The Snowflake-Like Lace of Kalofer, Bulgaria

In the shadows of the Balkan Mountains in Central Bulgaria, residents in the village of Kalofer have been making lace for more than one hundred years. The artisans initially drew inspiration from traditional Belgian patterns, but over time they developed their own designs, evoking images of ephemeral snowflakes, and silk-like spiderwebs. In Bulgarian, the lace is known as КалоферскаContinue reading “The Snowflake-Like Lace of Kalofer, Bulgaria”

The Roses of Bulgaria

In May and June, residents of Bulgaria’s Rose Valley harvest the area’s roses, filling baskets with magnificent pink and red petals, which are then distilled and turned into rose oil for the cosmetic industry. Bulgaria produces the bulk of the world’s supply. When you consider that it takes approximately 2,000 to 4,000 kgs. (4,000 – 8,000 pounds) of roseContinue reading “The Roses of Bulgaria”

The National Revival Architecture of Plovdiv, Bulgaria

Along Plovdiv’s winding, cobblestone lanes you’ll encounter fine, jewel-toned homes epitomizing Bulgaria’s National Revival architectural style. These mansions are decorated with stained-wooden shutters and trim. The buildings are also embellished with flourishes that depict peacocks, flowing ribbons, and flowers.

The Pintxos of Basque Country – Spain

In Spain’s Basque Country, pintxos – a finger food similar to tapas, are ubiquitous fare in small bars. Pincho (the Spanish version of the name) or pintxos (the Basque version) means ‘spike’ and helps to distinguish this toothpick-adorned treat from its tapas cousins, which generally aren’t served with toothpicks. Go into a bar – especially in the late-afternoon hours –Continue reading “The Pintxos of Basque Country – Spain”

The Eclectic Windows of Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina

To wander Sarajevo’s streets is to journey through the centuries while diving into a grab bag of architectural styles. In the city’s Baščaršija district, which feels like Istanbul in miniature, artisans craft Turkish-style copper coffee pots under towering minarets and mosques dating back to the 16th century. Along the Miljacka River, the city’s Vijećnica building —Continue reading “The Eclectic Windows of Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina”

The Art Nouveau Treasures of Subotica, Serbia

Situated in northern Serbia, the city of Subotica is like a treasure box overflowing with Art Nouveau gems. Most of the buildings were constructed in the early 20th Century, when Serbia and neighboring Hungary were part of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire. Designers incorporated whimsical details, colorful flourishes, and folk art into Subotica’s City Hall, Synagogue, private homes,Continue reading “The Art Nouveau Treasures of Subotica, Serbia”

The Art of Making Croatian Filigree Jewelry – Split Croatia

When he was just 13 years old, Split jeweler Viktor Čivljak started learning the fine art of making filigree jewelry from his father, a second-generation jeweler. Today, the 73-year-old master jeweler incorporates breathtaking designs into entirely-handmade brooches, bracelets, earrings, hair pins, pendants and rings. Seemingly spun out of delicate silver thread, Viktor also creates cuff-links, decorative spoonsContinue reading “The Art of Making Croatian Filigree Jewelry – Split Croatia”

The Windows of Diocletian’s Palace – Split, Croatia

Split, Croatia is the stuff of explorers’ dreams. Situated along the sparkling Adriatic Sea and crowned by the Palace of Roman Emperor Diocletian, its Old Town features maze-like passageways and weathered limestone buildings and lanes. In the Fourth Century AD, Roman Emperor Diocletian had his retirement palace built here. Emperor Diocletian indeed recognized the good life. InContinue reading “The Windows of Diocletian’s Palace – Split, Croatia”