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September 2006, 15/09/2006

Dear Valued Stara Planina Properties Client,

Thank you for keeping your interest in our newsletter. In this issue we have prepared some information on the options for furnishing your property in Bulgaria as well as a few news articles and our hot property alert. The October issue will be dedicated to the property market and investment opportunities in the capital city of Sofia.

Furnish Your Bulgarian Home

If you are looking to furnish your newly purchased house or apartment in Bulgaria there are three options from which you can choose depending on your budget, preferences and lifestyle.

Bulgaria has significant furniture production industry – both large scale and custom made. The country's export of furniture grew by more than 20% year to year during the last three years and the main markets are Benelux countries, Denmark and Sweden.

Option One: Buy directly from furniture showroom. Simply speaking this involves buying direct products seen inside the showroom and these would be delivered typically within 48 hours. In every city or town there are few big shops and many small ones. It is good to check both as the small shops usually have closer connections with particular producers and may offer lower prices whilst larger shops offer variety of options.

Shops are best for purchasing chairs, tables, beds and sofas. The prices of the chairs usually vary between 20 and 60 euros. A table would cost you between 100 and 300 euros. Sofas would be at least 200 euros and the most expensive ones exceed 1000 euros. A single bed with a mattress costs at least 100 euros and a double one - 225 euros.

Option Two: Buy made to order modules from furniture showrooms. This is mostly used when it comes to kitchens but can include fitted shelves/cupboards and wardrobes. The shops would usually have someone who can prepare the layout of your kitchen. Once you choose the arrangement of the modules, you can also choose between several colours and materials. Once you confirm the design they would require up to one month to supply and install the furniture. You may have to purchase some additional items such as taps, sink and plugs for your kitchen as well as all electrical appliances.

The prices may vary a lot as some of the brands are quite expensive. A typical kitchen may cost you around 1,000 euros without the appliances if you choose budget brands such as Aron. If you go for luxury furniture your kitchen may cost you 2 or 3 times more.

Most shops organise the transport of the furniture to your home but usually you would have to pay for it.

Option Three: Custom made furniture by joiners There are many excellent competent joiners who would come and measure the rooms and prepare designs for furnishing each room. You should bear in mind though that some of them are better than the others and it is best to rely on recommendations.

It is also possible to contact specialists in the local interior design studios and have them prepare the best suggestion for furnishing your home. Thus you may end up with unique furniture at affordable price.

The joiners who have better production facilities can produce anything for you – from fitted kitchen to chairs and garden furniture. They may design unique elements to make your home special and take advantage of the specific spaces that seem difficult to make use of.

With this wide choice you only need to summarise your requirements and to take advantage of the opportunities offered by your new home. Thus you will have an exciting and pleasant job to complete.

As a rule of thumb off the shelf furnishings are cheaper but joiners in our opinion offer better value for money because they are able to take into account the specific requirements of your space to be furnished.

It is always nice to do the furnishing yourselves but if you prefer to engage someone knowledgeable and capable to help you can contact our sister company Bulgarian Property Management who will be ready to offer good advice on the subject and will be happy to do the running around whilst you are away.

Discovery Channel Shoots a Film about the Ancient Thracian Remains in Bulgaria

The Thracians lived on the lands of present Bulgaria from about 1,300 to 500 BC and it is the land where most of the traces of the Thracian architecture, art and crafts are found. Numerous extremely precious Thracian findings, including settlements, tombs and temples, have been discovered in the country and some of the most significant treasures were uncovered in the last 5 years.

Recently Professor Nikolay Ovcharov, who is leading the researcher at Perperikon in the South-East of Bulgaria, confirmed his earlier hypothesis that Pergam is the most ancient name of Perperikon. Pergam is one of the most glorious cities in the ancient history whose location remained unrevealed until recently. Perperikon was found in 15 to 11 centuries BC. Ovcharov also announced that the excavations at the ancient settlement Tatul were completed. Tatul is confirmed to be a sanctuary of a Thracian Tsar who was proclaimed as a god after his death.

The popular TV Channel Discovery is filming at Perperikon and Tatul. The film will be one hour long and will tell the history of the Thracians. In addition to Perperikon and Tatul, the film crew will shoot in the Valley of the Thracian Kings south of Stara Planina mountains. The production will be ready in one year and the American and British audiences will be the first to see it.

This summer Varna hosted a major exhibition of the 6 biggest and most precious Thracian gold and silver treasures found in the Bulgarian lands in the last 100 years. They include massive gold, silver and ceramic jewellery and pots which are finest examples of the Thracian traditions and crafts.

Bulgaria & Romania to Enter EU on time on January 1st, 2007

The Bulgarian Prime Minister Sergei Stanishev presented the progress of the country in implementation of the reforms recommended from the European Commission. It is expected that the Commission will issue its final report on the readiness of Bulgaria and Romania to join the EU in the middle of October. By that time Bulgaria would have made all the necessary changes in the legislation and administration, the Prime Minister said.

More than 80 European media were present at the press conference which was held on 6th September, the Day of the Unification of Bulgaria.

At the same time several European media quoted sources from the European Commission who prognosed that the decision for the date of the accession will be positive for the two Balkan countries and they will enter the EU on 1st January 2007. It is expected that some additional measures will be applied to ensure continuous reforms in both states.

Mall of Veliko Turnovo

On the 15th September 2006 the Mall of Veliko Turnovo will open its doors. This is the first project of its kind outside the capital Sofia and the largest investment project for Veliko Turnovo and Northern Bulgaria with an investment amounting exceeding 15 million euros.

The new commercial complex is built on an area of 33,000 sq m and is located on the edge of the city on the Sofia-Varna main road. There are large number of shops, restaurants and entertainments. The modern facilities include three luxury cinemas, two art galleries, a fitness and beauty centre, entertainment centre, restaurant & bar area, and parking.

School Holidays in Bulgaria

If you think to move to Bulgaria and have kids who will go to school you might be interested to know that 15th September is the day on which the summer school holidays end.

Generally schools have holidays three times every year. There are 10 days holiday for Christmas and New Year and one week holiday at Easter. The longest holidays are the summer ones. They start on 1st June for the youngest pupils, on 16th June for the middle grades and on 1st July for the high-school students. All schools start the new school year on the 15th September after the summer holidays.

Apart from these there are few days during the year which are bank holidays and schools organise different activities on these days (22nd September, 1st November, 3rd March, 6th May and 24th May).

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