Hall 1 and the adjacent premises of the National Palace of Culture were opened for the XII Congress of the Communist Party of Bulgaria in March 1981. On 20 October of the same year the official opening was held on the occasion of the celebration of the 1300th anniversary of the Bulgarian state. The event was celebrated a few months after the death of Lyudmila Zhivkova. For this reason, the palace was renamed “People’s Palace of Culture “Lyudmila Zhivkova”.

In connection with the 23rd session of the General Conference of UNESCO, a new part of the complex, unofficially called the “Little National Palace of Culture”, was built in 1985. The main hall in the “Little NDK” is Hall 12. It has an area of 900 square metres and with modifications could be used for conferences, celebrations, exhibitions and a meeting room. The other large hall in the building was 11, the present-day Lumiere Cinema. The first auto show in the capital was held in a newly built underground lobby the size of Hall 3 of the NPC soon after the end of the communist era. In addition to the new construction, the NPC also included the high-rise administration building of PRONO – the People’s Defence Design Organisation. It housed UNESCO’s administration for a month and a half past the General Conference. On the occasion of the hosting of the UNESCO General Conference, a special postage stamp and a commemorative coin were designed with the National Palace of Culture.

In January 2018, Sofia hosted the Council of the European Union for the first time in its history. The meetings of the European representatives are held in Hall 3 of the National Palace of Culture. In preparation for the hosting, much of the interior of the convention centre has been renovated. In some cases, adjustments to the interior of the building were made at the expense of valuable components of the original palace interior. The Presidency is accompanied by a number of cultural events such as concerts and exhibitions. The walk across the ‘Bridge of Lovers’ by French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister Theresa May remains iconic.

Hall 1 of the National Palace of Culture has hosted some of the biggest names in world art. Andrea Bocelli, José Carreras, Michael Bolton and others have given concerts here. The London Symphony Orchestra, the Vienna Philharmonic, the Moscow Philharmonic and others have played here. Herbert von Karajan, Claudio Abado and others conduct here.

The NPC hosts the Kinomania Film Festival, established in 1987, the New Year’s Music Festival, established in 1986, and other annual cultural events.

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.


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