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National Geographic Article on Thracian Heritage Stirs up Scandal in Bulgaria

Date: 23.11.2006

Bulgaria's top archaeologists reacted strongly to an article on Thracian heritage in the National Geographic latest issue, saying it aims to discredit the country and drive foreigners away.

The article, entitled "Bulgaria's Gold Rush", says that the country's rich history left artifacts that now mean money in the bank for anyone who succeeds in digging them up. "For looters, Bulgaria is El Dorado, a vast trove of buried treasure where some graves have harbored gold since at least 4000 B.C.," the National Geographic wrote.

"I am deeply displeased by the article," said Nikolai Ovcharov, featuring wrongly in the article as "Bulgaria's Indiana Jones. Ovacharov joined a press conference of some of the country's most prominent archaeologists, who denounced publicly the article. "Were I a foreigner, I would not have made anything of it. The article is meant to drive away, rather than attract foreigners."

The true Indiana Jones of Bulgaria, archaeologist Georgi Kitov, was reportedly so distressed by the article that he could not make it to the press conference.

"Kitov is presented as a controversial figure, both a hero and a criminal," Ovcharov commented.

According to the archaeologists the article turns a blind eye to the significance and nature of the ancient Thracian culture.

They are still considering whether to file an official complaint to the National Geographic magazine main office and demand a new article on Bulgaria's ancient Thracian heritage is published.

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