The Rhodope Mountains are still there like when Alexander the Great was crossing them, planning the construction of his Empire. Impervious and mysterious, the Rhodope are another border within the territory, usually considered as the starting point "” or the finishing line "” of the Balkans.
If up in the north of Bulgaria the water of the Danube helps to wash the memories, here everything is frozen even when the temperature is not below the zero. The rest of the Iron Curtain are still standing on the border line, on the Greek side there are still several military bases and in the forest, close to border, the bodies of whom tried to run away from the communist regime still rest under the foliage without an identification, killed by the Bulgarian police before the 1989.
On the Bulgarian side of the mountains the farmers still grow tobacco and the miners still dig in the mountains to find precious metals.
Small textile and shoe factories have born from the hashes of old national factories, the new owner philosophy is standard products using cheap labour, but from the Greece in crisis isn"™t arriving work and the others foreign clients are moving to Albania and Macedonia where the labour is even cheaper; a new industrial crisis is knocking to the door of Bulgaria.
Through the mountains, there is Greece. The Greek-Macedonian region was already a depressed area before the economical crisis, now is desolation: ghost villages, closed business, abandoned ski centres. Meanwhile Greeks try to survive to the crisis and especially to the European solutions to it, refugees are stranded on the border between Greece and the Republic of Macedonia because others European countries don"™t allow them to enter or pass from their territory.