Easter in Bulgaria: Praying patriarchs, heavy traffic and radioactive water

Written by on April 15, 2017 in Bulgaria - Comments Off on Easter in Bulgaria: Praying patriarchs, heavy traffic and radioactive water

On what they call Good Friday, tens of thousands of Orthodox-Christian believers entered churches all over Bulgaria, in order to pray and hear preaching. At Sveta Nedelya Church in Sofia, Patriarch Neofyte, the head of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, conducted services himself. The 71-year-old said, the celebration of Easter “fills the hearts of millions of people with love and joy, inspires us to good works, and helps us to establish timeless values (…).”

Bulgaria’s roads were even busier than the churches. Anyone trying to leave Sofia towards Blagoevgrad, Sandanski and Kulata, was caught in huge traffic jams. The segment between Blagoevgrad and Simitli was the worst part. But the Kulata border crossing was very busy as well.

On Hemus Highway, it did not look better, also because the tunnels “Vitinya” and “Echemishka” are being repaired after a deadly incident in the latter. On February 5th, 2017, a woman was killed, when a heavy piece of light fitting fell on her vehicle in the “Echemishka” tunnel. Yesterday, plaster and cables fell from the ceiling in the “Vitinya”, Bulgarian National Television reported. This made some drivers nervous, since they knew about the fatal incident in February.

Due to the repairs, only one tube per tunnel was used, in both directions. On top of that, a chain crash happened in yet another tunnel. All in all, there were three bottlenecks on Hemus Highway yesterday, which did not exactly help speeding up the Easter traffic. Because of all the traffic jams, some old cars overheated and caused more delays.

While inhabitants of Haskovo had to use drinking water shipped to the city in plastic containers, apparently because they tap water contains high values of uranium, some 400 people from Tsarevo, Ahtopol and Kiten staged a protest on the main road leading through their towns at the southern Black Sea coast. They demanded the approval of a “master plan”, which would further develop the industry in the region.

In Sofia, people filled the city’s parks and walked around in the center. Vitosha Boulevard and its cafés were very popular, also among tourists from abroad, who were seen all over the city.

In the meantime, weather forecasts for Bulgaria have been updated. While today (Saturday), the Sun will be out in most parts, except for the very south, the weather will deteriorate on Sunday, when rain will spread all over the country. Things will supposedly get worse on Monday, with even more rain and falling temperatures.

 

 

 

 

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About the Author

Imanuel Marcus is Associate Editor of The Sofia Globe. He is German and lives in Sofia. Contact: imanuelmarcus (at) gmail.com