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Taking a stroll in a neighbourhood of the capital city dubbed the Sofia Montmartre

The building of Sofia's Central Baths
Photo: library

The architecture of the capital of Bulgaria Sofia has undergone multiple changes since the city was declared the administrative and cultural hub, and the centre of public life in Bulgaria in 1879.

Despite the relentless passage of time and the changes it has brought, the city has kept its spirit intact, as it has its stories and some of the homes, which once belonged to the city’s elite, in two of Sofia’s neighbourhoods – behind the building of the Central mineral baths and in Lozenets, dubbed the Sofia Montmartre, after the artists quarter of Paris.

Lozenets gained popularity for its bohemian life as far back as 1921. Things have not changed much to this day, and the land there is still very expensive. However, in Lozenets proper, property doesn’t have a price tag, not so much because of the location as because of the people who once inhabited the quarter. Taking a stroll in its quiet, leafy streets is like travelling back in time to the years when there lived here people who have shaped the development of the country. One of them is writer Elin Pelin and the founder and first director of the Bulgarian National Radio Sirak Skitnik, as well as actor Krastyo Sarafov. Their homes were designed by some of Bulgaria’s foremost architects – Georgi Ovcharov and Yordan Milanov. Carved balconies, stone reliefs, beautiful gables live side by side with neat little gardens to this day.

One such home here is the house that once belonged to a popular Bulgarian actress - Adriana Budevska. Now a culture hub hosting exhibitions, literary readings and chamber concerts, the house has cherished the memory of the woman who lived in it. Adriana Budevska died there at the age of 70 having lived a full life, rising to fame and fortune, and then falling into almost complete oblivion, followed by public acknowledgement of her talent at the very end of her life. 

Compiled by Yoan Kolev

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