Free Sofia Tour's Blog

December 31, 2015
Christmas or New Year - Communist take

Christmas or New Year’s? A Communist Take

Christmas in Bulgaria during communist times If you have read our 5 Bulgarian Christmas facts and traditions post, you already know how we celebrate Christmas in Bulgaria nowadays. But during the 45 years of Communism in our country (1944 – 1989) things were quite different. The reason: communist countries were officially atheist, so it was seen as completely inappropriate for the regime to celebrate religious holidays. Informally, however, most people would still celebrate secretly at home with their families. So, the communist government had to come up with ideas to discourage the people to celebrate Christmas, Easter and other religious holidays. In this blog post we would talk about… Five ways to discourage celebrating Christmas during the Communist period: The power of TV How do you create a situation where the people would prefer to stay home on Christmas Eve, rather than go to church? Easy! The Communist party came up with the idea to broadcast movies from western countries (the USA, the UK, France, Italy etc.) on the national […]
May 11, 2015
The 365: Communist Tour of Sofia | Free Sofia Tour

The 365: Communist Tour of Sofia

This year the 365 Association, which stands behind the Free Tours of Sofia and Plovdiv, is launching two new and exciting projects: the 365: Communist Tour (link for the tour) and Culture Tour (link for the tour). The idea behind starting a 365: Communist Tour actually arose out of the experience of our guides doing the Free Sofia Tour. On many occasions our guests show a deeper interest in the topic and have asked about what it was like in Bulgaria during that period, wanting to learn more about the story of our side of the Cold War. The 365: Communist Tour – Communism and Europe The Cold War is, of course, something that practically affected the whole world in the previous century. It has been over 25 years since communism officially disappeared in Europe. It is natural that memories are already starting to fade away or get distorted. At the same time, most people still have strong opinions on the topic. If you just talk to a local about it, you […]
September 26, 2011
Museum of Communism

Museum of Communism

Twenty two years after the fall of Communism in Bulgaria, Sofia finally has its own Memento Park. (Link to the park) Everybody kept saying how Bulgaria was the only country in Eastern Europe without a museum for these 45 years in its history. Without a Museum of Communism. 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 […]
June 23, 2011
Sofia's Red Star

The red star is gone

End of an era. The Red Star is no longer there. Quite literally. It all happened probably because the soldiers on the Soviet army monument were turned into cartoon characters (The Joker, Wolverine, Santa Claus, Superman, Ronald McDonald, Captain America, Robin, and Wonder Woman, to be precise). This caused such a big debate that the authorities were perhaps afraid that something similar might happen to other Soviet memorabilia just left around in the city. That’s why they decided to move one of the highlights of our tours. What a journey it has been for one of Sofia’s biggest communist symbols. The five-point red star that once used to be on top of the Communist Headquarters. The star that after the fall of the communist regime was abandoned in the yard of the Central Public Bathhouse. Then an essential part of our very own Free Sofia Tour. It was a huge hit during our tours and even made a couple of headlines (for example: The Red Star? by Sofia Echo’s Gabriel Hershman). What a […]