RESETTLERS AND MIGRANTS ON THE TWO SIDES
OF BULGARIAN-TURKISH BORDER:
Heritage, Identity, Intercultural Interactions
EXHIBITION "SHARED THRACE"
Natinal Ethnographic Museum
sofia, sq. "Knyaz Alexandes I",1
16 December 2010 - 16 March 2011
This exhibition is part of the work on the project “Resettlers and Migrants on the Two Sides of the Bulgarian-Turkish Border: Heritage, Identity, Cultural Interactions.”
The established political frontiers divide territories, which have always been thought of as a common land by the communities that inhabit them.
The authors of the exhibition offer a vision, which expresses the endless human aspiration for borders’ overcoming: both mentally and physically, with an emphasis on intercultural communication, transfer of cultural models and their sharing with the “others” as a form of cultural exchange.
The return to the roots in the places of origin in Keşan and Uzunköprü regions, the warm welcoming and communication of Thrace refugees’ descendants with local people are preserved in a large part of the photographs in the exhibition. The images connect the tracks of the historical narrative and retrieve the memory about the Bulgarian presence there.
An important place in the document materials is occupied by the borderline city of Edirne (in Bulgarian Odrin) – a center of the historical region of Thrace, a town of migrants and resettlers – mostly from the Balkans, and a bridge between Eastern and Western cultures. The preserved Bulgarian sites in Edirne get established nowadays as centers of cultural and spiritual life connected to Bulgaria. In the period of May 2009 – June 2010, the research team observed and photographed festive events in the two Bulgarian churches – Easter, the Day of St. George, the Days of Bulgarian culture, etc., which were shared between the Edirne citizens and Thrace people who came as visitors from Bulgaria.
The work on trans-border projects between Bulgarian and Turkish organizations facilitates learning about each other, the achievement of agreement and the exchange of cultural experience. Visual examples of this are the Exhibition of Folk Arts and Crafts with the participation of masters from Plovdiv, the Day of the Child in Edirne with performances by children’s folklore groups from Bulgaria, the activities in the sphere of cultural tourism, etc.
The contacts with Bulgarian language and culture are made possible also through the training of students from Thrace University in Edirne, as well as through the Bulgarian Cultural and Information Center.
The visual narrative is accompanied by thoughts shared by our interlocutors – descendants of Thrace Bulgarians from Eastern Thrace and Turkish people who have got their roots in Bulgaria.
In the period from 6th till 14th August 2010 Magdalena Elchinova accomplished a field research among the representatives of the refugee community in the city of Istanbul. The extremely hot weather and the vacation season did not prevent the observations and meetings to be held with many representatives of the Turkish refugees and the Bulgarian community in the city. The studies were done in different quarters of Istanbul - Avdzhalar and Esenler (concentrationg quite many Turks from Bulgaria) and Shishly (where the Bulgarian Exarchal House is to be found). (read more)
In the period between July 29 and August 1, 2010, Nikolay Vukov and Lina Gergova undertook a fieldwork visit to the town of Yambol and the village of Atolovo, Straldja municipality. During their visit, they had meetings with representatives of municipal and cultural institutions, with members of the Thracian Association in Yambol, and with descendants of refugees from Edirne Thrace. (read more)
From 20th till 26th July 2010 Valentina Ganeva – Raicheva, Natalia Rashkova and Behrin Shopova accomplished a field research in the city of Istanbul, Turkey. The team visited quarters where migrants from Bulgaria live (Başakşehir-Ikitelli, Avcilar, Bağcılar). (read more)
In the period between 16th and 20th July 2010, Magdalena Elchinova carried out fieldwork research in the towns of Kardzhali and Stara Zagora. The study was focused on learning about the activities of the Thracian Associations in the two towns and on conversations with descendants of refugees from Western Thrace. (read more)
Between 11th and 16th July 2010, the conference "Migration and Diversity in the Great Mediterranean: Social and Other Implications" was held in Kamilari village on Crete island, Greece. The conference was organized by the Laboratory of Anthropology in Komotini, Greece, and the local community of Kamilari. The results of the project "Resettlers and Migrants on the Two Sides of the Bulgarian-Turkish Border: Heritage, Identity, Intercultural Interactions" were presented by the collaborative paper of Meglena Zlatkova and Stoyka Penkova. Their paper bore the title "Bulgaria and Turkey as a cultural capital in the strategies of higher education among the "second generation" of migrants from Bulgaria to Turkey, twenty years after 1989.” The paper presented some of the effects and implications of migration between the two states among the generation of twenty-years-old – children, who were born around 1989 and who became students in Bulgarian universities. The issues of heritage, border, and the intercultural interactions were presented on the basis of fieldwork results, carried out within the framework of our research project.
From 2nd till 4th July 2010 Valentina Ganeva-Raycheva and Natalia Rashkova accomplished an participating observation joining the participants in an expedition Trip to the Native Places of Refugees from Eastern and Western Thrace. They witnessed and reported the meetings of the descendants with the local inhabitants in the following towns in Greece and Turkey: Didymoteicho (Διδυμότεικο), Soufli (Σοφλή), Feres (Φέρες), Aisymi (Άισυμη), Alexandroupoli (Aλεξανδρούπολη); Yaylagöne, Sarιpolat, Izgar, Yenimuhacir, Çopköy, Bayramlι, Yeniköy, Edirne. (read more)
From 20th June till 2nd July 2010, Meglena Zlatkova and Stoyka Penkova went on a scholarly trip to the town of Tsarevo. The trip aimed at tracing the organization, preparation and accomplishment of the First Edition of the International Folk Festival Strandzha, My Native Cradle. (read more)
During the period between 19th and 26th June Nikolay Vukov and Lina Gergova continued their field research in Edirne, related to the cultural policies in the city on the border. During this week the greatest cultural and sport event took place in the region – the tournament Kirkpinar, preceded by the Balkan Folk Festival and accompanied by many cultural events (folk and brass instrument concerts, picture and art exhibitions etc.). (read more)
During the period 20th – 24th June 2010, Magdalena Elchinova carried out a short-term field observation on a topic of the project in the city of Istanbul. The observation encompassed the following groups and places: Bulgarian Turks migrants from 1989 and labor migrants from the years to follow, representatives of the refugee organization Bultürk, the Bulgarian church St. Stephan, and representatives of the Bulgarian community in Istanbul. (read more)
During the period 12th -18th June Nikolay Vukov and Lina Gergova accomplished field research in Haskovo, Svilengrad and Elhovo – the settlements which historically are associated with Thracian Bulgarians. Within the visit meetings were held with representatives of the Thracian Associations in Haskovo and Svilengrad, descendants of refugees, cultural managers from the municipality administrations and museums. (read more)
During the period 2nd – 8th June 2010 Valentina Ganeva–Raycheva was on a trip to Ivaylovgrad district to attend the National Thracian Fair in the locality of Ilieva Niva. Specific moments of the event were recorded: an official program; memorial sermon preached by father Boyan Saraev and other priests; presentation of wreaths and flowers; baptism of children and grown-ups by Boyan Saraev in St. Petka of Bulgaria Chapel; preparing and serving kurban (sacrificial meal); Thracian Festival of children’s and youth dancing and playing groups. Events parallel to the Fair were also witnessed – promotion of the book by Elena Elekova My Bulgaria in the chitalishte (cultural house) in Ivaylovgrad; deposition of wreaths at the monument of Captain Petko Voyvoda in the village of Pelevun; visiting St. Panteleymon Church and the old school – museum of Captain Petko Voyvoda. (read more)
On 29th May 2010 Assoc. Prof. Magdalena Elchinova PhD presented results of her work on the project Migrants and Refugees on Both Sides of the Bulgarian-Turkish Border: Heritage, Identities, Intercultural Interactions within the frames of the seminar Anthropological Readings at the New Bulgarian University. She emphasized the comparative presentation of her studies from her first field research within the project in Edirne and Istanbul. The main purpose of the presentation was to outline the divergences in the social characteristics and the practices at integration of the migrants from Bulgaria, settled in different cities in Turkey. Some specific features of the Turks from Bulgaria who settled in Istanbul were discussed, such as their comparatively high level of education and professional qualification, and their establishing of own business and specific market niche in the Turkish society. The seminar was attended by Dr. Nikolai Vukov from the project team and by students and lecturers from the Anthropology Department of the New Bulgarian University. There was a lively discussion showing interest in continuing the talks on the subject of the project.
30 May 2010
The latest field study in the city of Edirne took place from 16th till 23rd May 2010 accomplished by Assoc. Prof. Natalia Rashkova PhD and Behrin Shopova, a PhD student at the Institute of Folklore. The main scholarly interest was related to the folk musical practices of the city and its region – choirs, orchestras, individual performers, groups of music and dance. Meetings and interviews with musicians (zourla player, saz performer, singer of folk and classical Turkish music) and choreographers were accomplished outlining specific features of Rumelian music and dance. (read more)
From 14th till 18th May Lina Gergova took part in the workshop "Ethnicity in the City", organized by the Multicultural Center – Prague, Open Society – Bratislava and the Union of Slovaks in Austria – Vienna. The workshop attracted to Bratislava and Vienna young scholars from all over Europe. After a Panel of Lectures the participants accomplished team research in both capitals for three days. In her work Lina Gergova did field research in Bratislava aiming at comparing the Balkan (Edirne, Plovdiv) and the Central European city in the perspective of ethnic spaces within the general city frame. The specific general and theoretic conclusions based on the idea of point and cellar organization of ethnicity in city space will be published on the site of the Multicultural Center – Prague.
On 7th and 8th May 2010 at the Oslo University there was a workshop on the topic of Differences and Inequalities: the Welfare Gap within the project Remaking Eastern Borders: a Network Exploring Money, Gender and Sexuality in the Border Transformations of Europe’s Eastern Periphery – funded by the COST Program. An active participant in the work of this scholarly session was Associate Prof. Magdalena Elchinova, PhD, who delivered a presentation and took part in the discussions. The workshop was one of a series of scientific meetings within the framework of the cited project, whose participants are able to present the results of their scholarly work to international and interdisciplinary audience.
This workshop focused on migration and the differences in the standard of living and the economic situation in the country of origin and the host society. Magdalena Elchinova presented current research and interim results of her work on the project Migrants and Resettlers on Both Sides of the Bulgarian-Turkish Border: Heritage, Identities, Intercultural Interactions, receiving valuable comments by colleagues working in the sphere of the border and migrant research.
20 April 2010
On 13th-16th April 2010 in Gent, Belgium, the Eighth International Conference in Social Studies and History took place. It was organized by the Institute of Social Studies and History in Amsterdam. Two of the team members took part in the conference – Assoc. Prof. Magdalena Elchinova PhD and Nikolay Vukov PhD. Besides taking part in the discussions and being chairpersons of some of the Sessions of the Conference they also presented reports on topics related to migrants and resettlers on both sides of the Bulgarian-Turkish border and presented the project to colleagues from different European countries. The report of M. Elchinova was on the topic "Imagining the 'Homeland': Memory and History in the Construction of a Transnational Community". The report was presented to the participants in a session from the network "Ethnic Migrations" who were also presented with the project "Migrants and Resettlers on Both Sides of the Bulgarian-Turkish Border". Through the perspective of the relation between migration and national policy, the project was discussed also within the frames of the session "History, National Identity and Representations".
The report by Nikolay Vukov "Multiple "Dreamlands": Idioms of "Orientalism" and "Backwardness" in Border Crossing and Trans-border Trade in Bulgaria after 1989" was founded on materials related to the trans-border trade, accomplished by the so called "suitcase traders" in Bulgaria during the last two decades and especially those of them who cross the Bulgarian-Turkish border.
Both reports were accepted with interest and were a good opportunity to inform the participants in the conference with the topics and the work on the project.
10 April 2010
During the period between 30th March and 5th April 2010 Valentina Ganeva-Raycheva, Natalia Rashkova and Behrin Shopova (PhD student at the Institute of Folklore) completed one more field research in the city of Edirne, the Republic of Turkey. The team deepened their observations on the functioning and activities of the Federation of the Balkan Turkish people, of the Turkish-Bulgarian-Greek Association for Friendship and Culture, of the Association for Rumalian Culture and Folklore, of the two Bulgarian Orthodox churches – St. George Chruch and St. Constantine and St. Elena Church. (read more)
5 April 2010
In March 2010 a field research took place in Kardzhaly. The project was presented to students in several subjects of study at the "Lyuben Karavelov" Branch of the Plovdiv University "Paisiy Hilendarsky". Surveys were accomplished among the students. (read more)
30 March 2010
The date known from the history of the Balkan war with the conquest of the Edirne Tower (1913) is officially honored as the Day of Thrace. On this occasion and in relation to the 140th Anniversary of proclaiming the Independence of the Bulgarian Church, the Union of Thracian Associations in Bulgaria took a leading part in organizing the official national celebration in Sofia. In the park where the memorial to the epical events at Edirne stays near St. Nikola Sofiysky Church, the representatives of Thracians Associations from the country gathered together with citizens, students and official guests. The mayor of Sofia Yordanka Fundukova and the president of the Union of the Thracian Associations in Bulgaria, Kostadin Karamitov, opened a bust-monument of the first Bulgarian Exarch Antim І, which was sanctified by the Znepolsky Bishop Johan. An army orchestra and a chamber choir played and sang at the ceremony. Wreaths and flowers were offered with martial honors at the monument of the heroes in the Edirne epical events.
For systematic witnessing of the events related to the Thracian movement Natalia Rashkova and Valentina Raycheva-Ganeva recorded the celebration with video- and photo-cameras.
30 January 2010
A national conference on the topic Public Spaces of the Bulgarian City: Heritage and Development took place on 26th and 27th January 2010 in Blagoevgrad. It wasorganized by the Inter-University Center for Research and Education "Memory, Heritage and Visual Environment" (Faculty of Philosophy and History, the Plovdiv University "Paysiy Hilendarsky" and the Faculty in Arts, South-Western University "Neofit Rilsky"). Nikolay Vukov and Lina Gergova took part with their joint report Public Ethnic Spaces and Tourist Routes (Plovdiv and Edirne). It presented their initial conclusions based on the field research accomplished in Edirne, Turkey in December 2009.