Blagoevgrad Through the Eyes of Stefan Spassov
These events took place last October. We were heading home from the village and along the way, as always, I was browsing through my phone. I rarely receive messages on the page Next Stop: Blagoevgrad because most people here already know me and reach out directly. So when I saw that I had a message, I was overcome with that special excitement you feel when you know that something new, something different, but certainly good, is coming.
The message was from Stefan Spassov, a designer and student at the National Academy of Art, with a personal project researching and documenting artifacts from the period 1944-1989. Architecture and monumental/decorative arts in Bulgaria are his passion and you can read more about his project at the links at the end of the article.
Our conversation via chat was direct and to-the-point: Stefan had come to Blagoevgrad for a few days and came across my blog. He decided to ask me for contacts and information "from the source”, regarding where in the city there are still mosaics, murals, and monuments from the aforementioned period. He asked very specific questions and for me it is enough just to be asked, to be able to help, and I’ll do what I can—this is my greatest satisfaction from the whole idea behind Next Stop: Blagoevgrad.
I gave him some directions and
contacts for the drama theatre, the community centre, AUBG (the former Party
House), and we agreed that if I could make time the next day, I would join him
for a short walk around the city. From his preliminary knowledge on
Blagoevgrad, I was certain that he would help me much more than I would help
Over the years, I've had several valuable meetings thanks to Next Stop: Blagoevgrad, I knew right away that this one would also earn a spot on that list.
/Drama Theatre "Nikola Vaptsarov"/
Architect Vitomir Gabrovski (and collective)
Artist Ivan Kozhuharov
The next day, Stefan had already visited the theatre and the AUBG, and in the
afternoon we had time to visit the community centre together. Just a few months
earlier, I filmed a live taping here where I had the pleasure of hearing the
organ in the main hall performed live. And so,
I thought I would make the tour quick and easy.
However, the community centre is a truly magical place with its many staircases, floors, levels, and entrances. There were some dead ends throughout its interior but we managed to reach the important places where Stefan took photos of the architecture, mosaics, and other decorative elements, and we left the rehearsing artists and musicians to practice in peace.