Back in Sofia: Vitosha, kebapche and old friends

  • 6. May 2019

For many hundred years, up to modern times, the Balkans have been a very “fluid” geographical area in which the inhabitants were move across natural borders (like mountains or large rivers), as well as political borders, the latter being hard to enforce in those times.

The reasons for the movement are varied, ranging from traditions like sheep herding to trade and the ottoman expansion into Europe. This movement allowed for cultural exchange and, although both the Romanians and the Bulgarians preserved their core cultural identity, they have many things in common. When we cross the Danube into Bulgaria, there are no striking differences in the landscape, in the way villages and towns look. The cuisine is similar and it includes dishes which you find only in this area, like sour milk, kebapche and coliva. There is an argument about kebapche, because both the Romanians and the Bulgarian (and few other nations in the Balkans) claim they invented this dish, which is further proof of the fluid character of the region.

The languages are different because the two peoples were in different places when their languages formed. Still, many basic words about farming and cattle have similar pronunciation. The alphabets are also different, but this has political and religious reasons: after the Catholic and Orthodox churches separated, a byzantine emperor decided to create a different alphabet and write all religious books using that alphabet, in order to reduce the influence of the other Christian church. This is how the Cyrillic alphabet appeared.

Now, enough with the history lesson! The point I am trying to make is that whenever we travel to Bulgaria – it could be Veliko Tarnovo, Balchik or Bansko – it does not feel much different than home.

Being in Sofia, at the feet of the Vitosha mountain, at the end of April was no exception.  We got the chance to see old friends again – which we have met during previous PCB events – and also to meet new people. Together with my Siemens EDA colleagues, we shared the highlights and the latest news about PADS Professional – the next generation PADS and HyperLynx – the easy-to-use PCB validation platform.

If you want to know more about PADS and HyperLynx please write me at  You may also write me if you just want to talk about history. ?


Editors Note: Thanks a lot Mircea – for arranging PCB Technology Day 2019 in this great city as well as the brilliant history lesson!