Revise your summer vacation search, it’s time to pack your bags and visit the largest new cultural theme-park in the world.
Nestled over 136,000 square meters of land in the small village of Neofit Rilski, Historical Park Bulgaria plans on becoming the number one destination for an authentic cultural experience.
The essence of Historical Park starts with understanding the people in Historical Park – the Bulgarians. Bulgarians are a friendly and peaceful nation, musicality comes not only from folklore dance but carries through the food, culture and all daily activities. The Historical Park is in plans to become a franchise to neighbouring Eastern European countries too.
Historical Park Bulgaria, “Исторически парк“, opened in 2019 and surrounding town of Neofit Rilski and is still in development. At the moment a Park development map outlines: 12 grandeur stone houses, 4 hotel style Accommodation Zones, a spa and wellness centre, a vast equestrian centre (where duels happen), and a large covered organic farmers market and a post office, not counting Historical Park. Basically, this is the Disneyland for history nerds and buffs, medieval entertainment and those interested in the fantasy of medieval periods, the houses are built from the Byzantine Empire, from the 12th century architecture. What type of food is grown on the land? “Oh, boy. Organic,” laughed Rado. The natural food has zero pesticides, zero herbicides, zero fungicides. Having natural fertilizers and no chemicals enriches the soil to produce twice as much every year. “We also grind rocks to get the minerals out of the rocks, and then we integrate them back into the soil, so we can restore all those minerals and vitamins that the actual vegetables start assimilating once they grow,” said Rado. The Park has three kitchens: vegan, traditional and “sports” (ultra nutritious).
Bulgaria is a landmine of rich cultural history and goldmine of natural resources, such as the Bulgarian Rose Oil. The country faces a population crisis where the slow trickle of students and young families are moving abroad to “seek better opportunities” elsewhere. This not only becomes a population crisis for the country but an economical woe as native-land talent is leaving the country and becoming seeded in another. The steep population decline and massive outbound traffic is something the country is dealing with, introducing new programmes and initiatives, like the opportunity to build and facilitate Historical Park.
Radoslav (Rado) Ivanov gets out of his Audi S5 and shows me a 360 of his design for this year’s 2023 Car Show at the Historical Park starting tomorrow all weekend, “It’s easier to show then to explain,” he said. “The purpose of this parade of vehicles is that to promote Bulgaria, to ‘Awaken the Bulgarian inside’” said Rado. Lightning bolts, flags, flames, Khan Krum (Bulgaria’s most fierce ruler ever), lions, eagles, Kings… there is no limit to the design. Bulgarians from all over the country will showcase their cars representing the freedom of Bulgaria’s white, green and red flag; Just as there are no limitations to deigns, there are no limitations to where you come from. There is a nice pool of prize money to be won too: 1st at 5,000lv., 2nd at 3,000lv. and 3rd 1,000 leva.
The car show is just one weekend out of a regular schedule of events on their calendar. The park promotes collectivism compared to individualism. Not communism, collectivism.
“Just think more about the people besides yourself. If everyone thinks about at least 10 more of their friends, life would be a lot better. So, this event is a stimulus for that,” said Rado.
Rado, 30, lived in the States for two years with his parents in 1998-2001, leaving back for Bulgaria when their visa expired. This was just his first taste of the America’s as he would go back in the summers to work and earn a bit of extra money to become more financially independent. University in Bulgaria is inexpensive compared to other countries so with extra dollars coming in from abroad he was able to seek new opportunities. A new job with a publishing company gave Ivanov an advantage to travel around the world but always call Bulgaria home.
“We were selling books, basically, doing door-to-door. That was the business that I was in,” said Rado. “I see these guys selling books and I’m like, What kind of books are these? And when I saw about finances, investments, and just creating opportunities overall, because most Bulgarians abroad have lost faith in Bulgaria as a land of opportunity. And they don’t know how to actually exploit the opportunities that exist in Bulgaria. Now I get to promote Bulgaria as an International Sales Representative for the Historical Park. My country, I love it so much,” said Rado.
Bulgaria has around 5,000 towns where 80% are depopulated, reality is, you could just buy out the land, make your own town and (generally) live by your own rules. “The American Dream is bullshit. You can’t break through from the big capital that have put their claws in. They’re like an octopus,” said Rado, “if you’re not politically connected or you’re not American you can forget about the American Dream.”
Ivelin Mihaylov, the founder of Historical Park, with the help of over 1700 investors has created a space where guests can go back 10,000 years in time and walk through architecture, weapons, furniture, clothing and food. Historical Roman books have been translated to capture the exact spices and herbs in cuisine to use in the Park’s kitchens today.
For those not able to visit the Park, virtual tours are available (for 50 euro) and not to mention a YouTube channel nearing 200 videos.
Bulgarian Tsarstvo (aka Bulgarian Tsardom) is sometimes translated as “Bulgarian Kingdom”, however this small technicality is incorrect as Bulgaria had Tsars not Kings.
The role is that the Kings always answer to the Pope, while the Tsar is always above the archbishop or the patriarch. Bulgaria is Christian Orthodox, including Greece, Romania, Serbia, Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus.
Tours at the Park help understand not only the daily way of life of the Bulgarian, but also why things were done in such ways. Why the Bulgarian system was not a system of invasion, it was a system of inclusion.
Radoslav Ivanov said,
“Because some empires were empires like the Ottoman’s, they were invading, pillaging, destroying, compared to Bulgarian that offered a system in which if you contribute, you receive exactly what you deserve. Let’s say I’m a Greek and I want to join the Bulgarian country, and you’re allowed to become, let’s say, an apprentice at a blacksmith place and you become super good at it and you start making more swords and more shields than anyone else.
Nobody’s going to be like, “Oh, look at that evil Greek taking our jobs. No, they’d be like, this guy deserves to be the leader.
He’s doing it better. He’s doing it the best way. Same with warriors, same with practitioners. Whether it was something connected to medicine, that was the Bulgarian system. That’s why nations actually joined the Bulgarian Empire because it wasn’t an empire of invasion, it was more about inclusion. So if you’re better at the actual skill, you get to join, and you receive your ranking compared to having the heritage style, which is the emperor style.
So if the emperor’s son inherits everything that the emperor actually achieved and the sun doesn’t have the skills, that’s an unfair way. So it’s unjustified. While the Bulgarian way was the son doesn’t get exactly what the father maintained, unless he proves himself worthy.
That’s something that the Western world does not even know. It’s been hidden for so many years. So that’s why this is something that the kids actually learned, that Bulgarians are always, and have always been a nation of justice and injustice has always been taken care of, and in a proper way.
So if something, let’s say we get lied to by the Byzantine Empire, like the emperor, of course they get an, ass-whooping, excuse my French. But that’s usually what happened. If we get betrayed, we have to respond in a proper manner.”
Being Bulgarian, growing up I always knew I had to pretty much always explain myself where the country of Bulgaria is. Sadly, this is still the case. However, let’s stop and think for a moment here in Western Culture how people know Bulgaria? Maybe through the movies of Tom Hanks The Terminal, or the stud Viktor Krum in Harry Potter, or maybe Nina Dobrev of The Vampire Diaries. Point being, as a peaceful nation Bulgaria does not regularly frequent the news. Bulgaria’s system of partnership and inclusion might have communism to thank for it.
“If you contribute and you’re more valuable than the guy next door, you receive more and the guy next door understands it. So he doesn’t have to end you. He just understands that’s how the system works,” said Rado.
In two months’ time the Park will open The Inn, a large 60-seater restaurant on the main floor and hotel rooms on the floors above, with an opportunity to purchase organic produce. This might just be the detour you’ve been looking for this summer.
More Historical Park information visit here.
Read Newspaper Krasivo Vetrino in Bulgarian here:
A thank you to all the many volunteers who travel from all parts of Bulgaria to help build Historical Park Bulgaria.
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