Plovdiv municipality has budgeted 500 000 leva for repairs to houses owned by the municipality in the Old Town, of which more than 21 are officially reported to be in danger of collapse.
The Old Town in Bulgaria’s second city is an architectural reserve and meandering its well-worn cobbled streets is a de rigeur stop for tourists.
An investigation of 111 of the about 500 buildings in the Old Town found that 21 were at risk of collapse. More than 30 were found to require full restoration as soon as possible.
According to Plovdiv municipal officials, there is concern that some of the houses in a state of bad repair could pose a danger to passersby.
Deputy mayor Dimitar Katsarski told media in Plovdiv that houses tested were a mix of publicly and privately-owned properties. Owners of houses found to be in need of urgent repair had been sent notices.
However, he added that in the case of potentially dangerous properties, there were two options. One was repair and the other was demolition to pre-empt spontaneous collapse. Deadlines had been set for owners to respond.
“Buildings must be safe for those who pass by them and for those who live in them,” he said.
While some buildings needed thorough structural repairs, others needed only repairs to ornamentation.
The investigation of the buildings was done by specialists from the Ministry of Culture, the Monuments Institute, the municipality and other officials. Each of the sites was photographed and extensively described in written reports.
Among the buildings requiring repairs is the “Yellow School” that houses part of Plovdiv’s Academy of Music, Dance and Fine Arts. It still requires work, even after Bulgarian star violinist Vasko Vassilev gave a charity concert two years ago to raise funds for restoration work.
Other buildings requiring repairs are the Zlatu Bozhadzhiev, Nedkovich and Hindlian house-museums.
Katsarski said that the municipality currently was in the process of selecting a contractor for the 500 000 leva contract to repair the buildings owned by the municipality, which include the Yellow School and the house-museums.
(Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)