As early as the first half of the 1980s, young people could be spotted on the streets of Sofia with skateboards. Among the first places where skaters demonstrated their talents were the space next to Lake Ariana and the square in front of the Ludmila Zhivkova National Palace of Culture. For more than 30 years, the smooth slabs by the entrance and the fountains have served as a skating rink for generations of skaters. The square in front of the National Palace of Culture is a place where many take their first “steps” in skateboarding. Many advanced skaters also skate in the area of the Soviet Army Monument.
Around 2006, after the construction of the metro around Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”, all Sofia skaters started to gather at the National Palace of Culture. They set up their own ramps, edges and stained glass windows, which are used by skaters, bladers and hikers alike. In the period until 2015, the square was the skate hub of Sofia. That’s when the renovation of the square began, when the trick fixtures that had been installed years earlier were removed.
In 2019, attempts are being made to remove skaters from the National Palace of Culture entirely. However, the spirit of urban culture prevails and the square continues to be the most attractive place in the capital for extreme sports enthusiasts.
The fame of the square in front of the NPC extends far beyond the borders of Bulgaria. Many skaters from abroad come to Sofia just to have the opportunity to skate on one of the widest skate spaces in Europe. Thus, our central square ranks next to locations like the Museum of Contemporary Art in Barcelona MACBA, the so-called Stalin Square in Letná Park, Prague and enters the charts of the most popular skate destinations in the world.
Over the years, the National Palace of Culture has witnessed dozens of competitions and skate festivals, and every year on 21 June, the longest day of the year, Sofia skaters celebrate the International Go Skateboarding Day by descending from the “Cross” area along the boulevard “Cherni Vrah” and passing in front of the museum “Earth and People” to celebrate the holiday of skateboarding in their favorite place – the park of the National Palace of Culture.
The park symbolizes the free, charming urban spirit and skateboarding is a must-have component of the street culture, without which it would definitely look times more boring.
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 | omda.bg. 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 | ndk.bg | newtheatre.bg | Thank you for talking to the NDK teams. | 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.