3 MINUTE BULGARIA - ONE CAR, ONE PERSON, ENDLESS BEAUTY

Read NOMADSofORIGIN Magazine’s exclusive interview with Martin Grahovski, creator of the single biggest tourism campaign ever made about Bulgaria

Words: Aleksandra Georgieva

Photography and videos: Martin Grahovski

13 August 2019

  • 3 Minute Bulgaria Facebook

 

3 Minute Bulgaria is a series of fifty short videos, which gathered over 44,000 followers on social media. Martin Grahovski travels across his home country in a beat-up car providing insights on locations visitors are less likely to know about.

 

Martin was born in Sofia, Bulgaria but soon afterwards his family moved abroad. While they lived predominantly in the States and Canada, every summer Martin visited his grandparents back home. In a way, one could say that the project began before the initial idea was even there. In his early teenage years, Martin did a short video about the small town of Sevlievo. After obtaining a Minor in Journalism, Martin dedicated 3 years to studying International Law in Netherlands. Upon graduation, his life took a different direction when he decided to spend 4 years travelling across Europe and Asia so he can work on documentary and photography projects. It was after this experience when Martin put all that work aside and in April 2017 he created the project that gives three-minute-insights to exploring Bulgaria from the biggest cities to the small corners that just a small number of people can say they have ever visited. 3 Minute Bulgaria continues to receive positive feedback from travellers to this day.

‘‘Working on 3 Minute Bulgaria is exciting because maybe it is one of the first big solely individual creative projects.’’

Martin Grahovski, founder of 3 Minute Bulgaria for NOMADSofORIGIN Magazine

 

According to Martin there is an amazing number of things to be seen in such a small country. "The history and the nature are undoubtedly mesmerising." Bulgaria was founded in 681 AD, which makes it over 1,300 years old. Certain cities have preserved the atmosphere of long-forgotten times. Many historical sites such as the Thracian Tomb of Kazanlak and the Belogradchik Rocks date centuries back in time. Tourists are often captivated by the country’s natural beauty. The Old Mountain range spreads from the north all the way to eastern Bulgaria and the Black Sea coastline. Many have heard of the famous Seven Rila Lakes and quality ski resorts. But there is more to be seen beyond the tourist hotspots.

‘‘I think that what people should do when they come here is really not stay in one corner of the country. It’s all so different, don’t stay in Western, don’t stay in Eastern, don’t stay in central, try and do a bit of everything.’’

 

Martin Grahovski, founder of 3 Minute Bulgaria for NOMADSofORIGIN Magazine

 

Through 3 Minute Bulgaria Martin shares his fascination with the sense of scale in the country. According to him, the diversity in Bulgaria is more inspiring than anything else. It takes no longer than a two-hour drive to reach from the bustling capital city Sofia to a completely different scenery dominated by mountain ranges, gems of nature and archaeological sites. He shared with our team that the process can be really fun. "This sense of scale that everything is so reachable, it's so crossable - I really enjoy that."

We asked Martin what the best destination in Bulgaria is according to him. He had many places in mind. At first he mentioned the clash between the old, columnist-style buildings and the new developments in the centre of Sofia. "It is really interesting, it is not like any other city I have been to."

When it comes to the seafront, he recommends straying away from the popular seaside cities and looking out for the isolated beaches, where no tourist goes. The mountain ranges such as Rila captivate him in terms of nature. In cultural aspect Martin talks about locations form The Madara Horseman to UNESCO’s Heritage Site Perperikon. Yet, he emphasises on traditional places such as Plovdiv. In his words such cities are "very representative of the country" and its atmosphere. There is a location that stands out as his favourite destination. "My go-to place is always Veliko Tarnovo".

Martin not only takes the footage himself, but he does all the editing as well. He wanted the project to feel more like he would travel and explore the traditional and cultural scene of different locations. While there is undeniably certain negativity around the way Bulgaria has been governed, local people are truly proud with their country’s history, territory and natural beauty.

 

‘‘I think that 3 Minute Bulgaria will hopefully encourage people to put their work out there – whether it’s travel content, or videos they create; photos, music, whatever it is. That’s something I really hope is an outcome of this.’’

 

Martin Grahovski, founder of 3 Minute Bulgaria for NOMADSofORIGIN Magazine

 

Martin finds his biggest inspiration for his project in the people he meets. To him the human contact remains vital. One of the aims of 3 Minute Bulgaria was to portray what excites the locals. Often Martin would even include some of them in his videos. This was the case with the boatman, who gave him a ride to the largest Bulgarian island in the Black Sea. The 3 Minute Bulgaria episode dedicated to St. Ivan Island portrays the outcome of one of the most extreme experiences Martin had during the making of his project.

‘‘The boat driver wasn’t very happy with the situation, let’s put it that way. But that was very interesting.’’

 

Martin Grahovski, founder of 3 Minute Bulgaria for NOMADSofORIGIN Magazine

As Martin’s audience grew bigger, he was faced with more difficulties and more ideas of places he wanted to include in the series. The process of each video making was long and demanding. Martin would get up at 6am to travel and take footage until six or seven in the evening. He would edit until midnight and repeat the process the following day. One of the biggest difficulties was structuring the videos in a way that would keep the attention of viewers. Yet, Martin has undoubtedly done a great job. 3 Minute Bulgaria successfully educates and inspires people to see beyond the popular locations and discover the far less explored aspects of Bulgaria. Featuring music exclusively from artists, who are aware that they are part of the project, the series delivers beyond the promised ‘endless beauty’.

 

In times when we like to stick to familiar or popular travel destinations, 3 Minute Bulgaria provides insights on exceptional locations across the European country, which not even locals may tell you about. Take in this breath of fresh air and allow yourself 3 minutes to explore the diversity of one of the oldest countries on the continent. Scattered across Bulgaria are towns, historical sites and natural wonders, which remain foreign to visitors but beyond worth exploring.

 

Read more exclusive information on 3 Minutes Bulgaria alongside Martin’s travel experiences and adventurous stories in the extended interview. Follow the young video maker's adventures around Bulgaria online through his social media platforms and read our extended interview exclusively in the LAND issue.

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