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285. Resort operator Albena to sell two seaside projects

Wise Property: 2008-10-29

Bulgarian resort operator Albena AD has put up for sale its upscale holiday complex in Byalata Lagouna (White Lagoon) area, on Bulgarias northern Black Sea coast.

The project is up for grabs for 42.5 million euro, and comprises two units of 177 flats, a spa centre with an indoor and an outdoor swimming pool, a beach, a tennis court, a restaurant, a sweet shop, a supermarket and a parking lot.

Albena unveiled in June plans to build on the 2.2ha land plot after failing to sell it. The complex should be finished by the end of 2010 at a cost of 17 million euro.

The resort operator has also put up for sale its Balchik Gardens project due to sprout in the coastal town of the same name. The investor is asking for eight million euro, VAT excluded, for ten buildings of up to five floors with a total floor space of 22 600 sq m and retail outlets. The company is putting the finishing touches of two of the buildings.

No buyers have shown up yet for the whole Byalata Lagouna project but six or seven of the flats have already been sold.

284. Borovets among the most preferred destinations for the British

News BG: 2008-10-28

The Bulgarian ski resort Borovets is on third place in a ranking of the best winter destination according to the British, writes in the report of the British post transport service, cited by the Daily Telegraph.

The report makes a research on 14 winter resorts in Europe and North America using the correlation between the prices of the ski equipment, the accommodation and the food. According to the report, the Romanian resort Poiana Brasov is the best destination for the British tourists.

The Slovak Vysoke Tatry comes second, reasserting the first three positions for East European countries.

The only other participant from Eastern Europe in the ranking is the Slovenian Krainska gore, which holds the sixth place.

The ski resorts in North America are the most expensive ones for the British skiers and took the last two places in the ranking, showed also the annual report.

283. 'Nestle' liked the spring water in the Bulgarian town of Sopot

News BG: 2008-10-27

Experts from Nestle liked the spring water in the Bulgarian town of Sopot for bottling. According the them the water has the necessary qualities being consumed by babies.

The French experts claimed that in the nearest future they will present their intentions for concession of the spring.

The spring water fountains in Sopot are 27 in total. Most of them are constructed in 18 and 19 century.

282. New office, retail building to rise on Tsarigradsko Chaussee in Sofia

Wise Property: 2008-10-25

Belgian company Ilpa Development will invest 25 million euro in the construction of a combined office and retail building on Tsarigradsko Chaussee in close proximity to the Metro and Technomarket superstores.

Arco Real Estate, the company presenting the project on the market, said that the investor was seeking buyers for parts or the entire building. According to website investor.bg, Ilpa Development initially had plans to sell the building off plan. The construction already began and it is expected that the project would be completed by 2010.

The Ellipse Center will feature 10 floors with offices of the highest class A and retail spaces spread on 19 000 sq m. Currently, office units, each of which is 908 sq m, are being sold separately, but an entire floor could also find its buyer. The price starts from 1700 euro a sq m.

A showroom of 1326 sq m has also been envisioned, along with two levels of underground parking garages with 134 parking spaces. The plan features a bar and a restaurant occupying 1000 sq m.

The building itself will be shaped as a ellipse and a bit lopsided, for there will be a five-meter difference in levelling between the first and the last floor. The facade will be constructed with diamond-shaped windows.

281. Martenitsa is Bulgaria's best known symbol

News BG: 2008-10-24

The martenitsa is Bulgaria's best known symbol, followed by a misty morning in the Rhodope Mountains and the gangsters.

These are among the best known Bulgarian symbols that foreign readers of the Bulgarian magazine Vagabond chose.

The campaign "Symbols of Bulgaria" started officially on July 21. 1229 people have voted at the site of the magazine.

Foreigners, living in Bulgaria, as well as Bulgarians outside their home country are those, who took part in the campaign, the most active outside Bulgaria being those in Macedonia, Serbia, Romania, Greece and Turkey.

Survey, taken by "Vagabond" magazine shows that the symbols of Bulgaria, chosen by foreigners are entirely different from those, chose by Bulgarians.

The foreigners ignore The Madara horseman, chosen by Bulgarian, as their top-symbol, as well as the Bulgarian rose and the yoghurt, comments Anton Georgiev from "Vagabond" magazine.

"One of the most peculiar participants in the list is not an object or a concept, but a feeling - a misty morning in the Rhodope. We all have seen that - at dawn, in the Rhodopes, the mist is still not risen, but the sun shines through it and one can almost hear the scream of a bag-pipe, even if there is no bag pipe around".

Here is the whole list:

Martenitsa 25, 1 %

Misty morning in the Rhodope Mountains - 24, 8 %

Gangsters -11, 9 %

Sexy girls - 9, 1%

Rakia and cigarettes smoke - 7, 6%

The expression - "In a minute" - 6, 8 %

The cosmopolitan capital Sofia with a church, a mosque and a synagogue -4, 7 %

The overbuilt of the Bulgarian seaside - 4, 2 %

Expensive cars and donkey carriages - 3, 9 %

Street dogs -1, 7 %

280. Miss Bulgaria Universe in quest in Hollywood

News BG: 2008-10-23

Geri Kochanova went to the USA, where she will be for a month.

Pictures of the Bulgarian beauty have been approved by several American agencies, one of which is the famous Real Talent.

A couple of weeks ago, Geri has been offered a small part in a Hollywood production, but she couldn't leave early enough for the shootings.

Gergana shares that she considers traveling around the States except for hard working and casting.

279. The longest eco-track in Bulgaria

News BG: 2008-10-22

Between October 20 and 27 the longest eco-track in Bulgaria will be officially opened, reports radio Focus-Smolyan.

The track is 100 km long and starts from Hvoyna village, goes through Chepelare and Smolyan and ends in the Greek village Paranesti.

The track goes by some of the most interesting Rhodopean sites - the Bridges of Wonder, Tsirikovata Tsarkva, Pamporovo, Orpheus rocks, the waterfalls' canyon, The Eagle Stone near Smolyan, and the upper course of the Arda river. After Arda village the track goes through to Elidzhe passage near Rudozem and crosses the Bulgarian-Greek border. The route goes on with some of the highest waterfalls in the Rhodope mountains.

Unfortunately, the tourists won't be able to cross the border, until the border point is opened.

It takes five days to go from the beginning of the track to its end. Many shelters, toilets, fountains and summer-house were built alongside the track.

278. European Forest Week promotes protection of local wooded areas

Sofia Echo: 2008-10-21

From October 20 to 24 2008, Bulgaria and the European Union mark European Forest Week 2008, celebrating the contribution of European forests in mitigating climate change and providing wood and renewable energy, securing supplies of fresh water and protecting our environment. In Bulgaria, the State Forestry Agency (SFA) is organising more than 60 events throughout the country to promote the protection of local wooded areas.

SFAs initiatives include planting of new forests, re-creation of habitats of endangered animal and plant species, cleaning green areas in natural and national parks, visits to nature places and making presentations on the role of the forest in the overall picture of environment protection.

Bulgaria, together with Italy and Spain, has had the largest increase in forested areas in Europe. Europe is the only region worldwide that has seen an increase in such areas, SFA said at a news conference devoted to the event on October 20.

European Forest Week was declared by ministers responsible for forests in 46 European countries and is organised by the European Commission, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, the Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe and the UN Economic Commission for Europe, in close collaboration with the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, France.

277. Mobile phone company tells foreigners to pay 200 leva to get a contract if they have no Bulgarian ID

Sofia Echo: 2008-10-20

When Pauline and Russell Gascoigne tried to open an account at one of Bulgarias largest mobile service providers, sales representatives gave them two options. Either they could present a lichna karta (Bulgarian ID) confirming their address or, if they did not have one, pay a refundable security deposit of 200 leva.

The Gascoignes found both options unreasonable, for the family did not have Bulgarian IDs, and offered to show their British passports. Neither of their passports was a sufficient identification, they were told, nor was the udostoverenie, or certificate for long-term residence issued to European Union citizens, but which has no photograph or current address.

At first, Pauline Gascoigne said, she thought that the company was discriminating against foreigners, for she knew that Bulgarian citizens were not required to pay a security deposit. The couple visited at least five different shops of the same mobile operator in Pleven, Tryavna and Lovech, and everywhere there got the same reply lichna karta or 200 leva up front.

I have never heard of such a practice and I am quite surprised, a company representative told The Sofia Echo in the first of several phone conversations. Later, the company confirmed that, according to its house rules, the potential client should present a document with a valid address, but previous electricity or water bills were not acceptable.

You do understand that we as a company need to insure ourselves for the amounts due, the representative said.

The companys logic was simple: when there is no proof of valid address, the deposit of 200 leva is imposed and it would be refunded when the contract is terminated.

Pauline Gascoigne understood the rules, but what she kept wondering was how to convince the mobile operator that all she had was a business address and that, according to state regulations, she could not apply for a lichna karta until five years of interrupted residence in the country had passed. The family lives in a house which is their business address since, to be able to buy property in Bulgaria, foreign citizens are obliged to register a company if it is a property with land. According to Gascoigne, she offered to confirm that she had an address, but the sales people were not interested.

In a follow-up phone call the mobile operator said that it was unlikely that all their staff in question had disregarded the business address, but agreed that not all sales clerks spoke sufficient English to explain what was necessary. With miscommunication possibly being the only issue, the mobile operator said that it considered three categories of foreign clients: those with a status of temporary, long-term and permanent residence in the country.

These categories are spelled out by the Migration Directorate at the Ministry of Interior. Any form of address could be verified by any regional office of the Migration Directorate with an official state stamp, which would be accepted by the mobile operator and eliminate the need for a security deposit.

Ignat Arsenov, a legal consultant at the European Consumer Centre-Bulgaria (ECC) told The Sofia Echo that in this case discussed the consumer rights of British citizens had not been violated. Arsenov cited clause 19 of the mobile operators contract regulations on address requirements. Clause 25 indicated that the company could refuse to enter a contract with a private client. Alternatively, they could require the security deposit as defined in clause 56.

According to Arsenov, the case was not an example of discrimination against foreigners, as stipulated by the Consumer Protection Act.

Complaints, however, can be filed with the ECC in Sofia at ecc.bulgaria@kzp.bg.

If there are questions about customers being potentially discriminated against, Arsenov advised that a written request for a detailed review should be filed with the Commission for Protection against Discrimination at 35 Dragan Tsankov Blvd, Sofia.

276. Andy Warhol paintings in Sofia Arts Gallery

News BG: 2008-10-19

Everybody who happens to visit the imposing building of Societe Generale in Paris, situated in the modern La Defance area, can't remain indifferent to the works of art inhabiting the whole space.

Modern and provocative, they tickle the senses and inspire a more dynamic contemporary way of communication.

The collection was initiated in 1995. The original idea of using the newly bought works for decorating offices and conference halls soon developed further and after 2003 the amount of the collection allowed for the donation of works to museums in France and other countries. Today it includes over 170 works by authors from different countries and generations, who represent a variety of styles. Regardless of the deliberately eclectic character of the collection, with its growing we can identify three major genres: abstract painting, photography and sculpture. World known names like Pierre Alechinsky, Pierre Soulage, Antonie Tapies, Andy Warhol and Sol Lewitt appear alongside young talents from the end of the 20th and the beginning of the 21st century.

The exhibition in Bulgaria has been organized in co-operation with Societe Generale Expressbank. The selection of works has been made by the expert team of Sofia City Art Gallery and includes 19 artists with 48 paintings, drawings and photographs. The concept is that we show the diversity of a corporate collection and the opportunities it gives for an international cultural exchange.

The ehxibition will be in Bulgarina until November 7.

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