Romantic mountain and forest landscapes, long beaches at the Black Sea, picturesque villages – those were the things luring numerous citizens of the GDR to the People’s Republic of Bulgaria. In today’s text I will deal with Bulgaria’s capital, Sofia, located in the western part of the country. This is how a leave day could have been structured back then:
Bulgaria has always been well known for its hospitality. This is why the numerous markets were popular events where visitors could peruse the stands for souvenirs and mingle with the friendly locals. The markets were located at the Boulevards Georgi Kirkov, Janko Sakasov and Dimitar Petkov.
The many museums were especially interesting for museum enthusiasts. Those three institutions were among the most popular at that time:
The National Archeological Museum was located in the former Bujuk Dshamija mosque. It showed many objects, some of which where thousands of years old. The building of the former Zar’s palace was holding the National Art Gallery which showed objects such as traditional as well as modern Bulgarian paintings and sculptures. The Ethnographic Museum, on the other hand, was dealing with Bulgarian folklore and ancient consumer goods. The Museum of Natural History informed its visitors about the Bulgarian nature and geological structure with the help of millions of objects. And here comes the good part: All three museums still exist today!
Those who were interested in architecture could discover many interesting places: The Bujuk Dshamija mosque was one of the most significant architectural monuments in Bulgaria dating back to the Ottoman Empire. The Banja Baschi Dshamija mosque was another important example for Ottoman architecture which was definitely worth seeing. Also on top of the must-see list was the oldest historic monument, the Sveti Georgi church, as well as the Alexandar Newski cathedral, another significant and artistically important monument.
The evenings could be spent by visiting one of the many theaters – the only problem was to decide which one to visit, for there were a total of 15 theaters with different shows in Sofia during the GDR era. For those who preferred to go to the movies, the capital was also holding numerous possibilities: Sofia offered an incredible number of 40 movie theaters! In addition, many concerts took place in the many concert halls of the capital.
A project group of students at the Free University Berlin is asking you to tell your very own exciting story about a holiday at the Black Sea coast! Share your memories by contacting the research group “TourOsten in Bulgarien” via the following E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Literature: BULGARIEN – Reiseführer, „Medizina Fiskultura“, Sofia, 1971, p. 60-70
Picture: Ferien in Bulgarien, Zentrum für Fremdenverkehrswerbung, Sofia, 1980ies