Better late than never: The evolution of a Bulgarian cultural institute

Written by on March 14, 2017 in Bulgaria - Comments Off on Better late than never: The evolution of a Bulgarian cultural institute

The “South-Eastern European Bulgarian Cultural Institute” in the picturesque town of Ellwangen in Germany is located at Palais Adelmann, an extremely elegant building built in 1688, which was not hit by the allies and actually qualifies as a castle. Ellwangen gave Bulgaria these premises for free almost five years ago, in exchange for cultural activities the institute would organise. everything was settled. Even former Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Simeon Dyankov got involved, and former President Rosen Plevneliev went to Ellwangen, in order to sign contracts.

Five years are a long time. But ever since, absolutely nothing has happened at that “South-Eastern European Bulgarian Cultural Institute”. Whenever reporters tried to reach anyone there, nobody replied. Whenever they went there, the door was locked.

Then, in October of 2016, Iskra Ivanova came to Ellwangen, in order to jump-start cultural activities at the institute. But by now, nobody in Ellwangen believed anything anymore, since there had been lots of empty promises coming from Bulgaria, over the years, the local daily “Schwäbische Post” reported. “The comedy continues” was the headline they came up with. The German’s hunch turned out to be accurate: No announcements about any cultural activities were ever made. By January of 2017, Mrs. Ivanova had disappeared. Neither was she present anymore, nor had she organised any events.

Then, at the end of January 2017, another miracle happened. Professor Emil Ivanov appeared. He is even still there and seems to be reviving the cultural institute, after almost five years of nothing.

Prof. Emil Ivanov. Photo by Schwäbische Post

According to the “Schwäbische Post” daily, Professor Ivanov is an archaeology and art history expert. The cultural authority in Ellwangen seems to like him. The professor told the newspaper, the Bulgarian bureaucracy had pushed the task of reviving the cultural institute back and forth, from desk to desk, for five years. Ivanov will be in Ellwangen for at least a year, he says, even though the contract signed between the Republic of Bulgaria and the town of Ellwangen, signed years ago, gives him those offices until August 10th, 2017, only, unless it is being prolonged.

Professor Ivanov really seems to be taking things seriously. Since the money Sofia gives him turns out to be rather tight, he started announcing a series of speeches. The first speaker will be someone he knows quite well: It’s him, himself. The title of the speech series is “South-Eastern Europe’s History and Culture”. Ivanov’s first speech will take place today at 7 p.m. local time and cover “Christian-Archaeological Research at the Limes Rhodopica in Bulgaria”. That title sounds like a magnet, a hall filler, a blockbuster.

On top of those sensations, the professor has organised a wine grower meeting in Ellwangen, with Bulgarian and German guests. The fact that Ellwangen is not even located in a wine region does not seem to matter too much. The event will take place in September.

Photo of Palais Adelmann (at the top) by the town of Ellwangen.

 

 

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Imanuel Marcus, the founder of foreignersandfriends.com, is Associate Editor of The Sofia Globe.