In 1975, the Sofia City Committee of the Communist Party and the Sofia People’s Council decided to improve the southern part of the city and incorporate it into the modern city center. Initially, the Place near the boulevard “Patriarch Evtimii” was planned for the construction of an opera theater and a cultural center open to Vitosha mountain. A competition was announced with participants from the country and abroad, but the committee headed by the writer and chairman of the Committee for Art and Culture (now Minister of Culture) Pavel Matev did not select a winner. Instead, it was decided to build a modern Congress and Cultural Centre to replace Universiade Hall in this function.

In May 1978, the decision was taken to build the National Palace of Culture in conjunction with the celebration of the 1300th anniversary of the establishment of the Bulgarian state and the holding of the 12th Congress of the Communist Party. The team chosen for the construction was as follows: chief architect Alexander Barov, author of the Boyana residence, and constructor Eng. Bogdan Atanasov, with the assistance of the chief architect of Sofia Prof. Arch. Vladimir Romensky and Prof. Eng. Milcho Brynov. The design of the surrounding space was entrusted to arch. Atanas Agura and Lands. arch. Valentina Atanasova. The underground objects with the underground line, planned since that time, were realized by “Sofproekt” headed by arch. Chedomir Pavlov. The main group of designers visited and studied the experience of the best congress centres in Europe and America, and took the advice and assistance of prominent Bulgarian and foreign specialists.

Biographical sources, however, say that the post-modernist concept, the unique spirit and the unconventional inspirations in the concept of the building came from Lyudmila Zhivkova – daughter of Todor Zhivkov and Minister of Culture, who years earlier had the idea of building a modern temple of Bulgarian culture and art. To this day, the space carries many urban legends about the Eastern influences that underpinned the palace and the art within it, which came from Zhivkova’s attraction to Bogomilism and Agni Yoga. And Georgi Chapkanov’s bronze sun, shining from the central facade of the building, is associated by many with the symbol of ancient Bulgarian sun worship, femininity, or Danovism.

Another interesting fact is that, due to the lack of the computer design and drawing programs we know today, the entire project for the building was created by hand by a team of engineers and technicians numbering 70 people. Construction began even before the design was ready, and the first visualization of the National Palace of Culture in its finished form was made of wooden sticks.

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.

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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