Culture Ministry, Plovdiv Officials in Dispute over Demolished Warehouse
Bulgaria's Culture Ministry said on Friday it had warned local authorities in Plovdiv against the demolition or other actions affecting an old tobacco warehouse, which was bulldozed last weekend, prompting public outcry.
The latest development adds further confusion to the scandal, just a few days after Plovdiv municipality showed a document allegedly proving the warehouse had no cultural heritage status and was not part of such an area. However, the document turned out to be fake, with municipal authorities admitting they had received it from the building's private owner without verifying its content.
The ministry argues on its website its national cultural heritage institute sent in 2014 a letter to Plovdiv Mayor Ivan Totev regarding the project for a new Hilton hotel that had to be built in the area.
Reminding the municipality that the tobacco warehouses are in a protected area, it informs Plovdiv authorities that any activity affecting the building is supposed to be considered by the institute before any approval or construction permit is issued.
Plovdiv municipality, on the other hand, maintains it has received no document whatsoever that awards the warehouse a cultural heritage building.
Until now, the cultural heritage list with the ministry did not include the former Orient Tobacco warehouse as an individual entry, as a result of a technical mistake dating back to the 1970s. However, the building was part of a cultural heritage area.
Culture Minister Vezhdi Rashidov earlier this week called for the restoration of the razed warehouse.
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