Citizens Asked the EU Commissioner for Culture to Protect Heritage Buildings - Monuments in Bulgaria

Society » CULTURE | February 26, 2019, Tuesday // 16:28
Bulgaria: Citizens Asked the EU Commissioner for Culture to Protect Heritage Buildings - Monuments in Bulgaria

The European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, Tibor Navracić, should pay attention to and intervene on the issues surrounding the "alarming state of buildings - cultural monuments in Bulgaria". This is what is insisted in an open letter to the commissioner by the Civil Initiative for the Protection of the Cultural and Historical Heritage.

"Help to preserve this so important for the cultural and historical heritage of Bulgaria and Europe and to preserve it for future generations, help to start complying with and enforcing the provisions of the law as in any other European country," they call on the organization in the document sent to Prime Minister Boyko Borissov, the Minister of Culture Boil Banov, the Sofia Municipality and the media.

The reason for this letter is the immediate threat of the "sure and inevitable destruction of two architectural jewels in the central part of the Bulgarian capital", both designed by the famous Bulgarian architect Nikola Lazarov.


The first building - meters from the National Theater in Sofia, 3, Kuzman Shapkarev Str., Is in perfect condition but will soon be demolished in order to build 8-storey office building in its place, note from the organization. The endangered architectural and historical landmark was built in the first half of the 20th century. "The question arises why it is allowed to allow the demolition of this architectural masterpiece, which must be kept, maintained and displayed not only to Bulgarians, but also to tourists from all over the world," the letter said.

The second building was also designed by arch. Nikola Lazarov in 1909 for the famous Bulgarian merchant Nikola Geshov. His father, Ivan Stefanov Geshov, is one of the first Bulgarian diplomats - diplomatic agent of Prince Alexander Batenberg in Paris, Vienna, Constantinople and Berlin, as well as a cousin of the great Bulgarian statesman, financier and philanthropist Ivan Evstatiev Geshov. The building is located in the central city area, on a large metropolitan boulevard, and for years has been left by its owners, also building contractors, to self-destruct. Since 2003, the building has a dismantled roof, open windows and exposed to rain and snow, the organization notes.

"Nowhere else in Europe culture and history are being erased as systematically and with impunity as in Bulgaria, there is no sanction either by society or by the institutions," the letter said. The organization notes that hundreds of buildings in Bulgaria built in the early 20th century are at risk of destruction. "Fires are the most commonly used means of rapidly eradicating buildings - burn emblematic secession-style tobacco stores, royal stables - twins of the royal stables in European cities that are now turned into world-famous museums and galleries," they point out.

They add that the law on the protection of cultural heritage has not been applied for decades and the European Convention for the Protection of the Cultural and Historical Heritage, ratified by Bulgaria in 1991, is not respected.

"The Bulgarian institutions have not even a minimal awareness of the value and potential of our architectural treasures for cultural exchange, tourism and opening to Europe and the world that could be realized.A number of cultural ministers, mayors of the capital and cities in the country, as well as chief architects have greatly contributed to the destruction of historic buildings in the state, the violation of laws and the high levels of corruption, "the letter said.

And calls for urgent, immediate and effective action to change "this tragic situation". In addition to complying with the cultural heritage law, the mortgaging of buildings - cultural monuments that are not managed and the European norms of the organization - still require that European experts be sent to Bulgaria to establish and document the state of the buildings. And also to make urgent digitization of the paper archive of the National Institute for Real Estate Heritage.

Arch. Lazarov is one of the founders of modern Bulgarian architecture, designed and built nearly 200 buildings all over the country and participated in numerous international architectural competitions. An innovator, a visionary and a urbanist, he left significant buildings for the cities - the theaters in Varna and Stara Zagora, the library in Gabrovo, the military clubs in Sofia and Shumen, the building of the Ministry of Agriculture in the capital. Nikola Lazarov has won several awards such as "Bulgarian Order for Civil Merit" and the Russian orders "St. Anna" and "St. Stanislaw". He graduated the prestigious Ecole Speciale d'Architecture in Paris and later worked with the great architects Friedrich Gruenanger, Karl Heinrich, Alexi Nachev, Mihail Hashnov. He is called Architect Sofia - author of more than 60 architectural masterpieces in the central part of Sofia in the style of baroque, secession and eclecticism.

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