St. Cyril & Methodius: The Fathers Of Slavic Languages

Most of us are aware that the majority of Slavic countries have their own alphabet and are followers of the Orthodox faith. But few know the history behind their connection, let alone their troubled past.

The pioneers of the work that led to these events had a troubled journey, one that would elevate them to the title of Saints right after their death. Those are the brothers St. Cyril and Methodius.

The Mission To The Slavs

The brothers Cyril and Methodius were born in the ancient city of Thessalonica, located in modern-day Greece. Cyril was born in about 827–828 and Methodius in about 815–820.

There is much debate about whether the brothers were ethnically Slavs, Byzantine Greeks, or a mix of the two. But in reality, that has little importance in relation to the work the two would dedicate their lives to.

At the request of Prince Rastislav, in the year 862, Cyril and Methodius were sent to Great Moravia. The goal of the Prince was to evangelize his kingdom. At the time, the brothers were living in Constantinople, where Cyril was a professor of philosophy and Methodius, a successful politician and public administrator.

In 863, the brothers started the translations of the Gospels and other liturgic texts from the Bible into what is today known as Old Church Slavonic, a language still used today in liturgy by several Orthodox Churches. There was a problem with this language, though: it was a bit complicated for common people to read. It simply did not match their native speech completely.

The Glagolitic and Cyrillic Alphabets

To fix the language issue, Cyril and Methodius created a new alphabet inspired by Greek and Roman ones, the Glagolitic. This irritated the Germanic priests who were currently operating in Moravia, as they saw this as a threat to their Latin-based liturgy and faith.

In order to avoid conflict, the brothers decided to travel to Rome and personally discuss the situation with the Pope. They arrived in 868, where they were warmly welcomed, partly because they brought with them the holy relics of St. Clement. Yes, they knew their politics.

Pope Adrian II gave Methodius the title of Archbishop of Sirmium (modern-day Sremska Mitrovica in Serbia), with jurisdiction over the whole Moravia and Pannonia, and proper authorization to use the Slavonic liturgy.

To help him with his task, five of his Slavic disciples were ordained as priests (Saint Gorazd, Saint Clement of Ohrid and Saint Naum) and as deacons (Saint Angelar and Saint Sava). To this day, Cyril and Methodius together with the five disciples are worshiped as saints by the Bulgarian Orthodox Church.

After the death of the brothers, their disciples were kicked out of Moravia by the German clergy and sought refuge in the First Bulgarian Empire. After arriving in Pliska, the capital of the Empire, Tsar Boris I warmly welcomed and commissioned them to teach the Bulgarian clergy in the Slavonic languages.

In a span of seven years, Clement (the leader of the disciples) taught over 3.500 students in the Slavonic language and the Glagolitic alphabet. Some of these students would later become teachers and found the Preslav Literary School, commissioned by Tsar Simeon I, Tsar Boris’ son, who sought to follow his father’s footsteps. In this school, the Cyrillic alphabet was later created by followers of the brothers, and it’s expansion saw the Slavic world turn into a Cyrillic world.

Cyril & Methodius Today

The brothers Cyril and Methodius were already worshiped by some while they were still alive. After their passing, their names became even holier among Slavs. Many Slavic countries today have special days to remember and celebrate their work and effort:

  • Bulgaria (May 24th):
    Bulgarian Education and Culture, and Slavonic Script Day.
  • North Macedonia (May 24th):
    Saints Cyril and Methodius, Slavonic Enlighteners’ Day.
  • Czech Republic & Slovakia (July 5th):
    Slavic Missionaries Cyril and Methodius Day & St. Cyril and Metod Day.
  • Russia (May 24th):
    Slavonic Literature and Culture Day.

Apart from the commemoration dates, many buildings and monuments were erected to the honor of the missionary brothers. The picture above shows the Cyril and Methodius National Library in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Best Restaurants in Sofia (Bulgaria)

Nothing better to experience the spirit of Bulgaria’s capital than to try the local food, made with fresh ingredients in the best restaurants in town! Here is my personal list of the best restaurants in Sofia.

Bulgarian Cuisine

Bulgarian food is known for being fresh and cozy, as if made at home by your Baba (granny). Rich in grilled meat, vegetables, dairy and local spices. It definitely represents well the culture of the Balkans.

Although you will most definitely find international restaurants and fast-food joints around Sofia, most of the restaurants in town will serve exclusively traditional Bulgarian food. This makes Sofia a perfect place to isolate yourself from the external world and dive deep into the local culture.

What to eat in Sofia

As an entry, one shoul definitely try Shopska salad or Qatiq spread on bread together with some fine Rakia. Shopska is considered the national salad, as its colors resemble the Bulgarian flag; it contains tomatoes, cucumbers, onion/scallions, raw or roasted peppers, sirene (white brine cheese), and parsley. Qatiq, on the other hand, is boiled and fermented sheep milk, mixed with baked peppers and turned into a paste; it is mostly used as a bread/toast spread.

As a main dish, one can choose from a variety of grilled meats, usually served skewered and together with bread, steamed vegetables or a bean stew.

Where to eat in Sofia


Location: ul. “Solunska” 28 | Near Vitosha Street
Opening: Mon-Sun 12:30 – 23:30

Moma’s concept combines a light culinary experience with traditional recipes, bringing you to the root of Bulgarian culture. The design of each dining hall of the restaurant portrays a message related to the traditions of maidens and young women from Bulgaria, including paintings and embroidery.

The place is really bright and the symbolism behind the colors is really invigorating: white symbolizing the purity of Bulgarian women, red symbolizing the blood of the power of the fertile soil, green symbolizing the eternal rebirth, and golden symbolizing the Sun, the light, and prosperity.

When visiting Moma, try one of their Kufte (Bulgarian meatballs). They come accompanied by beans, homemade fried potatoes, and Lyutenitsa (a spread made out of peppers, aubergines, carrots, tomatoes, and garlic).


Location: bul. “Pencho Slaveykov” | Near the National Palace of Culture
Opening: Mon-Sun 12:00 – 00:00

If you wish to enjoy traditional Bulgarian food from many different regions of the country, while taking part in a little folkloric fest with live music and dance, Chevermeto is the place for you. It is slightly difficult to find, so make sure to go around the NDK Prono building to find the entrance.

Chevermeto is a quite big restaurant compared to others in Sofia and has a nice variety of places to sit and enjoy your meal, including a giant wine barrel. As tradition dictates, the whole place is decorated with Bulgarian embroidery, folk clothing, and tapestries, creating a really cozy atmosphere.

My go for this place is their Mother’s Dish (a cozier name simply does not exist); which contains chicken meat, melted cheese, and mushrooms, all baked in a pot. I cannot stress this enough: this is one of the best meals I had in my life. Given how warm it is served, it is perfect for winter.

Raketa Rakia

Location: bul. “Yanko Sakazov” 17 | Near the Zaimov Park
Opening: Mon-Fri 11:00 – 00:00, Sat-Sun 9:00 – 00:00

This place is definitely a must-see when visiting Sofia. The whole decoration is based on the communist past of the country, and the items displayed everywhere are pieces of the childhood of many Bulgarians alive today. Although communism is a sensitive topic to many Bulgarians, the place sure makes them feel nostalgic about the simple things they experienced back in time.

The atmosphere here is really great, a well-lit place full of nature (right in front of a park) and with great service. Upon arrival, if you ask for a Rakia, the staff will gladly assist you in choosing a brand that will most please your palate, according to your taste for whiskey, vodka, etc.

After the entry of Qatiq spread on bread together with some delicious Rakia, it’s time for the main dish: Bean Stew served in crispy bread with fried porcini (for vegetarians/vegans) or local Sudjuk (in case you enjoy meat). This is a very cozy meal, perfect for colder days, which are quite common in Sofia.


Location: ul. “Hristo Belchev” 18 | Near the Vitosha Street
Opening: Mon-Sun 11:30 – 01:00

Hadjidragana has one of the most impressive architectures among restaurants in Sofia: stone walls and barrels, woodcarvings, traditional Bulgarian garbs, and items from the 18th century. It is known for its extensive list of Bulgarian wines and live folkloric music during the evenings.

This place is underground, located in a cellar, which makes the atmosphere completely different from other places in town. It will definitely take you back two hundred years in time, and make you experience the best of Bulgarian food. The live music during the evenings gives the restaurant an extra touch of Bulgarian epicness, so make sure you go at night and enjoy the singing and dancing.

If you want a quick lunch, you can always ask for roasted chicken accompanied by steamed vegetables. But just keep in mind that every day they roast entire lambs in classic wood-burning brick ovens, just an idea. Make sure to order a delicious Bulgarian wine, which most people don’t know, but it’s one of the best in the whole fo Europe.

Made in Home

Location: ul. “Angel Kanchev” 30 | Near NDK
Opening: Mon 11:00 – 23:30, Tue-Sat 11:00 – 23:30, Sun 11:00 – 21:30

Made in Home is Sofia’s most popular entry into the locally sourced, slow-food trend. The name comes from the fact that all dishes are entirely produced in-house, leaving no space for industrialized products.

This place has a very young and cool atmosphere and you will most often find university students hanging around. If you are vegetarian or vegan, this is definitely your spot in Sofia, as they have a wide variety of animal-free options.

My favorite dish from this place is the chicken fajitas with guacamole, colorful peppers, onion, fresh coriander, and pita bread. It’s a very light option, and since everything is here fresh and locally sourced, the food makes you feel great and full of energy.

Rila Monastery: A Sacred Place In Bulgaria

The holiest place in Bulgaria is a must-see for anyone visiting Sofia, or even Bulgaria as a whole. The Rila Monastery lived and bled together with the Bulgarian people, therefore trying to understand Bulgaria without understanding its religion and customs is in senseless endeavor.

Although the Rila Monastery is particularly beautiful during spring, given the amount of nature surrounding it, visiting it during Christmas is an old tradition among Bulgarians. So I would suggest joining them.

St. Ivan Rilski (St. John of Rila)

Ivan Rilski was already a saint when he was still alive. The holiest man in Bulgarian achieved this through performing unbelievable miracles.

At the age of 25 he became a priest in the St. Dimitrii Monastery, but after accepting the life of a monk he decided to become a hermit and live in solitude and prayer inside a cave at the Rila mountains.

He could not stand to see people suffering, so in an attempt to help them, he managed to perform a series of miracles. This brought him unwanted attention, as he wanted to live the life of a hermit.

The Founding of the Monastery

Believers and supporters from all over Bulgaria set up camps around the cave in which Ivan Rislki lived, seeking blessings from the holy man. This eventually led to the construction of the Rila Monastery.

Ever since its creation, Rila Monastery has been supported by the Bulgarian Tsars. Large donations were made by all the Tsars from the Second Bulgarian Empire up to the Ottoman Invasion.

The Monastery has become a cultural and spiritual center for Bulgarians, as it lived Bulgarian history together with its people through the highs and the lows.

This was proved at most during the times of Ottoman occupation, when the Monastery served as a depository of Bulgarian language and culture in times when those were being publicly destroyed by the foreign invader.

It even served as a hidding spot for revolutionaries from the period of the Bulgarian Liberation, giving shelter to famous revolutionary characters such as Vasil Levski himself.

The Rila Monastery Today

The Monastery today contains a main church, a residential part and a museum. You cannot really visit the residences, as those are reserved for the monks living there, but you should definitely see the church and the museum.

You are not allowed to take pictures inside of the church, so be respectful. There you can purchase candles and light them for both living as well as passed-away relatives. At the very center of the church, there is a major golden device that channels good spiritual energies onto the person standing on the center of it. It is said that if you stand under it, you will receive energy from the heavens themselves.

On the back, outside of the complex, you can follow a path that will take you to a beautiful river, with a beautiful sight of the mountain and forests surrounding it. There will also be some kittens following you through the path, something cute that adds up to the whole experience.

In case you are visiting during the winter, which in my opinion is one of the best times to see the Rila Monastery, you can take a break outside and try some Bulgarian traditional snacks.

My favorite is the Mekitsa, a flatbread made with kneaded dough that is then deep-fried in hot oil. The dough usually consists of flour, water, salt, oil, eggs, yogurt, and a leavening agent. Definitely very warming, ideal for the cold mountain temperature.

Amazing Things To Do In Sofia, Bulgaria

Located by the Vitosha mountain in Bulgaria, at the very heart of the Balkans, Sofia is equally distant from the Black, Adriatic and Aegean Seas. Having a history that goes back millenia, Sofia is the perfect place to explore the history behing Greeks, Thracians, Romans, Bulgars, Ottomans and Communists.

Investigate the Largo

The Largo was built as a piece of Socialist Classicism to host the Party House and other government offices related to the communist regime. Nowadays, the main building hosts the Bulgarian National Assembly, while the lateral buildings contain the Council of Ministers and the President’s Office.

It is one of the most iconic pieces of architecture in town, and marks the very center of the city. It makes for a very good first stop, since there are many things to see around, such as churches, museums, ruins, malls and restaurants.

Watch the Change of Guards

Close to Largo you will find the President’s Office, where routinely the guards who protect the entrance change shifts. The regular change of guards is done every hour, five minutes before the full hour. But if you wish to see the full ceremony, come on the first wednesday of the month at midday, where you will see the official changing of guards, including music, shouting and weapon brandishing.

Explore the Serdica Ruins

Sofia not always had this name. To the Emperors of the Roman and Byzantine empires, it was called Serdica. Emperor Constantine himself used to say Serdica Mea Roma Est (Serdica is my Rome), as he considered shifting the capital of the Byzantine Empire from Constantinople to Serdica.

While the Bulgarian government did escavations to build their new subway system, they surprisingly found the ruins of this ancient Byzantine city. Although the subway was effectively built, the ruins remained exposed to remind locals and foreigners of the might and history of Bulgaria.

Visit the Cyril and Methodius Library

Cyril and Methodius are the two brother theologians and missionaries responsible for the creation of the Cyrillic alphabet. Although they did not come up with the modern version of it, they designed the Glagolitic alphabet, which is a proto-version of the Cyrillic, which was eventually created by their students following their instructions.

This library, created to their homage, contains works important not only to Bulgaria, but to the whole of Slavic nations. An example to that is the 1.700 volume original collection of Slavonic scriptures, dating from the 11th to the 17th century. Apart from that, there is a quite nice bar on the underground of the library.

Pay Respects to Vasil Levsky

Know in Bulgaria as the Apostle of Freedom, Vasil Levsky founded the Internal Revolutionary Organisation, which had the goal of fomenting a nation-wide uprising. He was the engineer behind the creation of the ideology and strategy that would eventually be responsible for freeing the Bulgarian people from Ottoman rule.

In 1872, he was captured by the Turkish police and put on trial. The court rules him guilty of his ‘freedom-seeking’ crimes and sentenced him to death by hanging. The place where he died is where the monument to his memory resides today. Six years after his death, with the help of the Russian Empire, Bulgaria rose against the Ottoman empire, and became the Republic that Levsky dreamt about.

Admire the Ivan Vazov National Theater

Ivan Vazov is another hero to Bulgaria. He turned into novels the plight and suffering of the Bulgarian people under Ottoman rule, contributing for raising the awareness of the nation about their slave-like condition. His most notorious book is called “Under the Yoke”, a Bulgarian idiom for being oppressed.

The National Theater was built by his friend Ivan Shishmanov, and the plays based on Vazov’s works were overseen by Vazov himself. So you can trust the authenticity of anything Bulgarian you watch here. It is definitely one of the best architectural pieces in Sofia.

Pay Respects to Tsar Samuil

One of the most important figures in Bulgarian history, Tsar Samuil was responbible for maintaining the territory of the Bulgarian Empire at its largest extension and defending it from Byzantine invasions.

Tsar Samuil was considered by his enemies an “invincible in power and unsurpassable in strength“, managing to hold the gigantic Byzantine empire out of Bulgarian soil for five decades. He is until today a Bulgarian symbol of indendendence and strength in will.

Train and Perfect Your Aim at Gerena

Weaponry is not strange to Bulgarians. After communist rule, most people in the country were used to handling weapons and it became routine. After the fall of the communist dictatorship, somehow the activity remained as a fun thing to do to pass the time.

The Gerena Shooting Range is the most popular places in town for shooting. It is relatively far away from the city center, but nothing that a cheap taxi drive cannot solve. There you will be personally assisted by a professional shooter on how to pick your weapon, reload and perfect your aim. Just keep in mind that you will need to bring your passport and register for security reasons.

Shop at the Vitosha Boulevard

Vitosha Boulevard is the place in Sofia for shopping and enjoying a nice meal with a view. It has an almost endless assortment of shops and cafes, as well as a beautiful view of the Vitosha mountain on the background.

There are two types of shops in Vitosha Boulevard: branded and outlets. If you go to branded stores, you will sure find some expensive items that are unnafordable for the average Bulgarian, but somehow accessible to foreigners. Outlets will be extremely cheap, even for Bulgarians, so take your pick. Vitosha Boulevar is also one of the best picks for buying rose oil and cosmetics, so you will see a lot of shops related to that throughout the street.

Get Yourself Bulgarian Souvenirs

Sofia has one of the best assortment of souvenirs I have ever seen in any city. I think you can attribute this to the fact that the country has a very strong traditional culture, and people really enjoy propagating it through handicraft. Here you can buy handmade Orthodox icons, Rakija barrels, embroideries, and even Kukeri miniatures (my favorites).

“Sardica Mea Roma Est”: A Brief History of Bulgaria

When it comes to archeology, Bulgaria is not really the first country to show up in peoples heads. Most people will think of Greece or Egypt, but it is safe to say that Bulgaria is one of the richest places in the whole world regarding this topic. Apart from prehistory, Bulgaria holds a past which involves Thracians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Bulgarians, and Ottomans.


Located in the Balkans, Bulgaria has a clear view of Asia Minor. It is believed that it was the cradle of European agriculture, given that the technology regarding crops and animals moved in the European direction through modern-day Turkey. The Bulgarian Neolithic started in 6.000 BC, the south of the country is filled with remains of this period.

National Archeological Museum, Sofia

Around 5.000 BC, the people living in the region started experimenting with metal, mostly copper and gold. Many graves were found containing metallic objects, some with simple copper, others with lots of gold. This is believed to have led to big economic and political disparities between inhabitants of cities, probably causing some degree of conflict.

Greeks & Thracians

Thracians are first mentioned in literature in Homers Illiad, as allies of the Greeks during the Trojan war. The interactions between the two cultures are believed to have started in trading colonies close to the cost of the Black Sea. The cities of Burgas and Varna started as these trading colonies and exist until today.

National Archeological Museum, Sofia

Thracians were incredibly interested in Greek culture, while Greeks strongly profited from Thracian metallurgy and fighting skills. No wonder many Thracians fought alongside Alexander the Great.


In the first century AD, Thracian lands on the south banks of the Danube river came into Roman occupation. In the fourth century AD, these lands would have even greater importance, given the close distance to Constantinople.

Serdica Ruins, Sofia

There are Roman remains all across Bulgaria. During excavations for the construction of the new Sofia subway system, remains of the city of Serdica were found in good condition. The Thracian settlement was given the title of town by Roman Emperor Trajan, and the city fortress built by Marcus Aurelius and Commodus. Constantine the Great used to say ‘Sardica mea Roma est’ (Serdica is my Rome). He considered making Serdica the capital of the Byzantine Empire instead of Constantinople.


In the sixth century AD, these lands were invaded by Bulgars, under the command of Khan Asparukh. He attacked Byzantine territories in Moesia and dominated the Slavic tribes which inhabited the region. They reached an agreement with the Byzantine Empire, signing a peace treaty in 681. This peace treaty led to the foundation of the Bulgarian Empire.

National Archeological Museum, Sofia

Although pagan for the first two centuries, Bulgaria eventually became Christian, founding an independent Bulgarian Orthodox Church in the region. The rulers also wished to modernize their language, Cyril and Methodius are the Christian missionaries responsible for the creation of the new alphabet. The alphabet was so efficient that it was later adopted by Russia and Serbia.

Tsar Samuil Monument, Sofia

The Bulgarian Empire reached its maximum extension under Samuil, his energetic reign restored Bulgarian might on the Balkans, responding aggressively to any attempts to invading Bulgarian lands. Although the Empire was dissolved after his death, he is regarded as a heroic ruler in Bulgaria.


For five centuries the Ottomans occupied Bulgarian lands. During this period, many Mosques and villages were built by the Ottomans, as well as many bridges across rivers, in order to facilitate commerce.

The period itself is not well seen by Bulgarians. The occupation motivated them to unite in all matters, both social and economic. A Bulgarian monk called Paisius of Hilendar wrote the Slavonic-Bulgarian History, a piece of text compiling the great feats of the Bulgarian people. The book had such an impact on Bulgarians, that they started rising against Ottoman rule. Examples of heroes of the liberation are Hristo Botev and Vasil Levski. Levski himself was captured by Ottomans and executed because of his plans of liberating Bulgaria. An Orthodox coalition led by Russia resulted in the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78, which eventually ended the Ottoman rule over the Balkans.


On September 9th of 1944, the Red Army crossed Bulgarian lands and started a new period in Bulgarian history. Bulgaria would now become a Communist State. Although independent, it had very close ties to the Soviet Union. The Communist Party was forced to give up its political monopoly on 10 November 1989 under the influence of the Revolutions of 1989. Zhivkov, the communist leader of the People’s Republic of Bulgaria, resigned and Bulgaria embarked on a transition to a parliamentary democracy.

The Mystical Kukeri: Bulgaria’s Guardians

Need to get rid of some evil spirits? Bulgarians have an ancient and mystical tradition which helps them keeping these bad fellas away. Every last weekend of January, people gather in various parts of the country to perform a magical ritual that dates back millennia.

This is known as the Surva Festival, most characteristic of the city of Pernik, where people dress in sheepskin and wooden masks, as the Kukeri, to drive back to the forest all illnesses. The name kuker has been derived from Latin cuculla meaning “hood, cowl” or cucurum, “quiver” (i.e. in the sense of a container; an abbreviation of koukouros geros).

The Origins Of The Bulgarian Kukeri

The custom in Bulgarian lands has a long and rich history, it dates back to the times when the Thracians ruled these lands, where it was celebrated during the days of the Thracian god of merriment Dionysius. It was mostly a celebration of the agricultural new year, associated with plowing the fields.

The Surva Festival celebrates the passing of winter and the onset of summer fertility. And what better way to do it than wearing scary masks and huge costumes to scare away any ill-intended spirit trying to ruin your crop.

Most Kukeri masks have a wooden frame, multiple threads, pieces of multicolored fabrics, mirrors, shiny sequins and many other elements. They have to make it uglier and scarier to scare away evil.

The most ancient are the masks representing the species of ram, goat and bull. Their obligatory presence in the Surva Festival proves the thesis that the festival itself is originally related to the ancient worshipers of Dionysius

The Bulgarian Kukeri Mythology

Although the Surva Festival has its roots in Dionysian rituals, it adopted a more Bulgarian face with the passing of time. It started involving other Bulgarian mythological creatures apart from the Kukeri, as well as a narrative to teach morals to the young.

Legend says that hundreds of years ago, the land was plagued with evil spirits, which tormented people undisturbed. These demons were led by the most terrible of all creatures: Chuma, the plague.

Living was a constant state of despair, and no one knew how to solve the issue. But one day, mythical creatures known as the Samodivi water nymphs felt too sorry for us humans and decided to help… in their own way. The animation The Golden Apple explains it in a lovely way.

The Kuker’s Magical Bells

Not only it is visually appealing, but most of the attractiveness of the festival also comes from the sounds it creates. Since the legend states that the Kukers magic bells drive the evil spirits into the woods, to this day the same bells are used and can be heard all over the city.

The bells come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Each different frequency created by these bells is said to scare away a particular type of evil spirit. If you wish to one day experience this first person, prepare youself for the amazing sound!

The Pernik’s Surva Festival

The Surva Feestival is not only the biggest festival of Bulgaria, but also of the entire Balkan peninsula. Every year, it counts with close to 6.000 participants divided into around 100 groups from every folklore region of Bulgaria. Also important to notice is that it also involves participants from other European countries, as well as Asian and African.

The city of Pernik has been hosting the Surva festival since 1966. In 1985 the festival gained international-event status. In June 2009, Pernik was proclaimed as the European capital of Surva’s and Mummers.

And don’t get things wrong, the contestants come here to win! The awards for the three first places are the mystical gold, silver and bronze Kuker masks. The categories of the competition are the following:

  • Maintenance of the Local Tradition
  • Group Attractiveness
  • Masks and Costumes
  • Training in Tradition
  • Comprehensive Presentation
  • Best Mask (Child and Adult)

A Living Bulgarian Tradition

The Surva Festival is still alive after centuries, surviving many wars, occupations and the Christianization of Bulgaria. It is the pure expression of the culture of a people who suffered greatly throughout history, but managed to keep their sense of identity. Definitely worth seeing with your own eyes.