"One could not reproduce Bulgaria or any piece of it for a casino in Las Vegas. It is too complicated, too native. It would not be enough to copy the gilded domes of the chapels squatting just in front of the apartment buildings or the Roman columns against the sky. I think, for example, of an empty piece of land on the northeastern tip of the peninsula in old Sozopol. For a long time no one built anything there; instead, poppies bloom all summer in its parched waters. I think of the poppy fields streaked with blue-purple lupine along the highways. For a blue shirt left in the rain and dust at the end of the village. Also for the yarrow in the meadow next to Gela, which two old women picked with their other flowering cousins to make mountain tea - as if one could drink the landscape itself in a steaming cup. Consider this, Proust. For pigeons looking for food between the cobblestones of the monastery yard; the pigeons are probably eight years old, the monastery - more than a thousand. Or for roads winding through a gorge that landed hesitantly on the southern border, for rocks dotted here and there with flowers and more often with caves. For a turtle (lost in hermit reflections) on the edge of a Strandzha forest."
Elizabeth Kostova, author of the novels "The Historian", "The Swan Thieves" and "Land of Shadows"