).

Ma Baker . At the time of going to press we weren’t really

sure when or if Ma Baker was due to open its doors in time for winter season 2008/9 but it’s definitely worth investigating.Mixing the distressed furnishings of a traditional mehana with surfboards, psychedelic swirly drapes and portraits of Bob Marley, it blends Bansko tradition with contemporary cool and serves darn good Tex-Mex food into the bargain. Q (6-12Lv).

Patio Pizza C-2, ul. Pirin 39, tel. 0898 695 228/0895 792 681. This pizza and steak restaurant is found in hotel Panorama on Pirin street. It is something of a refuge for those who tire of Bulgarian cooking and the music that goes with it and you will be able to enjoy a conversation. Patio Pizza offers a wide variety of pizza, salads, soups, well-prepared steaks, grilled fish dishes, duck and rabbit dishes, and some meatfree Italian pastas that will appease the vegetarian in your life. The menu is in Bulgarian, Greek and Russian. QOpen 10:30 - 24:00. (7-30Lv). A6CSW

ul. Neofit Rilski 8 0878 103 588
Sirleshtovata kashta C-2, ul. Yane Sandanski 12, tel. 84 668/0896 685 668. Seventeenth-century house with a suite of stone-lined, timber-ceilinged chambers decorated with stuffed birds and strange wood carvings. Covering the usual gamut of grilled meats and Bansko-style stews, the food is not as good as the top mehanas in town but still does the job of filling you up while making you feel as if you’ve accidentally stumbled into an ethnographic museum. QOpen 11:00 - 24:00. (6-12Lv). LEB
virtually the same menu as every other mehana in town, Komita (”the guerrilla”) offers a touch more atmosphere - the stone-floored, timber-beamed interior hung with tobacco leaves and hunting trophies is cosy and traditional. When In Your Pocket last called, the heavy wooden front door was so impossible to shift that we went away assuming that the place was shut - an apologetic waiter had to chase us down the street. QOpen 10:00 - 01:00. (5-12Lv).

Pizza-restaurant Zande C-2, ul. Pirin 1, tel. 0887 194

571/0899 890 507. Centrally-located pizzeria with a basement dining room decked out with wooden tables and bland décor. The pizzas have Italian names but are made with Bulgarian ingredients, so don’t expect a sensual Mediterranean experience. Cheap and filling, nothing more. Home deliveries till 20:00. QOpen 10:00 - 01:00. (4-8Lv). TB

Cafés
Daire B-2, ul. Tsar Simeon 53, tel. 0888 999 850. This atmospherically-lit café-bar, right in the centre, will probably leave you pleasantly confused by its part-oriental, partancient and part-modern interior topped off by frescoes of bullfights. Providing you stop wondering what is the point of it all you’ll feel totally at ease getting into the fine range of alcoholic substances ranged behind the bar. Good for a daytime coffee, even better for an intimate evening drink. QOpen 08:00 - 24:00. PJW Eliz B-3, pl. Nikola Vaptsarov. Occupying an enviable position on a raised terrace looking out across the main square, Eliz is the place where locals come to gossip, read the papers or gawp at a TV screen permanently tuned to video channels. A pair of Grecian columns at the back of the room provide a half-hearted attempt to drum up a sense of south-European glamour. The coffee is instant though, so don’t expect a transcendental brown-bean experience. QOpen 08:00 - 24:00. Parfe C-2, ul. Pirin 36, tel. 0888 554 812/0888 959 649, parfe_bansko@abv.bg. A combination of vaguely sixties’-style minimalism and soothing amber lighting help make this place a relaxing café during the day and a lounge bar (albeit with slightly Austin Powers-like undertones) at night. Unlike many other lounge bars in which we have wasted large portions of our guide-book-writing lives, Parfe features genuinely comfy black leather sofas that you can sit in for several hours without seriously damaging your spine. Prices are average. QOpen 08:00 - 24:00. PB

Stariya Komita C-2, ul. Aleksandar Buynov 5. Offering

Zehtindzhievata kashta C-2, ul. Georgi Kovachev 11, tel. 0899 559 599, zehtindjieva@bansko.bg, www. zehtinjieva.bansko.bg. Roomy mehana in a side street just off the main ul. Pirin offering the kind of meat heavy, calorific dishes which will keep your vital functions ticking over throughout the long winter nights. Meals are sometimes prepared on an open griddle in the dining room, producing billowing clouds of barbeque smoke. Stand-out dishes include the Makedonska pletenitsa (“Macedonian pleat”), a huge sausage wrapped in steak and cheese; and the Siromashka salata (“poor man’s salad”), a steaming bowl of baked beans with cheese, ham and herbs. QOpen 11:00 - 01:00. (8-15Lv) . ILEB Bansko In Your Pocket

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nightLiFe
A good deal of night-time drinking and revelry takes place in the taverna-like mehanas, listed in our Restaurants section. However, Bansko also boasts a lively bar scene, and with English-speaking tourists and investors, increasing their presence in the town, there’s a steady increase in the number of pub-like places too.

Casinos
chines, roulette, pseudo-Egyptian décor and waitresses in Nefertiti-inspired dresses. Also one of the best places in town for a decent cappuccino. QOpen 00:00 - 24:00. Gold Club D-1, ul. Pirin 55-57. Slot machines. QOpen 00:00 - 24:00. to leave if you’re watching the full satellite sports channels. There’s a wide menu on offer including pub standards and pizzas.

Blitz Club D-1, ul. Glazne 7, tel. 88 530. Slot ma-

Bars and Pubs
Bander Pub C-1, ul. Han Asparuh 2, tel. 86 600/0889
623 704, office@banderitsahotel.com, www.banderitsahotel.com. Soft lighting and lots of wooden furniture transform the basement of the Banderitsa hotel into a welcoming and enjoyable place. Pop-rock cover bands occasionally squeeze onto the small stage. QOpen 11:00 - 03:00. IE

The Irish Pub D-2, ul. Angel Kanchev 1, tel. 0887 196

Base Camp C-4, ul. Tsar Simeon, opposite ZTA, tel. 83 098/0878 216 416, basecamp@mail.bg, www. basecamp-bansko.com. Drinking red wine in a traditional mehana while men in embroidered shirts sing dities about Macedonian maidens is all very well, but occasionally one yearns for a proper bar serving proper drinks to the accompaniment of proper music. And Basecamp is most emphatically that place. Expect alternative rock, latin or funk on the sound system, occasional live acts, and an easy-going vibe that helps you feel at home no matter how much of a misfit you may be. The edge-of-town location brings a certain unpredictability to Basecamp: sometimes the place is rammed to the rafters with a devil-may-care, wave-your-ski-pants-in-the-air crowd of hedonistically inclined drink demons, at others it comes across as a laid back neighbourhood pub. QOpen 18:00 - 04:00. AEW

702. This is one of the new additions to the Bansko pub scene. Totally revamped and run by Rob and Gemma, the place promises to be very competitive on pricing and that the food will be prepared by an English chef. Stop laughing, the lady in question has loads of experience working in some Great British boozers and bangs out a wonderful steak and Guinness pie and great homemade burgers. Rob, the manager, told us that there’ll be a full fried breakfast for around 10 Levs, daily specials, kids menu and full sports package. Sounds like a great place to live. QOpen 08:00 - 04:00. (2-10Lv). AW kopanarov@gmail.com. Twenty-four-hour-a-day haven for anyone addicted to cheap pints of lager, fried breakfasts, dartboards, and TVs permanently tuned to sport. The place has been totally renovated for the 08-09 season but promises to retain the all day drinking sports bar identity. They have a full satellite package, so you won’t miss any of the important football matches. QOpen 00:00 - 24:00. PL

The Lions Pub D-1, ul. Pirin 90A, tel. 0885 039 885,

Disco clubs
Dance Club Amnesia B-2, pl. Vaptsarov 1, tel. 0897 Disco Party Bar Amigo B-2, ul. Glazne 67, tel. 0886 888 454, www.disco.bg/amigobansko. Snug drinking den centred on a quadrangular bar beneath barnlike beams. The football-related memorabilia hanging from the walls suggests a vaguely sporting theme, although regular DJ evenings and karaoke sessions ensure that you don’t necessarily need to be soccer-obsessed to fit in. There’s a restaurant section serving up a somethingfor-ever ybod y menu of inexpensive Bulgarian dishes, pizzas, pastas and salads. Q Open 11:00 - 02:00. (78Lv). PJALW Molerite B-2, ul. Glazne 41, tel. 88 494, molerite1792@ abv.bg, www.molerite.com. This folksy-style mehana turns into a disco after about 11pm, with the DJ concentrating almost exclusively on chalga - the indigenous Balkan folk-pop which gets its inspiration from traditional Turkish, Greek and Gypsy beats. Full of hands-in-the-air, hip-swaying young locals, this place is hugely enjoyable. QOpen 11:00 - 03:00. AL The Crown ul. Naiden Gerov, tel. 0894 430 450, www. crownpub-bansko.com. A brand new pub housed in the basement of the Elegant Spa Hotel (see p. 14), The Crown promises to become a Bansko hot spot. It’s run by Ivor of The Gallahad, so it’s sure to be run with efficient and quality service. It’s quite a big place and boasts some brand new, high quality pool tables as well as darts and table football. The furniture is really comfortable and should prove difficult Bansko In Your Pocket
935 381. Popular disco-club which is a magnet for longdistance drinkers in the early hours. Mainstream dance DJs and occasional appearances by Bulgarian pop stars keep a predominantly young crowd happy. QOpen 21:00 - 04:00. Admission: 2Lv. PJEG

Disco Club Happy End B-2, ul. Glazne (next to the Gondola lift), tel. 0889 664 725, www.disco.bg/happyend. As the name itself might hint, this is the end-of-the-skiing-day venue most favoured by the hordes falling out of the gondola as it returns to Bansko from the pistes above. A healthily cosmopolitan mix of Bulgarians and foreigners, a mind-boggling array of drinks, and frequent live music, all help to keep the party going until the early hours. QOpen 09:00 - 02:00. PL Oxygen B-3, ul. Opalchenska, tel. 0898 664 554/0899 605 410. Located in the basement of an innocuous-looking house, Oxygen is a vibrant and friendly standing-room-only bar that looks like a psychedelic ice cave but has a warm and welcoming feel. Good-natured bar staff and nightly DJ sessions keep the young locals coming in their droves. Regular house, reggae and techno nights throughout the winter season make this an essential stop-off for discerning clubbers. QOpen 21:00 - 05:00.

 The Bansko telephone code is: 0749

nightLiFe
Have Your Say
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Folk clubs
Bulgari C-2, pl. Vazrazhdane 1. If you want to immerse
yourself in the world of chalga (Bulgarian pop-folk), then the belly-shaking sounds on offer at this glitzy venue are guaranteed to bring out the Balkan beast in you. Popular chalga stars perform here live at least once a week. QOpen 22:00 - 04:00. E

Planeta Payner B-3, ul. Tsar Simeon 48, tel. 0899 969 991. Standing on the spot where disco No Name, a Bansko institution, once stood, is this relatively new branch of the Planeta empire, a chain of clubs operated by one of Bulgaria’s biggest record labels. Dominant musical style is the belly shaking brand of Balkan pop-folk known as chalga, although a fair quantity of mainstream pop and retro-disco is added to the mix. QOpen 23:00 - 05:00. PLE

Guidelines to Bulgarian lifestyle, bars, clubs and discos
1. Try not to stare at women that are accompanied by their boyfriends, no matter how beautiful they are, it might be taken as an insult. 2. Try to avoid conflict if you notice Bulgarian people stare at your wife/girlfriend, or at yourself, usually they will be just curious. Don’t forget some 19 years ago the majority of people didn’t even meet foreigners from beyond the iron curtain, so you are still new and exciting. Bravo! 3. Don’t try to act overly macho, particularly in more provincial towns or cities. Unless of course you are Mike Tyson. 4. When in a bar do not shout or insult the waiters or other staff members, it may be taken very deeply. 5. If you feel that someone is in some way being threatening or intimidating to you, it is often best to befriend them. In many cases locals feel threatened by foreigners and try to show themselves as tough but when you act as equals and friends they will often almost immediately drop this façade. 6. If however a conflict situation rises, leave immediately. Do not stay around and add on to the fire. Bulgarians are very social and family driven and under a common goal a big group of people is summoned very fast. 7. Good icebreakers are compliments on the country: The food, the football, the women, the inventions created by Bulgarians such as the Cyrillic alphabet and so on. As additional benefit you might get an interesting story or two. Make them talk, they love it. 8. Strong drinks (vodka, whisky etc.) come in quantities of 50ml for a small and 100ml for a large. In some places, unless you specifically ask for small you will be handed a large by default. 9. Rakia must only be drunk with shopska salad. Don’t ask us why, it just should. If you order one without salad you may well be looked at as if you are from Mars. 10. The Bulgarian for “cheers” is nazdrave, which literally means “to your health”. If someone proposes a toast (and this could happen innumerable times during the course of the evening) you have to clink your glass with absolutely everyone, no matter how many are sitting round the table, making sure to look in the eye at the point of clinking. If you fail to make eye contact, they will think you are disrespectful (or just an uninformed foreigner). The custom comes from ancient times. In days gone by kings, khans and other important figures would look deep into the eyes of the person they cheer to guess his intentions. Then they would bang their glasses so hard, so that a drop of each drink gets into the other (mixing the drinks would guarantee they are not poisoned). 11. Be prepared to mix your own drinks. Whilst in England a “vodka and coke” means a nice mixed drink from the bar, in BG it means 1 vodka (most likely large) and 1 coke. Mix it yourself to your own perfect proportions. Cheers. 12. Bring a gas mask. Many Bulgarians are heavy smokers although this becomes less with new generations. Some bars can be closed in and stuffy places. Combine this with a crowd of 40 a day hardcore smokers and you get quite a fog. 13. Take advantage of the hospitality of the Bulgarian soul. You might be invited to dinners, parties, cocktail parties, promotions, etc. Generally Bulgarians love foreigners. 14. In bars you can not bring drugs, guns or other forbidden substances. Pretty much like most places you have been in your life. 15. Big fat silver chains that you could anchor a boat with are an absolute must. That is if you want to appear young, cool, like a gangster or simply need to anchor a boat. 16. If you are going out on a Friday night to a bar and want to blend in like a local, it is essential that you haven’t shaved for at least 3 days. Dressing entirely in black is a bonus. 17. Girls, for you to catch the attention of Bulgarian men, just act natural and dress sexy.

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What to see
If you think that Bansko is a Balkan village suddenly catapulted to fame and fortune by its latter-day development as a ski-centre, then think again. Bansko was one of nineteenth-century Bulgaria’s richest towns, and the monuments are still here to prove it. Bansko owed its wealth to a central position on key inland caravan routes, which lead from the Aegean port of Thessaloniki to the cities of central Europe. As well as providing food and lodging to the caravan drovers, Bansko folk became traders themselves, warehousing rich silks from the east and fine furniture from the west. The caravan trade died out in the late nineteenth century when it became more convenient to transport goods on steamships and trains rather than on the backs of donkeys. Bansko continued to flourish as an agricultural centre rich in goats, sheep and cattle, and enjoyed a considerable political role in the years before World War I when it was an important centre of the anti-Ottoman Macedonian revolutionary movement. The nineteenth-century houses lining central Bansko’s cobbled alleyways provide enduring evidence of the town’s historical importance. Note that Bansko’s museums lack effective central heating and can be extremely chilly in winter - so don’t forget your thermal undies.

Bansko’s old houses

Churches
Holy Trinity Church (Tsarkva Sveta Troitsa) C-2,
pl. Vazrazhdane, tel. 883 44. Built in 1835, Bansko’s Holy Trinity Church was the biggest church in Bulgaria in the nineteenth century, and is still one of the most attractive. Ottoman restrictions specified that Christian churches should never be higher than a man on horseback, ensuring that most nineteenth-century Bulgarian churches were squat structures built slightly underground. Bansko’s elders decided to ignore these restrictions, confident that the town’s importance as a trading centre would dissuade the Turkish sultan from taking any action. The churchyard’s high wall was erected first, concealing the rest of the building site from prying Ottoman officials. The church is entered via a lovely porch lined with wooden benches. Inside, elegant pillars rise above rows of

Despite Bansko’s headlong rush towards modernization, the centre of town can still boast a spectacular collection of traditional nineteenth-century houses. Lurking behind a high stone wall and a bolted wooden gate, the typical Bansko house is of a type known as the Kashta-Krepost - literally “Home-Fortress”. During the first half of the nineteenth century this part of the then Ottoman Empire was particularly prone to roving bands of bandits, who would descend on unsuspecting households, rob the family silver, kidnap a goat or two, then scarper to the safety of the surrounding hills. Bansko’s leading citizens opted to defend their wealth as best as they could, building solid houses hidden in walled courtyards. Typical Bansko houses featured two storeys, the lower one reserved for animals and agricultural stores. The upper floor was divided into living quarters for the family, although even here a sequence of bolted doorways would lead to a ‘safe room’ into which the family would withdraw in case of attack. Safe rooms were often equipped with trap doors allowing family members to drop down into a secret basement hiding-place, in some cases fitted with a tunnel leading to the street outside. Upstairs rooms were also fitted with diagonal holes through which musket barrels could be poked, providing an additional deterrent to would-be intruders. The upper storey also contained everything necessary for a comfortable life. Benches running along each wall, brightly-coloured kilims on the floor, and wall paintings providing an air of luxury. The entire family usually slept on a huge bed in the kitchen. Other rooms were used for entertaining guests, receiving the head of the family’s business clients, or providing the women of the household with a work-space for weaving and embroidery. During the summer months social life would move outside to the chardak or wooden balcony, where meals would be prepared on an outdoor hearth and where menfolk would while away the warm evenings drinking and smoking while lolling on huge divans. An additional verandah or koliba was used for drying cereals and fodder during the dry, sunny months. Nowadays you need to visit the Velyanova kashta or the Neofit Rilski Museum to see an example of a Bansko house whose traditional layout has been preserved. However there are plenty of other surviving nineteenthcentury houses in the centre of town, most now serving as B&Bs, mehanas, or twenty-first century family homes.

Bansko In Your Pocket

What to see
wooden pews. The main icon screen is an extravagantly detailed piece of wood carving, featuring exquisitely-rendered floral shapes, birds, dragons and other traditional folk motifs. At the back, wooden grilles serve to barrier off the rear part of the church, traditionally reserved for female worshippers. Best time to visit the church is the Sunday morning service, when many of Bansko’s older women attend in traditional costume. QOpen 08:00 - 18:00. (subsequently nicknamed “Moler” by the locals after the German word for painter, Mahler) went on to produce a stream of icons that combined both eastern Orthodox and modern western styles. Vishanov’s son Dimitar Molerov and grandson Simeon Molerov carried on the family tradition - Dimitar is reckoned to be the most talented of the bunch. Bansko’s icon museum occupies a nineteenth-century metoh, a small monastery-cum-lodging house where monks journeying between Mount Athos and Rila Monastery would rest up for the night. The metoh also took in orphans and taught them basic crafts. The metoh’s former cells and workshops are now occupied by a display devoted to Vishanov and his followers. On the opposite side of the metoh’s courtyard, the former stables now house a gallery of nineteenth century icons, with Vishanov and his descendants featuring prominently. Q Open 09:00-12:00 and 14:00-17:00. Closed Sat, Sun. Admission: 3Lv.

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Chapel of the Holy Virgin (Tsarkva Uspenie Bogorodichno) A-3, ul. Bulgaria. Located in the town
graveyard, near the railway station, this cemetery chapel was built in 1774. Semi-submerged in order to comply with Ottoman restrictions, and illuminated by four tiny windows, it has the feel of a mysterious grotto. The intricate woodcarved iconostasis is a masterpiece of eighteenth-century folk-influenced art, and is filled with icons by local painter Toma Vishanov. Unfortunately, the chapel is rarely open, and may only be accessible at mass times on certain Sundays throughout the year. The tourist office may be able to advise on the best time to wander down and take a look.

Museums
Icon Museum C-2, ul. Yane Sandanski 3, tel. 882 73.
During the nineteenth century Bansko was an important centre of icon-painting workshops. Bansko-trained painters decorated monasteries and churches throughout the region, many of them working on Bulgaria’s most famous monastic foundation, Rila Monastery, 70km to the northwest. Bansko’s icon-painting traditions began with local boy Toma Vishanov, who accompanied local merchants on a trip to Vienna in the late eighteenth century and came back with a book of Austrian religious prints. Setting up his own painting studio, Vishanov

Neofit Rilski House C-2, ul. Pirin 17, tel. 88 272. Lurking behind a stone wall round the back of the Holy Trinity church is the birthplace of Neofit Rilski, (1793-1881), the monk and scholar who presided over the development of primary education in nineteenth-century Bulgaria. The part of the display devoted to Rilski’s life and works is rather boring, to be quite frank, but there’s plenty to enjoy in the period rooms of the house itself. Neofit’s father served as Bansko’s parish priest, and used one room in the house to teach reading, writing and bible study to the local kids. Pupils wrote in wooden boxes filled with sand, examples of which can still be seen today. The family’s main living room features an open hearth on which meals were cooked, and a low central table -nineteenth-century Bulgarians ate sitting on the floor. Q Open 09:00-12:00 and 14:00-17:00. Closed Sat, Sun. Admission: 3Lv.

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What to see
The Bears of Belitsa Razlog
Razlog is situated at the foot of three mountains – Pirin, Rila and Rhodope. It is surrounded by high ridges and sheer cliffs above fertile fields and dense forests. Historical conditions, geographic location, natural resources and infrastructure all assisted in the development of the region, over the last few years. Snow capped peaks, beautiful nature, hot mineral springs and multiple protected areas, objects of cultural and world heritage, well maintained ski tracks and warm hospitality, attract guests and visitors from all over the country and abroad. In the Razlog municipality there is good tourist infrastructure and well marked walking paths, especially suited to mountain trekkers. floor wooden verandah where the family would have cooked, eaten and slept during warm summer weather. Leading off the verandah are a suite of beautifully-decorated rooms, with frescoes executed by Ognev himself. The guest room features a colourful frieze of flowers and fruit, a chained lion (symbol of Bulgaria under Ottoman rule), and a delightful picture of a male and female wolf tending a cub - intended as a symbol of married life and family-raising. The most charming room in the house is the so-called Blue Room, thought to have been decorated by Ognev for his wife, and featuring landscape paintings of Istanbul and Venice - the kind of cities that Bansko merchant families would have known from their travels. Q Open 09:00-12:00 and 14:00-17:00. Closed Sat, Sun. Admission: 3Lv.

Twenty kilometres northeast of Bansko, the village of Belitsa is famous for being the site of a reserve set up to rehabilitate dancing bears. Although outlawed in 2002, the practice of keeping dancing bears has deep roots in the Balkan peninsula. Bears taken as cubs by bear-trainers have little chance of returning to the wild, however, and the Belitsa reserve provides them with something approaching a normal life by giving them a large fenced-off area of forest in which to roam. Funded by the Brigitte Bardot Foundation and the Austrian-based wildlife organization Four Paws, the reserve is located at the end of a badly potholed road 11km north of the village. Unfortunately, the bears are likely to be snoozing in their burrows from December through to March, and you’ll have to wait until April if you want to see them roaming their new terrain.

Statues
Father Paisiy of Hilendar (Otets Paisiy Hilendarski) C-2, pl. Vazrazhdane. Bansko-born Father Paisiy of
Hilendar (1722-73) is one of those eminent historical scribblers whom every Bulgarian schoolchild knows about but whom few people have ever read. Father Paisiy is famous for writing a manuscript known as the Slavo-Bulgarian History, which accused Bulgarians of having forgotten their traditional language and culture and urged a new interest in the exploits of Bulgaria’s medieval Tsars. Bearing in mind that Bulgaria was subject to the Ottoman Empire at the time, Paisiy was regarded as a potentially dangerous subversive and his book failed to find a publisher. Circulated in manuscript form by patriotic Bulgarians, however, it became a key text in the cultural revival that took off in the nineteenth century.

Nikola Vaptsarov Museum B-2, pl. Nikola Vaptsarov

3, tel. 88 304. One of Bansko’s most celebrated sons is Nikola Vaptsarov (1909-1942), a revolutionary poet who wrote modernist verse, gravitated towards the communist party, and was shot as an anti-fascist subversive by Bulgaria’s pro-German government in 1942. Educated as an engineer, Vaptsarov was fascinated by machines and factories, and his poems - unusually for Bulgaria - waxed lyrical about modern technology as well as mountains and meadows. The museum is entered via a modern concrete structure decorated with murals of Macedonian revolutionaries and socialist heroes. Tacked onto the rear of the building is the Vaptsarov’s original nineteenth-century family house, which preserves domestic furnishings and textiles, as well as a few of Vaptsarov’s manuscripts. An annexe to the museum houses a vivacious display of hand-woven woollen rugs and embroidered tablecloths made by local artisans, many of which are for sale. Q Open 09:00-12:00 and 14:00-17:00. Closed Sat, Sun. Admission: 3Lv.

Velyanovata kashta C-2, ul. Velyan Ognev 5, tel. 88 274. Presiding over an attractive walled garden filled with fruit trees, the Velyanova kashta is the best surviving example of a traditional nineteenth-century Bansko house. It belonged to Velyan Ognev, an itinerant artist from Debar in western Macedonia who came to Bansko in 1837 to paint the interior of the newly-constructed Holy Trinity Church. Marrying local girl Sofia (the sister of Neofit Rilski, see above), he ended up staying in Bansko for the rest of his life. The house is entered via an exterior staircase that leads to the chardak, the firstBansko In Your Pocket

Peyo Yavorov C-2, Courtyard of Bansko’s Holy Trinity Church. Topping a grey pillar in the courtyard of Bansko’s Holy Trinity Church is a bust of Peyo Yavorov (1878-1914), twentieth-century Bulgaria’s most charismatic poet. Provincial post-office clerk Yavorov was catapulted to literary fame in the early 1900s when Sofia’s literary circles discovered his lyrical verse and declared him a genius. As well as writing the kind of soppy love poetry that is still quoted by sensitive handkerchief-clutching students, Yavorov was also a revolutionary idealist, volunteering to fight with anti-Ottoman freedom fighters who operated in the mountains around Bansko. It was with such a group of guerrillas that Yavorov entered Bansko during the First Balkan War of 1912, liberating the town from the Ottoman Empire and reuniting it with Bulgaria. Yavorov’s position in Bulgaria’s romantic-literary pantheon is enhanced by the tragic circumstances in which he took his own life. Enraged by his repeated dalliances with both revolutionary politics and other women, Yavorov’s wife Lora shot herself on November 29, 1913. A remorseful Yavorov took the same gun, shot himself in the head, but survived. Hounded by Lora’s family and friends, however, Yavorov shot himself again a year later, this time with rather more success.

What to see
Pirin Mountain

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Pirin Mountain is the second highest mountain in Bulgaria and on the Balkan Peninsula. It’s also the seventh highest in Europe. Pirin is situated in the southwestern part of the country between the Mesta and Struma rivers and the Predela and Parilska passes. It covers about 1210 square kilometers. The name “Pirin” comes from the name of the god Perun, who, according to the legend, had lived there. The highest peak is Vihren (2914 m.) Other famous peaks are: Kutelo, Kamenitsa, Polezhan, Todorka, Sina nitsa as well as the saddle, named Koncheto (The nag). In Pirin, there are situated many glacial lakes, formed dur-

ing the glacial period. Ice spreads only over northern area of the mountain. Famous lakes are: Popovo ezero (Priest lake), Valyavishki ezera and Vasilyashki ezera. In Pirin there is a rich biodiversity and for its protection, there is an area designated “Natsionalen Park Pirin” (Pirin National Park). There are also 3 reserves - Baiuvi dupki – Dzhin dzhiritsa, Yulen and Orelyak. In the Pirin range lives one of the famous venerable trees – Baykusheva Mura (Bayku sheva white fir). Because of the beautiful nature, there are several towns at the base of the mountain– Bansko, Gotse Delchev, Melnik and Sandanski. There are direct bus lines to and from Sofia.

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Winter sports
Bansko lies in the so-called Kotlovina, a level plain lying between three mountain ranges – the Pirin to the West, the Rila to the north and the Rhodopes to the east. It is the Pirin range that is the closest at hand, its wooded flanks rising suddenly from Bansko’s southern suburbs. Pirin’s compact cluster of glacier-carved peaks cultivate in the handsomely chiselled limestone summit of Mt Vihren (2914m), which looms over Bansko to the west.

Winter ski sports
Even if you have been skiing or snowboarding for ages and your skills are pretty rad, there will always be someone better than you. In case you want to know who are the big boys and girls on Bansko’s slopes, there are plenty of competitions to check out, as well as a World Cup alpine skiing event for women. November 22-23 – “Todorka” Cup – alpine skiing event, men December 16-17 – “Cappy” Cup - alpine skiing event, girls and boys December 18-19 – “Yulen” Cup - alpine skiing event, men and women February 7-8 2009 – National snowboard competition, all ages February 17-20 2009 – National competition - alpine skiing event, men and women February 28 – March 3 2009 – World Cup alpine skiing event, women - February 28 – Downhill Event - March 1 – Giant Slalom March 6-8 2009 – National competition for veterans, man and women March 26-27 2009 – National snowboard competition, all ages March 31 – April 1 2009 – National competition “Bansko” Cup – alpine skiing event, man and women April 4-5 2009 – “Pirin” Cup - alpine skiing event, men and women

To the slopes
Most of Bansko’s skiing opportunities are located just southwest of town on the slopes of Mt Todorka, which culminates in the 2756m peak of Todorin vruh. Access to the pistes is provided by the gondola which departs from Bansko’s lift station, located at the southwestern end of town. Lift passes cost €28 per day or €159 for six days, with reductions of almost 50% for children. Passes can be bought from 4pm onwards on the previous day if you want to avoid queuing on the morning itself - you can’t purchase them in advance over the internet. Expect queues to get on the gondola itself - especially between the 9-10am ‘rush hour’. The lift-operating company Ulen run a ski-hire centre at the lift station. This is certainly the most convenient place at which to rent and store your kit, but it’s by no means the only ski-hire place in town and you should check prices elsewhere before making your choice. The gondola ascends in two stages, first to Chalin valog directly above Bansko, which is the starting point for a couple of shortish red runs. The second stage of the gondola climbs to Banderishka polyana, where a trio of chairlifts branch off to higher altitudes. To the west of Banderishka polyana lies Tsarna mogila, the longest of the intermediate routes, although there’s a much wider range of opportunities to the south, where the upper reaches of Mt Todorka host the densest network of pistes. An interlocking web of red runs descend down Todorka to the Shiligarnika area, while longer blue runs wind their way down to Shiligarnika via the so-called Plateau on the eastern shoulder of the mountain. Todorka is also the start of the Alberto Tomba run, Bansko’s only black route, which ends up at Banderishka polyana. There are plenty of snacking, eating and drinking opportunities at Banderishka polyana, Shiligarnika and the Plateau. Snowboarders should aim for the half-pipe at Banderishka polyana, or the two snowboard runs at the Plateau.

Extreme Air Free Ride
Sometimes it is too boring to take to the pistes, especially if you’re a very skilled skier or snowboarder who wants to go for something more extreme. You can always leave the runways and go into the forest. But there is a risk of unintended tree-hugging or even the nature-friendly bear or wolf feeding, you being the tasty morsel. Riding the pristine and virgin slopes of the mountain is a dream out of extreme movies, but if you are eager to spend some cash, it may become a reality for you and your friends. There is a helicopter service in Bansko, which can airlift your crew and gear onto every possible mountain slope or peak, so you can plummet down the unknown paths at your own risk. So do not spare money, get on that chopper and free ride into ski and snowboard Valhalla! For contact the phone is 88 914.

Dobrinishte
Ten kilometres southeast of Bansko, the village of Dobrinishte is the gateway to another skiing area, although the range of pistes is much more limited and access to them is time-consuming. Main route to the slopes is a chairlift, which rises from the Gotse Delchev chalet 12km south of the village, to the Bezbog chalet, just below the 2645m Bezbog peak. The pistes running back down the mountain to the Gotse Delchev chalet are marked as red, but are quite a challenge for intermediates who don’t have a previous knowledge of the area.

Ice rings
Ice ring D-1, ul. Pirin. QOpen 10:00 - 22:00. Bansko In Your Pocket

Winter sports
Skiing statistics
Bansko altitude: 925m above sea level Altitude of main skiing area: 2000-2500m above sea level. Total length of pistes: 70 km and total capacity 10 000 persons per day Longest uninterrupted descent: 16km (from Todorka Peak back to Bansko lift station). methodsnowschool.com, www.methodsnowschool. com. The onl y Bur ton approved learn to ride centre and the only English owned and operated snowspor t school in Bansko wi th highl y qualified ski and board instructors. Pirin 2000 E-1, ul. Pirin 107, tel. 82 284, blagovesr@ banskoskischool.info, www.banskoskischool.info. Experienced ski and snowboard teachers. Winter hiking, cross country skiing, extreme skiing. Ulen E-1, Lift station, tel. 0749 880 49, www.banskoski.com. More than 100 licensed instructors. Courses range from beginners to advanced skiers and snowboarders. Kindergarten for children 4-7 years at Bunderishka polyana with children’ ski drags, ski roundabout, moving path and many fun facilities.

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Method Snow School , tel. 0888 887 969, nfo@

Rentals
Inter Sport C-2, ul. Pirin 37, tel. 0888 703 184/0899 933 343, inter_sport@abv.bg, www.intersport.bansko. bg. Ski equipment rental at reasonable prices. Ulen E-1, Lift station, tel. 88 049, www.banskoski. com. The latest ski and snowboard models from the leading brands, testing of the ski automats, grinding machine. Winter Ski Sport E-1, ul. Pirin, opposite Kempinski hotel, tel. 0887 880 434, winter_skisportbansko@abv. bg, www.bansko-tourism.com. “Head” ski and ski boots rental. QOpen 08:00 - 18:00.

Sports equipment shops
Adventure Sport C-2, ul. Pirin 24, tel. 0898 449 314. Q Open 09:00-12:30 and 15:30-20:00. Konov C-2, ul. Gotse Delchev 5. QOpen 09:00 - 20:00. Max Sport D-1, ul. Glazne 7. QOpen 09:00 - 20:00. Rossignol C-1, ul. Glazne 57, tel. 0887 170 107. QOpen 10:00 - 19:30. Rucanor & Killtec B-2, ul. Todor Aleksandrov 1, tel. 0888 307 847. QOpen 09:30 - 19:00. Salomon B-2, ul. Glazne 37B, hotel Villa Roka, tel. 88 516. QOpen 10:30 - 19:30. Simo Sport C-2, ul. Pirin 22, tel. 0898 483 794. Q
Open 08:30-13:30 and 15:30-20:00. Ski Board Centre C-2, ul. Pirin 19, tel. 0898 603 988. QOpen 09:00 - 21:00.

Ski schools
Banskosport E-1, ul. Pirin 60, tel. 0888 782 977,
tourism@banskosport.com, www.banskosport.com. Ski training and ski tours. Bansko Travel , tel. 0886 396 401, info@banskotravel. com, www.banskotravel.com. Small groups or individual training with highly proficient instructors. Free ride tours to untouched snow terrains with professional guides.

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shopping
Antiques
Antique shop D-1, ul. Pirin. Choose between Russki-style fur hats, accordions, cameras, gramophones, and some of granny’s old milk churns. At the southern end of town up near the cable-car terminal.

Clothes & Accessories
Benetton C-2, ul. Pirin 27, tel. 82 092. Female and kid’s fashion from United Colours of Benetton. Q Open 10:00 - 20:30. Disma C-2, ul. Pirin 40, tel. 0888 032 400/0030 246 708 16 78. Greek owned leather and fur shop.

Flowers
Boutique Flo B-2, ul. V. Tarnovo 2, tel. 0888 580 822. QOpen 9:30 - 20:00.

Furniture
Stil Decor C-2, ul. Pirin 56, tel. 0889 688 220, furnishing@mebex.org, www.furnishing.mebex.bg.

Gifts & Souvenirs
Anar C-2, ul. Pirin 48, tel. 0888 580 822. QOpen
A lovely little treasure trove of kooky things, including woolly socks, shawls, felt bags, scented candles and rustic-looking pottery. Babini D-1, ul. Bratya Veleganovi 14B, tel. 0898 774 779, babini.bansko@gmail.com, www.babini-bansko. com. Friendly and inventive craftspeople who sell souvenirs and also run courses on how to make them. Ella Art C-3, ul. Shipka 5, tel. 0888 587 990, ella_art@ abv.bg. QOpen 10:00 - 21:30. Magazincheto za podaratsi C-2, ul. Nikola Vaptsarov. Felt bags, felt jewellery, and the kind of swirlypatterned Bulgarian ceramics that you find in trad-style restaurants.

Art Shop C-2, Corner of ul. Pirin and ul. Georgi Kovachev.

10:00 - 19:30.

Stefany 7 C-3, ul. Nikola Vaptsarov 7, tel. 0887 421
896/0885 979 904, stefany7@abv.bg. Embroidered tablecloths, skin creams and other cosmetics made from Bulgaria’s famous rose oil. Opposite the Hotel Pirin.

Supermarkets
El Mi D-1, ul. Pirin 74, tel. 0888 323 685. QOpen Ko-op B-3, ul. Tsar Simeon 53. All your basic needs, but not exactly a big choice. QOpen 08:00 - 21:00, Sun
07:00 - 05:00.

10:00 - 13:30. Volan A-2, Junction of ul. Patriarh Evtimiy and ul. Tsar Simeon. Big orange-coloured thing on the edge of town brimming with fruit, veg and things in tins.

Bansko In Your Pocket

Business direCtory
Banks
Bulgarian Post Bank B-2, pl. Nikola Vaptsarov 13, tel. 0749 881 24. QOpen 08:00 - 17:00. Closed Sat, Sun. First Investment Bank C-3, ul. Tsar Simeon 68, tel. 0749 881 10. QOpen 08:30 - 16:30. Closed Sat, Sun. United Bulgarian Bank C-2, ul. Pirin 7, tel. 0749 888 20. QOpen 08:00 - 17:00. Closed Sat, Sun.

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Dentists
Dr. Daneva B-3, ul. Todor Aleksandrov 15A, tel. 0888 603 439. QOpen 13:30 - 19:00. Closed Sat, Sun. Dr. Yanchovichina C-3, ul. Tsar Simeon 67 - in the building of DSK Bank, tel. 0889 300 360. QOpen 09:00 Anar C-2, ul. Pirin 48, tel. 0888 580 822. QOpen
10:00 - 22:00. - 17:00. Closed Sat, Sun.

ISPs
Evrokom C-2, pl. Vazrazhdane 1, tel. 88 299, www.
ekk.bg. Lan and cable internet, IP telephony, Cable TV, DTV, HDTV.

Kindergartens
The Blue Kangaroo Gramadeto area, tel. 950 33/490 01 00, office@balkan-homes.com, w w w. kandahar-bansko.com. Provides child care for children between 6 months and 7 years. It takes place in one of the apart hotel complexes opposite the gondola. There are 4 groups - Baby club (6 to 12 months), Toddler club (1 to 3 years), Mini club (3 to 5 years) and Kids club (5 to 7 years). QOpen 08:30 - 17:30.

Medical centres
10, tel. 851 85/0887 208 413, ruskov10@gmail. com. General practice, English speaking staff. Emergency 24hr phone 0887 227 660. QOpen 09:00 - 18:00. Closed Sat, Sun. Medical Centre Sveto Blagoveshtenie C-3, ul. Louis Pasteur 1, tel. 88 333, sv_blagoveshtenie@mail.bg. Orthopedist, surgeon, gynaecologist, neurologist and GP Clinic . laboratory, X-ray and specialized transport. Emergency 24hr phone 0898 778 700. QOpen 08:00 - 19:00.

Post & Couriers
Post Office C-3, ul. Tsar Simeon 67, tel. 88 211. QOpen Speedy C-3, ul. Viktor Yugo 7, tel. 88 396. Courier services. QOpen 09:00 - 18:00, Sat 09:00 - 14:00. Closed Sun.
08:00 - 17:30. Closed Sat, Sun.

Medical Centre Dr. Ruskovi B-2, ul. Tsar Simeon

Real Estate
799/0885 702 886, sales@bower-properties.com, www.bower-properties.com. Crown Developments C-2, ul. Otets Paisiy 20, tel. 84 994/0897 973 993, warren@crowndevelopments.com, www.crowndevelopments.com. Crystal Cleaning , tel. 0890 335 966, crystalcleaningservices@hotmail.co.uk. Homecare services - cleaning, meet & greet and welcome services. Flexible working hours. Foros B-2, ul. Pirin 6, tel. 885 41/0896 698 721, fax 885 42, bansko@foros.bg, www.foros.bg.

Bower Properties C-2, ul. Pirin 67, tel. 0885 320

Pharmacies
Margarita C-3, ul. Tsar Simeon 73, tel. 883 58. QOpen 08:00 - 20:00, Sun 08:00 - 14:00. Sanita B-2, ul. Tsar Simeon 57, tel. 884 90. QOpen 07:30 - 19:30, Sun 09:00 - 18:00. Sonya C-2, ul. Pirin 44. QOpen 8:00 - 21:00. Vili C-2, Otets Paisiy 18, tel. 0888 907 920. QOpen 08:00 - 22:00.

The Sunday-morning market
One of southern Bulgaria’s liveliest markets takes place on Bansko’s central ulitsa Tsar Simeon every Sunday morning. Main focus of the market is cheap clothes and shoes, although there are plenty of handicrafts on offer too. Brightly coloured hand-woven rugs, embroidered folk costumes, and huge cowbells are among the potential souvenirs

Winter Ski Travel
www.bansko-tourism.com

Winter 2008/2009

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Business direCtory
inyourpocket.com

Grato Investment C-2, ul. Gotse Delchev 13, tel. 0878 334 993/0896 598 263, office@gratoinvestment.com, www.gratoinvestment.com. Q Open 10:00 - 18:00. Closed Sat, Sun. Home Care B-3, ul. Todor Alexandrov 4, tel. 0899 985 930, bansko@homecarebg.com, w w w.homecarebg.com. Property management, rental and cleaning services. Inter Prime Bansko D-2, ul. Naiden Gerov 5A, tel. 0898 564 296/0898 556 008, office@interprime-bansko.com, www.interprime-bansko.com. Redwood Joinery , tel. 0890 335 965, redwoodjoineryservices@hotmail.co.uk. Bespoke service for all joinery & maintenance requirements - fitted wardrobes, new kitchens, shelving etc. Flexible working hours.

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Security and PI
Salamander Group Holding (Bansko office) A-2, ul. Tsar Simeon 19-21, tel. 0888 293 222, salamandersecurity@abv.bg. Regional association of security guards and private detectives.

Travel agencies
Alma Tour E-2, ul. Nayden Gerov - Gramadeto area, tel. 88 395, bansko@almatour.net, www.almatour. net. Inter Sport C-2, ul. Pirin 37, tel. 0888 703 184/0899 933 343, inter_sport@abv.bg, www.intersport-bansko. com. Hiking trips, rock climbing trips, sightseeing excursions, biking trips, rent-a-bike, off-road Jeep trips, ATV trips, rafting, horseback riding, fishing, barbeques and tennis school and camps. Bansko In Your Pocket

index
Street Index 3-ti mart pl. 5-ti oktomvri Aleksandur Buynov Aleko Konstantinov Angel Balev Angel Kunchev Banderitsa Banyo Marinov Bratya Miladinovi Bratya Molerovi Bratya Veleganovi Bulgaria Byalo more Dame Gruev Damyanitsa Dimitur Talev Dobri Chintulov Drama C/D-3 C-3 C-2 B-2 B-3 D-1/2 A/B/C-1 B/C-3 B-2 B-3 D-1/2 A/B/C-3 C-2/3 C/D-2 B-1/2 C-3 D-1/2 C/D-3 Edelvays El tepe C-1 C/D-2 Lui Pastyor Lyuben Karavelov Marko Teodorovich Mincho Todev Mozgovitsa C-3 A-2 B-3 D-2 D-2/3 Garibaldi C-2 Georgi Benkovski B-2 Georgi Nastev D-1/2 Glazne A/B/C-2, C/D-1 Gotse Delchev C/D-1, C-2 Hadzhi Dimitur Han Asparuh Hristo Botev Hristo Chernopeev Hristo Danov Hristo Matov Hristo Smirnenski Ikonom Chuchulain Ilinden pl. Ivan Vazov Kiril i Metodii Knyaz Boris D-2 B/C-1 B/C-2 C-1/2 C/D-4 D-1/2 B-1/2 B-2 B-1 B-2 C/D-2 D-3 Peyo Yavorov Pirin Pliska Radon Todev Rayna Knyagina Rila Simeon Molerov Shipka Skopie Solun Stara planina Stefan Karadzha Sveti Ivan Rilski Sveti Kliment Ohridski Terzi Nikola Todor Aleksandrov Todor Kableshkov Todorin vruh Todorini vrati D-1/2 C-1/2, D/E-1 A-1/2 C-2 D-1 A-1, B-1/2 C-2 B/C-3 D-3 D-3 C-1/2 A/B-1 D-1 B-2/3 C-1 A/B-3 C/D-2 A/B-2 B/C-2 Toma Vishanov B-2 Tsar Asen C-2 Tsar Boris III B-3/4 Tsar Kaloyan C/D-2 Tsar Samuil B-3/4 Tsar Simeon A-2, B-2/3, C-3/4 Usta Gligora Vasil Aprilov Vasil Levski Vazrazhdane pl. Veliko Turnovo Velyan Ognev Viktor Yugo Yane Sandanski Yantra Yulen Zahari Stoyanov Zahari Zograf C-2 B-1 C-2 C-2 B-2, C-3 C-2 C-3 C-2/3 C-3 C-3 D-2 D-1/2

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Neofit Rilski C-2/3, D-2 Nikola Popfilipov C-2 Nikola Vaptsarov B/C-2 Nikola Vaptsarov pl. B-2/3 Oborishte pl. Ohrid Opulchenska Otets Paisii D-2 B-3 B-3 C-2

Paligoden B-1 Panayot Hitov C-1 Panayot Volov B-2/3 Patriarh Evtimii A-2/3, B-3/4, C-4 Petko Slaveykov C-1/2

Index Alpin Aneli Aparthotel Penbro Apartment House Eagle Lodge Aseva kashta Avalon Banderitsa Bander Pub Banski Han Baryakova mehana Base Camp BelleVue Residence Hotel Blitz Club Bohemi Boide Bulgari Bulgaria Chalet Isabella Chalet Jora Chalet Soltir Chubanov Han Complex Tamplier Daire

18 15 18 17 18 15 15 24 20 20 24 13 24 20 20 25 15 19 19 19 20 17 22

Dance Club Amnesia 24 Dedo Pene 18, 20 Dedo Yonkata 20 Devonshire Lodge 18 Disco Club Happy End 24 Disco Party Bar Amigo 24 Dream Apartment Complex Bansko 18 Dvata smarcha 19 Edelweiss-Park Hotel 15 Elegant 14 Eliz 22 Evelina Palace 13 Friends 15 Glazne 13 Gold Club 24 Guinness 13 Hermes 15 Holiday Group Hotel 16 Hotel Bariakov 16 Hotel Grami 16 Hotel Rodina 16 Ivel 16 Jordan's Steakhouse 22 Kadiatta Inn 19

Kadiata Tavern 20 Kamenica mehana 20 Kasapinova kashta (Butcher's house) 21 Kashta Kiritsovi 19 Kempinski Hotel Grand Arena Bansko 13 Klecherova Kashta 19 Kralev Dvor 16 Kutelo 21 Lion 13 Lucky Bansko 18 Ma Baker 22 Makedonska krachma 18, 21 Maraya 17 Martin 13 Molerite 21, 24 Momini dvori 17 Momini Dvori 21 Motikata 21 Mountain Paradise 13 Mountview Lodge 17 Nevi 19 Obetsanovata kashta 21 Olymp 17

Oxygen Panorama (Vakanova kashta) Parfe Patio Pizza Perun Pirin Pizza-restaurant Zande Planeta Payner Roshkoff House (Roshkova Kashta) Sevda Shato Bansko Sirleshtovata kashta Sofia Stariya Komita Strazhite Tanne The Crown The Irish Pub The Lions Pub Turisticheski dom Okoto Vihren Vihren Palace Villa Roka Zehtindzhievata kashta

24 17 22 22 14 14 22 25 19 19 14 22 18 22 14 14 24 24 24 18 17 15 15 22

Hotels Restaurants Cafés Nightlife Sightseeing Events Maps

Hotels Restaurants Cafés Nightlife Sightseeing Events Maps

Hotels Restaurants Cafés Nightlife Sightseeing Events Maps

SOFIA
October-December 2008

PLOVDIV
Autumn 2008

BANSKO
i / Winter 2008/2009

Skiing

Word cup, Helicopters and More

Bansko Nights

Party now, Sleep later

Sofia districts What’s on?

International Plovdiv Fair
29 September – 04 October 2008

E S S E N T I A L C I TY G U I D E S
No 3 www.inyourpocket.com

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The Old Town

A crossroad of cultures
Enjoy your COMPLIMENTARY COPY of Plovdiv In Your Pocket Enjoy your COMPLIMENTARY COPY of Bansko In Your Pocket

Enjoy your COMPLIMENTARY COPY of Sofia In Your Pocket

Now in your city
Winter 2008/2009

36

streets & Maps

Bansko In Your Pocket

streets & Maps

37

Winter 2008/2009

38

streets & Maps

1 : 15 000

Bansko In Your Pocket

streets & Maps

39

1 : 3 000 000

Winter 2008/2009

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