Sofia – wisdom at work is the message of the new symbol of the Bulgarian capital city. It will unite the spiritual wisdom of three religions – Christianity, Judaism and Islam that are represented in Sofia’s central part by two churches – the Orthodox St. Nedelya and the Catholic St Joseph, one mosque and a synagogue. United in the new symbol they will express the capital’s religious tolerance. For the purpose the four temples will be brought together in a scale model displayed in the underpass between the Presidency and the Council of Ministers as part of the antiquity cultural project Serdika. Translated from classical Greek Sofia means “wisdom”, said Sani Saninski, author of the project, and added:
“The messages that it brings are many more than we can imagine. The scale-model display will include an interactive audio system, a watching platform, a roofing construction, lighting and a spectator hall. The scale model will be based on the four temples with about 1 sq. m allotted to each of the four structures while other important buildings will be only marked, so as to accentuate the churches, the mosque and the synagogue. The installation will be displayed on a total area of 100 sq. m. The roofing is made of reinforced glass. The scale model will have four earpieces with tourist information about the four key sites in five languages. Visitors will also have audio access to the services held in the four temples. Information will be delivered in Bulgarian, French, German, English and Russian.”
Several illumination programs will make up a special lighting system so that temples could be viewed from different perspectives. Lighting will create the sensation of change taking place on the sites during various time slots of the day. The words “nobility”, “tolerance”, “patience”, “dialogue” and “knowledge” will be inscribed on the stairs leading to the watching platform. The key message, Sofia – wisdom at work, will be inscribed at the heart of the scale model. “Thanks to this model tourists will become aware that the symbols of several religions are spaced within a radius of 1 km”, says Sofia Mayor Yordanka Fandakova said:
“When Sani Saninski shared this idea of his, I responded very positively. The project corresponds to the priorities and objectives that we have set ourselves for Sofia’s presentation and for its promotion as an appealing tourist destination and a center of cultural tourism. I personally follow the digs in the central part and the restoration of some buildings. Our task is to make obvious Sofia’s potential as one of Europe’s most ancient and most attractive cities. Therefore the project is aimed at precisely this – to show what our forebears left for us. Sofia is a symbol of religious and ethnic tolerance and this has been laid out in the strategy for its development as a tourist destination. This is a way to show this to many people and also a way to educate Sofia’s kids and young people.”
In conclusion Yordanka Fandakova voiced hopes that the project will be completed for the 132nd anniversary of Sofia as capital of Bulgaria.
English version Daniela Konstantinova