Bulgaria’s Culture Ministry said on October 13 that it has ordered the suspension of all conservation work at the Largo archaeological site in central Sofia for an indefinite period of time, during which a team of architects and archaeologists will carry out an assessment of the work carried out so far.
The ministry said that it ordered the work stoppage after complaints from the public that the restoration currently underway did not “conserve the original appearance of the site”, but gave no further details.
Reports in Bulgarian-language media said that the project, which is financed using EU funding, has met public opposition since the start of work earlier this year, mainly because of concerns that the use of modern materials could destroy the remains of the Roman ruins on the site.
The various delays in recent years have already caused damage to the Largo site, including by flooding last year, while speculation persists that construction of the underground metro stations in the area had resulted in the destruction of cultural heritage – allegations that officials have repeatedly denied.
When completed, the Largo restored site is to operate as an open-air museum and cultural venue, according to the conservation project’s goals.
(The ruins of the Roman city of Serdica in the Largo area in central Sofia. Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)