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KvARTal reminds us of legacy we must protect

БНР Новини
Photo: Rayna Teneva

If you search for "art quarter" on the Internet, you will find hundreds of examples of such places worldwide. There are such neighbourhoods in Los Angeles, Oklahoma, Portland, London, Krakow, Barcelona... There artists have their own space to create and show their creativity to citizens and tourists. These are places for unforgettable walks in artistic atmosphere and meeting with a variety of people and their talents.

СнимкаExamples of the impact of such quarters on the urban development are many. In recent years, frequent ideas for the formation of such a cultural area in Sofia have emerged. One of them is the pilot edition of the KvARTal Festival in the period September 16 -18, in the old Jewish quarter in Sofia. It is located in between the Dondukov, Vasil Levski, Slivnitsa and Maria Luisa streets. What is it that distinguishes the event from other urban festivals? More from one of the organizers of the forum, Martina Stefanova:

“The idea is to present a larger project we are working on. This is the KvARTal initiative which aims to carve out a cultural zone in Sofia. The festival will present to the people living in the quarter its potential - small spaces, streets, houses, architectural and historical landmarks. We are to reveal those sides of the neighbourhood that have been forgotten or lost. We will put emphasis on different places in the area - restaurants, cinema halls, shops, drawing a link between them. This will help people feel the atmosphere of the place they live in.”

And here's the reason to choose this neighbourhood for venue of the festival:

“After studying the urban environment, we found out that this is the most appropriate place for such an art and cultural district in Sofia. Our other goal is to draw public attention to this architectural reserve and the old houses that are still here. These are buildings that need protection because they create the atmosphere of the old city centre.”


For a period of three days KvARTtal or Quarter Fest will offer rich music program, performances, lectures, art workshops and sports activities.

Special tours will show buildings with interesting architecture, as well as property that can be rented for implementation of various business and artistic projects. There are also special gourmet and bar tours, including a number of surprises. Is there something more?

“There will be several exhibitions and tours that will focus on history and archaeology. In fact, this is the old Jewish quarter, which used to be very beautiful. Then many of the locals left for Israel and that is how a number of houses were abandoned. That is why during the festival the synagogue and museum next to it will be opened for visitors. There, people will be able to learn more about the history of the quarter.”


According to Martina, the need for an artistic neighbourhood in Sofia is more than apparent as there is a lot of energy and desire to create. An art quarter is also necessary in the context of cultural and socio-economic development of the city.

Whether KvARTal Festival will give a serious impetus to the development of an independent artistic space in Sofia is yet to be seen. Such artistic initiatives that transform neglected urban spaces also help in preserving urban culture in the Bulgarian capital city.


English: Alexander Markov

Photos: Rayna Teneva
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