Digital "Abagar" for the Danube municipalities in Bulgaria

An attractive digital reality for the first Bulgarian printed book "Abagar" will build a modern image of literary tourism in the Danube municipalities of Nikopol, Belene and Gulyantsi. It is an initiative of the BlueLink expert team, as part of the organization's efforts to promote the sustainable use of the rich cultural and historical heritage along the Danube, within the framework of a project (DANUrB+).

"Abagar" is the first book printed in Cyrillic and Croatian ("Illyrian"), which contains elements of the New Bulgarian language. The edition was compiled and published in Rome in 1651 by the future Nicopolis Catholic Bishop Philip Stanislavov in honor of the legendary king Abgar V Ukkama. The book is a prayer book for the needs of the Catholic Church in Bulgaria. One of the preserved 17 copies is kept in the National Library "St. St. Cyril and Methodius".

Experts from the National Library "St. Cyril and Methodius", "Ciela" Publishing House, Department of Telecommunications of Ruse University, "Lyuben Karavelov" Regional Library - Ruse and leading experts on the period of the Chiprovtsi Book School have expressed interest in the initiative to digitize "Abagar". The goal is to properly celebrate the 350th anniversary of Philip Stanislavov's death in 2024, Gavrailov said.

Philip Stanislavov is closely related to Nikopol, where he was appointed bishop of the Catholic diocese in August 1648. He was buried there in 1674. BlueLink supports the preservation of the cultural and historical heritage of Nikopol and the neighboring municipalities of Belene and Gulyantsi through the project "City Brand Danube+: Building regional and local sustainability through valorization of the cultural heritage along the Danube River" (DANUrB+), with the support of the Danube Regional Program of EU. Its aim is to promote the connections and interaction of the Danube communities and increase local development through international tourist attraction.

Apart from Bulgaria, the project is implemented in Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia and Romania. It is co-financed by the EU through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA), as well as by the national budget of the Republic of Bulgaria through the budget of the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works.

A literary route inspired by the legendary print edition of Philip Stanislavov will connect local Danube communities in a natural way, as part of BlueLink's efforts to support the preservation of their cultural and historical heritage, explained the leading expert on sustainable tourism and social entrepreneurship Gavrail Gavrailov.

In the target municipalities, there is already interest in popularizing the cultural heritage related to "Abagar". Representatives of the local administrations in Belene, Nikopol and Gulyantsi agreed that the creation of a local network of tourist sites related to the first printed Bulgarian book "Abagar" by Philip Stanislavov is an extremely useful and important project.

The preservation and promotion of the cultural and historical heritage is an innovative way to connect the communities around the Danube and improve their well-being, commented Zoya Borisova, DANURB+ project manager from BlueLink. The idea of digitizing a historical artifact like "Abagar" demonstrates the utility and creativity of BlueLink's approach to strategic use of information technology, in line with BlueLink's mission, Borisova said.

The initiative related to "Abagar" is part of the "Action Plan for Municipal and Regional Development through the Valorization of the Danube Heritage" for the three Danube municipalities prepared by BlueLink. The document presents analyze of the current situation, possible actions and potential future products and services to attract tourist and investor interest in the area. The plan describes 16 small projects to stimulate overall development of a micro-region with the working title "Ulpia Escus – Novae BG". Its official acceptance by the three municipalities is expected by the end of the summer.


The text was prepared within the DANUbe Urban Brand + Building Regional and Local Resilience through the Valorization of Danube's Cultural Heritage (DANUrB+) project. The project is co-financed by the European Union through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA), as well as by the national budget of the Republic of Bulgaria through the budget of the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works.


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