Exactly one week before the vote for a new ruler of Plovdiv, there was a tour, which introduced us more thoroughly to the history of the municipality in the city and to some of the deeds of previous prominent figures who held the high office.
The guides were Adelina Kalapchieva and Teodor Karakolev, who never stop creating new and interesting routes in the beloved Plovdiv, and at least 30 people absorbed the facts and stories surrounding the title of mayor with attention and curiosity.
The tour started in front of the Natural History Museum building, which actually housed the first municipality under the hills over the years. It was built in 1880 and underwent partial reconstruction and expansion in 1895 and 1912 with a project by Josef Schnitter. The dome was removed and the roof completely reconstructed, while extensions to the main building were completed. In 1951, the relocation of the museum's collections was negotiated, and it was officially opened in 1955.
Across the street, the current Confederation of Independent Trade Unions of Bulgaria building also housed the city administration in the years since 1921. It was designed in a classical style and built in 1907, and was originally smaller. It had very beautiful windows and direct access from the street. According to historical sources, this part was a pharmacy. Sometime between the 1970s and 1980s, the large storefront windows were redone to resemble those on both levels of the building. Currently, there is a project for the restoration of its facade, which is not in its best condition.
Almost a door away is the palace of the book publisher Dragan Manchov, where the Central district town hall is now. It was designed by Josef Schnitter and will long be regarded as an example of elegant style and will attract the admiring glances of Plovdiv residents and guests of the city. It is on two spacious residential floors, and the composition clearly states the high property status of the owner and the aesthetic understanding of the designer.
In the building, Ivan Vazov (who lived opposite) edited the Science magazine, and it is probably here that the odes from the Epic of the Forgotten were conceived. A number of the most respected guests of the city, public figures, writers and diplomats were also welcomed. After the bankruptcy of the book publisher, he was forced to sell the building. Soon after, the Regional Administration moved into it, then the District Administration.
An interesting fact is that the EVN building was also a municipal hall over the years.
After that, the tour continued with a story about one of the bad mayoral examples, or more precisely the mayorship of Denyo Manev, who promised the people of Plovdiv to bring them mineral water all the way from Hisarya. The years of his administration were 1914-1918, and in 1920 he was convicted of using municipal workers and materials for his own needs and receiving a bribe in the amount of 10,000 BGN.
The tour passed through his first house, built on Sahat Tepe, and the dubious circumstances are connected with the construction of his second home, which was located in the yard of the current Aleko Konstantinov school. It is even said that after its demolition, the inhabitants of the city danced on the ruins.
A polar opposite is the mayorship of Bozhidar Zdravkov, who in two almost consecutive mandates had enormous merits for the modernization of the city. During his administration, a number of improvement measures were carried out in the city. He also actively participated in the cultural life of the city. It is no coincidence that many people define him as "the best mayor of Plovdiv". Heirs of the family still live in his house.
The tour passed by the properties of Valko Shopov, Hristo Dyukmedzhiev, lawyer Georgi Todorov, ending in front of the building of the current Plovdiv Municipality.
Its construction began in 1912. It was originally designed for the District Administration. The project was implemented after a competition was won and completed (107 years have passed since then) by architect Nikola Neshov. The building wasn’t built according to its overall plan - in fact, it was supposed to reach the Main Street, but this wing was subsequently not built. From the end of the 1920s to the 1950s, it was used as the District (Police) Directorate, and from the beginning of the 1960s it became the seat of the mayor. Currently, it is preserved in its original form with a monumental silhouette and forms of the front facade, decorated with ornaments and with a beautiful tower on the roof. A central place was given to the meeting room on the second floor, presented from the outside with tall oval windows and a cute balcony. The building has been declared a cultural monument.