What Western and Central Europeans did, saw and experienced in nineteenth-century Bulgaria is the subject of this book. Most of them came from France, Great Britain, the German states and the Austrian Empire, others from Belgium, Denmark or Switzerland. Special emphasis was placed on German-speaking visitors to Bulgaria and their writings. Their story has never been told in any comprehensive way in a Western language, and it is quite a story. Much is made accessible here for the first time in English.
Tourists steamed down the Danube and wandered through the riverine towns; diplomats roamed the country or messed with Turkish affairs; medical officers and artillery specialists served in the Ottoman or Eastern Rumelian armies; war journalists and military strategists followed the bellicose events; telegraphists in out-of-the-way relay stations forwarded their reports; scores of naturalists studied the flora and fauna; geographers traversed all corners of the land before topographers charted them in detail; novelists wrote stories about emigres or their own adventures; geologists surveyed the terrain, and engineers built the projected railroad lines; lay archaeologists and bored railwaymen dug up Thracian burial mounds; pharmacists and trade agents visited the Rose Valley.