Plovdiv, European Capital of Culture 2019 opening: Strong security measures and traffic restrictions

The centre of Plovdiv will be surrounded by a large number of security checkpoints on January 12, the day of the official opening of the city’s status as European Capital of Culture 2019, while several changes to traffic routes will be in effect from December 27 to January 17.

Police commissioner Atanas Ilkov told a news conference this week that the system of access to the square and the tower that will be a centrepiece of the official opening would resemble the measures Bulgarian police put in place for a large football match.

Ilkov said that according to organisers the opening of Plovdiv European Capital of Culture 2019 would draw between 30 000 and 50 000 people to Bulgaria’s second city, the first to hold the title.

“This is a very large-scale event, so there will be strong security measures,” Ilkov said.

He said that there would be an announcement later of the items that people would not be allowed to bring to the event.

Ilkov declined to disclose the precise number of Interior Ministry staff who would be deployed to ensure order and security for those attending the event, but issued an assurance that there would be enough of them.

Additional forces are to be brought in from other ministry structures, including the Sofia regional directorate, the gendarmerie, and others.

A large number of ambulances and fire engines will be on standby in various places where they would be able to respond quickly. At least five medical teams would be on duty.

Ilkov said that people living near the site of the opening weekend on January 11 and 12 would probably experience some inconvenience, “but I urge citizens to tolerate and accept events philosophically”.

The traffic changes from December 27 2018 to January 17 2019 in Plovdiv are:

Vehicles will not be allowed on both carriageways of Tsar Boris III Obedinitel Blvd on the stretch from the Tsanko Dyustabanov Str/Graf Ignatiev Str intersection to the Tunnel.

Tsar Boris III Obedinitel Blvd will be closed on the Tunnel’s northern side from Zhelezarska Street.

Vehicle access to the Kapana quarter, the Old Town and Otets Paisii Street will not be restricted.

Vehicles coming from Patriarch Evtimii Street will be allowed to move (1) towards Sveta Gora Street and (2) to the left on Tsar Boris II Obedinitel Boulevard’s eastern carriageway, in northern direction, to the Shesti Septemvri Blvd intersection.

Access will not be allowed for vehicles heading north from the Tsar Boris II Obedinitel Blvd/Tsanko Dyustabanov Street/Graf Ignatiev Street intersection to the Tunnel. The traffic lights system will be modified to reflect the intersection’s servicing three directions only.

The Kapitan Raycho Street/Leonardo da Vinci Street intersection’s exit to Tsar Boris II Obedinitel Blvd will be closed by means of barriers. Leonardo da Vinci Street will temporarily operate as a two-way street; waiting and parking will be prohibited there. No restrictions will be in place for southbound vehicles.

(Photo via the Facebook page of the Plovdiv 2019 Foundation)



The Sofia Globe staff

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