A piece of visual history - the first photo album of the Bulgarian capital after the Communist takeover in 1944.

Most of the over 100 photographs were taken by Architect Nikolay Popov and Pencho Balkanski, both established internationally in the 1930, with exhibitions in Vienna and Belgrade.

Sofia 1959
Sofia 1959
Sofia 1959
Sofia 1959
Sofia 1959

(more to come)

Published in Photo Gallery Bulgaria

Nomenklatura

 

Todor Zhivkov, Bulgaria's undisputed leader for 35 years, playing host to the Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev in a hunting lodge in Bulgaria. Early 1970s.

It is a unique photo - events like this were never reported, and usually no records were kept. The service personnel were sworn to secrecy, hence the facial expressions of some in the background!

The top Communist nomenklatura were often keen hunters. Some argue this was an attempt to emulate the old ruling classes they toppled, and in many cases managed to abolish, or 'liquidate' in their own terms.

Personal archive

Published in Bulgaria

Vintage Communist narrative

Converted from 16 mm film

Published in Bulgaria

Rescued and converted from a 16mm film.

This Bulgarian government video presents the skiing resort of Pamporovo as a hotspot of catering and hedonism. In reality, some of its East German tourists were killed, while trying to cross the nearby border with Greece.

Пампорово, 1979-та. 16 мм филм. Идилия за външна консумация. В непосредствена близост до граничната зона, лобно място на източногермански туристи.

Published in Bulgaria

Todor Zhivkov , Bulgaria's Communist leader for 35 years, regularly met writers and artists.

There were very few among them who didn’t feel obliged to attend, or privileged.

Here is one of those gatherings, in Borovets, spring 1966. The newly-elected leader of the Writers’ Union Georgi Djagarov is pledging loyalty to the Communist party. His message is clear: 'Writers are obliged to further embrace the ideas of Communism, reflect its glory and beauty.  We are the bearers of a new spirituality.'  There'll be no Sofia Spring in 1968.

 

Audio starts at 2'11"

 

Тодор Живков редовно се срещаше с писатели, художници и артисти, обединени в техните «творчески съюзи» - тук нa среща в Боровец през март 1966 с новоизбрания начело на Комитета по култура и изкуство Павел Матев.

Малцина бяха онези, които не се ласкаеха от тези срещи. Посланието на Георги Джагаров, току-що поел Съюза на писателите, е ясно: 'Писателите са призвани да утвърждават идеите на комунизма, величието и красотата на неговите строители. Ние сме носители на нова душевност.'  През 1968 няма да има 'софийска пролет'.

Published in Bulgaria