I cant remember why we decided from the city center down to NDK, the truth is that it was very cold that morning, there was still snow on the pavements but it was nice to see the city in action, locals going to work and we had the chance to check some small stores on the way etc
When we arrived at NDK (national palace of culture) we realized that it is a huge ugly building in hexagon shape(pic 1). It was built in 1981 by concrete and glass, covering an area of 123,000 square meters in total. It was created to celebrate 1300 years of Bulgaria existence. People come here for big concerts (the central hall has a capacity of 5000 people) but also for congresses, exhibitions, trade fairs etc We just went to drink coffee at one of the cafes because we were desperate for a warm place after walking doe about an hour in the cold.
There is a park in front NDK, it was covered by snow of course so it was hard to enjoy it, there are some monuments here and there, we saw some fountains that I guess must e look nicer in warmer months when you can choose one of the open air eateries and cafes or just relax at one of the numerous benches. So we decided to walk next to it on Vitosha avenue (the most interesting avenue if you are into shopping by the way) going back to the centre.
This enormous modern landmark was opened in 1981 in celebration of the 1300th anniversary of the Bulgarian state. It's a hexagon shape and a mass of concrete & glass. The main function of the building is a concert hall. It also hosts exhibitions and trade fairs. In front of the building is an ungerground arcade of shops and cafes. This like the building itself looked to have seen better days.
NDK is the biggest congress centre in Bulgaria and South East Europe, and was voted best congress centre for 2005. The total area of 123 thousand square meters include 8 floors and 3 underground levels and 13 halls including Bulgaria’s larges, Hall no. 1.
NDK houses many congresses, meetings, exhibitions, fairs (info on book& Bulgarian goods fair in Shopping tips), concerts, film and jazz festivals, etc.
Some find the building from 1981 impressive, some, an example of Socialist Era concrete monster. So I suggest you see it and decide for yourself. It was built in 1981, the year of the 1300th anniversary of Bulgaria, in this year there were many events held and many buildings/monuments/projects built to celebrate the 13 centuries of Bulgaria. Even though I was only 6 at that time, I remember it well and still have some special edition coins.
The small park in front of the NDK is tree lined, offers a view of Vitosha mountain in the background. On a nice days you’ll see many children, skaters, bikers, old people sitting an talking, and young people drinking beer. It would have been nicer if the fountains were working too but let’s hope they’ll be fixed.
There are several monuments there too. One it the concrete monster called ‘Bulgaria: 1300 years’ that is falling apart and is surrounded by protective fence on which you can see many cool graffiti. Please check out my Graffiti @ NDK album to see some great works of this contemporary art. There’s also a small chapel and a monument dedicated to the victims of the Socialist regime. There’s also a Microsoft sun-dial and an Old Bulgarian Alphabet monument.
NDK is the biggest congress and exhibition centre in Bulgaria.
Some of the festivals, exhibitions that take place here:
- Sofia Film Festival;
- Sofia Jazz Peak;
- 'Choose Bulgarian';
- Books Fair, etc.
The NDK is a large complex of conference halls, cinemas, shops and cafes.
It's situated at the Southern end of Yuzhen Park (South Park) with the ugly and decrepit 1300 years monument. Especially in summer this park is quite popular with lots of kiosks, bars and stalls sellings popcorn etc.. It makes quite a poor appearance with empty fountain bassins and that monument.
Yeah .... there it is - right in the heart of Sofia ...
National Palace of Culture !
This building is something you have to see if you go to Sofia,
so big and useless it stays there for a decades and nobody can
understand why it was made in the first time ...
But ... once you there, you can go for a shopping bcz now it's a big mall :)
Built by the Daughter of The Communist Regime leader - Ludmila Jivkova, the National Palace of Culture was designed to be the cultural center of Sofia. Here were hosted National Peace assembleys ( they were festivals organized by Liudmila Jivkova about art and culture.Inviting kids from alot of different counties though the world to get to know Bulgaria and feel our hospitality).
Today you can see film premieres of the newest movies ,exhibitions and other events.
This summer (2005) an amusement park and a beer fest are hosted in the garden in front of the National Palace of Culture . It keeps the crowd entertained I guess....
31 juli 05 - NDK was voted "best congress center in the world for 2005" by the association for congress palaces AIPC - says BTV news
Sofia Panorama From National Palace of Culture
A view from the rooftop of NDK - The national palace of Culture,situated in the heart of Sofia . There is a panorama restaurant from which you can see the whole city spreading in front of you.
the Party building tower rising on the left and the golden domes of Alexander Nevski cathedral on the right as well as the weird monument on the front left side under the party building that we call The BarbaPapa family. / Maybe you remember this cartoon of funny creatures that could take different shapes and were all in different colors?/.The chain of the Balkan mountain can be see at the back on a clear sunny day.
The fountains in front of NDK are not working anymore.
Walking in Sofia reserves allways nice surprises, but sometimes turists (virtual turists, sorry!) may find themselves biased on the architectural standard in Estearn Europe. This is an example. If it was intended to impress people, and instill subjection to them, than it was a very well done!
National Palace of Culture
It is called from all the Bulgarians simply NDK and is the biggest Congress Center on the Balkans, ideal both for congress and cultural events. Located in the center of the city the area around the building is the place where you can feel the real atmosphere of Sofia partly because from there you can see a marvelous view of one of the symbols of Sofia - the Mount Vitosha and partly because this is the place where you can see different kind of people - kids with their skateborads, mother sitting on the benches next to the fountains with their babies, young people in the cafes nearby, lovers gazing at each other in the garden, old man stopping for a chat..............
The National Palace of Culture is called by us, the Sofians, NDK which stand for Naroden Dvorets na Kulturata.
On the picture you see the main buildin but actually there are several more. Built during the communist regime, now it is used as a congress centre and also houses several large concert halls, exhibition space, offices, cinemas, restaurants and shops.
It is the biggest Congress Centre in the Balkans and many cultural events are held there but when you walkin the corridors of the main building it looks more like a sopping mall then a place of culture :)
There is a garden around the buldings where you will find open air cafes and entertainment facilities for kids.
The NDK was constructed during the Bulgarian Socialist era and originally bore the name of Lyudmila Zhivkova, the daughter of Bulgaria's leader Todor Zhivkov. Lyudmila was a powerful figure and she ran the ministry of culture with a strong, determined and effective hand. To her last days, before she died of a brain tumor, she devoted a huge amount of money from Bulgaria's budget in order to develop music, arts, culture and sports program. This ultimately made Bulgaria an internationally acknowledged country in all of the mentioned above fields.
The National Palace of Culture (www.ndk.bg) is another major point in Sofia. A great number of cultural and other events (fares) take place in the huge building with the biggest concert hall in Bulgaria (4000 people).
One of my favorite places in Sofia is the park arround our 'National Palace of Culture'. It's usually full with people and mostly kids. I also love to look at the waterfalls (of course if they work...).
The palace itself is the biggest congress center in the Balkans. Also there is the biggest hall with the biggest stage in Bulgaria. There are many exhibitions in it. There is also a cinema there and many,many other things. There are at least 12 halles in it.
National square with also, the Palace of Culture. Lively place to visit on a weekend morning, lots to watch from the shelter of a shady bench.
Check website for upcoming events.