Sofia Welcomes 2017: Playback, Dances and Road Blocks

Written by on January 1, 2017 in Bulgaria, Latest - No comments

The police in Sofia used snowplows to block the streets. Photo by Imanuel Marcus.

Thousands of Bulgarians welcomed the new year, 2017, at a huge party at Battenberg Square in the city center, at temperatures of around -2 degrees Centigrade.

On a big stage, a Pop and Turbo Folk singer sang playback tunes until the new year was a minute away. Then a man on the stage waved a large Bulgarian flag, while all spectators cheered.

When the clocks struck midnight, impressive fireworks illuminated the sky over Sofia. This was when everyone stared at the sky, hoping for a happy new year.

The second the fireworks ended, people started dancing Horo, a Bulgarian dance for the masses.

The police did a good job keeping the square safe. Because of the recent Islamist terror attack at a Christmas market in Berlin, they had set up anti-terror road blocks around the location, while only a few hundred kilometers away, in Istanbul, a new terror attack killed dozens of people.

The next line of defense consisted of police cars. Photo by Imanuel Marcus.

On Boulevard Czar Osboboditel, two huge trucks with snowplows, which were blocking the street, were the first line of defense. Behind them, big gendarmerie vans were parked in the middle of the street, for the same purpose. Several police cars were blocking the road as well.

At checkpoints around Battenberg Square, every single person on the way to the party was checked. Bottles were not allowed. Neither were large bags or intoxicated people.

For Bulgaria, the party in the city center ended a rather difficult year and started a new one, which will definitely bring changes to the country. The first item on the official agenda: The new president, Rumen Radev, will be sworn in on January 22nd, 2017.

By Imanuel Marcus

At this checkpoint in the city of Sofia, police confiscated bottles. Photo by Imanuel Marcus.

Thousands liked the playback performance on stage. Photo by Imanuel Marcus.

The party crowd, at midnight. Photo by Imanuel Marcus.

During the fireworks, people looked at the lit sky above Sofia. Photo by Imanuel Marcus.

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