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The winners of the first competition Eastern Rhodopes – taste the wild nature

Date: 01.11.2011

Vladimir Sulov and Valentina Raykova are the winners of the first New Thracian gold - contest fort the most interesting itinerary and best photo from the Eastern Rhodopes.
Vladimir Sulov wins the photo competition with his View of the Priest (Perperikon). Sulov is actually twice a winner, because his photo Along the Arda River is the runner-up. Ass. Prof. Vladimir Sulov is a lecturer at the University of Economics – Varna where he leads the Informatics Department. Traveling and photography are Vladimir’s hobbies. “The Eastern Rhodopes are perhaps the most wonderful place in Bulgaria. The area combines beautiful scenery and the feeling of peace and freedom; ancient history and mystical enigmas”, he says.

Valentina Raykova was selected as the winner of the itinerary competition with her essay The Eastern Rhodopes – my discovery illustrated with three photos. Valentina is a chief teacher in Bulgarian language and literature at the Pushkin High School – Varna with 36 year working experience. She has publications on the integration of learning with extracurricular activities and several press articles on the school-art topic. “In the early summer, my journey to the places I have depicted in my essay really turned into a discovery trip. The Rhodopes are very beautiful”, Valentina says.

The third award goes to Ivelina Savova for her photo The Stone Wedding. Ivelina comes from Varna, too. She is a teacher in Bulgarian language and literature and she is a photograph-amateur. “I visited the Eastern Rhodopes for the first time this summer and... I fell in love”, she tells us. The first and unforgettable impression of the Eastern Rhodopes for her was the unexpected tropical and exotic color of the Kardzhali Reservoir waters.

Tanya Rangelova receives the encouragement award for her Kardzhali-itinerary. Tanya is from Sofia and works in the bank sector. “I adore travelling, it’s my stress release. I like to describe what has impressed me, because this way I travel again”, she says. Accidentally, Tanya has discovered the Eastern Rhodopes participating in an organized excursion to Kardzhali and Perperikon. The win of another itinerary competition brought her to Zlatograd. She came back home fascinated: it was so quiet, tidy and warm, people were friendly and smiling…

The winner of the photo competition Vladimir Sulov is a gifted landscape photographer. His price is a weekend for two in the Studen Kladenets reserve. Vladimir also receives organic honey from the village of Gorno Pole, Madzharovo municipality for his second awarded photo. Vladimir’s awarded photos shall be published in the travel guide on the Eastern Rhodopes, which is printed early next year. A bottle of natural red wine from the region of Stambolovo is the award for Ivelina Savova, who took the third place in the photo competition.

Valentina Raykova, the itinerary competition winner, is awarded a weekend for two at the Wild farm in the village of Gorno Pole. Her price winning itinerary shall be published in the forthcoming Eastern Rhodopes travel guide as well. Tanya Rangelova wins organic products from the Eastern Rhodopes.

All awarded photos and itinerary are published on the NTG website.

This is the first edition of the competition „Eastern Rhodopes – taste the wild nature” organized by the NTG project team. 12 competitors participated in the competition.

The NTG team is planning to organize the second edition of the competition next year with the idea inspiring people to visit the Eastern Rhodopes and discover its treasures through the three project components wilderness/nature, ecotourism and organic farming.

More about the New Thracian gold project
New Thracian gold is a five-year project (2009-2014) for the sustainable development of the Eastern Rhodopes executed by the Dutch environmental organizations ARK and Avalon, which have extensive international experience in projects for environmental protection and organic farming. The project is financed by Dutch Postcode Lottery, the biggest charity lottery in the country, which supports 75 non-governmental organizations working for a fairer, greener world.
New Thracian gold is the unique project with an integrated approach combining the work on three components: wildlife, organic farming and ecotourism. According to the project team conserving and restoring wildlife of the Eastern Rhodopes and the preservation of the typical mosaic landscape with environmentally friendly grazing can be a basis for developing a new green economy in this region. Eastern Rhodopes have all the prerequisites to become a center for ecotourism - a stunning nature, huge variety of flora and fauna, rich cultural heritage. Combined with organic farming it not only provides quality food, but it creates jobs, raises living standards of local people and reduce the depopulation of the area.

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