Life at the borders with Greece

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owain
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Postby owain » Wed Nov 09, 2011 6:13 pm

It's the South West,Blagoevgrad/Sandanski area that has closer ties to Greece, it's all historically the Macedonian Region .The Customs aren't a problem, both the Greek & Bulgarian Control work together in the border.They only ever stop people when they really suspect or know something is 'not right'. I go through regularly, never a problem.
The South & South East is considered a Muslim Pomak region and they have closer ties to Turkey and you don't see that many Greeks in the region, they tend just to use the Border there to drive to Bansko for the skiing.

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Postby MIK » Fri Nov 11, 2011 11:17 am

owain wrote:It's the South West,Blagoevgrad/Sandanski area that has closer ties to Greece, it's all historically the Macedonian Region .The Customs aren't a problem, both the Greek & Bulgarian Control work together in the border.They only ever stop people when they really suspect or know something is 'not right'. I go through regularly, never a problem.
The South & South East is considered a Muslim Pomak region and they have closer ties to Turkey and you don't see that many Greeks in the region, they tend just to use the Border there to drive to Bansko for the skiing.


thanks Owain

Are bribes asked by police, majors etc widespread? Is police and authorities usually professional with foreigners? Is "local mafia" present in villages. I mean people "believing" they control somehow the territory and do not like foreigners to come or they think you have to pass trough them?

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Postby owain » Fri Nov 11, 2011 2:02 pm

Hi MIK,
There is bribery and corruption and each region does have it's Mafia but it's not like it is in Italy. Foreigners are welcome in Bulgaria and will generally have less problems.
If you're just coming to live in Bulgaria, corruption isn't really something that will effect you, you wont be harassed by corrupt police or officials, you probably wont ever encounter any corruption personally.
If you're coming here for business purposes, you may encounter corruption but this will be in the form of bribes just to 'oil the cogs'. Again, it's not like Italy where you can't do anything without the Mafia and corrupt officials on your back. Everyone knows the corruption and organised crime is going on here but it goes on more in the background here rather than in your face every day.

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Postby MIK » Fri Nov 11, 2011 3:47 pm

owain wrote:Hi MIK,
There is bribery and corruption and each region does have it's Mafia but it's not like it is in Italy. Foreigners are welcome in Bulgaria and will generally have less problems.
If you're just coming to live in Bulgaria, corruption isn't really something that will effect you, you wont be harassed by corrupt police or officials, you probably wont ever encounter any corruption personally.
If you're coming here for business purposes, you may encounter corruption but this will be in the form of bribes just to 'oil the cogs'. Again, it's not like Italy where you can't do anything without the Mafia and corrupt officials on your back. Everyone knows the corruption and organised crime is going on here but it goes on more in the background here rather than in your face every day.


yep more than organized crime I was talking about a kind of traditional attitude you may find easily in many villages from italy/greece/albania in rural areas etc

For instance even Orthodox Church in Greece is quite a Mafia...what ever you need seems you have to pass trough them.

Anyway I was looking for simple rural life, not business, beside something I wil have to do :D

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Postby owain » Fri Nov 11, 2011 5:11 pm

It's not that bad here MIK. Yes there's Mafia & Corruption,including the Black Robed,Cartel of God :lol: But you can enjoy the simple rural life without corruption of any sort ever personally effecting you.

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Postby leedarkwood » Fri Nov 11, 2011 8:36 pm

We have lived in the South West in a village for the last four years and have never been approached for a bribe.

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Postby Samche » Fri Nov 11, 2011 9:31 pm

Mat wrote:Presumably he's Greek and thus presumably the annoying customs are those related to the FYROMians calling themselves Macedonians and co-opting Greek cultural icons as they don't have any of their own.


Would love to know more.

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Postby MIK » Fri Nov 11, 2011 10:33 pm

Samche wrote:
Mat wrote:Presumably he's Greek and thus presumably the annoying customs are those related to the FYROMians calling themselves Macedonians and co-opting Greek cultural icons as they don't have any of their own.


Would love to know more.


Greece is filled with countless rural churches and monasteries.

Is not like most countries where a priest control one church. It's more like an orthodox priest to have control over 10/20 religious sites. Such sites are traditionally left open without control, used freely by people for cult and officially opened during religious happenings.

But in the past years lot of places have been robbed or trashed by immigrates and lot of icons have been stolen and sold abroad. So now all the sites are locked with alarms systems all year round.

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Postby scasparz » Sat Nov 12, 2011 7:57 am

MIK from what I am told, the best way to clear the FYROM check points is to have a 10 Euro bank note accidentally forgotten into your passport as you give it to them for inspection. That I am told will simplify things greatly. It works for us, the other Macedons, that is the Greek ones, it will most probably work for you too. The irony with the "Ha Ha! I knew it! Drugs", is that most of the narcotics circulated here seem to originate from their own pharmaceutical factories, having somehow managed to escape control of their authorities.

And no Pascalcho we may be broken financially at this point, but like most I do not believe we are in need of any kind of donations in regard to our heritage. Neither do I have anything to buy nor to sell from or to anyone.

As for the Pomaks mentioned by gushter, am not aware of their true ethnicity, they could well be Bulgarians, Turks, descendants of the ancient Thracians, Muslim-turned Macedons or other Greeks and I do not care. Point is those living the BG side of the borders, are BG citizens, they should be provided an equal rights status with everyone else living there, while mutually they should meet their obligations as BG citizens. The same applies to the those living on the Greek side, in respect to Greece this time.

As for the FYROM lads, I believe the vast majority of them are Bulgarians, with a strong Albanian, a lesser Serbian and a small Greek minorities. This is much like Switzerland, the difference been that unlike the Swiss they seem to lack the notion of a common national identity and hence they appear desperate to acquire some. Independent to this, I want to be in good terms with them, am happy with the borders the way they are currently established while in the end it is not me challenging anything I believe it belongs to them or out of the status quo. In case they insist to believe Alexander of Philip used to speak Yiddish or whatever, I could not care less. Yet for example, by routinely publishing maps and/or issuing bank notes where the borders appear redrawn deeply at our expense, to include in their state Thessaloniki where I was born and still live, yes you have got it right mate, for this annoys me while I do not feel any reason to apologize here.

Ethic purity is not a quality to be found in the Balkans. Go for this and you may end scratching a few deep old wounds, that may start bleeding quiet easily. My advice, don't go for it, take it or leave it.
Last edited by scasparz on Sat Nov 12, 2011 8:15 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby lyn » Sat Nov 12, 2011 8:15 am

Last time we came through the Blagoevgrad/Macedonian border into Bulgaria, we struck a jobsworth Bulgarian female customs officer who had obviously got out of bed on the wrong side or been dumped by her boy/girlfriend. She was determined that she was going to strip search our car and then, presumably, us. Fortunately we know the chief of the border police there and he came to our rescue. It wasn't a nice experience up to then though. :(


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