Page 75 - MIGRATION

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MIGRATION, MEMORY, HERITAGE: SOCIO-CULTURAL
APPROACHES TO THE BULGARIAN-TURKISH BORDER
to an extent, even if Strandzha kisses the sea in this part of Bulgaria, the settlements founded
by the refugees, Kiten, Lozenets, Varvara, and Sinemorets, have turned their backs on it and feel
better related to the mountain space. On the other hand, despite its formal similarity with Edirne,
Tsarevo has a new neighbourhood and an old neighbourhood; the Old town is the living New
town situated on the northern peninsula of the settlement, while the ‘empty’ Greek residential
area got populated too late. Thus, functioning as a homogeneous town space, it has long blurred
the traces of refugees settling in, and now their homes are in the town centre. The situation with
the Thracian Bulgarians in Tsarevo could be termed ‘migration towards the majority’.
Tsarevo is the largest Bulgarian municipality in the South-eastern part of Bulgaria,
26
bordering with the Republic of Turkey. It is farther away from Edirne
27
compared to other Bulgarian
municipalities along the border but what we observed was the perception of the town and the
surrounding villages and smaller towns as a local centre of things ‘Thracian’ and of ‘Thracianness’.
Tsarevo, Kiten, Ahtopol, Varvara, Sinemorets, and the villages around them in Strandzha are the
sites of settlers. Something more: this situation we consider as a field experiment, which gives
us the chance to study the phenomena of the different generations of migrants, the acts of
constructing heritage and the expression of identities.
Local projects on transborder collaboration: “Our Strandzha in Turkey”. Political
usage of heritage
The strategies of the descendants of Thracians fromTsarevo and the region in the direction
of Strandzha and Edirne are already part of the official local policies of the municipality. Under
the legitimate form of projects for transborder collaboration, once the crossing of the border
was eased and Bulgarians were allowed to travel freely to the Republic of Turkey, in addition to
the trips to the villages, a number of projects for cultural exchange gained popularity. The active
party in applications with projects for transborder collaboration is the Turkish party and, in the
beginning, projects were developed thanks to the personal contacts of social actors on both sides
of the border. The key actor there is an out-migrant from Kirdzhali, who works with the neighbour
municipality of Pinarhissar.
In the last two years
28
therehavebeennonewprojects for collaboration atmunicipality level
but the ‘Thracians’ from Tsarevo keep visiting Edirne in connection with the different celebrations
in the two Bulgarian churches.
29
The former mayor, Petko Arnaudov, has made a motion for the
reconstruction of the Bulgarian church in the village of Yana, the birthplace of many refugees who
settled in Tsarevo, Ahtopol and the villages of Strandzha.
access and settlement.
26 The population of the municipality is 9,271 inhabitants, 7,359 out of whom reside in towns and 1,932 live in
villages. http://censusresults.nsi.bg/Census/Reports/2/2/R1.aspx?OBS=BGS13
27 We use Edirne as a point of reference because a large portion of our fieldwork took place there as it is
considered the centre of Thracian memory.
28 This time-reference is made at the time of our last fieldwork in 2011. Changes in the local policies are quite
possible after the change of local government.
29 The last event in Edirne attended by representatives from Tsarevo was the unveiling of the monument of
Exarch Antim I in front of the
Saints Konstantin and Elena
Church in Edirne.