A tweet sparks an Elon Musk fever in the poorest corner of the European Union

A tweet sparks an Elon Musk fever in the poorest corner of the European Union

An off-the-cuff tweet from Elon Musk left Bulgarians over the moon, hoping that the world’s richest man plans to visit the poorest region of the European Union.

An off-the-cuff tweet from Elon Musk left Bulgarians over the moon, hoping that the world’s richest man plans to visit the poorest region of the European Union.

The TeslaAnd SpaceX and now the head of Twitter — who isn’t immune to the bouts of internet freaks — recently commented on a photo of the towering Belogradchik rocks in northwestern Bulgaria under menacing clouds.

“Sure that was on the Elden Ring,” Musk wrote on Twitter, referring to one of his favorite video games.

The Bulgarians hastened to educate him.

Tourism Minister Elin Dimitrov replied “Dear Elon, this is from Bulgaria! I invite you to see this place”.

Hundreds of other Twitter users did likewise, delighted with the attention of a country that is rarely in the spotlight of the rich and famous.

A solemn invitation was immediately sent, accompanied by a silver drinking horn, a symbol of the ancient Thracian civilization of which Bulgaria is so proud.

– The mystery deepens –

The plot intensifies when a chef at an upscale restaurant about 20 kilometers (12 miles) from Belogradchik publishes an email purporting to be from SpaceX hinting at a visit by Musk in April 2023.

The whole episode lit a Social media buzz, with plenty of memes showing the billionaire drinking local rakia or wearing traditional Bulgarian clothing.

Not everyone was famous for the stars. One woman worried: “He will come and buy our land.”

But the internet frenzy delighted Vladislav Terzyski, who snapped a photo of Belogradchik’s magnificent rock and castle about five years ago.

“It is very rare that good news from Bulgaria arouses such interest,” he told AFP, welcoming the “wave of reactions, jokes, anecdotes and expressions of national pride.”

As for a possible visit by the man himself?

“I am very skeptical,” Trzyski said. “But I keep some hope in my heart.”

– ‘Three day wonders’ –

Political scientist Dimitar Ganev joked on Bulgarian television that Belogradchik Castle was waiting for the “Messiah”.

Almost obscured by mist on a cold November day when AFP visited, the impressive rocks were already waiting for…tourists.

While visitors frequent the site in the warmer spring and summer months, the largest group on that November day was a three-man camera crew filming their own project.

Also, a few of the 5,500 residents of the small town at the foot of the castle were getting excited.

Like the rest of Bulgaria, whose population has declined since the end of communism, Belogradchiks have lost half their population since 1991.

Musk “does whatever he wants, so why doesn’t he come and visit a beautiful site and a poor area,” said Svetoslav Zahariev, a construction worker in his fifties. World Health Organization He was disappointed to find the same misery on his return here after 16 years working abroad.

More than 40 percent of the region’s population lives below the poverty line, making it the poorest country in the European Union, according to Eurostat.

Local officials push concrete government policies to help develop tourism, rather than empty advertisements.

“You see how one photo got to Musk. We can’t do all this alone, we need a government policy (for tourism development in the region),” Mayor Boris Nikolov told AFP.

Tourism numbers increased sharply after the Belogradchik rocks were named as one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature survey by a Swiss foundation in 2007.

However, Rosen Mladenov, deputy mayor, lamented that people left “disappointed by the lack of infrastructure and accommodations.”

“What is this country that relies on a tweet from Musk to develop its tourism!” He is angry.

Even if the tech billionaire comes along, Nikolov said, “it’s only going to be a three-day wonder, unless he invests here.”

So far, Musk has remained uncharacteristically silent, deflecting several questions on Twitter from Bulgarian media asking him to confirm or deny a visit.

If Musk ventures into this neglected corner of Bulgaria, a Sofia newspaper warned, he shouldn’t risk one of his Teslas on its slick roads. Instead, he had better come in a rocket.


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