Bulgaria’s Ministry of Culture told Plovdiv municipality two years ago that a tobacco warehouse, now at the centre of controversy over a March 2016 demolition attempt, was a monument of culture.
This emerges from a letter to the municipality posted on the website of the Ministry of Culture.
Prosecutors have opened pre-trial proceedings in connection with the attempted demolition, which began on March 6 but was stopped by the intervention of the ministry amid large-scale public outrage at the bid to raze the building, which dates to the 1920s and is part of a precinct reflecting the city’s historic place in the tobacco trade.
The letter advises that the building, at 8 Odrin Street in Plovdiv, is a monument of culture and any proposed project regarding the building should be co-ordinated with the National Institute of Immovable Cultural Heritage.
The ministry said that according to the Cultural Heritage Act, mayors of municipalities are required to organise and co-ordinate policy on the protection of cultural heritage on the territory of the municipality.
Plovdiv municipality said that it had received the letter dated January 6 2014 from the ministry on January 9 2014 and after that date, the municipality had not approved any project documentation and had not issued a building permit for the site.
The municipality said in an official statement that it was certain that the municipality had received an order from the National Institute for Immovable Cultural Heritage regarding the tobacco warehouse at 8 Odrin Street acquiring the status of an object of immovable cultural value (as Bulgarian law terms it).