Visited Sozopol today. It's a beautiful old port previously known as Apolonia after the good Apollo. There was an enormous 12m high bronze statue of Apollo there which was pillaged by the Romans. The statue was on display in Rome until it was later destroyed and melted down as a pagan idol when the Roman Empire became Christian.
A fascinating wee town with lots of beautiful old churches. One of the churches contains prized relics ascribed to John the Baptist, or the Precursor as he is often referred to in the Orthodox Church.
The churches are beautiful, filled with frescos and icons - apparently the Bulgarian Orthodox Church is one of the largest of the Eastern Orthodox churches.
Our trip to Sozopol included a stop on the way, not recommended, at Ravadinovo Castle. Built this century and used as a setting for Sleeping Beauty 2014 certain. Its founder was a wrestler who built his dream castle with his money.
In the castle, which is not yet completed, there is a gallery of some of the things he had collected, a bit similar to the content of Sam Burns yard in Prestonpans! One of the more interesting items is a glass case containing the 14th century skeleton of a vampire (extra) - on loan from the museum. Bulgaria is home to many vampire legends most of which have nothing to do with blood sucking apparently but do have to do with unrest after death and bodies rising from the grave.
The likelihood of becoming a vampire is increased by having been born at a time of year when baptisms didn't happen, which allowed access by vampires before a child was sanctified. (Birth between Christmas and Epiphany was particularly risky). The evidence of the legends is born out by the iron plough head embedded in the chest of the skeleton which would anchor him in place after death. (extra) There are apparently many similar incidents of such desecration of bodies in the area.
Our driver was clearly confident in his knowledge of the length of his vehicle. I'm glad I didn't see it while he was parking!
Steps today 22793