The historical route of Sofia (2 part)

 

We remain on our tour with more curious streets, buildings and hidden stories of the capital. Sofia is a place where one can always find a new inspiration or astonish themselves. If you missed the first part of that short explanation of our guide – here you go.



Until that point, we have found the stories of many houses in Sofia. Now, the second part of our journey awaits with its representative and monumental buildings. Once again we can look at the lovely dome of the old Civic insurance company and the “bulbs” of the Russian Church and then we can return to Moskovska Street with some of the first buildings of Sofia, built after 1878. Among them we can enjoy the elegant home of Dimitar Grekov, a remarkable “builder” of modern Bulgaria, and the first military club with its “clock tower”. The stairs on Budapest Street, which have existed since the 20s of the last century, reveal the amazing “crown” of the residential building between Budapest and Dondukov Blvd. And then another staircase – this time on Malko Tarnovo Street, hidden between the two high-raised modernist residential buildings of the 30s. We climb the stairs and reach the place where the clock tower of Ottoman Sofia was located. One of the brilliant symbols of continuity between the old and the new Sofia is located here – the Royal Palace, which indeed is transformed and redesigned Ottoman Konak (prison). We head to the Largo and the unique combination of Roman ruins and a monumental socialist complex. One after another, we look at significant Sofia churches from different periods. Then we step into the delicate charm of Lege Street, which had been named after French consul Leander Lege since 1878. He then protected Sofia from burning in the days before the liberation of the town. On this central street we have examples of upgrading the old or its destruction in the name of the new. From Knyaz Alexander I Street we enter the city garden with the popular fountain, which have been there since 1975. We now see the National Theater, erected with the majesty of an ancient temple, as well as the building of Baron Gendovich, designed by Nikola Lazarov to be the tallest building in Sofia at the time of 1914. We surround the theatre to go past the former Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Central Cooperative Bank and then we reach the house of the most famous national poet Ivan Vazov. The two-storey building witnessed Ivan Vazov’s speech of November 27, 1919, to the many Sofia citizens who sought his wisdom after the Bulgarian crash during the First World War.

Застрахователно дружество "Феникс"

We continue to the Crystal Garden and 6 September Street with the “Vegetarian” residential building, erected in 1929, next to a stylish house from 1897, owned by the distinguished public figure Dimitar Tonchev. It is time to go to Tsar Osvoboditel Blvd and Embassies of Italy and Austria, which were actually exchanged after the First World War. We continue along the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences and stop at the National Assembly Square. One architectural masterpiece of the Austrian architect Friedrich Grunnanger (The House of Yablanski) and the Rectorate of the Sofia University still remain. The Rectorate, built to be the pride of Bulgarian science, is a strong proof that buildings can change over time with a respect to previous builders (and investors). This is the end of the route, which helped us to see the architectural beauty of many buildings as a detail and as a part of the Neoclassical style (from the Liberation to 1890), the Secession (about 1890-1920), the transitional years between the Secession and Modernism from the 30s and 40s, the Stalin Baroque and even the architectural brutalism. We went through many curious personal fates and dramatic years for Bulgaria. After this walk, we believe that the spirit of Sofia can inspire affection, love and responsibility.

What is up to us on historicalroutes.bg?

(1) Interactive map with all objects on the route;

(2) Weekly article devoted to one of the objects;

(3) Walks and lectures on the route according to individual requests and preferences.

Map tiles by Stamen Design, under CC BY 3.0. Data by OpenStreetMap, under ODbL