Page 50 - MIGRATION

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MIGRATION, MEMORY, HERITAGE: SOCIO-CULTURAL
APPROACHES TO THE BULGARIAN-TURKISH BORDER
the fragrance of a sweet-smelling Bulgarian garden with various flowers. The bell structure is a
place of remarkable energy. The recent renovation has kept and renewed the building, which is
not only a church but a genuine temple of the Bulgarian spirit...
(Raikova 2011)
The Bulgarian cemetery
is a deserted old Christian graveyard. The safeguarding of the
place and the fact that the memorials have survived is associated with the name of the Bulgarian
from Edirne Filip Chakarak (Father Alexander’s father), who voluntarily took care of the
St George
church for decades. The place of the cemetery was saved from confiscation by his death-bed
wish to be buried there. With the consent of the local authorities, the graveyard is kept up and
perceived as a recovered Bulgarian site. A monument of F. Chakarak and a chapel have been built
there. Some memorials are still there on the green.
The
Dr Petar Beron
high school for boys
was founded in 1896 with the finances of Dr
P. Beron, who had died in 1871 and whose will demanded for his possessions to be used for
the benefit of Bulgarian education. In 1901 a modest building was constructed at the Balak
market, which functioned as a boarding school. It was entirely destroyed by the fire in 1905. The
reconstruction took great efforts. In 1910, in the Topkapi neighbourhood, the construction of a
new school was embarked on; it was completed in 1912.
The newly constructed school was furnished after the latest fashion, with classrooms
and offices, a music hall, and a large library, but it could not be made use of for a day even. The
Balkan War suspended its activities... The building of the Dr Petar Beron high school cannot be
mistaken with any other. It is the most stylish in multifaceted Edirne, uniquely beautiful with
its simplified but rather striking architecture. It looks as if it were built yesterday. The outside
walls still keep the elegant ornaments of wrought iron. On both sides of the main entrance,
the personal sign of Beron can be seen, the one that decorates the Fish Primary. The facade
is symmetrical, slightly extended in the centre. The south-facing side mirrors the north-facing
side so that from the air the building looks like a cross... I am trying to imagine what it was like
100 years ago. The nice road from the Tundzha bridge used to swarm with people, carts and
hansoms from very early in the morning. Students dressed in their handsome uniforms would
go out in groups from the boarding house at Balak market. They would be in a hurry, not to be
late, even though the school was very close by
(Chonchev 2009).
Currently, the massive building from the early twentieth century has been turned into an
orphanage. A picture of the school, accompanied by a short text is included in the tourist guide
to Edirne in the Museums section. Seeing the building from the outside has just made it into the
tours of the Bulgarian visitors.
In the past, in Edirne there was a Uniate Catholic mission of the Resurrectionists, with a well
developed church-singing tradition; therewas also a
BulgarianCatholic School
. Today the building
of the Catholic school houses a college. The place has not acquired a tourist site status as yet.