PROJECTED SALE OF THE ANCIENT PART OF PLOVDIV DIVIDES THE CITY INTO THREE
One of Plovdiv's symbols - its ancient part - has been slated for sale. The news divided the city's public opinion into three, according to the proposed ideas for the future of the architectural reserve. The first one has been worked out by experts from the municipality's Culture department, and the second one - by the Ancient Plovdiv association, which is directly subordinated to the city adminsitration. The third group, which united old Plovdiv families and cultural figures, took a categorical stand against the sale.The official Programme for Development or the Architectural and Historic Reserve Ancient Plovdiv, prepared by the municipality's Culture department, projects sale of 32 real estates, granting 19 on concession, and renting seven. The municipality plans to use the proceeds for the establishment of a special fund as per the requirements of the Protection and Development of Culture Act. The money will be utilized for implememtation of the projected investment programme for Plovdiv's ancient part. The municpal council's proposal does not mean that the municipality withdraws from its commitments to the reserve. Depending on the proceeds, we hope that a considerable amount for maintenance of the city's ancient part will be set aside in the municipal budget, Plovdiv's Deputy Mayor Atanas Badev explained for the BANKER weekly. We hope to get at least BGN1MN from sale of real estate, rents, and concession fees. We'll be seeking money from foreign donors as well, Mr. Badev added.The most urgent restoration and conservation measures are roughly pre-estimated at BGN1.6MN. The largest amount of money will be necessary for the establishment of the archeological complex Nebettepe. In its investment programme the municipality has earmarked BGN300,000 for digging up, exhibiting, restoration and construction of the site's infrastructure. Another BGN30,000 will be necessary for setting up the open-air museum Thracian Philipopol. BGN45,000 will be set aside for restoration and construction of a northern entrance of the Ancient Theatre. The Ethnographic Museum also need urgent restoration, pre-estimated at BGN100,000. The municipality has planned BGN35,000 for each of the Rennaissance period houses Nedkovich and Hindilyan, which are to be repaired.The Union of Architects in Bulgaria took a categorical stand against the sale of real estates in the ancient part of the city, calling the municipality's strategy ungrounded and extremely unacceptable. The organisation found that most of the 32 houses, offered for sale, are cultural monuments. In a letter to the Plovdiv municipality the local Union of Architects expresses fears that the sale of tehse building will in no way guarantee future investments in their restoration.The architects insist that the list of buildings to be granted on concession should be redrafted, too. Their stance is that most of them have already been restored and their concessioning in this case is unreasonable.A kind of balance in the different stands has been introduced by Prof. Dr. Todor Krastev, Chairman of the International Council of Monuments and Sites, and former director of the Institute of Cultural Monuments, who vindicates the idea that the cultural and historical heritage of Ancient Plovdiv could be preserved with foreign financial asssistance. By June 24, 2002 when a mission of UNESCO is expecetd to arrive in Plovdiv, the municipality will work out a new programme and request the international organisation to acknowledge the reserve as world heritage.Ancient Plovdiv, which spreads on 36 hectares, was declared and architectural amd historical reserve by a decree of the Coucil of Ministers as of 1956. Presently, there are 222 cultural monuments (205 of architectural and 17 of archeological value) on the site.