In the 1960s and 1970s the Yugoslav authorities offered attractive conditions to Western cruise companies. Unlike in other Communist countries in the area, foreign tourists to Yugoslavia were less conspicuously followed by the security services.

They were allowed to move around freely and capture the beauty of the scenery, but also the everyday lives of people. Like here - from Venetian and Genoese Korčula (Curzola) to Dubrovnik along the Dalmatian coast, today's Croatia.

Footage converted from 16 and 8 mm Kodachrome film.

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Published in Balkans
Published in Balkans

James Crouchman travelled mainly on foot across Bulgaria's North West - the mountainous lands between the Danube and the border with Serbia, today the Bulgarian province of Montana. He explored and documented on film an area full of history, where dialects overlap and once gold and silver miners came from as far as Saxony, brought in by the Ottoman Turks.

James: I met Asparuh from Glavanovtsi village. He gave me apples and told me he disliked Churchill. He was five during the worst bombing of WWII, but still remembers Allied planes flying overhead to target the oil fields in Romania just across the Danube, before returning and unloading their unused bombs on this part of Bulgaria. He told me about the sound the explosions made, echoing for miles around.

From Glavanovtsi I walked nearly 100km over four days to Belogradchik, crossing mountains and taking detours to villages on the way. People would often stop me and give me food or drink. In Protopopintsi village, two old ladies invited me in to their garden and gave me 'compot', not the British sort but fresh fruit juice from figs and peaches. It's a fascinating area, one that deserves to be spoken about more than just in terms of GDP and employment figures.

Bulgaria NW
Bulgaria NW
Bulgaria NW
Bulgaria NW
Bulgaria NW
Bulgaria NW
Bulgaria NW
Bulgaria NW
Bulgaria NW
Bulgaria NW
Bulgaria NW
Bulgaria NW
Bulgaria NW
Bulgaria NW
Bulgaria NW
Bulgaria NW
Bulgaria NW
Bulgaria NW

Photography © James Crouchman

Published in Photo Gallery Bulgaria

Yugoslavia on Kodachrome

A rare Kodachrome film for Pan Am Airways, 1964.

MyCentury.tv

Yugoslavia was the only Communist-controlled country in today's Eastern Europe Pan Am flew to during the Cold War – showing how important the country was at that time.

A cultural icon of the XX Century, Pan American World Airways, or Pan Am, was the largest international air carrier in the US from 1927 until its collapse its 1991.

Pan-Am is remembered by many for its routes to divided Berlin - Tempelhof and Tegel.

Did you fly on Pan Am to Yugoslavia or West Berlin? Did you visit Yugoslavia's Adriatic coast, or perhaps Ohrid?

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Converted from 16 mm film.

All rights to use purchased.

This Kodachrome film is just a beautiful and non-political piece of history. More on the seemingly still open question whether Yugoslavia was a Communist society despite its relatively open borders, was it dogmatic...did it ever try do deal with events of the recent past, like Bleiburg or the fate of its ethnic Germans, Istria... is available on: 

Tito in Moscow 1972

Communist Nostalgia

Published in Balkans
Rousse, Insurance Company 'Bulgaria', 1891-1944. Communist Police headquarters, 1944-1990.

Insurance company headquarters, 1891-1944
Communist Police headquarters 1944-1990

The Bulgarian city of Rousse is a true gem of Fin de Siècle architecture. Craftsmen and architects sailed down the Danube from Vienna and further afield, shaping a distinctly Central European look -- plenty of Neo-Baroque, Neoclassicism, Art Nouveau…

More than 250 buildings were listed and carefully preserved. Others were less lucky though. Take this one in the city's main drag, King Alexander II street: designed by an Austrian and decorated by an Italian master in 1891 for the country's largest insurance company.

After the Communist takeover the house became the Police headquarters and remained a place of sorrow and pain till the 1990s. The frescoes were covered in plaster or destroyed. For many the house stands as a reminder of times they would rather forget. Its future is now uncertain.

More on this Balkan Mitteleuropa

Published in Bulgaria