Friday, 29 April 2011

Folded Paper

We all know about the traditional Japanese art of folding paper called origami. Everyone has folded at least a boat or a plane made out of paper. But in my opinion we rarely acknowledge how complicated some shapes are.
I took some books about modular origami for my tectonics exercise and I was amazed by the complexity of the models in them. Most of them consisted of a number of one or two types of complexly folded elements that fit together. It makes me wonder how did people discover how to make them.

This honey comb ball that I made, for example, consists of 90 identical elements. And it all fits together so smoothly. Really how did people discover those patterns? Folded paper models are so much more complicated than they seem.

Madara Horseman

   The Madara Horseman is a bas-relief situated 17 km from the town of Shumen, Bulgaria. It is dated back to 710 AD and is on the UNESCO World Heritage List.  What is so interesting about it is that it depicts a majestic horseman 23 meters above ground level in an almost vertical 100m high cliff.
The horseman, facing right, is thrusting a spear into a lion lying at his horse's feet. An eagle is flying in front of the horseman and a dog is running after him. The scene symbolically depicts a military triumph.
The dating means the monument was created during the rule of Bulgar Khan Tervel, and supports the thesis that it is a portrayal of the khan himself and a work of the Bulgars, a nomadic tribe of warriors which settled in northeastern Bulgaria at the end of the 7th century AD and after merging with the local Slavs gave origin to the modern Bulgarians. Other theories connect the relief with the ancient Thracians, claiming it portrays a Thracian god.

Thursday, 28 April 2011


The stronghold Tsarevetz is situated almost in the centre of the town Veliko Tarnovo in Bulgaria. It was the main fortress during the Second Bulgarian Kingdom (1185-1393). It is one of the 100 national tourist sites.
The first settlement, build on that historical hill, dates back to 4200 B.C. It continued its development during the Bronze and Iron ages when it was inhabited by the Thracians. It was destroyed during the 7th century. During the 19th century a new settlement was founded.
The legend goes that in roman times when the barbarians managed to destroy the great city, the Romans took the treasures of Nicopolis into the underground galleries. They fortified the fortresses and tried to defend them as long as possible. When they had to retreat, they designed deadly mechanisms in the galleries and coated them with poison. They covered the secret entrances. The entrance to the underground galleries of Tsarevetz was in the south part. The gallery led to an underground lake and only a man who knew the secret of the treasure could proceed. A hidden mechanism drained the water and one could reach another gallery via steps. From it there were several levels. On each the Romans left part of the treasure.

The Belogradchik Rocks

The Belogradchik Rocks are approximately 30 kilometers long, 3 to 5 kilometers wide and up to 200 meters high. Those bizarrely shaped sandstone, limestone and conglomerate rock foundations are located on the western slopes of the Balkan Mountains, near the town of Belogradchik in northwest Bulgaria. Many rocks have fantastic shapes and are associated with interesting legends. They are often named for people or objects they are thought to resemble. The Belogradchik Rocks have been declared a Natural Landmark by the Bulgarian government and are a major tourist attraction in the region.
               They were formed 230 million years ago. Some of the most magnificent rocks among them are the Madonna, the Horseman, the Monks, the Lion, the Bear, Adam and Eve, the Castle and the Dinosaur. The name of each rock is a creation of the brain of the local people. The flora and fauna in that region are really diverse. Here one can see animals such as the black stork, small vultures, awls, wolves, wild hogs, red deer and imperial eagle.

Monday, 7 March 2011


Kukeri are Bulgarian carnival figures- men dressed like beasts or typical characters (grandfather and grandmother, the king and the tax- collector), always wearing masks, bells on their waists and fur-coats. According to old custom the kukeri walk the streets on the first days of January and dance to scare evil spirits away with the costumes and the sound of the bells, as well as to provide a good harvest, health, and happiness.
               Young and old dress in national costumes put on masks and try to scare the evil spirits away. According to the tradition the kuker games are performed only by men, mainly unmarried. Each kuker group has its leader who is the only married man or with other words a householder with established social position. Some groups are also leaded by two man acting as husband and wife.\
               The costumes that kukeri wear are prepared by themselves. In some parts of Bulgaria kukeri wear masks with wooden construction and variegated threads. They glue pieces of different fabrics mirrors, feathers and various different ornaments.