August 14, 2019

Matera – the sister European Cultural Capital of Plovdiv

What is a European Cultural Capital? You probably have heard about the title European Cultural Capital. But who had the idea of such a title on the first place? On a windy January day of 1985, two ministers of culture were having coffee at the Athens airport. They were waiting for their delayed flights. Those were Melina Mercouri from Greece and her French colleague Jack Lang. They had just attended a meeting of European ministers of culture. What a shame, they thought, that there are so few cultural events to bring nations together! According to a popular lore, this is how Ms. Mercouri came up with the idea of creating an annual series of events. They would not only put the spotlight on culture in European cities but also unite Europeans by showing them how much they have in common. Now, more than three decades later, the European Cultural Capital is perhaps the largest collaborative cultural project in the European Union. Two, sometimes three cities from different countries are awarded […]
May 4, 2019

The Amazing Revival Houses of Plovdiv

Every person who ever walked in the Old Town of Plovdiv was stunned with the beauty of the Plovdiv Revival Houses. At the end of the 18th century and especially during the 19th century, rich merchants were trading with Europe and the Orient. They had an understandable ambition to demonstrate their wealth by building large luxurious homes. Bulgarian craftsmen, skilled architects, masons, carpenters and painters combined their skills, proving extremely effective for the prosperity of the buildings in Plovdiv in those years. During this time Plovdiv was an important economic center. Because of that, many wealthy and educated people who lived in the city traveled extensively in Europe. From their travels, they brought not only exotic goods but also new cultural ideas. Wealthy merchants showed their wealth by building beautiful, richly ornamented houses which as a result became symbolic for the Old Town. The new houses were symmetrical – they had an oval hall with 4 rooms in the corners, erkers (sort of architectural windows/balconies)and gossip rooms on the top floor. […]