Twenty two years after the fall of Communism in Bulgaria, Sofia finally has its own Memento Park. Everybody kept saying how Bulgaria was the only country in Eastern Europe without a museum for these 45 years in its history. Even in the National Museum of History there’s a weird emptiness between 1944 and 1989. Well, finally we can see the red star that used to be part of our tour for around 8 months properly displayed next to imposing statues of Lenin and Georgi Dimitrov.

I understood why they called it Museum of Socialist Art instead of Museum of Communism. But I have no idea why they used the word “museum” at all. This place is basically a great gallery of socialist art. No surprise that it’s managed by the National Art Gallery. You can see impressive statues and sculptures in the yard as well as beautiful paintings in the exhibition hall.

If you ask me, Bulgaria still doesn’t have a museum of communism. I was happy to hear that the director of the National Art Gallery regretted the destruction of Georgi Dimitrov’s Mausoleum. It would have made the perfect museum. People (not only tourists) obviously are interested in that period and need to know.

The souvenir shop of this museum was disappointing. There are probably many more interesting memorabilia at the flea market in the city center. As for the “video center”… My living room is more interactive. And at least I have the common sense to put subtitles (at least in English) whenever I have guests from abroad. This is the only place in the museum that has the purpose to convey a direct message by showing for example meetings of the Communist Party. And it feels out of place in this lovely art gallery.

How to get to the Museum of Socialist art: Take subway in direction of “Mladost” and get off at “G.M. Dimitrov” (funny coincidence but not to be mistaken with the G. Dimitrov, displayed in the Museum). Walk to the Traffic Police building (ask for “KAT”). It’s right in front of it, next to newly-constructed Sopharma Towers.

Working hours: Tuesday – Sunday 10:00 – 17:30

Price: 6 BGN per adults, 3 BGN per students, free for journalists and art students

P.S. The names and authors of the statues are put in tiny letters on the pedestals of the statues. Funny thing, here in Bulgaria we still have the “don’t walk on the grass” complex. However, I dared to walk to the statues and take a photo so that you could get an idea about the sheer scale of these monuments. No alarms went on. This means they might have realized that the grass is not just for decoration and used grass that could survive the weight of people. Just like they do all over the world.

 

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  5. Sophia says:

    I totally agree about the interactive part- it was a little disconnected from the rest of the museum but at the same time was one of the most interesting aspects. I just wish I could understand the audio. It was funny, when I visited I didn’t think of it that way but people were shy about taking pictures on the grass and always returned very quickly to the pavement!

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