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Plovdiv

Plovdiv is the second-largest city of Bulgaria. It has a population of 346,893 as of 675,000 in the greater metropolitan area. Plovdiv is the culture capital of Bulgaria, it is an important economic, transport and educational center. There is evidence of habitation in Plovdiv dating back to the 6th millennium BCE, when the first Neolithic settlements were established, it has been considered to be one of the oldest cities in the world. During most of its recorded history, Plovdiv was known in the West by the name Philippopolis after Philip II of Macedon conquered the city in the 4th century BCE; the city was a Thracian settlement and subsequently was invaded by Persians, Celts, Goths, Bulgars, Rus people and Turks. On 4 January 1878, at the end of the Russo-Turkish War, Plovdiv was taken away from Ottoman rule by the Russian army, it remained within the borders of Bulgaria until July of the same year, when it became the capital of the autonomous Ottoman region of Eastern Rumelia. In 1885, Plovdiv and Eastern Rumelia joined Bulgaria.

Plovdiv is situated in a fertile region of south-central Bulgaria on the two banks of the Maritsa River. The city has developed on seven syenite hills, some of which are 250 metres high; because of these hills, Plovdiv is referred to in Bulgaria as "The City of the Seven Hills". Plovdiv is host to a huge variety of cultural events such as the International Fair Plovdiv, the international theatrical festival "A stage on a crossroad", the TV festival "The golden chest", many more novel festivals, such as Night/Plovdiv in September, Kapana Fest, Opera Open. There are many preserved ruins such as the ancient Plovdiv Roman theatre, a Roman odeon, a Roman aqueduct, the Plovdiv Roman Stadium, the archaeological complex Eirene, others; the oldest American educational institution outside the United States, the American College of Sofia, was founded in Plovdiv in 1860 and moved to Sofia. On 5 September 2014, Plovdiv was selected as the Bulgarian host of the European Capital of Culture 2019 alongside the Italian city of Matera.

This happened with the help of the Municipal Foundation "Plovdiv 2019″, a non-government organization, established in 2011 by Plovdiv's City Council whose main objectives were to develop and to prepare Plovdiv's bid book for European Capital of Culture in 2019. Plovdiv was given various names throughout its long history; the Odrysian capital Odryssa is suggested to have been modern Plovdiv by numismatic research or Odrin. The Greek historian Theopompus mentioned it in the 4th century BCE as a town named Poneropolis in pejorative relation to the conquest by king Philip II of Macedon, said to have settled the town with 2,000 men who were false-accusers, sycophants and other possible disreputables. According to Plutarch, the town was named by this king after he had populated it with a crew of rogues and vagabonds, but this is a folk name that did not exist; the names Dulon polis and Moichopolis have similar origins. The city has been called Philippopolis or "the city of Philip", from Greek Philippos "horse-lover", most in honor of Philip II of Macedon after his death or in honor of Philip V, as this name was first mentioned in the 2nd century BCE by Polybius in connection with the campaign of Philip V. Philippopolis was identified by Plutarch and Pliny as the former Poneropolis.

Strabo identified Philip II's settlement of most "evil, wicked" as Calybe, whereas Ptolemy considered the location of Poneropolis different than the rest. Kendrisia was an old name of the city, its earliest recorded use is on an artifact mentioning that king Beithys, priest of the Syrian goddess, brought gifts to Kendriso Apollo. Roman coins mentioned the name, derived from Thracian god Kendriso, equated with Appolo, the cedar forests, or from the Thracian tribe artifacts known as the kendrisi. Another assumed name is the 1st century CE Tiberias in honor of the Roman emperor Tiberius, under whom the Odrysian Kingdom was a client of Rome. After the Romans had taken control of the area, the city was named in Latin: TRIMONTIUM, meaning "The Three Hills", mentioned in the 1st century by Pliny. At times the name was Ulpia, Julia after the Roman families. Ammianus Marcellinus wrote in the 4th century CE that the city had been the old Eumolpias/Eumolpiada, the oldest name chronologically, it was named after the mythical Thracian king Eumolpos, son of Poseidon or Jupiter, who may have founded the city around 1200 BCE or 1350 BCE.

It is possible that it was named after the Vestal Virgins in the temples – evmolpeya. In the 6th century CE, Jordanes wrote that the former name of the city was Pulpudeva and that Philip the Arab named the city after himself; this name is most a Thracian oral translation of the other as it kept all consonants of the name Philip + deva. Although the two names sound similar, they may not share the same origin as Odrin and Adrianople do, Pulpudeva may have predated the other names meaning "lake city" in Thracian. Since the 9th century CE the Slavic name began to appear as Papaldiv/n Plodiv, Pladin, Plovdin, which evolved from a Thracian variant Pulpud

Cay von Brockdorff

Cay von Brockdorff was a German sculptor and art historian who after 1933 became an anti-Nazi resistance activist. Cay-Hugo Graf von Brockdorff was born in the Berlin quarter of Schmargendorf, his father, Ludwig von Brockdorff, was a district judge. His grandfather, Cay Lorenz von Brockdorff, had been a cavalry officer and a theosophist-anthroposophist, he studied at the United National Academy for Free and Applied Arts in Berlin-Charlottenburg where he was taught by the sculptor Wilhelm Gerstel. After that he launched himself as a freelance visual artist. Through his studies he made contacts with people who would become opposition activists in the Charlottenburg district, members of the group around Kurt Schumacher who would be arrested by the Gestapo in 1942. In or before 1931 von Brockdorff became a member of the Communist Party and of the Socialist Workers' Party. In January 1933 the Nazis took power and lost no time in transforming Germany into a one-party dictatorship. Political activism became illegal.

Sources indicate that from 1936 he was involved in "illegal work" in various groups of "intellectuals" and "workers". In 1937 he married Erika Schönfeldt, their daughter Saskia was born towards the end of October 1937. In 1939 he linked up with Hans Coppi who around this time became a member of the so-called Rote Kapelle resistance group. Erika von Brockdorff would put her Berlin apartment at the disposal of Coppi for use as a radio communication centre, connecting with Moscow, as a result of which she was arrested and, on 13 May 1943, executed. Meanwhile, war having broken out in September 1939, Cay von Brockdorff found himself serving in the army between July and October 1940, again between April 1941 and October 1942. In 1942, while serving on the Russian Front, von Brockdorff was arrested because of his involvement in the Red Orchestra group, he was found guilty of "preparing to commit high treason" and sentenced to a four year prison term before being transferred to serve in a punishment battalion.

The time-lines are not clear, but it does appear he never had the chance to communicate with his wife before she died, although a short moving letter of valediction that she wrote to him shortly before her execution does survive. Between 1943 and November 1946 Cay von Brockdorff was held by the British military authorities as a prisoner of war in Italy. After May 1945 the central portion of Germany surrounding Berlin was administered as the Soviet occupation zone, it was to the Soviet zone that Brockdorff returned. April 1946 saw the contentious political merger that created the Socialist Unity Party which after October 1949 became the ruling party in the Soviet sponsored German Democratic Republic, a new kind of German one-party dictatorship. By the end of 1946 Brockdorff had become an SED party member, his daughter recalled that following her mother's death, in the Soviet zone and her father "enjoyed many advantages, because members of the "Rote Kapelle" were celebrated as antifascist heroes."Between 1947 and 1949 Brockdorff was employed as a senior official in the "German Administration for People's Education".

During this period, in 1948, he married former resistance activist Eva Lippold. They set up home together at Kallinchen near a short distance to the south of Berlin. In 1950 Cay von Brockdorff received a doctorate. In 1953 Brockdorff became the first editor in chief of the magazine Bildende Kunst, a publication produced jointly by the National Commission for the Arts and by the state approved National Association of Visual Artists, an organisation to which those wishing to pursue a career in the visual arts were in effect obliged to belong. However, during 1954 he resigned the editorship and resumed his life as a "freelance artist", his successor, who took over with effect from Issue 3 of the newly launched publication, was another surviving anti-Nazi resistance activist, the cartoonist and caricaturist Herbert Sandberg who, despite a discretely satirical approach, managed to stay in the post till 1957. Between 1955 and 1956 he was deputy general director of the State Art Collection in Dresden.

After that, From Autumn 1957 till his retirement, he was director at the newly rebuilt Marcher Museum in Berlin. Towards the end of the 1950s he was excluded from the party. Cay von Brockdorff wrote a number of books on art history, notably "Soviet Artists, building peace", "Soviet and pre-revolutionary Russian art", "German Painting" and "Finnish graphic art"

Ricardo Elizondo Elizondo

Ricardo Elizondo Elizondo was a writer, playwright and archivist, whose work concentrated on preserving and promoting the culture of northeastern Mexico. Several of his books won other recognitions in Mexico and abroad. Elizondo was the fourth of six children of Aurora Elizondo of Huinalá and Guadalupe Elizondo of Monterrey proper. Elizondo's father was a union leader at the Fundidora de Fierro y Acero de Monterrey, his mother had served as an arbiter in water disputes in her town. Elizondo's interest in words and stories both fiction and non-fiction began, his great grandparents on his mother's side told him many stories of the area, including battles against the indigenous of the area that were still ongoing at the end of the 19th century. This experience formed the basis of his literary development, he began writing stories in his free time since the sixth grade, when he decided he wanted to be a writer. He began a project of the vocabulary and speech of his region's Spanish, which would become the book Lexicon del Noreste.

Another major influence on his writing was the death of his sister, run over by a car when she was seven. The loss shook the family Elizondo, making him more sensible to death, according to his brother Carlos. Although he knew he wanted to be a writer, his family was practical, he attended the Colegio Civil and went on to study public accounting at the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Studies, graduating in 1975. He did study humanities for a time at UNAM. In life, he would earn a masters in humanities from Universidad de Monterrey and a doctorate in history from the Iberoamericana University. Elizondo retired from his administrative career, but wrote until his death of cancer, which he battled unsuccessfully for two years. Elizondo wrote novels, short stories, works on history and biographies, he first started published short stories about Huinalá and other communities in newspapers when he was seventeen. In the mid-1970s, he was working as an accountant with the Bank of Mexico, when he met writer Juan José Arreola at a café in Mexico City.

He presented some of his short stories to the writer, who had a reputation for supporting young talent, who pronounced Elizondo's work “pure silver.” Elizondo wrote for the El Norte and El Porvenir newspapers, wrote biographies of José Vasconcelos and Martín Luis Guzmán along with histories of businesses and institutions. Elizondo had an administrative and academic career which spanned over three decades. In 1975, he became the director of the General Archives of the State of Nuevo León, continuing until 1979. In 1980 he became the director of Monterrey Tech's special collections, called the Cervantine Library, his career with the institution as head librarian and professor spanned 32 years. He retired from this position two years before his death because of his health. Elizondo was a member of the Academia Mexicana de la Lengua, as well as a member of the Mexican committee of the Memory of the World Programme. Elizondo's style was costumbrista, chronicling life and change in the towns and cities of his border region.

He was one of five authors in the 1980s noted for writing about desert life in northern Mexico, named “narrativo del desierto”, along with Daniel Sada of Baja California, Gerardo Cornejo of Sonora, Jesus Gardea of Chihuahua and Serverino Salazar of Zacatecas. His first book was a collection of short stories, Relatos de Mar, Desierto y Muerte, published in 1980. Several of his works won other recognitions. Ocurrencias de Don Quijote received five international awards. Relatos de mar, desierto y muerte received the Premio Nacional de Cuento in 1980. Setenta veces siete won the Premio Colima from the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes in 1987. Books such as Narcedalia Piedrotas and Setenta veces siete can be found on college syllabi, he had a passion for photography. In addition to taking photographs, he had a large collection of them from the 19th century, his photographic work made its way into books such as Monterrey, una vision fotográfica, Regiomontanos 1900 and Polvo de aquellos lodos. In 1999, he wrote a commemorative edition on the Palace of Lecumberri on its 100th anniversary which documented the conversion of the building from prison to the General Archives of the Nation.

Setenta veces siete Narcedalia Piedrotas Lexicón del noreste de México Polvo de aquellos lodos 1988 Britannica Book of the Year. Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. Chicago, Geneve, Manila, Rome, Sydney, Toronto. 1989. New Writing from Mexico. Edited by Reginald Gibbons. Triquarterly Books. Northwestern University. 1992 Dictionary of Spanish Literature. Directed by Ricardo Gullón. Alianza Editorial. Madrid, Spain. 1992. Dictionary of Mexican writers of the twentieth century. National Autonomous University of Mexico. Mexico DF 1992. Anthology of twentieth century Mexican narrative. Christopher Michel Dominguez. Economic Culture Fund. Mexico DF 1991; the new historical novel in Latin America, 1979-1992. Seymour Menton. Economic Culture Fund. Mexico DF 1993; the word game: New Mexican story. Lauro Zavala. University of the State of Mexico. 1993. This Mexican narrative. Vincent F. Torres. UAM. Mexico DF 1991. Ricardo Elizondo at the ITESM Patrimonio Cultural - official site for the Biblioteca Cervantina projects