The National Palace of Culture is the epicentre of the city, where many urban stories begin and end. Skate, bike, parkour, and K-Pop in one place with pop, classics, theatres, books, and the biggest concerts, conferences, and film festivals in the city! The Monument brings together different cultures and subcultures, and right next to its entrance is the emblematic meeting point – The Pylons. They are the symbol of the square and the most common place to meet up with friends before you decide what you want to do – from taking a walk in the park to having a coffee, or a fresh drink, or visiting any cultural activity in the Palace or nearby.
Apart from the building that bears the memory of the past communism, a favourite place for gathering and various activities is the central part of the underpass, around the large and remarkable fountain with several metal globes in different sizes that imitate a miniaturised universe with celestial bodies. That is why the beautiful fountain composition is called “Cosmos” (meaning “space”), although today it is better known as “The Balls”. Urban mythology also remembers it as “The Brains” because of the joke with its round, smooth shapes. The geometric shapes were a highlight of socialist art before ’89, and nowadays, they carry the spirit of Sofia’s young generation.
Near the National Palace of Culture is the iconic bridge known as “The Lovers’ Bridge”, which connects the Palace of Culture with the second part of South Park. Today that part of the park is better known as the “Dog Garden” because it is a favourite walking spot for four-legged creatures and their two-legged friends. We can always see couples in love on the bridge, and a particularly romantic atmosphere occurs at sunset. Outdoor exhibitions are often held there, whether of photography, poetry, or architecture. The stairs linking the bridge to the old McDonalds, which came there as one of the first symbols of capitalism, were designed by Arch. Stanislav Konstantinov, who also designed The Pylons of the National Palace of Culture.
If you walk along the fountains of the square in the north direction, besides taking cool pictures, you will also reach the heart of the city – Vitosha Boulevard, a.c.a “Vitoshka”, which is the main pedestrian promenade in Sofia. You will find all kinds of restaurants and small shops there. Although it is quite crowded, you can walk among many food and fashion lovers, and the view of Vitosha Mountain from the boulevard is a wonderful bonus.
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