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The Briton, who loves everything in Bulgaria

"Bulgaria is one of the most beautiful places in Europe," says the famous British photographer Timothy Allen, who has toured extensively in Bulgaria.

"Bulgaria is one of the most beautiful places in Europe," says the famous British photographer Timothy Allen, who has toured extensively in Bulgaria. Maria Ilcheva tells about his Bulgarian experiences.

en you show my picture someone please tell that my name is baba /granny/ Stoyanka." When saying these words, the 84-year-old woman hardly imagined that her photo will go around the world. Baba Stoyanka is living all alone in her house in an almost deserted village in Ograzhden Mountain. A few days ago the famous British photographer and documentary filmmaker Timothy Allen arrived in the village. Baba Stoyanka invited him to her house and showed him pictures from the old family album. The Briton took a picture of her and published the photography on his Facebook page, where thousands of people from all over the world can see it (

"I love Bulgarian grandmothers. They are impressive people. In Bulgaria the grandmother is a symbol of good. However, she embodies the end of an era. The generation of those kind and considerate Bulgarian grandmothers is disappearing", said Allen, who became world famous with his photography in the BBC documentary series "Human Planet" some years ago.
"Wonderful people!"
"The strange thing is that everyone in Bulgaria loves grandmothers, but at the same time they are moving away from them, either going to the big city or abroad. This is very sad” said the photographer. Baba Stoyanka is not the only Bulgarian grandmother that Timothy Allen knows. In the last three weeks he toured dozens of villages in the Rhodopes and Ograzhden where he met only old people." There, unfortunately, there are no young people" explains the photographer and tells how he spent Babinden /Grandma’s Day/ with ten grandmothers whose total age was 723.“Wonderful ladies!" exclaims the Briton.

Timothy Allen is now in Bulgaria for a second time. "This year I came to shoot a documentary. It is going to present the life of people around the Bulgarian mountains. People who live in villages and rely only on themselves, who produce their own food. And those who have preserved their traditions - despite globalization which is gradually blurring the distinction between nations and cultures", says Allen.
The Briton was very impressed by the skills of the Bulgarians living in the countryside. "I like the tradition of living with what you manage to do on your own. I find the topic of how nowadays modern people lose the ability to care for themselves very interesting - either securing their own heating or producing their own food. In Bulgarian villages, even those close to Sofia, people still do everything on their own", says Allen.
The photographer hopes that one day young Bulgarians will start to return to villages - and to their homeland as a whole. "Bulgaria is one of the most beautiful places in Europe, but is still too little known,” says Allen and adds that many of his friends know nothing about Bulgaria. "Some do not even know what the capital of this country is".

During the summer of 2016, Timothy Allen will visit Bulgaria again. This time with his family. "I'll come with my wife and our three children. We plan to tour the whole country. Our children love to play outside and Bulgaria offers great opportunities" he said. And does he have a favorite place in Bulgaria? No, he loves the entire country.
Is there something you don’t like, we asked Allen ? "I don’t think so," he says and starts to recite what he likes: "I like the nature here. I like the people, they are all so friendly. And I love banitsa /pie/! In the last days in the mountains it seemed that I ate banitsa every day", he laughs, adding that people in the villages know how to cook wonderful things although they cook in very basic kitchens.
Timothy Allen was born in 1971. At 22 years he graduated in zoology and left Great Britain. For three years he travelled around Indonesia where he discovered his passion for photography. In 1990 he enrolled to study photography part-time , but subsequently stopped studying and began working for the "Sunday Telegraph". Hee has travelled all over the world, worked for "The Independent", the BBC, the photographic agency "Axiom" and his documentary films have won numerous awards.


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