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May 2006, 5/5/2006

Dear Valued Stara Planina Properties Client,

Here is the May issue of our newsletter. It features the region of Varna on the Black Sea Coast and re- sale property such as villas and inland village houses. We hope it will provide you with useful information.

Next month you will read about building private swimming pool in Bulgaria and a story of a family who settled and started business in Bulgaria few years ago.

Northern Black Sea Coast and Property in the Varna Region

For those who prefer the peace and serenity of the countryside to the busy tourist destinations on the coast, then Varna region has also a lot to offer. If your dream house is one with a large garden where you can plant beautiful flowers or grow organic food and yet be less than an hour away from the amenities and entertainment of the big cities and resorts on the Black Sea then the information below will definitely be of interest for you. It will also be of help to those who are looking to invest their money wisely.

The area southwest of Varna has become very popular with foreign home buyers in the past several years. Apart from being very close to the beautiful beaches near Kamchia River and the towns of Byala and Obzor it also attracts with its deciduous forests and dams. The famous Chudnite Skali (“Beautiful Rocks”) are situated on the biggest lake in the area – Tsonevo. Properties built by the lake benefit from magnificent views.

The village of Avren is located 29 km southwest of Varna and only 35 min. drive from Varna international airport. Over 400 foreigners have already purchased properties in the municipality of Avren. In the village there is a post office, a nursary school, a community centre, regular transport,a medical centre, a dentist, shops, pubs, cable television and Internet connection. It is also known for its astronomical observatory where local stargazers often do research. Traditional village houses and newly built properties in the area offer excellent value for money.

Some 18 km west of the city of Varna near to the town of Devnya you can visit a place of interest called Pobiti Kamani (Rammed Stones). The stone figures were formed by erosion about 50 million years ago and hold within them various forms of fossils. Many of them were used as places of worship during Thracian, Slavonic, and ancient Bulgarian times. Nearby you can find the remains of the ancient town of Marcianopolis, the second biggest town of ancient Bulgaria. The rocks in the areas around the towns of Devnya, Provadiya and Vetrino are perfect for mountaineering and paragliding. The peaceful area of Vetrino, which is located only 25 kilometers from Varna international airport and 40 kilometers from the Black Sea coast, attracts many people searching for a second home in Bulgaria.

Valchi Dol is a small town situated 45 km northwest of the city of Varna. The amenities include various shops, restaurants, a bank, post office and railway station. The town is located in a typical rural and peaceful area with clean, fresh air.There are lots of artificial lakes and forests surrounding the town and many historical landmarks as well.There is a ski-run only 500 meters away. Traditional houses with a fair amount of land are still on offer in the area.

The town of Aksakovo is a municipal centre situated about 10 km west of Varna, less than 5- 6 min drive from Varna international airport. The Varna- Sofia motorway passes in close proximity to the town, as well as does the road from Varna to Dobrich, and the Varna port and central railway station of Varna are 10 km away. All these make Aksakovo an attractive region for business investment. At the same time the forest heights around Aksakovo make the air fresh and clean. That is why Aksakovo is a suitable place for living for those people who would like to take advantage of a big city like Varna but also want to be able to live in a quiet and calm place with all the amenities. Aksakovo region is situated in the east part of the Danube plain and is characterized with rolling hills and plateau relief. The settlements in the area are situated along the beautiful valley of the river Batova and are surrounded by forests making property there very attractive.

The town of Dobrich is situated in northeast Bulgaria in the Dobrudzha Plateau. The town, which lies 37 km away from the border with Romania, is known as the capital of the fertile land of Dobrudzha, the biggest grain-growing region of the country. At the same time it is set just 35 km away from the beaches of the resorts of Balchik and Albena. The villages in the region offer a combination of the tranquility of rural life and proximity to the sea with properties suitable for both living and holidays such as this house with large landscaped garden. One can also opt for a luxury villa overlooking the sea on the cliffs near the resorts.

The Word of the Expert: Is it Cheaper to Travel Cheap to Bulgaria?

We feel that options to travel to Bulgaria are increasing as quickly as the property market here. That is why we try to keep our clients informed about the news related to travel. In this connection we asked Mr Mark Thomas, director of Jamadvice BTI, to comment on the latest changes in the business. Jamadvice BTI is a British owned company based in Sofia which specialises in travel to and from Bulgaria for 10 years. We feel their experience is invaluable due to the high standard of their services (we have heard nothing but praises from our clients that have been served by Jamadvice BTI) and their ability to listen to the client’s requirements.

Ever thought about how things change without us even noticing them? The world is a rapidly changing place as we all know, but we too also change our attitudes and behaviour without actually realising it. For example, a couple of decades ago, the local big mouth in the bar or at work would, in attempt to prove his social well-being and status in life, proudly state how much he had paid for his new car/Gucci shoes/Rolex watch. The higher the value he had paid the better it was as this showed his peers just how affluent he was. Is it not true that nowadays the local big mouth is far more likely to shout how much he has ‘not’ paid for his new car/Gucci shoes/Rolex watch? In other words he now proudly states how cheap he has obtained these goods, which just goes to show what a clever person he is and what deals he can strike.

In essence the culture these days is to be seen getting something cheap; to be seen getting a ‘deal’ or a bargain that no-one else could possibly have got. A whole generation of Del Boys have evolved that would make David Jason hide for cover behind the wheel of his Reliant Robin.

To this end the media and internet must take responsibility for this ‘deal’ culture for everywhere one turns we see offers of carpets, beds, TV’s and just about every item imaginable all at ‘special deal’ prices. The reality that seems often to be missed is that invariably these ‘deal’s are no better than can be found on any High Street or on any street corner or internet site It is pure marketing and human nature that makes us want to believe that ‘we are indeed getting that special one off deal that only we could get!’ Well done the Marketing people!

In a similar way, that all important first step of traveling to Bulgaria seems fraught, to many, with issues about flight options, transport and hotels. Whilst it is true that no two people are the same or have the same requirements, the number of people who state that they want a ‘cheap’ flight and a cheap hotel on their first visit to the Bulgaria when they travel (for example) to view property is astounding. The reality is they don’t want a cheap flight and they don’t want a cheap hotel, what they really want is travel that provides them with a flight that leaves from an airport in close proximity to their home and at a time that is convenient. Plus a hotel that provides warmth and hot water in winter and is comfortable and conveniently located. Neither are necessarily the cheapest but that word cheap seems almost to have an obligatory use.

People’s perceptions on travel have been warped by the dot.coms who market everything they sell as cheap. If you think everything is cheap try looking for a low cost flight from London to Dublin for tomorrow: its likely to be far from cheap and the likelihood is that even BA might be cheaper due to the Low Cost pricing model, but people still use the Low Cost carriers. Cheap flights can be found, if you don’t mind traveling 200 miles and paying for the extra petrol, parking and maybe spending a night in an airport hotel. People often forget to add these factors when the cost out the total cost of travel. Cheap hotels can also be found everywhere but cheap does not always convert to offering quality i.e. hot water, air conditioning or heating in winter. The difference between cheap and quality need not necessarily cost much – if you speak with experts who know the industry, the area and the hotels.. you invariably get good reliable and trustworthy advice that can save time effort, stress.. and money in the longer term, This may well exclude dot.coms unless of course you are not adverse to gambling.. Think about it – there has to be reason why the 5-star hotel is cheaper than the 3-star one!

So just like buying property, undertaking travel to Bulgaria provides countless options and alternatives. Some sell themselves cheap; others place the emphasis on quality and reliability. You are free to choose.

Mark Thomas
Managing Director
Jamadvice BTI

6th May - St George's Day in Bulgaria

Being among the most famous Christian figures St George is believed to be born in Kapadokia (present Turkey) around the year 284 and died in present Israel in 305. Nothing of the man himself is known certainly but according to the chronicles he was a soldier of noble birth who was put to death by the Roman Emperor Diocletian for protesting against the persecution of Christians. Despite his young age George held the prestigious rank of tribune in the Roman army and was the Emperor’s favourite before manifesting his religious affiliation. After his death George rapidly became venerated throughout Christendom as an example of bravery in defence of the poor and the defenceless.

On St George’s Day (6th May) the Bulgarian Army flags are being consecrated by the priests in the city squares. Outside the religious tradition of St George’s Day it is also the symbol of spring revival. People go to church and bring home geranium to hang it over the gate where they leave it until the next spring as a symbol of health and prosperity.

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