bulgaria

Bulgarian Pomak Muslims pose in front of their house, as a relative throws sweets to the guests, during their traditional winter wedding ceremony in the village of Ribnovo, in the Rhodope Mountains.

Stoyan Nenov/Reuters

Bulgarian Pomak Muslims pose in front of their house as a relative throws sweets to the guests during their traditional winter wedding ceremony in the village of Ribnovo, in the Rhodope Mountains

People are hand-draining their flooded house full of mud in the neighborhood of Asparuhovo in the Black Sea city of Varna, Bulgaria, 20 June 2014. At least 11 people, two of them children, have died after torrential rains caused flooding in eastern Bulgaria, the Interior Minstry said. Ten of the victims were found in the Black Sea port of Varna and another in Dobrich, 35 kilometres to the north. Several people were still missing. Lower sections of Varna were completely submerged. The floodwaters swept cars away and the work of rescue teams was hampered because of the drifting vehicles.

EPA

People drain their flooded houses in the neighbourhood of Asparuhovo in the Varna, Bulgaria, after torrential rain and heavy floods hit the Black Sea city

Believers pray around a cross-shaped platform covered with candles placed in jars of honey during a celebration in of St. Haralampi, protector of beekeepers, at the Church of the Blessed Virgin in Blagoevgrad, eastern Bulgaria

Nikolay Doychinov/AFP/Getty Images

Believers pray around a cross-shaped platform covered with candles placed in jars of honey during a celebration of St Haralampi, protector of beekeepers, at the Church of the Blessed Virgin in Blagoevgrad, eastern Bulgaria

A Syrian girl attends classes at a make-...A Syrian girl attends classes at a make-shift school in the largest Bulgarian camp in the town of Harmanli on January 21, 2014. Tonnes of humanitarian aid -- including clothes, food and hygiene materials -- has started trickling in from non-governmental groups in the country and abroad to the camps in EU's poorest country after the UN raised alarm over a "human emergency" on the EU's southern fringe.     AFP PHOTO / DIMITAR DILKOFFDIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP/Getty Images

Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP

A Syrian girl attends classes at a makeshift school in the largest Bulgarian camp in the southern town of Harmanli. Humanitarian aid, including clothes, food and hygiene materials, has started trickling in from non-governmental groups in the country and abroad to the camps in the EU’s poorest country after the UN expressed alarm over a ‘human emergency’ on the EU’s southern fringe. 

Bride Fatme Inus, her face painted white and decorated with sequins, emerges to present herself to villagers towards the end of her two-day wedding to Mustafa Sirakov in Ribnovo, Bulgaria. The practice of painting the bride's face white and decorating it with sequins and coloured paint is called "gelena" in Bulgarian, is unique to Ribnovo and is a tradition going back centuries. Ribnovo weddings only take place in the winter and the entire village participates with group dances on the main square. Ribnovo, located in the mountains of southern Bulgaria, is predominantly inhabited by Pomaks, a Muslim ethnic minority who are the descendants of Christian Bulgarians who converted to Islam during Ottoman rule.

Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Bride Fatme Inus emerges to present herself to villagers towards the end of her two-day wedding to Mustafa Sirakov in Ribnovo, Bulgaria. The practice of painting the bride’s face white and decorating it with sequins and coloured paint called gelena in Bulgarian, is a tradition unique to Ribnovo, dating back centuries. Ribnovo weddings only take place in the winter and the entire village participates with group dances on the main square. Ribnovo, located in the mountains of southern Bulgaria, is predominantly inhabited by Pomaks, a Muslim ethnic minority who are the descendants of Christian Bulgarians who converted to Islam during the Ottoman rule.

Children wait to receive aid distributed by the Bulgarian Red Cross

Nikolay Doychinov/AFP/Getty Images

Children wait to receive aid distributed by the Bulgarian Red Cross and the Medical University of Sofia at the recently opened Vrazhdebna refugee shelter in Sofia on Tuesday. More than 11,100 refugees, most of them Syrians, have entered Bulgaria illegally this year, crossing the porous 274 kilometre border with Turkey.

Syrian children try to stay warm near an open fire in front of their unheated tents in a refugee camp in the town of Harmanli, Bulgaria. Thousands of Syrian and other refugees from the Middle East, Asia and Africa, who find enough courage to make a dangerous journey from their war-ravaged states, often end up in the crammed settlements in the Balkans, including Bulgaria, Greece or Serbia, after being caught on the borders of wealthy Western European nations for attempting to cross illegally.

Valentina Petrova/AP

Refugee children from Syria try to stay warm near an open fire in front of their unheated tents in a refugee camp in the town of Harmanli, Bulgaria

Protesting students wearing gas masks and carrying fake guns made of cardboard participate in a demonstration in front of the parliament in Sofia November 20, 2013. Thousands of Bulgarians joined several separate rallies on Wednesday against rampant corruption, low incomes and high unemployment in the European Union's poorest country, mounting pressure on the Socialist-led government.

Stoyan Nenov/Reuters

Students in gas masks and carrying cardboard fake guns demonstrate in front of the parliament in Sofia, Bulgaria, on Wednesday. Thousands of people joined rallies against corruption, low incomes and high unemployment, raising pressure on the Socialist-led government in the European Union’s poorest country.

A Syrian refugee holds a baby in a refugee camp set in the town of Harmanli, south-east of Sofia on November 12, 2013.  Bulgaria's asylum centres are severely overcrowded after the arrival of almost 10,000 refugees this year, half of them Syrian. The influx has fuelled anti-immigrant sentiment in a country already struggling with dire poverty.

Nikolay Doychinov/AFP

A Syrian refugee holds a baby in a refugee camp in the town of Harmanli, southeast of Sofia on Tuesday. Bulgaria’s asylum centres are severely overcrowded after the arrival of almost 10,000 refugees this year, half of them from Syria.

Syrian children play on a tree as they wait for the distribution of food outside a refugee centre in Sofia October 29, 2013.

Stoyan Nenov/Reuters

Syrian children play on a tree as they wait for the distribution of food outside a refugee centre in Sofia on Tuesday.

Members of an international religious movement called the White Brotherhood perform a ritual dance near Babreka lake, in Rila Mountain, some 100 km (62 miles) south of Sofia, August 19, 2013, as part of celebration of their New Year. The teaching of the movement, whose founder is Bulgarian Peter Danov, is a synthesis of Christianity and Hinduism with a heavy emphasis on brotherly love, a healthy diet and living in harmony with nature.

Stoyan Nenov/Reuters

Members of an international religious movement called the White Brotherhood perform a ritual dance near Babreka lake, in the Rila Mountain, about 100 km south of Sofia, Bulgaria, as part of their New Year celebrations. The teaching of the movement, whose founder is Peter Danov, is a synthesis of Christianity and Hinduism with a heavy emphasis on brotherly love, a healthy diet and living in harmony with nature

Children play in a dam to cool off as a heatwave strikes Sofia on July 29, 2013. Temperatures in the Balkan country reached 39 degrees Celsius on Monday.

Nikolay Doychinov/AFP

Children play in a dam to cool off as a heatwave strikes Sofia. Temperatures in Bulgaria reached 39 degrees Celsius on Monday.

A Bulgarian girl sits on the street holding a Bulgarian flag during an anti-government rally near the Bulgarian parliament building in Sofia, Bulgaria, 03 July 2013, in an attempt to block the street. Thousands of protestors, for more than two weeks now, are protesting every day around the country demanding the resignation of the four-week-old Socialist-led government of Plamen Oresharski.

EPA

A Bulgarian girl sits on the street holding a flag during an anti-government rally near the parliament building in Sofia, in an attempt to block the street. 

A pregnant woman reads a book as she sit...A pregnant woman reads a book as she sits on an empty boulevard in central Sofia, on the sidelines of massive anti-government protests on June 27, 2013, to try to prevent lawmakers from entering and to press for the government's resignation, but Bulgarian lawmakers succeeded in opening parliament for the first time this week. Thousands of Bulgarians, sick of a political class they see as too dependent on shadowy oligarchs, have taken to the streets every night since June 14, just four months after anti-poverty and corruption rallies ousted the previous conservative cabinet.   TOPSHOTS    AFP PHOTO / DIMITAR DILKOFFDIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP/Getty Images

Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP

A pregnant woman reads a book as she sits on an empty boulevard in central Sofia, Bulgaria on the sidelines of protests to try to prevent lawmakers from entering parliament and to press for the government’s resignation. However lawmakers succeeded in opening parliament for the first time this week. 

A man takes a rest next to a wall covered with riped pre-election posters of Boyko Borisov, the leader of the Bulgarian conservative GERB party and a former Prime Minister in a Sofia suburb on May 13, 2013. Bulgaria faced fresh political uncertainty Monday after tough guy ex-premier Boyko Borisov fell way short of a majority in elections held three months after mass demonstrations forced his government's resignation.

Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP

A man takes a rest next to a wall covered with ripped pre-election posters of Boyko Borisov, the leader of the Bulgarian conservative GERB party and a former prime minister, in a Sofia suburb. Bulgaria faced fresh political uncertainty on Monday after tough guy ex-premier Mr Borisov fell way short of a majority in elections held three months after mass demonstrations forced his government’s resignation.