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  issue 6, year XI, 2004

   Interview by Tsvetanka Elenkova          page 4
   I am confident that within the frames of my meetings with President Sampaio, with the Prime-Minister and the Chairman of the Assembly of the Portugal Republic new ideas for the further development of the bilateral relations will be born. The economic topics will naturally be at the center of the discussions due to the dissatisfaction of both countries from the level of the bilateral trade and the mutual investments. Portugal, for example, is willing to participate in the building of Bulgaria’s road network, in its energy sector, as well as in joint financial-and-engineering projects between public and private enterprises. One of the important points in the agenda of my visit to Portugal is the forthcoming meeting of the European Union /EU/, which will have to confirm the end of our negotiations for membership in the EU. Bulgaria will never forget that these negotiations started just during Portugal’s EU chairmanship in the year 2000. Moreover, the two countries are also sharing today common positions, in many aspects, on the future of Europe. I would like to show before the Portuguese business circles and the citizens of Portugal the authentic, strong image of Bulgaria, and to reveal the opportunities we are offering in many areas of activity.

Interview by Valentin Kostov          page 5
   In a future Europe, whose borders are almost overlapping those of the continent, and which in practice is reaching a continental scale, the role of the small countries will depend much more on the quality of their participation in the common project, than on their size. In fact, for countries of medium size such as Portugal and Bulgaria, the establishment of an active, responsible and zealous presence in solving European problems, and on the international stage as a whole, will be of great importance. One way or another, the European Union with its 25 member-states is already a reality since 1 May 2004. As I have declared more than once, that was a historical date, which laid the foundations for the 21st century. A Union of 27 member-states is planned for the year 2007. As you know, Portugal supports the joining of Bulgaria and Rumania to the EC within the envisaged time and we have reasons to believe that the respective acquisition treaties will be signed in 2005. I also hope that if we combine our efforts, we will be able to draw a line of balance that will create conditions under which our today’s young people will become tomorrow’s citizens of the world. They will be proud with the Europe they belong to and will be determined to guard the universal values of peace, justice and human rights, which are the crux of our identity.

   Interview by Tsvetanka Elenkova          page 9
   I must say that as a country Bulgaria has impressed me much: with its territory full of natural beauties, with its people who are generous and hospitable, with its rich past. Yet, the greatest impression on me made the changes realized in this country during the three years I spent here. The country I saw in 2001 was much different from this Bulgaria which I am leaving in 2004 and generally speaking, the development undergone is extremely positive. I would not say, of course, that everything is in order and that that development should not go on. As a matter of fact, if Bulgaria is to turn into the country its citizens are craving for, it will be necessary to improve its economic situation so that the effect of this improvement could be felt by these very citizens in the level and quality of their life. On the other hand, it is important to continue the consolidation of the institutions, guaranteeing the democratic functioning of the political life; the reform in the judicial system is also important, so that it could be adapted to the country’s realities of today, as well as to the challenges to which it should respond in the future; also important is the modernization of its administrative apparatus so that it could exercise its power in an efficient way. Finally, although one of Bulgaria’s major riches is its high average level of education of the population, one should decisively work in this field in the future, as it is a stronghold for its integrated development.

   Delfim da Silva          page 11
   Was it worth undertaking the Revolution of 25th April 1974 and the European integration? Quoting our most notorious dreamer and poet Fernando Pesoa, we could answer in this way: Has it been worth the effort? Everything is worth the effort if your soul is not mean. Today the Portuguese live longer and undoubtedly have a better quality of life. And despite the hardships of today’s conjuncture and some methodical pessimism which we have inherited from our Restelo forefathers during our utopias, nobody could honestly question the benefits of the achievements of 1974 and the European acquis. In the last several years we have registered a nearing of Portuguese families to the European consumer patterns, although there is no such tendency in the field of incomes. The social mobility, that has emerged since 25 April /1974/, has brought about the development of a strong middle class which stimulates the national economy. The European integration of Portugal is, after all, the best way to strengthen our Democracy, to guarantee our Independence and to evaluate our Identity.

   Nikolay Milkov,
Deputy-Minister, Ministry of Foreign Affairs          page 16

   Although the two countries lie far apart from each other, there has always been a mutual sympathy between Bulgarians and Portuguese. There is no Bulgarian student who would not associate Portugal with the names of the great seafarers and discoverers. Bulgarian folklore, rose oil and yoghurt, which are emblematic of the country, keep causing admiration in Portugal. Today, when the geo-strategic borders of Europe are shifted, the Republic of Bulgaria, already a full member of NATO and a soon-to-be member of the European Union, puts its relations with the Republic of Portugal on a qualitatively different level. In September 1994 the then President of Portugal Mr. Mario Soares made an official visit to Bulgaria, while in December next year a responsive visit to Lisbon was made by the Bulgarian President Dr. Jelyo Jelev. In 1998, within the World EXPO’98, President Stoyanov also came to Lisbon. The state visit to our country by Portugal’s President Jorge Sampaio in September 2002 confirmed the already prevailing tendency of an ascending development of the bilateral relations. It will be strengthened, we are sure, by the forthcoming responsive state visit of Bulgaria’s President Mr. Georgi Purvanov to Portugal in December 2004. The Bulgarian community in Portugal numbers between 10 and 12 thousand people. A Bulgarian Orthodox church - “St. Ivan Rilski”- was sanctified in Lisbon in 2001. In Bulgaria, in the 1990-ies the Chair of Portuguese philology was founded both at the Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski” and at the Veliko Turnovo University “St. St. Cyril and Methodius”. Pending is the opening of a Portuguese language centre “Camoes” in Bulgaria.

   Batista Bastos talks with Jose Saramago, the Nobel
Prize winner for literature for 1998, on the Lancerot island         page 19

   I think that apart from a modest satisfaction that telling stories gives me, the novel for me today is a way to develop some of my ideas, or, rather, my intrusive ideas. Sometimes all this makes me ask myself, whether I am really a novel writer, or in their essence my books are essays with literary characters. Look: may be I am not a writer of novels in the usual sense of the word, because I have never figured myself as a person writing novels, just due to the simple fact that I must live and that after one novel I will certainly write another. This explains, or can help be understood, why I do not repeat themes, although the themes are all the same. I do not plan my writing, i.e. I help myself by associating ideas. I do not do it deliberately. My attitude towards what I intend to write is not the attitude of a man who already knows what he will write, but of a man who knows that he has taken upon himself to tell a given story. Simply speaking, this may not be so important; the more important thing is how he will tell it - and how he will tell it depends a lot on the association of ideas.

   Interview by Zdravka Naydenova         page 22
   The “Camoes” Institute is founded in 1992 as a continuer of the already closed “Institute of Portuguese culture” and “Institute of Portuguese culture and language”. The “Camoes” Institute assists in strengthening the activity of the 15 Cultural Centres, as well as in widening the network of the Portuguese Language Centres at university level. It has 200 units for distribution, teaching and popularization of the Portuguese language and culture throughout the world. This activity contributes to the wider interest towards Portuguese language and culture, as well as towards the image of modern Portugal. The aim of the “Camoes” Institute, within the frames of its policy, is to deepen the link between the Portuguese language and culture, to encourage the cultural relations between the countries, where Portuguese is spoken, and to participate in significant international cultural events.

   Yordanka Velinova do Nascimento         page 26
   A handful of people /at the end of the 14th c. and the beginning of the 15th c. the Portuguese number one million people/ will trace out roads to a new world, along which rivers of gold, spices, exotic plants, fruits and animals will flow back to Europe. While the European world is licking its wounds, Portugal is about to become an empire. Unified by the new royal dynasty Aves, Portugal is ready for its mission of a discoverer of the new world. The nautical school of Infant Don Enrike in Algarve, Southern Portugal, is in its prime. In 1453, a memorable year for Europe, Portuguese seafarers are already on the way to Guinea, which Diogo Gomes reaches in 1456, and four years later - in 1460 - lands in Cabo Verde. In 1488 Bartolomeo Dias finally succeeds in turning along the Cape of Good Hope, which was known by then as the Cape of Gales, but was renamed by the King himself. The road to India is opened, and with it - the road of mankind to a new era - that of the modern, new world. Next year, a powerful expedition of 13 ships under the command of Pedro Alvares Cabral, sets sails from Lisbon to India. They deviate to the South-West to avoid the bad weather and in April come across Vera Cruz, i.e. Brazil. One more Portuguese navigator will remain in history with his special merits - Fernao de Magalhaes, or Magelan, as we know him. He reaches Argentine with 5 ships and a crew of 265 sailors and discovers in 1519 the strait that carries his name today. The incredibly good weather, the calm and tranquil waters in the strait make Magelan exclaim What a peaceful ocean!, thus becoming the godfather of the Pacific Ocean.

   Vera Kirkova      page 30
   Porto. It should not sound unfamiliar to us. The football fans know it as a Portuguese team. The name does not sound unfamiliar to the wine connoisseurs, either. Vinho do Porto, or “vinyu du Portu”, as pronounced in Portuguese /translated it means “wine from Porto”/ is the world known dessert wine “Portvine” - the favourite drink of the British. And it is they, as one of its greatest consumers, that make its English name so popular. In fact, the word porto means a port. Due to its geographic situation - on the estuary of the Douro river, the city is logically named Porto and accounts for its historical function. The natural river port in the proximity of the Atlantic ocean has been attractive long before Romanization leaves its mark on this region. The town of Portukale /from Portus and Cale/ emerges on the right bank of the Douro, thus determining the name of the whole country as well. Porto is an episcopate during the presence of the West Goths and a center of a territory, whose population has been scattered in its surroundings during the 9th and 10th century. Urban life is revived in the 12th century, while in the period from 16th to 18th c. it undergoes an extraordinary upswing, thanks to the gold and diamonds that arrive from Brazil, as well as due to the wine trade. The big monasteries, churches and palaces are a testimony for the prosperity and the refined taste of the nobility, the clergy and the merchants in the region.

   Manuel do Nascimento      page 34
   A Portuguese means a Roman Catholic. Over 90 % of the population, and according to some sources - even 97% , determine themselves as belonging to the Roman Catholic Church. There is no such a high percentage in any other European country. One third of the Portuguese regularly participate in the Holy Mass and take the Holy Communion. But most of the rest, too, have a church wedding, baptize their children and bury their relatives according to the Church canons. Portugal’s church has changed considerably in the last 30 years. Its strength is not in the past, but in its very origin. Its existence is not rooted in the power, but in the mission it is entitled to. One more example for this is today’s approach to another controversial moment in its history - the Inquisition. Pope John Paul II thinks that the question of the Inquisition is “a method of intolerance and violence in service of the truth, which distorts the notions about the Church”. The opening of the archives showed that in Spain only 3.5% of the cases in the period between 1540 and 1700 had ended with a death sentence. As for the Portuguese Inquisition, they boil down to nearly 6%. This is due to the fact that the Inquisition in Portugal is state-governed, the great Inquisitor is subordinate to the King and the property of the sentenced is confiscated in favour of the crown.

   Evelina Malinova       page 39
   The azulejo - the emblem of Portugal - is the art of drawing pictures on faiance tiles. It is of Arab origin and has been imported by the Moors from Northern Africa, but for centuries later has been complemented, developed and enriched by the Portuguese. It is through it that facts from Portugal’s history and culture, traditions and customs have reached us. Azulejo can be seen everywhere - in churches, palaces, gardens, in various public buildings, and even in homes, as it decorates not only facades, but also the interior of houses.

   Vera Kirkova       page 42
   This is what Fado is - a sung grief. A soul filled with homesickness and yearning. A reverie. A heart that is suffering and singing. An unbearable inner pain which has to be poured out. Making a cult of sorrow, of pessimism and despair, of deadlock, is fado’s main feature. In fado, as it is today, the dramatic effect is strengthened still more by the fact that the performers are almost immobile, which increases the hidden tension. They stand still and the visible emotion is concentrated mainly in their eyes. And in their hands, which are either clung to the breast, as if to extinguish, or vice versa, to wring out, the pain, or are raised up in quest for help from above. The overall suggestion of some fatalism and doom is strengthened by the atmosphere. Fado singers are dressed in black. Women wear long black gowns and are wrapped in big black shawls, while men have loose black mantles. Lighting is suppressed. Fado is sung to the accompaniment of a Portuguese guitar /paunchy and round/ and of a viola-guitar.

      page 44
   Everything that is happening today in modern art is linked more or less with the creative work of Vejdi Rashidov. Both brave composing solutions, hypertrophy, and stylization are present in his sculptures revealing the inimitable style of an art. Vejdi Rashidov organizes independent exhibitions both in Bulgaria, and in many countries the world over. In December 2004 he will present his art at the National Gallery in Lisbon. For his extraordinary service and contribution to the spiritual development of our country he has been awarded the highest state prize - the “Stara Planina” order. He is also elected a corresponding member of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. Rashidov has been honoured abroad, as well, being a member of the Paris Autumn Salon and of the European Academy for the Arts in the French capital.

      page 46
   Darina Yaneva was born in 1964 in the town of Kazanluk. In 1989 she graduated the National Academy for the Fine Arts in Sofia in the class of Prof. Venko Kolev. The painter has 19 independent exhibitions in Sofia, Varna, Plovdiv, Albena, Burgas. She has taken part in a number of international art exhibitions in Poland, Sweden, Slovenia, Belgium, Italy, Korea, as well as in national and international plain-air shows. Yaneva has been presented in the world magazine “Pastel Artist International” as one of the ten best pastel masters for the months of September-October 2002. She is a member of the Union of Bulgarian Artists. Some of her works are in the possession of: the Art Gallery in Kavarna, the Art Gallery in Balchik, the “Nove Holding” Co. Ltd., the “Bulgaria” Insurance Association Ltd.. Private collections in Germany, Greece, Japan, France, Russia, Slovenia, Croatia, Korea and Bulgaria also possess paintings by Darina Yaneva. .


         page 49
   She was born in 1956 in Lisbon. Graduated German philology at the Literary Faculty in Porto /where she lives/. She teaches English and American Literature. Amaral is a member of the Portuguese Association for English-American Research and of the Portuguese Association for Comparative Literature. She is a researching member of the Center for Social Studies at the Coimbra University. Amaral is a poetess and a children writer. Her works have been translated in nine languages.

         page 503
   He was born in 1974 in the town of Galveias, Portugal. Graduated the specialty “Modern Languages and Literatures” /English, German/ at the New Lisbon University. Peixoto has worked as a teacher on the Cabo Verde island. He has devoted himself to journalism. He keeps now his column in the authoritative “Literary Newspaper”. A poet and a prose-writer, who is highly assessed by the critique. Peixoto is holder of many prizes, such as the “Jose Saramago Award”. His works have been translated in seven languages, and will soon come out in Bulgarian, too.


         page 51
   He was born in 1953 in Sofia. He is the founder of the “Zakhary Stoyanov” Publishing House /1997/, and the Editor-in-Chief of the “Vezni” /”Libra”/ magazine. Granitski is the author of 21 books with poems, critique and publicism.

         page 52
   He was born in 1964 in the town of Lovech. He is one of the 12 founders of the first private magazine for literature “Ah, Maria”, that appeared in the 1990-ies. Barosov is the executive Director of the Bulgarian Literature Foundation. He is a poet and a publisher.

         page 53

   Mikhail Mikhaylov      page 59
   Is there a fundamental difference between the social doctrines of the Orthodox Church and the Western religions? The Orthodox religion is a great praying tradition, a spiritual experience of many centuries and a school for reaching holiness. It is God-oriented, Theo-centered. Being an ascetic creed, it teaches fight with the passions. Orthodoxy is realistic in the maximum sense of the word. The Church does not cherish any illusions about the good human intentions. The revival of the man, the saving of the human entity is a deed of God’s blessing. As Christ has said: “You cannot do anything without Me.” The Western religions are historically and socially active. The conflict of the Popes with the mundane kings strengthens the statesmanlike tendencies in the Catholic Church and creates the type of the socially active, and even militant Christian. The Protestant Reformation gives an additional impetus to these tendencies, summarized with the notion “secularization”. The Western religions today run the risk of turning into charitable and ceremonial organizations. Western Christianity is losing memory about its saving mission.

   Rumen Stoichkov page      page 61
   We are standing in the hall which treasures a dear memory of a glorious Thracian. Of Sitalk, son of Teres, who in his 20-year reign has achieved extraordinary successes in the territorial widening of his country - the Odris kingdom. It is thought that he has been assassinated near the Vitosha mountain, following a plot against him. His body, already of a God, has been transferred here, in this temple-turned-Mausoleum. The ancient Thracians believed that once acquiring the throne, their rulers turned into semi-Gods. While their death immediately put them on the list of the deities. The temple, where offerings were made as sacrifice and fortune telling was done, is turned into a tomb of the Odris king following his death. Already in the 5th century B.C. its builders have encircled it with an impressive support wall, called “crepida”. Its circumference is 241 metres, its height reaches at places 7-8 metres. The sculptures of 2 lions have been placed at the entrance. The stairs have led Sitalk upwards, to the second hall - the Round Hall. A one-wing stone door opened before him. So that he could stay in seclusion - under a 6-metre dome, in a round room, 5.30 m in diameter. The walls were decorated with ten Doric semi-columns. Ten, for this was one of the sacred numbers for the Thracians. The dome itself was built terrace-like, gradually narrowing in the middle and ending with a key stone, with a weight of 1.2 tons. The guide lights up her pocket flash-light. I also glaze in the charm of this sacred place. No light has entered the Round Hall for nearly 2 500 years.
Translated by Galina B. Cholakova