On November 6th, the beautiful Rhodope Municipality of Borino welcomed the beautiful Moroccan traditions. H. E. Mrs. Zakia El Midaoui, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Kingdom of Morocco to the Republic of Bulgaria,

diplomats and embassy’s staff visited Borino on the cultural Day of Morocco organized there as part of the celebration of the 43rd anniversary of the "Green March" that once started on that date. They were welcomed by the mayor, Mr. Mustafa Karaahmed, and his team. Among the guests was Mrs. Ekaterina Pavlova, the editor-in-chief of the Diplomatic Spectrum.

H. E. Mrs. Zakia El Midaoui and Mr. Mustafa Karaahmed, first met at the City Hall. Ms. Anelia Djibirova, chairman of the Municipal Council, and Mrs. Ekaterina Pavlova attended the meeting. The mayor presented to Her Excellency the Municipality, its history and contemporary achievements. He reported that the settlement was built between 1750 and 1800, but traces of human presence had been found here millennia before. Borino Municipality today includes the villages of Borino, Yagodina, Buynovo, Chala and Kozh Its population is mainly ethnic Turks, but there are Bulgarians - Muslims and a small part of Bulgarians, Orthodox Christians. His main occupation is related to agriculture and livestock. Today, however, tourism also develops, thanks to natural and man-made riches, located on the territory of the Municipality or near it: the Yagodinska cave, the Devil's Throat Cave, the Kemera Bridge, the Devil's Bridge and the Buinovska River's catchment, Buynovsko Gorge, Trigrad Gorge, etc.

More about Borino municipality you can find HERE

From her part, Ambassador Zakia El Midaoui told about Morocco and about its ancient history and rich culture. She underlined that Morocco and Bulgaria have many similarities, as ancient civilizations, multicultural countries, international tourism destinations, democratic and politically stable countries.  She added that the Moroccan cultural Day in Borino was organized on an important date for the Moroccan people, which is the "Green March" of 1975. "It is the most important national event celebrated in Morocco after the Independence Day. The Green March was an occasion to renew Morocco's determination to retrieve back Sahara and an opportunity to show Moroccans' determination to bring to an end the national unity and integrity. This will and determination were shown by 350 thousand citizens who answered to the appeal of the late King Hassan II, on 6th November 1975."

The Ambassador also briefed the audience on all the richness of Morocco and the major development and economic reforms and projects launched by His Majesty King Mohammed VI, and His special attention to the development in all fields, especially those connected to human development.

The Moroccan ambassador used the opportunity to thank the mayor for the hospitality. She pointed out that the visit to the Rhodopa Municipality was a consequence of a conversation with MRF chairman Mustafa Karadaya at a similar event in Madan, where she promised to show the beauty of Morocco in his birthplace – Borino.

After the meeting H. E. Mrs. Zakia El Midaoui visited the Borino Exhibition and Crafts Center. Details about the history and traditions of the Municipality were given by the teacher Todor Todorov, who is also the manager of the center. He recalled the words of Herodotus: "Rhodope is the mother of the sheep" and stressed that the main livelihood of the population here - the shepherding, is also the reason for the development of the crafts related to it and the wool. Looking at the exhibits, Her Excellency Zakia El Midaoui was glad to find that such labor, carpets and fabrics had once existed in the Moroccan villages. She also took an interest in the costumes of the region. Mr. Todor Todorov focused on the three girls' costumes presented at a poster in the center: Muslim, Bulgarian-Mohammedan and Christian.

In the evening, in the hall of the Community Center "Obnova – 1939" there was a celebration, in which the beauty of Morocco and that of Borino met. It was attended by Mrs. Velislava Krasteva, MP of the Movement for Rights and Freedoms of the Pleven Region and Chair of the Bulgaria-Morocco Parliamentary Friendship Group, Mr. Salih Arshinski, district chairman of the Movement for Rights and Freedoms in Smolyan, citizens and guests of Borino. After the official welcome of the Mayor, the city Council Chairman and the Ambassador of Morocco, presented their cultures and traditions, which was a happy occasion for the audience to enjoy the gorgeous traditional Moroccan caftans. They were presented by the beautiful girls from Secondary School "Nikola Yonkov Vaptsarov" of Borino.  After the show the folklore performances of the amateur groups of the Municipality followed. They showed what the Mayor said in his speech: "There is a dynamic cultural and social life in the Municipality. Singing and dancing groups have been set up to portray our traditions and customs on a regional, national and international level." And the whole atmosphere in the evening can be represented with the ambassador's phrase, with which she began her greeting: "I am at home!" And the last one: "I can assure you that this is, by no means, my last visit to Borino." Mr. Mustafa Karaahmed also expressed hope for continuous cooperation: "I hope that this meeting will launch a friendship that will deepen and expand in future."

And then, in the ritual hall of the Community Center, all Bulgarians and Moroccans, Muslims and Christians, enjoyed the wonderful Rhodope and Moroccan culinary specialties as well as the traditional Moroccan mint tea and sweets ceremony.

Photos: Borino Municipality and Diplomatic Spectrum

Above: H. E. Mrs. Zakia El Midaoui, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Kingdom of Morocco to the Republic of Bulgaria (in the middle), Mr. Mustafa Karaahmed, Mayor of Borino Municipality (to the right), and Mrs. Ekaterina Pavlova, Editor-in-Chief of the Diplomatic Spectrum (to the left)

Below: First line: Borino village; the mayor Mr. Mustafa Karaahmed and the chairman of the municipal council Mrs. Anelia Djibirova, welcome the guests in the building of the municipality; during the conversation; with Mrs. Rufinka Karailieva (to the right), Senior Specialist "Education and Culture" in the municipality and coordinator of the event

Second line: Details about the history and traditions of the Municipality were given by its manager Todor Todorov;  the official opening of the event in the Hall of the Municipal Center; Among the audience were (from left to right): Mr. Salih Arshinski, MRF Regional chairman - Smolyan, Ahmed Karadayi, Ms. Velislava Krasteva, MRF MP and Chair of the Bulgaria-Morocco Parliamentary Friendship Group, Mrs. Zakia El Midaoui, Mrs. Ekaterina Pavlova, Mr. Mustafa Karaahmed, Mrs. Malika El Haddad - Consular Affairs at the Embassy of the Kingdom of Morocco and Mrs. Lala Mina Alawi, Attaché

Third line:  girls from Secondary School "Nikola Yonkov Vaptsarov" of Borino present traditional Moroccan caftans

Fourth, 5th and 6th line: Special greetings with Rhodope songs to the ambassador of the Kingdom of Morocco from the singing group at the Community Center "Obnova- 1939", led by Assen Cholakov. There followed performances of the folklore group at the "Nov Zhivot - 1956" Community Center in the village of Buynovo and the amateurs at the Community Center "Svetlina - 1954" from the village of Yagodina. The Children's and Adolescent Folklore Dance Ensemble "Borinche" and the Rhythm Dance Club at "Obnova – 1939" Community Center, Borino, presented dances from the Rhodope and Shopski regions. Moroccan and Rhodope dishes

Seventh line: the guests from the Royal Embassy of Morocco were accommodated in Chala Guest Houses, 8 km south of the village of Borino, situated on a beautiful Rhodope hill just opposite the village of Chala. More about them you can find HERE