Bulgarian, French culture ministers agree on idea of ‘Island of Culture’ off Sozopol

The culture ministers of Bulgaria and France have agreed on the idea of turning the Saints Kirik and Julita island off Bulgaria’s Black Sea town of Sozopol into a world art centre, with the support of the Louvre Museum.

This is according to a statement by Bulgaria’s Culture Ministry, issued after talks on January 22 between Boil Banov and his French counterpart Franck Riester.

“I like the project, it is ambitious,” the statement quoted Riester as saying.

“We spoke of interesting things, which I had not envisaged before, not only from a historical point of view, but also from a touristic one.”

Banov said that it was the French who had carried out the first archaeological survey of the island, in 1904.

“French specialists continue to work on the island to this day. That is why it is only with France we can make this idea a reality,” Banov said.

Riester said that France had the expertise to carry out the project. Along with the Louvre Museum, specialists from the Bulgarian Ministry of Culture would also work on the project, he said.

“We will join forces so that our teams, from France and Bulgaria, will be able to start working as soon as possible,” he said.

Banov invited his French counterpart to visit the island and Plovdiv – European Capital of Culture 2019 in the very near future.

“I will come with the greatest pleasure. I am interested in underwater archaeology. Our ministry has a ship to study underwater archaeology, named after the prominent French writer André Malraux, French minister of culture in the government of Charles de Gaulle. Now I have the honour to work in his office. And I want there to be another such ship – ‘André Malraux II’ – in connection with the 60th anniversary of the Ministry of Culture of France,” Riester said.

Bulgaria’s Culture Minister Boil Banov, left, and his French counterpart Franck Riester, at their talks in Paris. Photo: Bulgarian Ministry of Culture

The statement said that Banov and Riester also discussed the possibility of holding a Cultural Season of Bulgaria in France after 2024, which will include a multitude of cultural, educational, tourist, business and others events, the statement said.

(Photo, of St Ivan, St Petar and St Kirik islands: Evgord)



The Sofia Globe staff

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