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Bulgaria: In world’s fastest shrinking nation, the ancient city of Plovdiv is bucking the trend

12 февруари 2019 12:21, Людмила Калъпчиева
Излъчване: Туида Нюз преди 4 месеца, брой четения: 91
Katya Staykova is one of Plovdiv’s biggest promoters (Borzou Daragahi)

It is the world’s fastest shrinking nation, with young people leaving in droves for other corners of Europe, birth rates falling off dramatically, and even Syrian and Afghans refugees fleeing war are bypassing it for sunnier or more lucrative areas of the globe. Bulgaria has lost nearly 2 million of its 9 million inhabitants since the end of communism 30 years ago. Corruption casts a dark cloud over the capital, Sofia.

 

But in Plovdiv, an ancient city in the country’s Thracian heartland, Katya Staykova bounds with sunny optimism as she darts around town in her sleek jet black Mercedes. A bubbly public relations maestra of 54, she exudes an air of can-do as a native-born booster of Plovdiv, which is one of Europe’s two capitals of culture in 2019.

 

“I personally believe that the constant flow of bad news is meant to control people,” Ms Staykova says. “This is how to keep people from acting by making them feel hopelessness.”

 

Katya Staykova is one of Plovdiv’s biggest promoters (Borzou Daragahi)

An oasis of optimism and good fortune in a region beset by woes, Plovdiv is blessed with warmer weather than the capital, Sofia, and a dramatic hilly setting that has drawn young people from all over Europe. In contrast to much of the Balkans, it has bucked the trend in Bulgaria and the neighboring countries and is growing year after year, even attracting expatriates from far away. The city’s can-do attitude may provide lessons for other dying eastern European cities

 

“We decided to start a business here,” says Melissa Manche, a 24-year-old Peruvian chef who moved to Plovdiv with her Bulgarian husband to launch a chic bistro and bar that serves a fusion of Latin American and Balkan cuisine. “The market for gastronomy here has just started to develop.”

Read more: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/bulgaria-plovdiv-refugees-city-increase-size-thracian-europe-population-a8757971.html