How the lake turned from a swamp into a skating rink, an ice hockey arena and a stage for music and color


In the distant past, Plovdiv appeared to be quite different and unrecognizable. Instead of one of the greatest attractions at the moment - The Singing Fountains, before 1892 there was a swamp, which became famous as a mosquito hatchery. The swamp ended in today's Avksentiy Veleshki Street.

However, due to the organization of the First Bulgarian Exhibition, the idea of building a lake in today's Tsar Simeon’s Garden was conceived. The initiator was Lucien Chevallaz himself, who led the planting of the park. Initial projects intended for the swamp to remain outside the boundaries of the exhibition, and a modern restaurant to be built near the embankment, but the genius landscape architect offered a completely different solution - to clean the swamp of the mud, to put plates at the bottom and then to form shores. In April 1892, the lake was ready. In the middle, there was a fountain that ejected the water at 20 meters high. The water reached "the clouds" for the first time on April 16, 1892.

There were two lakes in the park, one in front of the cave with the two waterfalls, and the other also called the Fish Lake, was in front of the Forest Pavilion. Тhe water from the two small lakes flowed into the Great Lake through special canals underground. A third canal led the water from the Demeter fountain.

In August 1892, the Angel Kanchev ship floated in the lake with 16 passengers on board. Its creator is the Sofia engineer Yosif M. Simeonov.

The beginning of 1893 found a new page in the history of the lake - on January 1 it became a skating rink. From year to year, the number of lovers of skates grew and the garden filled with people. However, in 1898, the rink fee was increased and visitors diminished.

In the following years, the lake was threatened with backfilling because of the widespread perception that it was a mosquito nest, spreading diseases in the poor city. In order to "end the contagion", the councilors formed groups that, in several shifts, had to eliminate the "dangerous place" by forming a playground in its place. Fortunately, after a civil protest, the lake was rescued.

In 1927, the branch of the Bulgarian National Maritime Agreement, which developed water sports, received from the municipality of Plovdiv the right to manage the lake. The "sailors" cleaned the lake and made significant sums for landscaping. By carrying some of the boats, it became one of the great attractions under the hills. The sight was bizarre during holidays - floating on the water boats decorated with lit candles, rockets and fireworks illuminated the park.

After 1944, the lake became the base of the sports sections of the Voluntary Defense Assistance Organization (DOSO). In the following years, national sports athletes and sports masters grew up in the garden. Here was the first ice hockey meeting in Plovdiv.

Remarkable was also the restaurant on its southern coast. The buffet, as the Plovdiv people called it, gave shelter to many holidays. Here came ministers, public figures and artists, and famous orchestras took care of the good mood of the visitors.

So it was until 1974. It was then decided that the lake would become a stage for music and colors, and from participants in the events, citizens of Plovdiv would become ordinary spectators. The creators of The Singing Fountains proudly declared that this is the first fountain in Bulgaria with music and colored lights. And another occasion for pride - the fountain was shipped from Switzerland. In the name of this technical miracle, the lake's look has changed, as is known to us today, albeit with some improvements.

During the spring and summer, every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday you can enjoy the game of the water under the sound of selected music and make sure of the greatness of the singing fountains and the lake.