|| issue 5, year XI, 2004
President of Republic of Finland
An interview by Valentin Kostov page 4
Bulgaria has an old statehood: in fact, one of the oldest in Europe. Your old culture is remarkable: I have seen myself the magnificent treasures of the Thracian gold. You have given to the whole Slavic world its alphabet. You are joining Europe with centuries old culture and traditions. Your wooden architecture, your folk dances and songs will be an enrichment to all Europeans. You are valuable just being Bulgarians, just as we are valuable as Finns.The European Union is about the integration of economies, sharing values and protecting the broad variety of European cultures.
When visiting Bulgaria, I was accompanied by a group of Finnish businessmen. This was a kind of acclamation - we wish to develop trade relations in very concrete terms. The hi-tech industry is dominating now our economy and this sector is guiding the way also in our trade with Bulgaria. We have implemented projects in the energy sector, and in forestry. We are also strong in environmental protection. Increasing numbers of Finnish tourists are visiting your Black Sea coast and the Bulgarian wines are well known in Finland - just to name a few fields of co-operation.
of Finland in Bulgaria
An Interview by Tsvetanka Elenkova page 5
Our countries are situated in different corners of Europe, but still - we are not far away from each other. Now, Bulgaria being firmly on her way to the European family, there is an increased interest to your country. You have a lot to show to us, for instance, your old history, the Thracian gold trea-sures, your writers, painters, musical artists. Music lovers in Finland know Ghiaurov, Gjuzelev, Sintova-Tomova, but many of your fine singers are yet not so well known in my country. It has been a pleasure to note the high popularity of the music of Sibelius here in Bulgaria - in fact, some weeks ago I heard a one of the best interpretations of the violin concerto of Sibelius I have ever heard, here in Bulgaria. Your contry is beautiful by nature, the climate ideal - at least to us, the northern people. Your people are interested in the world, open to Europe - I have been positively surprised by the big amount of Western literature - political, social, belles-lettres that you are translating and publishing here. Eighteen years is historically a very short time - on the other hand, many Eastern and Central Euro-pean countries have transformed their societies in a relatively short time to be able to enter the Union. There are still things to be done especially in the field of the legal system. I believe that you will be overcoming the remaining obstacles and become a member of the Union in the scheduled time - and not only a member, but also a good member from the very beginning.
Hristo Dzhenev page 14
Finland is the country with the highest number of mobile telephones per capita: approximately 65-70% of all Finns own a mobile phone. But is not simply the country of Nokia, skiing, Finnish wooden houses etc. The structure of Finnish economy radically changed in the last two decades. In the beginning of the 80-ies wood production and metal processing were its spine. Electrical engineering and electronics played “second fiddle” in industry. At the same time, the Finnish monetary markets opened for the competing foreign capital markets in the 80-ies. Inflation fell to insignificant levels. A construction boom in the public and the private sectors took place thanks to foreign capital. Nowadays, Finland is an industrialized country with a working market economy, sitting on an abundant forest stock occupying - of the territory of this country (338 000 square km), and on capital investment and high technologies. Finland produces wood and metals, develops heavy machine-building and telecommunications. These industries form the most important exports of the country, amounting to more than 1/3 of the GDP. Finland is open to foreign investments, mainly directed to high technologies. The trade exchange with Russia is enormous. Finland adopted the Euro in the beginning of 2002. In 2003, its GDP amounts to 142.5 billion Euro; i.e. Euro 27 339 per capita. The GDP growth for the last year as compared to 2002 is 2%.
An interview by Tzvetanka Elenkova page 19
Speaking of the Church, we must know that it is not a social association and that it is in no way alike any non-clerical organization. The Church teaches that faith in God is a God’s gift. That is why, perhaps, analyzing the Orthodox Church from the point of view of a laic, we can think it is quite passive. The Eastern Orthodox Church has a different spirit of divine service and the European measures of thinking, strongly influenced by Catholicism, completed to some extent by Protestantism and exterminated by humanism nowadays, should not be applied to this spirit. The reason lies in the schism, the separation from the Church. The Catholics did that in 1054. They separated themselves from the Orthodox Church, then the Protestants separated from the Catholics, so a schism inside the schism took place. Later, the Protestants split up too. There are more than 2000 protestant “churches” now. When the schism of 1054 took place, there was no difference between the Christians, but they created them in the course of time. In the beginning there were also no differences between the protestants and the Catholics, but they invented them later. This, precisely, shows the non-clerical nature of the schism. Regarding the present schism, things were rather roughly presented in our country. No dogmatic differences existed, but a simple contestation of the Church leadership. An administrative schism, resulting from the intervention of profanes who had nothing to do with clerical problems. Now the Church needs a new mission.
MODERN FINISH ARCHITECTURE
Based on Finnish press materials
Finnish architecture means, almost without exception, modern architecture or, at least, the architectural environment, as it has been constructed over the last one hundred years. It could hardly be otherwise, as the building stock as a whole is young; less than 13% of it dates back to before 1920. There are scarcely any architectural drawings to be found from earlier periods, and very few of them were actually made even in the early 19th century. In the absence of a strong academic tradition, however, the weightiness of such a tradition has not been present to restrict the absorbtion of new tendencies. From a very early stage on, there has been an open-minded attitude to the making of architecture; the ideal of a modern, dynamic nation was to be expressed through the formal language of new public buildings. Light has a fundamental effect on the shaping of spaces, the texture of façade surfaces, the rendition of colour and the atmospheres of interiors. For this reason the interaction between light and space is a key element of architecture. The key quality of Finnish architecture is, indeed, its openness to outside influence, combined with a strong feeling for contextuality, the utilization of local conditions and local resources.
Traditions and Peculiarities of Finnish Culture
Ralitsa Petrunova page 26
Finnish culture does not shine with glamour and sumptuous manifestations, but inspires respect with its reserved simplicity and naturalness. Speaking of Finish culture, we cannot but consider some factors which occupy a special place in forming it, i.e. the relatively long pagan period, the late conversion to Christianity, the location of the country at the frontier between occidental and oriental cultures, as well as the specific nature of the Finns and their strong connection with nature. The Finnish sauna: Finland definitely is a country where the sauna possesses the rank of a national institution. This country of five million inhabitants enjoys the existence of approximately two million saunas, i.e. one sauna for each three inhabitants! The sauna has always occupied an important place in the Finns’ lives. It closes their life cycle. Women in child-birth were taken to the sauna, babies cried out their first cry there, and again there the deceased people were last carried to the sauna to be washed and prepared for their last journey. “In the sauna we feel as if we are in church”, and old Finnish proverb says. Rather strangely and incomprehensibly to us, but the sauna is there even in the Finnish Parliament where often important decisions are made, foreign guests are invited, etc.
The oldest Finnish Town
Tsvetanka Gyurova page 30
The town of Turku, the oldest Finnish town, has a 770-year history. It is situated on the Baltic-Sea coast in South-Western Finland. Turku was the first capital of the country untill 1812, when Helsinki became the capital of Finland. In fact, the region around the estuary of the Aura river, protected by the biggest archipelago in Europe by dozens of thousands of islands, was populated long before that. The construction of the most remarkable historical monuments in Turku: the Cathedral and the Castle, was started already in the 13th century, but continued for centuries. There is a large collection of musical instruments, literature and photocopies of original works of Jean Sibelius. It is no accident at all that in 1640, when the country was within the borders of the Kingdom of Sweden, the first Finnish University and one of the oldest in Europe, was built in Turku: the Royal Academy of Turku, or Abo Academi in Swedish.
Lapland: Traditions and Modernity
Tsvetanka Gyurova page 35
The polar area is an endless field of conflict between darkness and light. Finnish Lapland is the biggest and the most distant Northern province of this country. It occupies one-third of its territory and almost entirely lies beyond the polar circle. Part of this land is barren; the rest is covered with vast forests - spruce and pine, severed by fast-running rivers. This territory is sparsely populated: two persons per square kilometre. Laplanders, who came to Finland before the Finns themselves settled here, are of different origin. Of the 200 000 inhabitants of Finnish Lapland 4500 are Saami, of which 600 are Scolt-Laplanders. Before the adoption of the Christian faith, the Laplanders considered some of the lakes, hills and extraordinary landscapes sacred. Old Laplanders worshiped wooden sculptures and huge vertical rocks. Modern life has changed the environment in Lapland, but territories of virgin nature can still be found in this land. The biggest forest reserve in Europe is there, as well as the most significant deer population: 200 000. Here also the capital of Father Christmas - Rovaniemi is situated, as well as gold-diggers’ land and centenary pines.
Elena Dragostinova (BAS) page 38
In the “Sibelius” Park near Helsinki, a beautiful structure made of 600 metal tubes resembling organ pipes rises beside the composer’s mask. It is so expressive, you will immediately remember the comparison that architecture is frozen music. Sibelius is the noble, emblematic personality who generalizes the most popular idea of the Finnish national character and renders plausibility and density to the legends of this character. In 1915 Jan Sibelius’s golden jubilee was celebrated. Then, each one of his next anniversaries turned into a splendid ceremony, expressing the unbounded love of his compatriots. During his life-time, till 92 years of age, Sibelius enjoyed the appreciation of four other anniversaries and in 1951 “Sibelius’s Week” A festival in Helsinki was inaugurated. Nowadays, the music of Finland and the festivals in the capital, in Turku, in Uvaskula, the Opera Festival in Savonlina, even the jazz festivals such as the one in Pori, are somehow reminiscent of this magnetic personality. Even when the music of the great maestro does not sound, they bring the profound imprint of the predilection for roots, breath of cultural interests, inalterable association between music and research work, of clear structure and internal harmony which helps mankind and makes human works look stable because of their self-confidence regarding their role in the continuum. Like hundreds of organ pipes.
Zhanina Dragostinova page 416
“The Man without A Past” is Finnish film director Aki Kaurismaki’s last film, which we had the opportunity to see in Bulgaria. Winner of prizes at the Cannnes’02, the San Sebastian’02 and the Palm Springs’03 festivals and nominated for Oscar’03 and Ceasar’03, Aki appears on the international screen in 1986 with his film “Shadows in Paradise”: the story of a dustman who falls in love with a supermarket cashier. Already with this film Kaurismaki creates an atmosphere which will be determined by the film critics as typical for this director: poor social conditions and characters striving for happiness, notwithstanding the whole world being against them. Both the world festivals and the critics accepted with enthusiasm all his next films: “Bohemians” (1991), “Clouds fly far away” (1996), “Yuha” (1999). “What is your idea of happiness”, he was asked in an interview. “Gasoline for my Cadillac and flowers for my fair lady”, he answered. He likes beautiful sentences. “Yes, life is too short to express ourselves badly.” “I portrait my mother country”, the director says. “Someone must tell in what a dirt people are forced to live. I would never make a film about the rich, whose only problem is what shirt to wear.” Kaurismaki formulates his philosophy as follows: “I want to be free. I prefer to live isolated in my own world, even if it is sad and boring, but to know that I am free. From this position I want to tell funny stories. The time of sorrow is gone. Years ago Jim Morrison said: “This is the end.” But this end never comes. So we have enough time to make our dreams come true.”
“ATELIER” presentS The artist
His art is abstract and multipolar, and the refined colour of his pictures is derived from this fact. During the last years he has participated in more than 20 art exhibitions, and in the year 2002 he was the winner of a competition to stay at the studios of the Union of Bulgarian Artists in Paris: “Cite International des Arts”.
“ATELIER” representS artist
Tsvetana Kosturkova is one of the doyens of pictorial arts. Her multidirectional talent covers not only painting and graphics, but also the creation of post stamps and bills. She is the first female artist in Bulgaria who realizes such kind of projects. Landscape and still-life are her favourite genres. During her trips to Italy, Portugal, Spain, Germany and Ethiopia she has created impressive pictures and notable portraits.
LITART presents the Finnish lady writer ANNA-LENA HARKONEN
Writer and cinema actress. Born in 1965 in Lamina, in the family of teachers. Graduated from the Higher Theatrical School in 1989. She makes her appearance in the literary world in 1984 with her first novel “A Gun to Kill Bulls” which brought her a literary prize. She is one of the most popular women-writers in Finland, several films have been based on her novels.
LITART presents the Finnish poetess Tua Forstrom
Tua Forstrom was born in the town of Porvoo in 1947. From 1973 to 1992 she was an editor in “Soderstrom and Co.” Publishers. Now she is a professional writer. She lives in Tamisari. She is the winner of the Nordic Council’s literary prize in 1998. She is reputed to be one of the most eminent Swedish-speaking Finnish poetesses.
LITART presentS the poet
Ivan Teofilov was born on 24 March 1931 in Plovdiv. He was the leading editor of “Poetic Globe”, a popular library for world poetry, “Narodna Cultura” Publishers, and editor-in-chief of “The Sezon” magazine. He is author of several books of poetry, as well as of “An Anthology of Bulgarian Symbolism”. Some of his stage plays and productions have been presented at the Royal Celebrations in Edinburgh /Great Britain, 1969/, the Vanguard Arts Festival in Vienna /1972/ and at tours throughout most of the European countries, in Africa, India and Japan. His verses and plays have been translated into 16 languages.
“PHOTO ATELIER” PRESENTS -
Holiness Comes through Prayers
Rumen Stoichkov, BNR page 57
Noone knows how many the Bulgarian Monasteries are at present. According to some sources, they are 133, others say that they are 140. It is known, however, that their origin lies in proclaiming Christianity as a state religion on the Bulgarian territory /9th century). And, following this logic, the first ones were constructed around the first Bulgarian capital - Pliska and, later, around the second one, Great Preslav. Nowadays, there are only ruins left there. Time has almost erased them. However, the development of this not only building, but also spiritual Christian tradition led to their flourishing, particularly significant during the Medieval Age, when they gradually became centers of art and architecture, protecting culture and literature; places of moral elevation and dedication to God... Different legends about the creation of several of the most famous Bulgarian monasteries are haunting around them, and their destiny has also been varying throughout the centuries.