...and what did that lead to


This week, we are once again for the last two years facing restrictions on restaurants and bars due to the coronavirus pandemic. And although they are currently dictated by reasons related to the health status of customers and staff, there have been similar attempts to deter the work of such establishments in the twentieth century.

Then a new fashion began in the villages - they began to schedule referendums to close pubs. It was enough for a certain number of residents to sign, to submit the signatures to the District Administration and there would be a referendum. And against the holy of holies itself - the pub. In those days the pub was something more than the municipality. Official announcements arrived here first, ideas were born here, global problems of life and politics were discussed at the tables. The pubs were a party club, a news agency, and a boardroom. There were no other places in the world like the local ones. According to a 1920 statistic, there were 9,000 people for a pub in Norway, 2,600 in Switzerland, and 260 in Bulgaria. The most famous in Plovdiv were the pubs in the Tepe Alta neighborhood at today's Monday market and in Karshiyaka on the north coast of Maritsa. In other words, they united an army of many thousands. Therefore, initially no one paid attention to the calls for their closure.

The tragedy began after the wars. People were poor and hungry, salvation was nowhere to be seen. Only in the pub did they offer hope. Yes, but it was then that various societies for combating alcohol and debauchery began to sprout like mushrooms. In the month of the Trifon Zarezan holiday in 1921 the Plovdiv municipality also appeared - some of the councilors submitted a proposal to close the pubs in the city. The reason was the huge list of signatures of the women from Karshiyaka, who saw their husbands only in the morning, while waking up from a severe hangover. The men had no choice but to do so - the doors of all the tobacco warehouses were closed to new workers, here and there they offered to do something for pennies. Only the doors of the pubs hospitably awaited visitors.

They were judged the reason for all the troubles of the miserable Bulgarian. And the referendums for their closure started - in Boykovo, Zelenikovo, Skobelevo. Such a poll was held in the present-day village of Parvenets on July 1, 1922. The results of the vote speak of an epic clash - son against father, husband against wife. After counting the ballots, it turned out that the opponents of the pubs had 125 votes, and the supporters - 128. Only three insignificant ballots saved the establishments.

Since 1925, the government has intervened in the fight against drunkenness - began discussing a law banning the use of concentrates and inviting the population to new referendums to remove pubs from the Bulgarian lands forever.

However, where the bars were closed, locals didn’t see anything good. It turned out that when they are sober, men become angrier and grumpier, and in the evening they desperately contemplated the stars instead of sleeping with their wives. Barns and stables were turned into illegal pubs, cheap alcohol of unknown origin was drunk. Everything that fermented was used to make rakia. People drank more and more, and the revenues from excises and taxes fell. This result became an occasion for the rulers to change their policy and abandon this idea.