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Asia East Asia

Central and Eastern Europe

Stories and Photos from my travels around former communist states of the Eastern Bloc and the Balkans

Destination 》Europe 》Central and Eastern Europe

The Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) countries include the former communist states from the Eastern Bloc in Europe-World War II border with the former Soviet Union and the Southeast Europe (the Balkans) including the independent states in former Yugoslavia. Countries included in CEE are Albania, Armenia, Artsakh, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Georgia, Hungary, Kosovo, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Transnistria, and Ukraine. I have traveled to all of CEE other than Russia, the father-land. These countries are my favorite, people here are not as rich as rest of the Europe but the most friendliest in entire Europe.

Click on any country to view my travel photos and stories.

Albania

Albania, a Balkan Nation, is a country in the East Europe on the Adriatic and Ionian Sea, with 5000+ years of history, influenced by numerous civilizations such as the Illyrians, Thracians, Ancient Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Venetians and Ottomans. In 1946, after the Second World War, Enver Hoxha formed Communist Albania and launched the Albanians on a path of oppression and decades of isolation. The Revolutions of 1991 concluded the fall of communism in Albania and eventually the establishment of the current Republic of Albania. Albania is a beautiful country with the friendliest people.

Armenia

Armenia, a former Soviet republic lying in the Caucasus region straddling Asia and Europe, has a rich and ancient culture. More than 1,700 years ago in 301 AD, Armenia became the first country in the world to adopt Christianity as a state religion. It is a small landlocked country; mountain passes, valleys and canyons make Armenia feel much larger than it really is.

Artsakh

Artsakh, formerly known as Nagorno-Karabakh, is a self-proclaimed republic of the former Soviet Union, recognized by NO country in the world. It is located in the south of Caucasus region, laying between Armenia and Azerbaijan. It is located within Azerbaijan’s internationally recognized borders but run by ethnic Armenians.

Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan is a former Soviet republic lying in the Caucasus region of Eurasia at the crossroads of Eastern Europe and Western Asia. Azerbaijan has long been called “The Land of Fire” due to the phenomena of “burning hillsides” caused by gas seeping through fissures in the earth. Azerbaijan has vast reserves of oil and subterranean natural gas. Roman records dating back 2500 years ago suggest oil extraction took place on Azerbaijan’s Absheron Peninsula.

Belarus

With more than 11,000 lakes and 40% of its territory composed of misty forest, Belarus is a beautiful country in Eastern Europe. A home to friendliest locals I ever met. Until the 20th century, various empires controlled the lands of modern-day Belarus, including the Principality of Polotsk, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, and the Russian Empire. A country where one can experiencing the history of the Soviet Union without visiting Russia.

Bosnia and Hercegovina

Bosnia and Hercegovina is a rugged mountainous country, most intriguing for its East-meets-West atmosphere born of blended Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian histories. Many still associate the country with the heartbreaking civil war of the 1990s. But today, the country is remembered for its deep, unassuming human warmth, most welcoming locals, its beautiful mountains, numerous medieval castle ruins, and natural beauty. Bosnia and Herzegovina is home to three main ethnic groups; Bosniaks, Serbs, and Croats. The country has a three-member Presidency composed of a member of each major ethnic group.

Bulgaria

Bulgaria is a Balkan nation with diverse terrain encompassing Black Sea coastline, a mountainous interior and rivers, including the Danube. A cultural melting pot with Greek, Slavic, Ottoman, and Persian influences, it has a rich heritage of traditional dance, music, costumes, and crafts.

Croatia

Croatia (Hrvatska) is an ancient nation, yet a very young nation state. Once a formidable kingdom under Tomislav in the tenth century, a naval power in the sixteenth and seventeenth, and an awakening national entity in the nineteenth, it had to endure a thousand years of foreign meddling, subjugation, incursions, and outright wars before being recognized in 1992 as a distinct entity.

Czech Republic

The Czech Republic, also known by its short-form name, Czechia, is a landlocked country, nestled in the center of Europe, It is a country steeped in history, inhabited for thousands of years and is a land dotted with castles, medieval towns, beautiful mountains, ancient ruins, and world-class wineries.

Georgia

Georgia is a former Soviet republic lying in the Caucasus region of Eurasia at the crossroads of Eastern Europe and Western Asia. Georgia presents a remarkable mix of landscapes and climates, ranging from some of Europe’s highest mountain peaks to lush Black Sea resorts and the vast wine-growing valleys. Georgia is one of the oldest Christian countries, It has hundreds of churches and monasteries built on high places, in picturesque locations.

Hungary

Hungary is a landlocked country in Central Europe. Over thousand years of history, since the first settlement on the territory by Celtic tribes, Hungary became part of many Empires including, Romans, Germanic Tribe, Magyars, Mongols, Ottoman Turks, Austro-Hungarian and Soviet Union. After WW-II in 1949, Hungary was declared a people’s republic and was ruled by communism. Finally, in 1989 Hungary became a democratic republic, a peaceful and prosperous nation.

Kosovo

Kosovo, a disputed territory in the Balkans, is a partially-recognized state in Eastern Europe, subject to a territorial dispute with the Republic of Serbia. During former Yugoslavia, Kosovo was an autonomous province of Serbia, after a lengthy and violent dispute with Serbia, Kosovo declared independence in February 2008.

Moldova

Moldova, a former Soviet Republic, is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe. It is sandwiched between Romania and Ukraine. Moldova is one of Europe’s poorest and least visited countries. Moldova has varied terrain including forests, rocky hills and vineyards. Its wine regions are home to some of the world’s largest cellars.

Montenegro

Montenegro, a Balkan nation and one of the Republic of former Yugoslavia, is situated on the Adriatic Sea in the Central Europe. Montenegro boasts some of the most spectacular coastal scenery in Europe, while the high mountains of Montenegro include some of the most rugged terrain in Europe. With gaining full independence from the federation of Serbia-Montenegro in the June 2006, Montenegro is a relatively new country with centuries of history.

North Macedonia

North Macedonia, a Balkan nation and one of the Republic of former Yugoslavia, is a landlocked country in the Central Europe. North Macedonia is dotted with beautiful Orthodox churches, monasteries, and Ottoman mosques. The territory of the North Macedonia has a long history, rules by the Persians, Greeks, Romans, Slavic tribes, Bulgarian Empire, and Ottoman Turks before its incorporation into Yugoslavia by Tito in 1945.

Poland

Poland, a Central European country that has, for the last few centuries, sat at the crossroads of three of Europe’s great empires. As a result, it has a rich and eventful history. Its heritage is reflected in its architecture, museums, galleries and monuments. With a population of more than 38 million people, Poland is the fifth most populous member state of the European Union. Poland has a developed market and is a regional power in Central Europe, with the largest stock exchange in the East-Central European zone.

Romania

Romania. a country located at the crossroads of Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe. The country is full of historic cities with their cobblestone streets and their medieval architecture, the friendly people, and the beautiful, picturesque countryside.

Serbia

Serbia, a Balkan nation and one of the Republic of former Yugoslavia, is a landlocked country in the Central Europe. It is situated on one of the major land routes from Central Europe to Turkey and further on to East Asia via Central Asia. There were seventeen Roman emperors born in the territory of today’s Serbia, and many of them left monuments and built palaces in or close to their birthplaces. Serbs are one of the most hospitable and welcoming, especially towards foreigners.

Slovakia

Slovakia is landlocked country in Central Europe, with high mountains in the north, low mountains in the center, hills to the west, and the Danube basin to the south. Over thousand years of history, since the first settlement on the territory by Celtic tribes, Slovakia became part of many Empires. Following the 1948 communist coup d’etat, Czechoslovakia fell into the Soviet-led Eastern Bloc and became a puppet state of the Soviet Union. Finally, in 1989, during the peaceful Velvet Revolution, Czechoslovakia became a democratic republic, that followed by separation of Slovak and Czech Republics on January 1, 1993.

Slovenia

Slovenia, a Balkan nation and one of the Republic of former Yugoslavia, is a small country in Central Europe, Slovenia is almost a landlocked country with a short (46 km) coastline at the Adriatic Sea between Italy and Croatia. Slovenia was never a country till 1991. Historically, the territory of Slovenia has formed part of many different states, such as: the Roman Empire, Byzantine Empire, Carolingian Empire, the Holy Roman Empire, the Kingdom of Hungary, the Republic of Venice, the Illyrian Provinces of the First French Empire, the Austrian Empire and Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Transnistria

Transnistria is a self-proclaimed republic of the former Soviet Union, recognized by NO other UN member country in the world. It is a breakaway state in the narrow strip of land between the river Dniester and the border of Ukraine, that is internationally recognized as part of Moldova. It is the only country still using the hammer and sickle on its flag, despite not being a socialist state. It is a territory filled with Soviet nostalgia and Communist symbols.

Ukraine

Ukraine, a former Soviet Republic, is an Eastern European country. It lies at the northwest end of the Black Sea, Ukraine is the second-largest country in Europe after Russia. Ukraine has been in a geographical flux, with many parts of the country contested for. Mongols Lithuanians, Poles, Cossacks, Tartars, Russians, Germans, and others all had a shot at ruling parts of Ukraine throughout history.

By Window on The World

In May 2017, 23 days before I was going to complete 50 years, grabbed an opportunity and took an early retirement.. Picked up a backpack and traveling ever since.. Love to travel around the world, experience different culture, local cuisine & drinks .. and take pictures.. so far been to 108 countries and still counting...