As someone with an interest in Turkish populations outside of Turkey I had to visit Kardzhali, a Bulgarian town with a large number of Turks. Kircaali in Turkish, the municipality has a majority Turkish population of 55.5 percent. While visiting the city I sampled some Mastika/Menta, a delicious (and devastating) concoction consisting of Mastika–a 94 proof Bulgarian variant of the anise flavored Turkish Raki–and Menta, a mint liqueur. While in a cloud after drinking the eponymous cocktail I visited third division FC Arda‘s derelict Druzhba stadium. While Wikipedia claims the stadium’s capacity as 25.000, I’m inclined to think its more along the lines of 2.500–the photos below will tell you why. Despite its neglected stadium the tree lined boulevards of Kardzhali are a welcome respite from the urban environment of Sofia and definitely award the intrepid traveller with a relaxing provincial vibe. And don’t leave before sampling a Mastika/Menta at a watering hole in the city center.

 

The stadium from afar feels like entering no-man’s land:

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Turkish brands advertise on the stadium facade:

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The graffiti makes me wonder if there is even a groundskeeper:

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“ARDA” spray painted behind the benches:

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