The first groundbreaking for the construction of the National Palace of Culture was made on 25 May 1978 by Georgi Yordanov – First Secretary of the Sofia City Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and Chief of the Operational Staff, with the words “Let’s start! At the same time the complexes “Lyulin”, “Zona B-5”, “Belite Brezi”, “Studentski grad” and parts of “Mladost” were being built.

It is said that all the citizens of Sofia work overtime one day to donate their wages, and so a quarter of the total amount for the construction of the Palace was collected. At times, the workers on site exceeded 5,000 people in three shifts. The construction of the National Palace of Culture absorbed 335,000 cubic meters of concrete and 1.7 million tons of earth which were excavated and hauled to form the hills in South Park.

During the construction, tunnels for the future Sofia underground were also planned and excavated from the boulevard “Patriarch Evtimiy” to today’s Blvd. “Arsenalski”. Few people know how vast the tunnels and subways under the National Palace of Culture actually are, but there are dozens of theories, urban myths and legends on the subject. The Palace is also home to some 10,000 tonnes of metalwork – more than was used in the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

The octagonal facade allows the palace to have more than one face, but to be equally imposing when viewed from all sides. Arch. Atanas Agura confirms that the octagon is “the general modular measure incorporated in the design of the main building”.  

Almost 90% of the materials and products used in the construction were manufactured in the country. The Palace is clad in Vratsa stone. The same material was used for the cladding of the Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski, the St. Alexander Nevski, the National Library and the National Bank. In this way, the external appearance of some of Sofia’s most iconic buildings has been brought into synchrony. However, the guardians of history say that the interiors and technical equipment were chosen only from the highest class Western European products. Such as the iconic chandeliers, which were manufactured in Milan, Italy.  

The surrounding space uses copper sheeting, which patinates over time and takes on greenish hues to demonstrate the eternal harmony of the capital with the Vitosha Mountains. Today, however, none of the copper elements remain. The “green corridor” was also designed at that time, along which one can reach the peak Cherni Vrah from the National Palace of Culture, walking entirely through green spaces.  

The articles for the project “NDK is #soSofia” were developed by Viktor Topalov, author at “Bohemian Sofia” in collaboration with the #soSofia team. 

The project uses visual archives from the National Film Centre, the State Agency “Archives”, the Bulgarian Visual Archive and information from the following sources: 

Miloshev, Yordan, NDK – memories of builders | Sp. 1 – 1982, 6 – 1984, 3-4 – 1986 | Mircheva, Simona, Palace in the Life of the City | Tromkov, Ilia. National Palace of Culture “Lyudmila Zhivkova” | Milev, Ivo. “The Life and Death of Lyudmila Zhivkova | BNT. Aleksandrova, Albena. Kovachev, Oleg. Study of beauty from within | Interview – Gyurov, Vasil. Gyurov, Konstantin. Places of everyday life. Cravaai. | Langova, Sonya. Shofelinov, Ivan. Cohen, Emil. Film – We from Kravay. | Trifonova, Teodora. BTV News. 18.07.2017 Ready project for the soldiers’ memorial has been there for years. | Veselinov, Veselin. Liternet. Memorial to the fallen of the 1st and 6th infantry regiments. | NDK Press Center | | | Thank you for talking to the NDK teams. | All Day NDK. | DJ GIORGIO. | Sofia Graffiti Tour. | All Day NDK. | DJ GIORGIO. | Sofia Graffiti Tour.

The NDK is #soSofia project is realized with the support of the Cultural Heritage Entrepreneurship Programme of the National Culture Fund and the help of our loyal friends from Storytel, Fashion Days, Beefeater and DEVIN.


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