The surprising mountainous landscapes in Bulgaria
The surprising mountainous landscapes in Bulgaria

Katya Melamed

What first sparked your passion for archaeology?

My high school history teacher was amazing. So I became historian with a specialization in archaeology. At 14, I worked at my first archeological site as a volunteer - in the Devnya lowland near Varna, Bulgaria, with several pagan necropolises from the late 7th - 9th centuries. It has become a lifelong job.

What does archaeology mean to you?

Archaeology is a manner of life rather than just a profession. You have to know the names of so many long forgotten objects, so many long forgotten practices, to distinguish the colour of soil and tell the date of a pottery shard just by touching it. To distinguish magic from everyday chore and all the time wondering if in the past they thought of art while making their necessary tools and pots. I have not yet an answer to this last question.

What is the most interesting experience you have had leading an Andante tour?

I like the questions the guests ask me. I believe the questions are the best result of any lecture.

What is your favourite archaeological site?

The Orthodox churches with their wall paintings. My favourite one is the Nativity Church in Arbanassi near Veliko Tarnovo from the early 17th c. And also the murals on the church in Rila Monastery. And sure the Museum of Archaeology in Sofia.

How many tours have you led for Andante?

Since 2011 – 10 tours so far.