In 2017 Hristo Botev Regional Library - Vratsa implemented a large-scale project in the area of safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage named "Time Travel Map - Digital archive of Vratsa region - 20th century - history, culture, lifestyle and traditions, sights" It is an authentic "picture" (through text, sound, photography) of the life of each of the towns and villages in Vratsa region.
    Valuable records, documents and photographs come out of the oblivion in order to be safeguarded and shown - presented in the best generally accessible way, so that they can disclose to the contemporary human the "life" of one of the most colourful and interesting, however at the same time one of the poorest and the most depopulated as of today, regions of Bulgaria. The magic of the word, the song, the tradition is now felt in a new way. The beauty and the healing power of nature acquire new dimensions. The simple and deeply touching human messages in personal stories and narratives based on pictures sound and look differently. A panorama of a world which believes in the life of the community.
    Subject of the study was the authentic folklore, valuable documents and photographs from the collections of the community cultural centres in the towns and villages, personal and family collections, collections of local historian, church library collections.
    The study embraced 123 towns and villages from the municipalities of: Borovan, Byala Slatina, Vratsa, Kozloduy, Krivodol, Mezdra, Miziya, Oryahovo, Roman, and Hayredin.
    The photographs gathered exceed 20,000, from personal archives and photo albums, over 200 hours of field records with invaluable local history information gathered from over 1000 informants at various age from all the populated places. Amongst them - bearers of traditional folklore and crafts (singers, folk and wind instruments players, narrators, folk healers, craftsmen, etc.), people of special statute within the local community - called in many places "the living memory of the village".
    It turned out that in many of the villages the people do not remember of any ethnographic or historical study organised by the institutions in the near or in the remote past, and the interest towards us turned out to be considerable and unexpected.
    During the year we launched also the web site of the project "Time Travel Map - digital archive of Vratsa region 20th century" - kartanavremeto-vratsa.org. The main goal of this website is to systematise and to present to a large range of users the information and the resources gathered under the project. They are presented in four formats: photographs (there is text with each photograph), audio, text and video.
Results:
  ✔Creating a Digital archive of Vratsa region - 20th century - history, culture, lifestyle and traditions, sights The creation of a Digital archive of Vratsa region - 20th century - history, culture, lifestyle and traditions, sights, provides an authentic "picture" of the life of each of the towns and villages (text, sound, photography) in Vratsa region. Valuable records, documents and photographs come out of the oblivion in order to be safeguarded and shown - presented in the best generally accessible way, so that they can disclose to the contemporary human the "life" of one of the most colourful and interesting, however at the same time one of the poorest and the most depopulated as of today, regions of Bulgaria. The magic of the word, the song, the tradition is now felt in a new way. The beauty and the healing power of nature acquire new dimensions. The simple and deeply touching human messages in personal stories and narratives based on pictures sound and look differently. A panorama of a world which believes in the life of the community. The creation of a digital archive of Vratsa region shall contribute exclusively to the safeguarding and the improvement of the cultural heritage. The discovered, stored and digitalised information support the safeguarding of the authentic character of the intangible cultural heritage of the 123 towns and villages. In Vratsa section, for instance, one can discover selected information on the district town - its history and sights, presented in an easily accessible way, in language that is clear even for non-specialists. The discovered, described and preserved data outline the notion of a rich cultural heritage in the town and the whole region subject of the study. The text says: "In the various historical epochs the town has developed as a significant social, market and cultural centre. The traces of human activity in these places date back as early as the Neolithic Age. Later on, the Thracian tribe tribali developed high material culture, remains of which are still discovered on the territory of Vratsa region. The unique findings discovered during archaeological excavations at the Mogilanska hill in Vratsa, in Bukyovtsi (Miziya) and in Rogozen bring interesting information on a flourishing ancient civilisation. Romans, who have appraised the geographic and the strategic location of the lands around the Iskar river gorge, turned them into inaccessible fortress, that controlled the shortest way from the Danube river southwards and westwards, and towards the rich ore deposits high in the Vratsa mountain. The Middle Age settlement Vratsata, built by the Slavs on the ruins of the fortress, grew into a stronghold of great importance also during the Second Bulgarian state. During the Middle Ages it expanded its borders and turned into a big centre with developed crafts and commodity-and-monetary relationships. Numerous monuments of spiritual and material culture remained in heritage from that time. During the yoke in the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century the settlement was an object of assaults both by the Vidin feudal lord Osman Pazvantoglu, and the sultan's troops, being devastated several times. The town is a crafts, commercial and cultural centre. For centuries the famous goldsmiths from Vratsa worked here, and together with the representatives of other crafts in the town - silk producers and merchants, blacksmiths, coppersmiths - they have assisted in the preservation and development of the popular material and spiritual culture. It is enough to mention the achievements of Vratsa school of literature, the Gospels of Banitsa, Vratsa and Cherepish - a true masterpiece of the Middle Age calligraphic and goldsmith art, goldsmith's and coppersmith's stamping workshops in the Monastery of Bistrets St. Ivan Rilski (Pusti) - Kasinets (later on, goldsmith's trade developed in the town itself under its influence). Many times Vratsa was defined by researchers and artists as one of the biggest centres of cultural and economic life during the Bulgarian Revival. In this turbulent epoch the town gave to Bulgaria many bright personalities, that left lasting traces in politics, diplomacy, national liberation movements, in culture and education. Crafts and trade flourished during this period, and in the first year after the Liberation thy turned Vratsa into a modern European town, and left to the descendants original art models in the area of goldsmith's, pottery, cart-wright's trade, weaving. As early as the 18th century Vratsa merchants have established permanent relations with the European markets. Grapes, wine, silk production are among the achievements of the old Vratsa people, and their descendants will always take a pride in them. The activity of the first public figures from Vratsa after the Liberation was an "unachievable paragon of devoted public and society-useful activity". The result of their "colossal and dedicated labour" was the implemented town planning and development of Vratsa, a water-main that was modern at that time, and dozens of public building: the monument of Hristo Botev, Male and Female High Schools, the barracks and the Military Club, the community cultural centre, quarter and economic schools, economic enterprises of the town. "All this was accomplished in the period from 1890 to 1900, with tremendous labour, brains and most of all - with a thought and care for the future." At the beginning of the 20th century Vratsa tourist society "turns the eye" of Vratsa people and visitors towards the natural and cultural sights, which the town is famed with also nowadays - the Vratsata gorge, Ledenika cave, the monasteries located around the town. As early as the beginning of the past century, among the symbols of Vratsa, which appear also permanently on its identification badge (apart from the above mentioned sights) are the two Middle Age towers, erected in the 16-17th centuries by the local town notables (these are the Tower of Kurtpashovs family, and the Tower of the Meshchiis family are the oldest preserved buildings in the town even today), Botev's places, the first monument of the Leader (Hristo Botev), located on the central town square. Gradually, as symbols of the town, one after the other are added also the monument at Okolchitsa peak, the Thracian treasure - after the discovery of the Rogozen treasure, of the treasure at the Mogilanska hill in Vratsa. At the beginning of the 21st century - the plate from Gradeshnitsa, and in the recent years - the archeological discoveries from the village of Ohoden - one of the earliest Neolithic settlements in Europe, and the so called "Todorka" and "Hristo" - one of the oldest skeletons belonging to the culture of the first land cultivators in Europe, which are exposed at Vratsa Regional Historical Museum. Subject to natural and human disasters throughout the whole 20th century (fire - 1923, American bombing - 1944, floods - 1942 and 1966), the town succeeded to preserve a great part of its treasures, which became part of prestigious state and private collections in Bulgaria and abroad, exhibited to the public - peculiar accents of unique national collections in European and world museums and galleries. The most attractive treasures and also artefacts discovered on the territory of the region, to the pride of Vratsa people, can be seen at the Regional Historical Museum with the Art Gallery and the Ethnographic-Revival Complex St. Sofronii Vrachanski". The slogan "A town as the Balkan - ancient and young" reflects the glorious past of Vratsa as an old Bulgarian stronghold and its new new present.". The current example shows how young people's access to the manifestations of cultural heritage on spot is urged forward, with the assistance of modern technologies and social media. Large-scale promotion of little known artefacts, documenting of historical testimonials, and digitalisation of cultural practices that are under threat of disappearing, is accomplished.
    Through the project implementation human stories turn into a visible and accessible, distinguishable for the territory, recognized by the public distinctive and sustainable rich value. Digitalisation and on-line access to the cultural content further the presenting and passing on to the generations of the value character of the memory for the cultural traditions. The Time Travel Map project focuses also on the living and creative communication with the resources of intangible testimonies of knowledge, skills, experience and traditions, interwoven in:
  ✔people's customs and beliefs – for example: Consecrated ground and vow on St. George's Day in the village of Varbeshnitsa - One of the most esteemed saints by the Bulgarians is St. George. His day is celebrated with a rich complex of ancient rituals and customs, of original practices, preserve over the centuries. Early in the morning, at sunrise, the lassies gather at the saint's consecrated ground in Varbeshnitsa - every lassie names and ties her St. George's bunch of flowers with a red thread on the century-old vow tree. This lays the beginning of a common village feast; German and a pray for rain - An old pagan rite to obtain rain by prayer, that is practised even today in many villages. Granny Tseka from Gorni Vadin makes a doll from mud with all the male attributes, which is to be ritually buried near the Danube river. She used to participate in this ritual when she was a child and already at that time she learnt from her mother how to make German from mud; Mumbling incantations against fear - The folk lady-healer and herb-gatherer, Granny Rada from the village of Zverino chases fear with magical ritual acts and infusion of wall-fern and other healing herbs. Many people who were scared of something come to her; many mothers bring their ill children to her place. She has inherited this knowledge as a girl, when she was "immaculate", from her grandmother.
  ✔folk medicine – for example: Balm for burns - A family from the village of Kravoder prepares an extremely efficient balm for skin burns following an old family recipe, with main ingredients: danewort bast /fibre/, pure bee wax and pine-tree resin. While showing us the stages of preparation, the spouses tell us interesting stories when the balm helped and cured dozens of people; Herb treatment - Gathering, drying and making of different tinctures, infusions and other healing solutions.
  ✔rituals – ancient practices how human being and wild animals can live together without human showing any aggression towards them - for instance - taking out a snake and mumbling incantations for snake bite is practised even nowadays in many places around the region.
  ✔personal archives and songs – the song is a part of everyday life and the holidays of the local people. They sing and knead, they sing and gather hay, they sing and harvest, they sing on the square while they play horo (traditional Bulgarian folk dance). They have a song for every labour activity and for every event in the family. Luckily, e succeeded to gather hundreds of magnificent songs, passed on from generations to generations.
  ✔works of applied arts and folk crafts - for example: Festive kasache - Outer garment without sleeves with rich ornaments – part of festive winter female costume dating back in the second half of the 19th century. It adorns the ethnographic collection in the community cultural centre in the village of Malorad. It is of extremely fine make and impressive ornaments; Woodcarving – one of the crafts of old times is preserved in the area of Byala Slatina; Stone plastic of the monastery gate - Only the stone guardians of the Monastery of Dolna Beshovitsa placed on the gate arch and the old church St. Archangel Michael are preserved from the rich monastery complex that was functioning until the mid 20th century in the beautiful locality near the village of Dolna Beshovitsa. Part of the church plate and valuable icons, work of the distinguished Revival icon-painter Zahariy Zograf, is stored in the historical museum in the town of Vratsa.
  ✔architectural styles – the Hut – one of the interesting architectural sights of Vratsa. It was built in 1926 with voluntary labour by Vratsa tourists. Over the years, it had many functions until nowadays. Today, it is turned into a park and it is among the favourite places of the people in Vratsa; Mother of God sign – mural painting from the Middle Age church St. Nikola, in the village of Tsarevets - The church is a one-nave, one-apse building, constructed with broken stone and white plaster in the end of the 14th century, strengthened and further built in 1747. The legend says that when the Turks have demolished Orthodox temples /churches/, this one was spared, however, the mural paintings were desecrated - the infidels have pricked out the saints' eyes with swords. Later on, God loving peasants filled them with wax. Today, it is restored and declared monument of culture.

Apostle from the 19th century from the village of Galatin
In many of the old churches in Vratsa area there are preserved rare and valuable liturgical books This is an incunabula dated in the 19th century, with interesting marginal notes on the Liberation of Bulgaria from the Turkish yoke and other memorable events. It is now part of the museum collection of the community cultural centre in the town of Krivodol.
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Consecrated ground and vow on St. George's day in the village of Varbeshnitsa.
One of the most esteemed saints by the Bulgarians is St. George. His day is celebrated with a rich complex of ancient rituals and customs, of original practices, preserve over the centuries. Early in the morning, at sunrise, the lassies gather at the saint's consecrated ground in Varbeshnitsa - every lassie names and ties her St. George's bunch of flowers with a red thread on the century-old vow tree. This lays the beginning of a common village feast.
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German and a pray for rain
An old pagan rite to obtain rain by prayer, that is practised even today in many villages. Granny Tseka from Gorni Vadin makes a doll from mud with all the male attributes, which is to be ritually buried near the Danube river. She used to participate in this ritual when she was a child and already at that time she learnt from her mother how to make German doll from mud.
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The wife of the artist
The wife of the artist Tsvetan Tsonev tells about her husband and shows the rooms of her villa which she turned into a peculiar picture gallery following his demise. She, herself, is the heir of the rich archive of the largest and one of the most famous photographs' family in the region of Roman.
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Mother of God sign - mural painting from the Middle Age church St. Nikola in the village of Tsarevets.
The church is a one-nave, one-apse building, constructed with broken stone and white plaster in the end of the 14th century, strengthened and further built in 1747. The legend says that when the Turks have demolished Orthodox temples /churches/, this one was spared, however, the mural paintings were desecrated - the infidels have pricked out the saints' eyes with swords. Later on, God loving peasants filled them with wax. Today, it is restored and declared monument of culture.
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Mumbling incantations against fear
The folk lady-healer and herb-gatherer, Granny Rada from the village of Zverino chases fear with magical ritual acts and infusion of wall-fern and other healing herbs. Many people who were scared of something come to her, many mothers bring their ill children to her place. She has inherited this knowledge as a girl, when she was "immaculate", from her grandmother.
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Grandpa Tachika sings about love and tells about war
The 95 years old veteran from World War 2, Grandpa Tachika - Tsvetan Todorov, from the town of Kozloduy, sings about love and tells about war.
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The first dig of the school in the village of Furen - 1939
An archive photograph from a family album that tell about the festive event dating back far in the 1939 - consecration of the place and thr first dig of the new school building in the village. As of today, the building is preserved in the almost depopulated village, however, it has been long time since it last functioned as a school.
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The feast and the bread out of Granny's chest
This is how Petya Rusinova from the village of Selanovtsi has poetically named her classes with her students. For many years she has been gathering the children in a home land studies group, where she teaches them how to knead bread, how to make yoghurt, how to distinguish herbs, the songs and the tales, the customs of their ancestors.
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Small stories
Granny Natsa and Grandpa Peyo from the village of Lipnitsa were born in one and the same year - 1932. When Granny Natsa's mother heard that a fine boy was born, as she was joker, she said: "I am going to give birth to a girl for this boy!" This is how a fairy love story started, worthy of being embodied in a song and a novel, that the too old and white-haired ordinary village people narrate with joy and open the old photo album.
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Post card from the beginning of the 20th century
A 100 year old post card saying "Greetings from Vratsa" - part of the collections of Hristo Botev Regional Library - town of Vratsa, donated by a private antiquarian shop. Thanks to the new technologies, it makes part of the digital library and can bring its century old greeting to any place in the world.
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Common village table in the village of Ignatitsa on St. Peter's Day
Consecrated grounds are religious places and services dedicated to the patron landlord, the saint, where old time magic rites, purely folk customs, ecclesiastical-religious rituals and symbols encounter each other. They are located in the villages or outside them, on Thracian hills of Middle Age necropolis, in church yards, next to century old trees, near riverbanks, streams and springs. The common table and votive offering and boiled mutton are the accent of the feast - everyone takes part in the cleaning of the place, the lighting of the fire, the provision of the ingredients, of the votive animal, the preparation of the food, the ritual breads and the arrangement of the table. After that, they sit down all together and taste the boiled mutton that has been sanctified for health and well-being.
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Stone plastic of the monastery gate
Only the stone guardians of the Monastery of Dolna Beshovitsa placed on the gate arch and the old church St. Archangel Michael are preserved from the rich monastery complex that was functioning until the mid 20th century in the beautiful locality near the village of Dolna Beshovitsa. Part of the church plate and valuable icons, work of the distinguished Revival icon-painter Zahariy Zograf, are stored in the historical museum in the town of Vratsa.
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The orphan's dream
The touching personal story of grandpa Kondo Simyonovski, who lost his mother as an infant, a very young child he became a farm-hand and hired labourer, however, he had a dream - to build a house for himself from baked bricks. He, as many, took to heart the change of power and the nationalisation. He is the poorest man in the village, however, he is the last one to enter the cooperative farm, not of his own free will, and manages, at the expense of hard labour, perseverance and will, to build the house he dreamt of for his family.
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Balm for burns
A family from the village of Kravoder prepares an extremely efficient balm for skin burns following an old family recipe, with main ingredients: danewort bast /fibre/, pure bee wax and pine-tree resin. While showing us the stages of preparation, the spouses tell us interesting stories when the balm helped and cured dozens of people.
Read more

Festive kasache
Outer garment without sleeves with rich ornaments – part of festive winter female costume dating back in the second half of the 19th century. It adorns the ethnographic collection in the community cultural centre in the village of Malorad. An extremely fine work and impressive ornaments.
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Danube, white Danube
In the ritual life, the everyday life and the feast people, populating the lands around the Danube river, that is sacred for the Bulgarians, have preserved old-time beliefs about the existence of another, parallel to this world - the other world, the hereafter, where is God and the fates, the Mother of God, the saints and all the dead people. Danube is a way between the people, and a bridge between the families on the sides of the river, but also a way to the world of the ancestors and a bridge between human and God.
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The brass
For a whole century - the 20th century, the brass music was the emblem of the North-West Bulgaria. Every village has its brass, and in the bigger villages - even two, or three. The composer Diko Iliev created his works in Vratsa region, his works are loved and played as folk music, and he, himself, has a considerable contribution to the creation of dozens of orchestras all over the region. Unfortunately, we can count on the fingers of our hands the ones that still play.
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Musician in his sole
The original ocarina player, old man Georgi from the village of Lik, who has in his repertoire more than 160 songs and melodies, is actually an engineer and a colonel who has served in the air forces. He is the author of the first textbook on radio location in our country. His exciting and unbelievable living story brings back to us the faith in good, love of people and the gifts of fate.
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Tombstone
Ancient symbols and pre-Christian signs are discovered on the old toomstone, like the one in the village of Hairedin - the tree of life in various forms, the son, deities with sun nimbi and rosettes.
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The thread of life
The thread of life, from birth to death, through the eyes of a foil-worn peasant woman, who raised grandchildren and great grandchildren, ready "to leave" happy this earth with the faith that whatever she gave here from the bottom of her heart, this is what she is going to find in the other village, in heaven.
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Bardarski geran
The history of a catholic village in Orthodox Bulgaria, which tells the lessons of love and hate, of tolerance between people and the hard way towards light in the crossroad 20th century. The photograph is of the German church today.
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Skaklya
One of the natural sights of the town of Vratsa - Skaklya waterfall, the highest one in Bulgaria - 141 m. It is located in one of the most picturesque parts of Vratsa mountain, among century old green forests and unapproachable rocks. A specific peculiarity of this natural phenomenon is its uncertainty - it is full of water in the months of May and June, when after the snow melting and the rains its flowrate reaches up to 200, and sometimes even 300 l/sec. During the rest of the year its jet becomes thin and usually in August and September it is completely dry. In winter it freezes, amassing great amounts of ice formations, with various whimsical forms. At that time, mountain climber practice the attractive, however dangerous ice climbing. There are four caves in the area of the waterfall.
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She-Guardian of the mountain
Aunt Yanka lives in an almost depopulated neighbourhood in the beautiful Rzhana mountain. She is the guardian of old female crafts related to the processing of wool starting from the sheep shearing, washing and picking, to the spinning and dying with natural dyes and weaving. She weaves beautiful rugs, carpets, fleecy rugs on a home loom. While weaving she sings her favourite songs, that she used to sing as a maiden.
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A favourite place of Vratsa people
A letter by a young miss from the high society to her fiancée with a miniature water-colour drawing of the hut in the upper left corner. The Hut is one of the symbols of Vratsa. This tourist lodging was built in 1926 with voluntary labour of Vratsa tourists. A favourite place of Vratsa people throughout all the seasons also today - from here there opens a panoramic view on the whole town, the Vratsa field, the Veslets ridge, and fat to the west and to the north - towards the Danube valley. Until the mid 20th century balls, theatrical social evenings and dance entertainments, where "enamoured eyes encountered", were arranged here.
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