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Location Map of Bulgaria

The Republic of Bulgaria is a country situated in the southeast of Europe. It borders the Black Sea to the east, Greece and Turkey to the south, Serbia and Montenegro and the Republic of Macedonia to the west, and Romania to the north along the river Danube.

The traditional ethnic minorities in Bulgaria:

Turks

Gipsies

Russians

Armenians

Vlachs
Karakachans

Greeks

Tatars

Jews

 

 


 
 

Bulgarian Language

The Bulgarian language is the earliest written Slavic language. It dates back to the creation of the old Bulgarian alphabet - Glagolitsa in 862 by the brothers Cyril and Methodius which was gradually replaced by the Cyrillic alphabet /Kirilitsa/ over the following centuries.
The most typical characteristics of the Bulgarian language are elimination of noun declension, suffixed definite article, lack of a verb infinitive and complicated verb system - there are various verb forms to express nonwitnessed, retold, and doubtful action. The words in Bulgarian are pronounced in the same way in which they are written. Problematic is the transcription of the Bulgarian names in Latin alphabet because the different phonetic codes in English, French and German.
The Bulgarians’ names consist of three parts - personal, father’s and family name. It is important to know that the suffixes of the women’s father or family names always change by adding „a” after the last consonant!

 

 

 

Minority languages in Bulgaria

What we mean by the term "minority languages"?
They are  also called regional languages because they are spoken only within a state, county, province or other administrative neobosoben region.
According to the "European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages”, this languages  are languages traditionally used in a given territory of a country, from citizens who form a group numerically smaller than the rest of the population of the country. Minority languages are different from the official language of the country. They must not be confused with the dialects.  The difference between the dialects and the minority languages is more political than linguistics. The language unites a social group- nationality, nation- and distinguished its members from other groups. The dialect contains linguistic differences, but it is not divide society. Respect the linguistic and cultural diversity is a hallmark of the European Union. This principle is kept in the European Charter of Fundamental Rights, accepted by EU leaders in 2000. Regional and minority languages are protected by the Charter,accepted within the Council of Europe.
Linguistic diversity includes not only the 23 official EU languages, but also its regional and minority languages. They are more than 60. These languages are spoken by nearly 50 million people across the territory of the European Union.
There are three generally accepted categories of regional orminority languages:

  • languages that are specific to a region that may be entirely or partly, in one or more countries that are member state of EU, and it is not a primary language in any EU country. This includes languages such as Basque, Breton, Catalan,Sardinian, Welsh and Frisian;
  • languages, that are spoken from a minority of the population in one EU country, but they are official languages in another. For example, German in Southern Denmark, French in Valle d'Aosta and in northern Italy and Hungarian in Slovakia;
  • languages that are not related to a particular territory, such as Roma or Jewish communities in the EU (Romani and Yiddish).

Bulgarians live with both large and small minority in Bulgaria. Some of them are in our lands for centuries before the formation of the Bulgarian nation. Others settled in the Middle Ages, and still others - in more recent times.
Ethnic groups in Bulgaria today are linguistically, culturally and emotionally connected as well with other countries, and with displaced communities in different countries. Jews and Armenians who have their own countries, are scattered throughout the world. Roma, who have no state, also are scattered around the world. Karakachans are mainly in Bulgaria and Greece; Gagauz are in Moldova, Bulgaria, Turkey, Romania, Greece, Ukraine. Romanians are in several European countries, etc.
Bulgarians also have their minorities outside the country. For example, there are Bulgarian minorities in Ukraine, Moldova, Romania, Hungary, Serbia, Albania, Turkey and others.
Bulgarian people generally belong to a minority. In Article 6, paragraph 1 of the Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria is said: "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. ". And in paragraph 2 - "All citizens are equal before the law.”. “There shall be no restriction of rights or privileges based on race, ethnicity, gender, national origin, religion, education, beliefs, political affiliation, personal or social status or property status. ".
The Ministry of Education draw requirements for curriculum development in mother language in 2001. Mother language classes are part of the students` program from Class V to VIII. They are part of compulsory optional subjects. For mother languages are counted Turkish, Roma, Armenian and Hebrew.
It is not known how many students take advantage of their right to teach two or three hours a week maternal speech. Only the number of children who study Armenian and Hebrew is clear, because they are very small, 286 children study Armenian and 250 children study Hebrew.

Ethnic minority communities in Bulgaria
The official language in Bulgaria is Bulgarian. According to the census in 2001, as Bulgarians were identified 6,655,210 people in total population of  7,928,901 people. Bulgarians are 84% of the population in Bulgaria. Bulgarian language is native for 6,622,850 people.
Bulgaria is located in a region that is in neighborhood with two world religions - Christianity and Islam. Nations have moved from one place to another in different historical ages. Some of these nations settled temporarily or permanently in the territory of Bulgaria. Therefore, there are many traditional ethnic and linguistic minorities and various religious communities.

The traditional ethnic minorities belong:

Turks

Turkic tribes / Yurutsite / from Seljuks settled in the Bulgarian lands during the 14th century. During the Ottoman rule, big cities have gradually turned into colonies of Turks who came from Anatolia. Large groups of Turks emigrated on several waves after the Liberation of Bulgaria. In the last census were identified as Turks 746,664 people. Among them there are a large number of Roma who speak Turkish and Bulgarian Muslims who do not use at home Turkish language. Turks inhabit mainly four geographic areas - Eastern Rhodopes,

Eastern Stara Planina with the Fore, Ludogorie and Dobrudja. In big cities like Sofia, Ruse, Varna, Shumen, Haskovo, Kardjali have Turkish communities. Turkish communities have also in the small towns like Nikopol and Targovishte. Much of Turks profess Islam, but there are also Christians. Their mother language is Turkish – on it are talking 720,136 people;from them 26 147 Bulgarians.
Bulgarian and Turkish culture are traditionally linked, but because of religious differences there are differences in lifestyle and culture of both peoples.
The Turks have two major religious holidays - Ramadan Bayram and Kurban Bayram. The Ramadan Bayram is prepared with special prayers during the previous three months, called Redjep, Shaban and Ramadan. People must not eat meat during the last month. Muslims prepare meals from fresh and dried vegetables, cakes, pilau, which do not cause thirst. With gun-fire and fires on minarets is notified the stopping of the fast. Then revelers sit at the table, which surely must have water, cheese and olives. The Ramadan ends with a three-day feast called Sheker Bayram. The first day should be invited the closest relatives. All gather at the home of the eldest of the family. People who have at odds between each other, get reconciliation and children kiss the hands of older and get baklava, cakes, candy and money.
Kurban Bayram has biblical home. This holiday is celebrated four days. Animals are slaughtering one day before the holiday. 2 / 3 of the meat is distributed to the poor. Sacrificial animal is used to prepare various dishes - kavarma, meat pies and more. During the months after Kurban Bayram is dealt Ashura / boiled wheat with raisins/.
Turkish traditional costumes for women are white shirts, embroidered with red embroidery, heavy metal belts, sequins and gold coins on their heads and headscarves. In men's suits must attend the red belt, full-bottomed breeches, sandals.
Ottoman Turkish language was official language of the Ottoman Empire. This language belongs to the oguzka subgroup of the Turkic languages. Ottoman Turkish language at its core is Turkish, but his vocabulary has 70 percent Arab and Persian words and grammatical constructions. This language used the Arabic alphabet. It started strongly to differs from the Turkish dialects spoken in 19 century. For it begins to form a new Ottoman language. In 1924 has codified the modern Turkish literary language based on Latin. The Ottoman language is out of use.
The contemporary Turkish language was created in the early 20 century. Contemporary Turkish language is not a direct successor of the Ottoman Turkish language. Although about four centuries the Ottoman written tradition had a strong influence on it.

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Gipsies

Gipsies settled in the Bulgarian lands a few waves during 13th and 14th century. They are divided into many communities and groups- by country of origin, their language and their religion, according to the crafts that deal and others. According to the census in 2001 the number of Roma is 370 908 people. With Gipsy mother tongue are 319,821 people with Bulgarian - 26,147 and Turkish - 24,214 people.
Gipsies are scattered throughout the country. Their presence is more limited in the Rhodopes. The Roma are the largest ethnic minority in most areas. Roma, who profess Islam are 103,436 people, and Eastern Orthodox Christianity - 180 326. There are few Protestants.
In Bulgaria Gypsy communities are divided into three main groups - Jerlii, KardaraSi and Rodari. Each group is divided into subgroups, which differ in spoken dialect and traditional male craft.Marriages between these three communities are rare. If there is such a marriage it will have consequences - "sinners" are repelled by both groups.
gipsies

If the couple is adopted - they will be in the group, which is lower in the hierarchy. Attitudes towards marriages between Bulgarians and Turks is more particular. These marriages have not approved, especially when the religion is different.
Gypsies hold very much of their legal autonomy. This means they will be judged by their chiefs / chieftains, cheribashii / and their laws. And today is preserved in the Balkans this particular institution - Gypsy Court / Romano Cristo, which in Bulgaria is called MeSare. Complaints to MeSare usually are about fled brides or benefits, but they making decisions and about current issues. Members of the court are odd number of people, who are very respected. Their place is not inherited but earned through family's reputation. According to the law in Bulgaria this institution does not exist in Bulgaria.
Much of the traditional celebrations of the Gypsies in Bulgaria are similar to those of other Muslims or Christians, but there are some differences.
Bango Vassili / lame Vasil, New Year's Eve / Day is celebrated on January 14. According to legend, Saint Basil saved Gypsy families from drowning in the sea as he sent a flock of geese to them. Gypsies jumped on geese and safely reached the opposite bank. This holiday is also called Basil and Gypsy New Year. This holiday is celebrated by Muslims gypsies. Families come together and remain locked in the house until midnight on 13 January for not to escape the luck. When the New Year arrived the families started to welcome guests, hoping first guest is a good man and to bring good luck.
On January 21 is celebrated Midwives' Day. This is the biggest holiday for Gypsies tsotsomani, who have led bears and monkeys on the fairs in the past. This holiday is celebrated two days. In The first day young women walk through the maternity homes who are accompanied by music. The girls are playing and singing, they are giving candy and other gifts to the staff of maternity homes. On the second day the woman with most children organize lunch.
On January 31 Gypsies celebrate Atanasov Day / Gypsy Atanas / and on May 6 -, St. George / Ederlezi, Hederlesi /.
In August Stara Zagora hosts the International Romani Festival.
Gypsy language is part of the indoaryan languages. The varieties of the Gypsy language can be classified in different ways. The linguist Yaron Matras  differs Balkan dialects  of the first type (the Balkans and the Crimea, Iran and Azerbaijan), Balkan dialects of the second type, or type zis (in the eastern Balkans). Also Southern Vlach dialects, northern Wallachian dialects, south-central  dialects (mainly in Hungary and Austria), north-central  dialects (mainly Slovakia and the Czech Republic), north-western dialects (dialects of the Sinti in Germany and France, and the Finnish Gypsies) and north-eastern dialects (Poland, Baltic countries and Russia). The Ibersks and most British dialects died out and there are just only slang varieties.
Slovenian and southern Italian varieties are specific too.
According to Yaron Matras, the dialects in Southeast Europe (Balkan and Vlach) are mutually intelligible, and also dialects in Central Europe (Carpathian) and those in the north-eastern Europe (Polish, Baltic and Russian). The dialects in Germany and France (sintski), in Finland and in southern Italy are more specific and inaccessible to outsiders.
The Balkan dialects of the first type (in Sofia) dominate In Bulgaria. Those of the second type are widespread (in Sliven). Southern Vlach dialects are also found.

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Russians

The first wave of Russians came to our lands in 17-18 century. These are people who have fled Russia during the church reforms. Their descendants are called lipo and occupied two villages in Varna and Silistra. The second big wave came during the civil war in Soviet Russia in 1918-1921. The immigrants are scattered in major cities. The third wave of Russians are people who are married for a Bulgarian citizens. According to 2001 census, the number of Russians is 15,595 people. They are Orthodox. Their mother tongue is Russian, but there are 656 people with the Tatar language.
Russian language is the most common language in Europe and Asia, and the most common Slavic language in the world. It is an official language of Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Transnistria, Abkhazia, South Ossetia. It belongs to the Indo-European language group, part of the East Slavic group, which includes – Belarusian and Ukrainian.
It is believed that the formation of modern Russian language has a big role drevnonovgorodskiya dialect, although it disappeared in 15-16 century. Old Bulgarian language also has had great influence carried by Bulgarian scholars during the Ottoman rule, found refuge in Russia, Ukraine and other counties. Many Bulgarian manuscripts and printed books are now kept in museums there.
In many major Bulgarian cities have Russian schools. In language schools as a second language is taught  Russian language, in other schools - is also taught as a second language.

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Armenians

Part of the Armenians came to Bulgaria after the Liberation pursued by Turkish authorities. In 1946 they were 21,637 people, but later many of them settled in Western Europe, North America and Soviet Armenia. Today their number is 10,832 people and live in big cities - Sofia, Plovdiv, Varna, Bourgas, Rousse. Most of them profess to Eastern Orthodox Christianity of the Armenian Apostolic Church. They speak the Armenian language.
Armenian language belongs to the family of Indo-European languages and it is a separate branch.

Modern Armenian language is represented by two major literary types: Western Armenian literary norm and Eastern Armenian literary norm. The first type is spoken in Armenian communities in Lebanon, Syria, Greece, the Balkans, Central and Western Europe, North America. The second one is spoken in the Republic of Armenia. Eastern Armenian literary norm is not only conversational language and language of literature but also the language of science, business, etc. According to the law of language, all business correspondence in the state must be conducted in Armenian language.
Armenian language is a unique with its grammar and with more than half of the etymological roots of its vocabulary. In the Armenian language only a small part of the grammatical bases were changed from the first surviving texts. The basic vocabulary has remained almost intact.
The creator of Armenian alphabet Mesrop Mashots / 362-440 / is an educated scholar and cleric. He traveled through Armenia and he is aware of the threat of assimilation. Together with his students visited some Greek and Syrian training centers to make comparative studies of the phonetic principles of the different alphabets. Mashots creates a unique alphabet of 36 characters, each of which is designed so that it is unlike any other signs of other alphabets. He gives them names and ranks them like the Greek alphabet.
The created alphabet is so well adapted to the sounds of the Armenian language, that it successfully plays its role for 500 years without major changes. Even though the alphabet was created during the strong Syrian influence, Greek influence is evident. The words are written from left to right. Armenian alphabet - this unique phenomenon - has played perhaps the most important role in preserving the national identity of Armenians to the present days.

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Vlachs

The old Bulgarian word “Wallach” means “Romanian”.
A legend says that the vlachs sinned and for punishment the Latin king exiled them into the lands of today’s Wallachian. He took everything from them and sent them naked and bare foot beyond Danube river. To survive, aside from fishing, he gave them cat-plowman with the help of which they plowed the land and grew corn. Parted from the world, they did not only forget the humane habits, but also their language. What’s left of it is only “O-o-pre-shte” – “stop”. They did not avow no king, nor God. They lived in cabins because it was forbidden to build houses. The Vlachs did not shave their hair or beard, and because they were naked, their whole bodies were covered in hair. That’s were their name comes from vlachs – hairy people. After a while the king took pity on them. He decided to bring them back to the civilization and sent a priest to baptize them. He also sent soldiers to escort them on this side of Danube, for them to learn to speak Bulgarian. They became so devout, that they overcame the natives in their service to God.

The word “Wallach” appears in history early in III century BC. It has a German origin and it translates to “foreign”. The Celts were first to carry this name, but after a while it became a sign that indicates all Romance nations.

Some think that the Vlachs are romanticized native balkan nation – Thracians, Dacians., Illyrian…And others claim, that they are Roman’s inheritors colonized to the Balkan Peninsula. And yet others say that they are Bulgarians that moved north and their successors came back to their motherland.

According to some historical sources the Vlachs moved on our lands early in XI century, but the other researchers suggest that their massive settlement to the south of Danube river is in the first half of XVIII century. Today they are living in the whole Balkan Peninsula, and also at the lands near Poland, Czech Republic and Croatia.

In Bulgaria the Vlachs live around the coast of Danube river, mostly in the area between Vidin and the lower flow of Timok river. The vlach language, is included in the Romance group of languages. It doesn’t have a writing form. In this group there is the language of the Armanite /kutzovlachs, tzintzari/. They moved to the bulgarian lands in the region of mountain Gramos and Korchanskoto field in XVIII century. They probably come from the autochthonous population on the Balkans, that lives in the peninsula before the Great Migration during IV- VII century. They live in Peshtera, Velingrad, and their surroundings, Dupnitza and others.

The Vlachs and Armanite are eastern orthodox. Their numbers reach 10 566 people, but the analysis from the last count shows that the people, mostly recognizing themselves like this are from Eastern Bulgaria, and they are probably among the so-called “vlachs gypsies”. As a mother language the Vlach is spoken from 5051 people. In Bulgaria there are also 1088 recognizing themselves as Romanians, but most of them are probably also gypsies.

The Vlachs are the third ethnic community in Bulgaria.

Among the most famous vlachs in the national history are accepted the members of the Assen dynasty – kings Assen, Peter and Kaloyan.

The vlachs are telling their goodbyes with the dead members of the family through dances in the area Albutin – around Vidin.

The vlachs believe that the Albutin church has a connection with the afterlife. Even today they gather there – during Pashti – the second day of Easter.
Dressed in holiday clothes, with flowers in their hands, to perform the pagan ritual, left from their ancestors – to dance for the dead, and after the sun rises – to cheer and dance for the living.

The Vlachs believe that on Joe mare /Thursday The Great/ God releases the souls of the dead to walk amongs their acquaintances on the Earth. The living ignite flames from an elder tree to warm their souls, and release empty pumpkins with lighted candles, connected in cross and pore water on them , so that the dead will not thirst in the afterlife. On Pashti the souls of the dead settle down like packs of white pigeons on the near hills and watch what the living are doing – what kind of dance are they performing.

On Pashti the Vlachs gather the herb dittany – it is believed that it cures all sicknesses. They also believe that it protects from evil forces and monters. That’s why the dittany is honored in every Vlach house.

It’s distinctive for the men’s garbs long white shirts. The garbs are nicely decorated with braids, embroideries and the beads on them are admired. They are proof of the how wealthy is the man that wears them. The females wear on their necks necklaces with golden coins. The Vlach woman always tries to be beautiful and richly decorated, not only during the week, but also on holidays. The long white Vlach shirts today should be put on only on folklore holidays.

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Karakachans
The Karakachans lived on the Balkans for centuries. It is scientifically proven that they are the most ancient nation in Europe. One of the most famous theories says that at first they lived in the area of Pintos – middle Greece, and more accurately the mountains Agrafa, in the region of the town Yanina.

During Ottoman rule the Karakachans give opposition to the enemy, and because of that Ali pasha commits a massive slaughter. This is the reason why in the beginning of XIX century they leave their lands and move to a nomadic kind of life. The word “karakachan” by itself is indicative. It’s created by two Turkish words – kara “ black” and kachan “ fugitive”.
The karakachans are met from Peloponnese through Thessaly and Northern Greece to Bulgaria, present Republic Macedonia, Albania, Odrin Trace, and the lands of Malaysia.

The tale of the “black fugitives” has another teller. They were the last defenders of Constantinople, which they left in 1453 and it fell under Turkish rule. Then the elders decide to wear black clothes to show the great mourn. The black color was carried over to the livestock, and all the white sheep were killed.

The most convincing theory of the karakachans and their appearance in the lands of present Bulgaria is that around XIX century, beneath mountain Epir, to the north towards Bulgaria begins a global moving of shepherds, considered as “karakachans”. From early spring to late autumn they travelled with their sheep the mountain fields of Southern Trace. Slowly they began settling up in the Bulgarian lands…
And supporting the fact that they are the most ancient nation in Europe is the fact that some of the elements in the weddings of the karakachans are met in the works of Omir /Homeros/ and Euripides. In the poems of Homer are found more than 500 words, which are used even today in the karakachan language.

They’ve learned the Romaic language. Around the fifties of the last century they settle in the area around Sliven, Kotel, Kazanlak, Samokov, Dupnitsa, Berkovitsa, Vratsa and others. They are Eastern Orthodox, and their numbers reach around 4107 people.

The karakachan culture includes songs, dances, poetry and a small part of wooden sculptures. Their dresses are with complicated, rich embroidery. The main themes used in the sculptures and the needle works are geometrical figures, human and nature ornaments.

Their folklore believing such as “bad eyes” and uroki, along with bad spirits are met as well in the Christian religion. In every home now and then is seen at least one icon, which is took care of with great importance. The family is seen as a reflection of the Holy Family. The father as a head of the family is very strict about the spiritual life of the family.

The karakachans believe in magic, bullet casting, they always wear a charm /mostly a blue eye/ to protect from bad thoughts.

Their traditional wedding represents a phenomenal tradition, whose different stages are kept reserved to this day. After the church they take the bride to her husband’s home and then they continue the actual wedding. They start round dancing and singing. All of the guests admire the well served table. The round dance is led by a boy, which caries a hand-made flag, richly decorated with golden and silver laces. There is embroidery on the ends. At the middle there are old coins and a bell. The handle is wooden, and the upper end is formed as a cross, on whose ends are put one red apple with golden lace.

It is typical for the karakachan bride to hide her face again, once she reached the home of her husband. The wedding people stay for the night at the boy’s house. And on Monday, early in the morning they open the girl’s trousseau, made by her mother and he gives gifts to the family of her man.

The song that is sang during the ritual dressing of the bride:

Shiku I puli mu tin avgi,
Ki aneva sto klaraki.
Ki tinakshe fterules su,
na peshi I droshya
Na geni limbi ki gelos,
na neftun I omorfes.
Na phiune dipsajmenes
Na nimfi miq ligiri
stin kshinithya na pai

Translation:
Wake up birdie in the morning
Get up on the branch.
Shake your wings
to get the water off of you
for the dew to become a sea
The handsome men to wash
The thirsty men to drink
A pretty girl to wash
to leave for an unknown place.
village Enina / area of Kazanlak/

The image of a bird – deep thought, symbolizes the inner spirit world of the bride. The dew is a symbol for the woman’s cries, endless as the sea. The bird is a metaphor for the soul, which shows the yearning of freedom, and a huge place that strengthens the drama.
The traditional karakachan clothing characterizes the originality and gives an important meaning of their material culture, but it may be close to other national dresses. Their traditional fabric is the cotton and wool, and the most common and distinctive color is black. The women’s dress is for summer and winter. The summer one is without sleeves. It is made of several layers. Overall is put a long white cotton shirt. In it’s lower end it has a lot of laces, mostly black. It’s called “pokamiso” or “kamso”. Above the sleeves of the shirt there are put other cut sleeves made from wool. The dress is called “fusta” there is a bodice above the fusta. It’s shorter than the shirt, black with a lot of laces in it’s lower part.

A belt is put above the skirt on the waist , it is called “zonari”, with a lot of embroideries different of color buttons. Above the skirt is shown a small part of the apron, which is made from wool and has a bunch of different laces, and has a oval shape. Over the waistband are put buckles which are called “gube”. The cloth is hung on the upper part of the dress, it’s made by cotton, coins and laces are put and it’s called “mandili”.

A headscarf is put on the head, decorated with flowers, it’s called “bona”. It’s made from wool and piping. The socks are also made from wool to help during the bitter weather. One woman dress weighs around 20 to 30 kilograms.

The men’s dress also contains a lot of layers. Overall is put a t-shirt made from wool, called “katasarki”, above it there’s a cotton shirt, above it there’s a wool bodice, called “sukorfi”. Above the bodice is wore another woolen cloth called “kojuka” /only during winter/. The shoes are black, tighten with a string, a belt is put on the waist – “zonari”, and above it is wore a white cotton skirt – “fustanela”, folded is pleats. The socks are called “patunes” and are mostly made from black and white wool.

In the town Sliven is held a traditional folklore gathering of the karakachans. It is of great importance for keeping and populating of the cultural and historical heritage of the karakachans. On this holiday people from Bulgaria, Greece and Macedonia are coming.

Typical for the karakachans is the using of natural medicine – they use herbs, honey, sheep’s blood and combinations of the above.

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Greeks

Those people moved to our lands early in the Age of Antiquity / 1000th year before new era to 500th year from the new era/ - on the Black Sea’s coast. There are also descendants of the Hellenized native population. During 1900 year there was 33 650 greeks, and after the Balkan war they numbers rose. As a result of the population exchange with Greece after World War I , most of them emigrated. According to the last population count, in Bulgaria there are 3408 greeks. Most of them are Eastern Orthodox, but there are also muslims. They speak greek language. Today most of them are met in Plovdiv, Asenovgrad, and some of the towns around the shore of Black Sea – Sozopol, Nesebar and others.

The greek language is Indo-European language, it is spoken by 15 million people in Greece, Cyprus, Albania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Macedonia and others. It’s origin is the Old-Bulgarian language, that occurred around 16th BC and is developing to this day and it’s called Romaic language. There are several dialects – ionic, Doric, Attic, Tessalic and others.

Their alphabet is taken from Felicia in around 720 BC and contains 24 letters.

Greek Alphabet

Α α — alpha Β β — vitas
Γ γ — gamma Δ δ — delta
Ε ε — epsilon Ζ ζ — zetas

Η η — eta
Θ θ — tita
Ι ι — jota Κ κ — kappa

Λ λ — lambda Μ μ — mi
Ν ν — ni
Ξ ξ — xi

Ο ο — omicron
Π π — pi

Ρ ρ — ro
Σ σ ς — sigma
Τ τ — tav
Υ υ — epsilon
Φ φ — fi
Χ χ — hi
Ψ ψ — psi
Ω ω — omega

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Tatars

They moved to our lands in 19th century in the area of Crimea Hanstvo – country of the Crimean tatars, which existed from the years 1449 to 1783. It took place in the territory of the Crimean peninsula, the lands between Danube and Dnieper, and a big part of the Krasnodarski end. Many of these Tatars have mixed marriages with turks and consider themselves as turks. Because of that their numbers fall from 17 942 people in the year 1905. to 1803 during year 2001 . Their religion is the islam. They use Tatar and Turk languages.

The name comes from “Ta-ta” or “Dada”, the Mongol speaking tribe, once lived in nowadays North-East Mongolia in 5th century. The Tatar tribes are beaten and conquered by their fellow Mongol tribe union of Genghis Khan in the end of 12, and the beginning of 13th century. Apparently the term “Tatars” is used as a name for all the tribes that conquered and destroyed parts of Asia and Europe led by the Mongolian union during 13th century. Later it becomes a name for almost all of the nomadic Asian nationalities, put aside the fact if they come from Mongolia or Western Asia.
The Tatars are a part from the Bulgarian society. They see Crim as their old motherland, and Bulgaria as the new. Aside the demographic crisis and the real threat of extinction of the Tatar nationality during the last couple of years it is observed a Renaissance of the Tatar identity. Bulgaria was once kept in touch with the Tatars early during 13-14th century. The ethnical composition in Dobrudja is proving the existence of a huge Tatar society from 15th to 20th century. During the years around 1783, when the Crimean king was captured by Russia, there was a great moving of Tatars from Kuban and Krim to Bulgarian lands. The Tatars now living in Bulgaria are descendants of these emigrants exactly, who saved their identity. The biggest wave of emigration was during the Crimean war (1853-1856) when around 60 000 people settled on Bulgarian territory. Most of them went in Northern Bulgaria – especially in Dobrudja, The Danube Plain and the area around Vidin. After the liberation of Bulgaria, the Tatars suddenly found themselves in a country, much different from its predecessor. This ethno-psychological shock led to a wave of emigration to Turkey.
A common thing for the Tatars is the absence of a sex-abuse against women, unlike other muslim societies.
They marry mostly within their people, unlike that in 20th century when the marriage with turks was unwanted, no this is normal. The mixed marriage with ethnical Bulgarians is also considered normal. Today, even the oldest Tatars understand the Bulgarian language. It was studied and used in the official contacts even before the Liberation of Bulgaria. The Tatars today mostly use their language, but there is a high tendency of renovating, from Tatar language to Turkish. Today some of the people with Tatar heritage don’t speak, nor understand the Tatar language but consider themselves as “true Tatars”.

Tatar is a Turkic language spoken by approximately 8 000 000 people in Russia, Siberia, China, Turkey, Poland, Ukraine, Finland, Estonia and central Asia. It is the official language in Tatarstan and is the second widespread language in Russia, after the Russian. This language was formed simultaneously with the spreading of Tatars in the districts of Ural. Influence could be found by the fellow ugro-finic language such as Marian and Umbrian mostly in the phonetics, even though it’s not clear if that influence wasn’t both ways, and in the lexical composition from Arabian, Persian and Russian language.

The Tatar language is classified as as a kaptakski Turkic language, although it has some oguzki signs. The earliest written document is the poem “ Kisa and Josif”, created in 13th century from Kul Gali. The method of the writing contains elements from the old oguzki and kapchanski language. The old Tatar language is recognized during the Kazan khanate, for which some parts are taken from the Arabian and Persian. After the conquering of the Kazan khanate from Ivan “The Ugly”, in the Tatar language are starting to take place some Russian words, and later borrowing from West-European languages.

Before the foundation of USSR, the Tatar language uses the Arabian alphabet. By the time of Stalin it is introduced the following Cyrillic version:

А а Ә ә Б б В в Г г Д д Е е Ё ё
Ж ж Җ җ З з И и Й й К к Л л М м
Н н Ң ң О о Ө ө П п Р р С с Т т
У у Ү ү Ф ф Х х Һ һ Ц ц Ч ч Ш ш
Щ щ Ъ ъ Ы ы Ь ь Э э Ю ю Я я

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Jews

The Jews are scattered all around the world and every group has its differences and language, and their known languages are around twenty. Around 97% of the Bulgarian Jews are safaradi. Except those, in our country live more representatives of the romantiors and ashkenazis. According to a memorial stone from 2nd century, found in today’s Gigen village tells that the romantiors existed early in our lands during the times of the Roman Empire. The Jews come from around 1st and 2nd century BC along with the Phoenicians and formed their own colonies, so that they can trade stocks with the native population. The romantiors also had their own language – mixed Greek and Latin. The Ashkenazis come to Bulgaria from Western Europe during the time of the Second Bulgarian kingdom. In the end of 15th century, when the Hispanic king sent away the unbaptized Jews from Iberis peninsula, more than a hundred-thousand Jews set off around the world and a part of them settle down inside the boundaries of the Ottoman Empire. And most of our language, meals, folklore and habits come from Spain thanks to the safaredian Jews.

After World War 2 most of them move to Israel. During year 2001 their numbers reach 1 363 people. Their religion the Judean. Their mother language is Bulgarian – 757 people , and Jewish – 552 people.

Ivrit is a Semitic language spoken by 6 million people in Israel and in the Jewish communities around the world. Nowadays Ivrit is formed in the moving Haskela in the middle of 19th century, its foundation is the Biblical ivrit. It was gradually turned into main language among the Jewish society, replacing languages like idish and ladino. After 1948 it becomes an official language of Israel, along with Arabian. Ivrit is a Semitic language spoken by 6 million people in Israel and in the Jewish communities around the world. Nowadays Ivrit is formed in the moving Haskela in the middle of 19th century, its foundation is the Biblical ivrit. It was gradually turned into main language among the Jewish society, replacing languages like idish and ladino. After 1948 it becomes an official language of Israel, along with Arabian.
   Memorial of the
   Jewish community in Kurdzhali

The Jewish alphabet contains 22 letters and 5 letters that are written only at the end of the word. All 27 letters are consonant. In Ivrit the alphabet is called “alefbem”

The jewish literature is a semi-acoustic writing system, used for the needs of Ivrit, and also for the other Jewish languages – Idish and Ladino. It’s also called Jewish abzhad /consonant language / much like the other abzhads, the writing direction is from right to left, and the rows from up to down.

The earliest intelligence for this literature comes from 1000th year BC, The Jewish abzhad descends from the Phoenician writing, and even the names of the different letters are taken from Phoenician.

Small numbered /below 1000 people/ traditional ethnical minorities:

Serbs – they are 422 people, mostly emigrants.

Circassians - they are 367 people. They come to Bulgaria during the 60s of 19th century. During the Russo-Ottoman war, when 200 000 people are forced to emigrate.
Albanians – 278 people. /During the year 1946 there were two Albanian villages in Ivailovgrad territory./

Lingual Minorities:
Gaugausians – they are Bulgarians, speaking Turkic language in home setting, but they’ve kept through the folklore their connection with the Bulgarian language. During 18th and 19th century most of them move to the southern side of Bessarabia. Now they live mainly in Moldova, where they have their own autonomous republic. In the year 1900 they were 5 501 people and in 2001 only 540 people recognized themselves as gaugasians. Their villages are in ends of the North-East areas of – Varna and Belogradchik.

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