Stepping out of Main Building after а tedious lecture, one feels the refreshing winter air, which also brings the tempting smell of barbecue, mixed with the aroma of warm homemade red wine. This is a sign of only one thing - the annual Christmas bazaar in Blagoevgrad has opened its doors.
Located on the square in front of Main Building, the bazaar once again welcomes the citizens of Blagoevgrad. It is mostly referred by the locals as "kochinki", which translates into pigsties. It will be creating a Christmas atmosphere from Nov.28 until Jan.7.
"I actually have no idea why people started calling them 'kochinki', but I suppose it has to do with either their small size or the fact that you can smell them from far away," commented Antonia Kaisheva, a local first-year student.
The small wooden houses also offer warm hats, scarves, and gloves as well as Christmas toys and decorations. The bazaar along with the Christmas tree and lights that decorate the whole city contribute to the holiday spirit and bring a feeling of warmth and coziness.
However, what is of greatest interest to the people of Blagoevgrad are the kochinki, which offer food and drinks. You can sit at a table inside temporary wooden houses and enjoy the authentic Balkan atmosphere, while eating Serbian barbecue and making a toast with a glass of fine red wine.
The customer is presented with a wide variety of meat delicacies and choice of salads. Some of the salads include beans with liutenitsa, homemade pickled vegetables(turshia), and Russian salad. As for the prices - they are reasonable, bearing in mind the quality of the food and the size of the portions. The all-time Bulgarian classic kebapche is worth one lev, while the salads are priced three lv each. The wine can be considered a little bit too expensive - 10 lv for a liter. However, it is likely to forget how much money one is spending since the food is delicious, the service is quick, and the people around seem merry and pleased. The bazaar is seen as family-friendly because lots of people come to enjoy a nice dinner with their kids. The result is an evening that boosts the Christmas spirit and makes one await the Christmas holidays with the energy and excitement of a six-year old kid.
"The bazaar definitely contributes to the Christmas spirit. Not only because the kochinki are festively decorated but because they make people gather together at one place, which makes the town look more alive," said Kaisheva.
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