145 years since the declaration of Sofia as the capital of Bulgaria

On April 3 (March 22 according to the old style) in 1879, the Constituent Assembly in the old capital of Veliko Tarnovo chose the city of Sofia as the capital of the Principality of Bulgaria. The proposal was made by Prof. Marin Drinov – historian, scientist and statesman.

According to data from 1878, Sofia has 11,694 inhabitants, 2 schools, 7 churches, 10 inns, 120 shops, 62 taverns, 19 bakeries and 3,306 houses, and its total area is 2.84 sq. km. In "The Geographical Unity of the Bulgarian Lands" Prof. Ivan Batakliev writes: "The location of the Bulgarian lands is important for their unity in that they are concentrically arranged around the Sofia region. Although the geometric center of Bulgaria is located in the western part of Upper Thrace, towards Pazardzhik, the Sofia region occupies a central unifying place. The main central roads in Bulgaria pass through this area, which are also the same on the Balkan Peninsula; it is precisely through it that the diagonal road to Constantinople passes. But the main meridian road in Bulgaria passes through the valleys of Iskar and Struma... It is not for nothing that Sofia was chosen as the capital, main communication hub and cultural center of Bulgaria, and successfully stands out as the main unifying center of the Bulgarian lands. ... Because of all this, Sofia deserves, together with its region, to be considered a separate Bulgarian land among other Bulgarian lands..."

In 2024, we celebrate 145 years since the declaration of Sofia as the capital of Bulgaria. The capital municipality has prepared a diverse program of events dedicated to the historic anniversary.

From April 1 to 14, the exhibition with the illustrations for the book "My Sofia and Other Images" (Tochitsa Publishing House), published with the support of the Capital Program "Culture", is presented in the Open Air Gallery in the park in front of the National Palace of Culture (next to the Cabana cinema) . The author and illustrator is Vyara Bayadzhieva, who sees Sofia as a collection of stories. The stories of the people he meets along the way. The colorful characters around us, who make life in the city so full-blooded, fill it with dynamics, with plots... and with charm. "My Sofia and other images" is a bright look at the human charm of Sofia.

On April 3, at 11:30 a.m., an exhibition dedicated to one of the symbols of the city, which is also included in the coat of arms - the Vitosha mountain, will be opened in the "Crystal" garden. Until April 16, in the Open Air Gallery, we will be able to see archival photographs, maps and documents related to the first steps taken to define the protected area, their relation to private lands and properties, changes regarding permitted construction and other curious facts related to with the management and protection of the mountain. Historical moments from the construction of huts and infrastructure are presented. The second part of the exhibition is dedicated to the biodiversity and wealth of beautiful plants, the secret inhabitants of the mountain, which could be observed in the immediate vicinity of the big city, and in it itself. Museums and avenues are presented, which provide an opportunity for many educational, sports and social activities in nature and in close proximity to the capital. The exhibition is organized jointly with the Regional History Museum-Sofia and the Directorate of Vitosha Nature Park.

The Sofia Brass Orchestra will perform a concert in the "Crystal" garden from 12.00.

On April 3, with free entry, residents of Sofia and guests of the city will be able to view the expositions in the Sofia City Art Gallery and its affiliates - Dechko Uzunov Museum Gallery and Vaska Emanuilova Gallery. Regional History Museum - Sofia will also open its doors free of charge for the permanent exhibition and temporary exhibitions in the building on Banski Square No. 1, the archaeological remains under Princess Maria Luiza Blvd. in the Serdika Ancient Cultural and Communication Complex, the archaeological level of the temple "Sveta Sofia" and the Triangular Tower of Serdika, informed the Metropolitan Municipality.

Seventeen of the stations of the Sofia Metro will be announced on April 3 by the music of young Sofia musicians. Graduates of the National Academy of Music "Prof. Pancho Vladigerov" and formations of the People's Community Center "Trotoara 2020" will play from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the metro stations "Serdika", "Vasil Levski", "Sofia University", "National Palace of Culture", "G. M. Dimitrov", "West Park", "Sofia Airport", "Teatralna", "Vitosha", "Business Park", "Krasno Selo", "Vardar", "Central Station", "European Union", "Patriarch Evtimii ". Jazz formation "Sofia" of the municipal cultural institute "Nadezhda" will play at the "Khan Kubrat" metro station. The initiative is realized with the partnership of "MUZIKAUTOR".

On April 3, a three-day film festival "The Capital Program "Culture" presents..." begins, which will show documentaries financed by the Capital Municipality and the "Cinema" section of the Capital Program "Culture" in the "Vlaikova" cinema. Viewers will also be able to meet some of the teams that created the films. The film series will continue on April 6 and 7.

The program begins at 8:00 p.m. on April 3 with the film "The Houses Speak" (50 min.), director Vladimir Lyutskanov, screenwriter Antoineta Bachurova, cinematographer Kiril Prodanov.

"The houses speak" is the biography of a city, told to its modern inhabitants and a reminder that each of us is individually responsible for the quality of our common life. The art-documentary series focuses on Sofia's architectural masterpieces and human destinies beneath the layers of history. Vision and history recall the scope of vigilant personalities from post-liberation Bulgaria, who shaped the anthropology of a modern city, which quickly became part of the pan-European project.

On April 6, screenings begin at 4:00 p.m. with the film "I'm Denis" (25 min.), director and screenwriter Orlin Milchev, cinematographer Filip Tarpov. The documentary debut explores intimacy and friendship against the backdrop of the war in Ukraine and the refugee crisis. Denis Ivashchenko is an 18-year-old Bessarabian Bulgarian and a refugee from the war in Ukraine. He arrived alone in Sofia in June 2022. He was looking for work through Facebook groups and websites, and one of his ads was answered by Alex Georgiev, owner of a warehouse with a team of 30 people. Alex grew up in a suburb and knows hardship. He sees potential and a piece of himself in Dennis. He takes it to work, guided by his intuition.

Author and producer of "105 minutes Sofia" is Kamen Vodenicharov, screenwriter is Tanya Dimova, director - Dimitar Landzhev, cinematographer - Petar Dimov. The project, dedicated to Sofia, engages the audience in an attractive and dynamic way, interweaving elements of animation, documentary and feature cinema. The screening starts at 4:30 p.m., the film is 96 minutes long.

At 6:30 p.m. "In the name of God Rugby" will present the history of the sport of rugby from the world to Bulgaria - with the first unwanted steps of the "capitalist game", through the erased achievements, the imperceptible spread and the signs of a new life in the 21st century. With a combination of archival footage, spectacular pitch footage and player testimonies from 1956 to the present day, the narrative transcends the sporting context and gives a broad picture of life in our country during the different periods of the 20th century - with and without rugby. Historians Veselin Metodiev and Dimitar Stoyanovich, musicians Orlin Pavlov, Vladimir Ampov-Grafa, Blagovest and Svetoslav Argirovi and others take part in the story.

Screenwriter and director is Vasil Varbanov, cinematographers are Krum Rodriguez and Orlin Ruevski.

Sofia Library - one of the oldest municipal cultural institutions in the city will mark 145 years since the declaration of Sofia as the capital of Bulgaria with a series of interesting initiatives:

Photo-documentary exhibition "Mayors of Sofia"

"Over the course of its half-century life, the Bulgarian capital has been governed by many mayors and municipal councils. They have all taken care and effort for the development and beautification of our capital city. Thanks to their efforts, Sofia was able from a small palanquin to get its present rather attractive appearance of a modern city." Alexander Tatsov, 1932.

The exposition presents the capital's mayors from the establishment of the Sofia City Council until today. The most important moments of their activity and their most significant achievements are noted. Valuable books and collections of documents from the Library's fund will be exhibited, which complement the information about the efforts of the municipal administration over the years for the improvement of the city and the transformation of Sofia into a modern European metropolis. The biographies of Dimitar Petkov, gen. Vladimir Vazov and Eng. Ivan Ivanov and other Sofia mayors, original valuable publications that present iconic buildings, monuments, institutions and their interesting history. Among the displayed rare books are the landmark "Brief historical overview of the Metropolitan Municipality" by the head of the administrative department of the municipality Alexander Tatsov (1932), "Our capital, its improvement and decoration" by Asen Kermekchiev (1907), "Old Sofia" (1941) of Eng. Radoslav Mihailov, former deputy mayor from the mayoral team of Eng. Ivan Ivanov, "Alexandrov Hospital", anniversary books of the First Boys' High School (1904) and the First Girls' High School in Sofia (1904).

Round table "My Sofia" - (April 4, 2 p.m., gallery "Sofia")

The discussion brings together for the first time prominent authors of popular science books dedicated to the history, past and development of our capital.

Participants in the discussion panel will be: Prof. Kiril Topalov and Prof. Dr. Toni Nikolov (winners of the award for the most interesting book about Sofia established within the framework of the Annual Awards of the Metropolitan Library), as well as Dr. Petar Velichkov, Ph.D. Alexander Gerov, Mariana Ekimova-Melnishka, Pavlina Delcheva-Vezhinova, Magdalena Gigova, Georgi-Momchil Popov, Zdravko Petrov. The moderator of the discussion is Viktor Topalov. The round table is accompanied by an exhibition of author's books of the participants in the discussion, dedicated to Sofia.

At the round table, all editions of the Metropolitan Library related to the capital will be presented, the thematic series about the recent past of the city: "My Sofia", "Great Sofia", "Beautiful Sofia", which can be found in digital format on the website of library, its newest edition "Curious Sofia" will also be presented.

The first informal club of writers, researchers and journalists writing about Sofia will also be established. The future activities of the club will increase the interest of the reading public in the unique literary heritage preserved in the Library's collection and in its original digital platforms. The club is organized with the support and assistance of the Sofia Library, and the members of the club will be involved in various initiatives of the Library aimed at involving the youth and school audience to the rich cultural heritage of Sofia.

Excursion route among the collections of the Literary Museum of the Capital Library "Notable Bulgarians" on the topic - "Sofia in the works of Simeon Radev, Dr. Konstantin Stoilov, Kiril Hristov" (April 3, beginning at 2 p.m.). /BGNES