Bulgarian Archaeologist Proposes Importing Shamans to Lure Tourists

Archaeology | June 5, 2011, Sunday // 18:06|  views

Prof. Nikolay Ovcharov (in black) presented his book "Veliki Preslav – the Mighty One" in Veliki Preslav on Sunday. Photo by BGNES

Bulgaria should "import" shaman in order to stage reenactments of medieval pagan rites to attract foreign tourists, according to top archaeologist Prof. Nikolay Ovcharov.

Ovcharov suggests that Bulgaria import a group of shamans from the Russian Republic of Buryatia near the Baykal Lake, which he visited recently.

Ovcharov spoke Sunday in Veliki Preslav, the medieval capital of the First Bulgarian Empire in 893-971 AD, entitled "Veliki Preslav – the Mighty One".

He believes that a reenactment of shamanist rites in the village of Madara – which is famous as the site of the Madara Horseman – a rock relief most likely created by the Bulgars (Proto-Bulgarians) in the 7th-8th century.

"It turns out that shamanism has a lot of fans from countries like Germany, France, Hungary, you name it. In Bulgaria, there were shamanist rites in the 8th-9th century. We have a cult center in Madara, which is very similar to the one in Buryatia. Of course, Bulgaria can attract tourists this way. We are now staging reenactments of Roman battles and legionnaires. I am convinced that if we do that with shaman rituals, we will attract a lot of people," Ovcharov explained.

He revealed he discussed the possibility with an advisor of the President of Buryatia who is in charge of shamanism in the Russian republic, and that a group of shamans can be transferred to Bulgaria if funding can be found.

Ovcharov explained that shamanism is a type of pre-religion totemism. In a ritual known as kamlane, shamans summon 13 spirits of supreme gods, and then turn into them, and are thus supposed to be able to cure, make predictions, and acquire other powers.

"We have descriptions of the same rituals in early medieval Bulgaria. Their clothing consists of a totem. Ours wore animal masks, while the ones in Buryatia cover their faces with cloth," says the archaeologist, who is known as the "Bulgarian Indiana Jones."

He believes the shaman rituals can reenacted on the spot of a pagan temple in Madara.

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Tags: shamanism, shamans, Buryatia, Nikolay Ovcharov, archaeologist, Veliki Preslav, Preslav, Madara, Madara Horseman, totemism, TOTEM


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