On August 19, 1892, many spectators crowded the park at the First Bulgarian Exhibition in Plovdiv (now the Tsar Simeon’s Garden). The newspapers reported that on this long-awaited day, "a needle could not pass through the surrounding streets, the exhibition itself was crowded with a people who were impatiently colliding in each other."
The reason was a significant event that has piqued curiosity for several days - the upcoming balloon flight of the famous aeronaut Eugene Godard. The Frenchman arrived in Plovdiv at the end of July 1892. A few days later, the La France balloon was delivered. This was to be the first flight in the Bulgarian sky and everyone wanted to see how La France would rise into the air. The filling of the balloon with hydrogen started at 6 o'clock in the morning. Ten hours later, the orb of La France could be seen in the distance. Numerous spectators were also seen filling the landing pad for the balloon. Then the Bulgarian knyaz Ferdinand arrived with his numerous retinue. Next to the knyaz were the first participants in the air trip - aeronaut Eugene Godard, journalist Dr. Nikola Genadiev and the architect of the exhibition Heinrich Meyer. An inexperienced helper inadvertently opened one of the valves and the balloon began to deflate. This forced La France to take off with only two passengers - Dr. Nikola Genadiev and Eugene Godard.
The moment had come. The orchestra played Shumi Maritsa, loud cheers were heard in the whole park, the crowded surrounding streets and the crowded Sahat Tepe. “The scene that this ascension brought to the audience,” reports a local journalist, “is indescribable, one must see it himself…”
By the end of October 1892, Eugene Godard made 22 more flights, making Plovdiv the first aviation capital of Bulgaria.
On 15.04.2022 at the same historical place next the Tsar Simeon's Garden, Technical University-Sofia, Plovdiv branch and specialty Aviation Engineering and Technology, with the support of the Municipality of Plovdiv, Scientific and Technical Union - Plovdiv and Latecoer - Bulgaria revived this memorable moment in honor of the 130th anniversary of the beginning of aviation in Bulgaria and carried out demonstration flights with a hot air balloon.