International South-East Summer University

The University of Library Studies and Information Technologies (ULSIT) successfully implements research work in the field of tangible and intangible cultural heritage in the border regions of Strandzha and Sakar. Its main partners in the process of researching the rich intangible culture are the municipalities of Malko Tarnovo, Bolyarovo and Elhovo, which due to the idea of ​​strengthening joint cooperation and joint efforts to implement various activities in the field of science, culture and tourism, in 2015 signed a Memorandum of Cooperation and Partnership. The main goal was to strengthen the good relations between the four institutions, to create opportunities for better cooperation in the direction of building modern and up-to-date strategies for stimulating and developing education in the Republic of Bulgaria through the implementation of scientific and applied research in the field of tangible and intangible cultural heritage.

As a result, the International South-East Summer University (ISESU) started operating, which is a successfully implemented project. It is held annually and was established on the basis of a decision of the Academic Council of ULSIT of October 27, 2014, in order to strengthen cooperation between the University of Library Studies and Information Technologies and small border municipalities in South-East Bulgaria – Bolyarovo, Elhovo and Malko Tarnovo. The main organizer and leader of the summer expeditions on the territory of the three municipalities is Chief Assistant Diana Stoyanova, PhD.
In 2016, a page of ISESU was created in one of the most popular social networks, which aims to promote the activities of the summer university, to show the stages of research in the three municipalities and to acquaint with the essence of this innovative type of training the general public. It is available at: The page is maintained by active PhD students and students who have participated or are participating in field research and research activities under the auspices of the International South-East Summer University.
Lecturers and PhD students from various accredited PhD programs of ULSIT (such as “National Security”, “Organization and Management of Information Processes”, “Books, Librarianship and Bibliography”, “Cultural and Historical Heritage in the Modern Information Environment", "Science Studies", etc.), as well as bachelor’s and master’s students in various specialties (“National Security and Cultural and Historical Heritage”, “Cultural and historical heritage in the modern information environment”, ”Library and information management”, ”Communications and information”, “Public policies and practices”, etc.).
In research and studies of tangible and intangible cultural heritage, the university partners with various cultural institutions, including the National Museum of Military History, the Regional History Museum of Yambol, the Ethnographic and Archaeological Museum of Elhovo, the History Museum “Prof. Alexander Fol”, Malko Tarnovo and others.
The application of specific methods for collecting and processing information by the team of ISESU, in the form of conducting interviews and talks with local people, video and audio recording of their stories and subsequent synthesis and archiving of the accumulated information, gives an idea of ​​different historical epochs, important events and exceptional personalities, as well as the region-specific traditions, way of life and culture. This is a kind of contribution to the preservation and promotion of the rich tangible and intangible cultural heritage of Bulgaria.
Municipality of Malko Tarnovo

For a period of approximately ten years ULSIT along with the History Museum “Prof. Alexander Fol”, Malko Tarnovo and Community Center “Prosveta 1914” study the rich cultural and historical heritage, which is expressed in the features of the movable and immovable cultural heritage, folklore, way of life, traditions and culture of the population in the municipality of Malko Tarnovo. One of the most significant scientific researches in this region, which are the result of the researches, are related to the description, documentation and popularization of the rich material cultural heritage in each of the settlements in the region of Malko Tarnovo municipality. Along the intangible cultural heritage, the contribution of the research teams is found in the field work, the description of specific rites and rituals such as Kukerovden and Palikosh, Filek, Spring Youth Games, Periwinkle Festival, pilgrimage procession of the five Strandzha firecracker villages to the Big Ayazma, firecracker rite, National Folklore Festival for singing “Strandzha sings”, the holidays of some of the most revered saints in Strandzha, a pilgrimage to the cave-sanctuary of St. Marina, Slivarovo, National Memorial Festival in Petrova Niva, in honor of The Ilinden-Preobrazhensko Uprising (1903).
Municipality of Bolyarovo

Bolyarovo Municipality is the crossroads of ancient civilizations, determining the specifics and richness of the cultural and historical heritage of this region. An important place in the system of cultural values ​​of Bolyarovo municipality is occupied by the restored Community Center “Vazrazhdane” in the town of Bolyarovo, the house-museum of Stefan Karadja in his native village Stefan Karadjovo and others. There are twenty Orthodox churches and each of them is a unique example of the Christian religion and the fighting spirit of the people who lived in this area.
Part of the joint work between ULSIT, the Regional History Museum of Yambol and Bolyarovo Municipality are the research in the field of intangible cultural heritage, related to the search for tangible and intangible evidence describing and preserving the history, culture and traditions of the Bolyarovo region. The joint work between the three institutions contributes to the preservation and promotion of the rich tangible and intangible cultural heritage of Bulgaria.
Thanks to the long-term research and research activities of teachers, PhD students and students with representatives of the municipality of Bolyarovo and RHM of Yambol, was collected, preserved and popularized the history of the Church “Assumption of the Virgin” in the village of Stefan Karadjovo, which was built in 1763. To date, it has been declared a cultural monument of national importance.
Every year teachers, PhD students and students visit the Regional History Museum of Yambol, where together with the management and museum curators they study specific elements of the intangible cultural heritage of the region.

Municipality of Elhovo

The area of ​​the South-East border and in particular the territory of the municipality of Elhovo are located in the geographical region of Thrace, which is the border of the South-Eastern European region and has an important strategic meaning. This region is also known as the crossroads of different cultures and civilizations, as evidenced by the tangible and intangible cultural heritage, which represents the wide range of religious and ethnic diversity of the region, as well as the overall vision for the development of Elhovo municipality, which contributes for their establishment as cultural centers combining modernity and the European perspective. The area of ​​Elhovo municipality is known for the exceptional examples of tangible and intangible cultural heritage, which is reflected in a number of cultural monuments from the era of Prehistory, Antiquity, the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, as well as in oral folklore, legends, stories and holiday calendar of the local population. The presence of such a large cultural and historical foundation gives important importance to the Elhovo region and gives it the right to be called a multi-layered cultural and social territory. For this reason, every year teachers, PhD students and students, together with the Ethnographic-Archaeological Museum-Elhovo conduct in-depth interdisciplinary research aimed at presenting the current state of tangible and intangible cultural heritage in the region of Elhovo. From the conducted research in the Elhovo region (the village of Pchela, the village of Razdel, the village of Boyanovo, the village of Zhrebino, the village of Lesovo, the village of Melnitsa, etc.), stories, events and objects of the tangible and intangible cultural heritage are currently documented through description, video and photo recording of stories, rites, rituals, traditions, legends, songs, traditional folk costumes, life, traditional medicine, folk cuisine, features of dialectal forms, etc. contributing to the formation and preservation of the language, cultural memory and national identity of the Bulgarians.
The results of the research are presented at various conferences, forums and other scientific events.