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Tourists fly in dirigibles in Loznitsa

Date: 14.02.2006

From a bird's eye view the village of Loznitsa (northeastern Bulgaria) looks like a solid town that has suddenly been abandoned. Wide, straight streets, meeting at marble squares, running by grandiose buildings all faced with marble. To the background of this urban splendour, it is astonishing how few people flit occasionally by and that the traffic is represented by a casual gasping Trabant, taken over by a donkey-cart.

Plain to the naked eye, the village is inhabited by a couple of parallel worlds, existing along independently. Some of the locals live with the memories of the glamorous past when state money was poured into the village, others sulk at the poor present. Still others endeavour to build their future here, where they were born. The present is far from joyful, they feed their hopes to novel, seemingly exotic, plans.

"These are not fantasies but real market-oriented ideas," Ayhan Hashimov, Loznitsa's mayor is explicit. The twenty-one-year old mayor is one of the few local youths who believe Loznitsa could not only survive but also progress if it is transfused some fresh blood in the form of new living.

"Here, in the thickets of Deliorman, we have two things in plenty - land and nature, which translated to the language of sector economy means agriculture and tourism," the mayor explains his views. He shows the designs of the eight-metre-high tower, under construction, where dirigibles will take off from this summer. The airship will fly over Tyulbeto, an area where all the 32 settlements in the region can be seen from the air. Passengers will fly at least fifteen kilometers and land in the hunting reserve of Elenovo. Those of them eager for more adventures will be able to journey Deliorman in Trabants. Mayor Hashimov promises to lead the first group of foreign tourists that are expected in Loznitsa this summer.

Thus, bit by bit, the idea that a new mode of life could bring money and joy to this forgotten by both God and Allah place is settling into the minds of the people.

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