International Conference:

Folk Culture and Boundaries in the Balkans

Volos, 7-8 June 2008

The concept of the conference Organizers and sponsors The conference programme


Margarita Karamihova (Boulgarian Academy of Science)
Pervious ethnic and relifious boundaries. A Case Study of Zlataritsa, Boulgaria.

This article will present the results of fieldwork held at Zlataritsa Municipality (North Central Bulgaria) from 2000 to 2007 inc. The reason of scientific interest in this particular area is the mixture of ethnic and religious groups created at 20th century via different type of internal migrations. In this small town known since 15th century as a Bulgarian Orthodox village during 20th century settled Muslim Romany people, later converted in to Christianity; Orthodox Rumanian speaking Roma (Vlasi); Bulgarian Muslims (Pomaks); a few howsholds of Bulgarian Turks. A considerable emigrational flow of Bulgarians directed to the big cities can be registered at early 50s. It is important to mention that Zlataritsa is located between two very powerful national ideological centers: at 25 kilometers from Veliko Tarnovo (the second capital of Bulgarian Kingdom - 12th-14th centuries) and at 16 kilometers from the town of Elena (one of the main educational and ideological centers during Bulgarian Renaissance).
The starting points of research were to examine the following statements: 1. Ethnic and cultural groups create considerable and dynamic boundaries especially active between locals and newcomers; 2. In this particular case we may expect production of very intensive boundaries at the level of religion (Orthodox Christians - Sunni Muslims) as well as at the level of ethnicity (Bulgarians - Romany people).
The research aims to observe production and functioning of those multidimensional boundaries. The litmus of the state of interethnic or/and religious boundaries is the presence of mixed marriages. They are the special focus of the article.
The article will be based on empirical data collected at Zlataritsa via classical methods of Ethnology (interviews, life histories, participatory observation, and analysis of pictures, home videos and local statistics).