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By decree of the President of the Republic of Poland, Andrzej Duda, nine Bulgarian intellectuals were awarded the highest state honour of the country - the Golden Cross of Merit.

These are the academic lecturers Pravda Spassova and Margreta Grigorova, the journalist Petra Taleva, the translators Milena Mileva and Silvia Borissova, the founder and director of the International Festival of mountaineering and extreme cinema Bansko Film Fest Natali Petrova, the actor Bogdan Glishev, the stage directors Kiryakos Argiropulos and Nikolay Georgiev. The Silver Cross of Merit was awarded to the translator and teacher of Polish language Yulian Bozhkov. The awards were presented at an official ceremony at the Polish Embassy in Sofia on 17 December by H. E. Mr. Maciej Szymanski, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Poland to the Republic of Bulgaria.

The only journalist among the recipients of the prestigious distinction of merits in the development of Polish-Bulgarian contacts and the encouragement of bilateral cultural collaboration is the colleague Petra Taleva.

She is the founder, the author and a long-standing host of the first specialised broadcast for tourism and culture "Where to now?" of "Hristo Botev" programme for education and culture of the Bulgarian National Radio. Years ago, Petra Taleva set herself the hard task of totally changing the matrix known thus far of presenting tourism in media space: mainly as accommodation places, food and entertainments. Today it is already quite natural for the routes and sites to be perceived as part of the world cultural and historical heritage, the folklore and culinary traditions, and as a way in which the peoples and the countries get to know each other. However, when you are a forerunner, the road is not an easy one. Of course, there comes the acknowledgement as well: over 100 Bulgarian and international awards for journalism, one of them being the Special Award of the jury of the Competition of European Radio and Television Program Contest in the Czech Republic.

Photograph: Petra Taleva’s personal archive