The Monument to the Soviet Army in Sofia
To leave a monument standing, to mothball it or to destroy it? That is a question that faces many countries right now, as they face up to an uncomfortable past. Maybe values have changed, better understandings emerged, or political systems been rejected. Do we want still to be surrounded by reminders of that past? Or is it justifiable to remove them, hide the memories?
Welcome to the 1980s in Bulgaria
In one corner of the room a small TV broadcasts news and propaganda. Photo albums on the table are full of reminders of happy family gatherings. Some medals are proudly displayed on a shelf, while the drinks cabinet holds treasured bottles of imported brands.
Gallery: some of the many monuments of Sofia
Sofia may have moved its many communist era monuments to a dedicated museum, but that doesn’t mean that the city is short of interesting public art pieces. And there is quite a variety, from the purely artistic to the historically significant.
Gallery: seeing Sofia in black and white
Speaking figuratively, Sofia is not a black and white city. Its history is too complex, its architectural influences too diverse. But like any city it lends itself to black and white photography.
A visit to Sofia’s Socialist Art Museum
What do you do with a load of monuments that celebrate a past you’d rather forget? You can haul them down and break them up for scrap perhaps. Or you can leave them where they are, a constant reminder of that troubled past. Or you can gather them up and put them in a museum; a museum that acknowledges and documents the past but doesn’t celebrate it.
Gallery: more street art from Sofia
It’s no secret that I am a big fan of street art. I don’t mean scrawled graffiti, or even more precisely worked ‘tags’. I mean art. Like many cities today, Sofia offers a dedicated street art tour; we saw signs advertising it in several places. But we chose not to take the tour, instead preferring to seek out street art at our own pace.
Sofia, city of contrasts and a work in progress
Bulgaria’s capital city intrigues and charms me. It seems to be in a state of constant flux, built on layers of history. One minute you are walking on a Roman road, the next staring up at 1950s Stalinist monoliths. Gold-domed cathedrals and churches dominate the vistas along wide boulevards while in side streets elegant villas sit side-by-side with their crumbling, neglected cousins.
Gallery: a September selection
There is a theme emerging in these monthly round-ups, a theme of bookends! I’ve already pointed out that while July was bookended by happy gatherings of family and friends, August was similarly bookended with funerals. And now we come to September and we are back to happier bookends: city breaks.
A postcard from Sofia
Is it ever OK to be late? It’s something I try my very best to avoid, but occasionally it can be a good thing, as in the case of Boris III of Bulgaria. This is the Hagia Nedelja church. The previous church on this spot was destroyed in a terrorist plot in 1925 to assassinate the king, Boris III. He was attending the funeral service of General Konstantin Georgiev, who had been killed in an assault two days previously, on 14 April of that year. The group from the Bulgarian…
The wonders of Bulgaria’s Bachkovo Monastery
Bachkovo Monastery was for sure one of the most stunning of the many sights I saw in my short time in Bulgaria! Despite all the visitors, the atmosphere was one of tranquillity. The buildings looked so photogenic both in the drizzly weather we arrived in and the sunshine when we departed; and there was so much to see that was both interesting and beautiful.