The Sacredl Settlement-adjacent Topoi in the Middle Strandzha Mountains ­ Real and Virtual Balkan Meetings


Diana Radoynova

Abstract:

The paper studies the middle part of the Strandzha Mountains. The population of the region has an almost entirely Bulgarian ethnic identity. Strandzha is an active ethnic-cultural contact zone and ethnic identity reflexes are strongly exhibited here. The settlements’ territory is perceived as the proprietary, absorbed territory, it is the core of the local microcosm with the zones around the core serving as limits. They are the borders separating the domestic from the foreign, but also the place where the two meet, communicate or compare. The sacral geography and the legendary narratives that have merged with it in the region of Middle Strandzha are forms of ethnic interpretation of space through the means of memory. The space itself functions as a text, which contains within itself different messages about the human communities inhabiting it – be they local, ethnic or religious. The ethnology of space is above all else a topography of the various community types and their strength – overtly or covertly.

Keywords:

the Middle Strandzha Mountains, sacred geography, social ideology, heterotopia, ethnic identity, local microcosm, legendary narratives

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