Traffic restrictions, access rules announced for Pope Francis’s visit to Bulgaria

Written by on May 1, 2019 in Bulgaria - Comments Off on Traffic restrictions, access rules announced for Pope Francis’s visit to Bulgaria

The Interior Ministry and Sofia municipality have announced access rules and traffic and parking restrictions for the May 5 to 7 visit to Bulgaria by Pope Francis.

The programme of Pope Francis includes events in Sofia and in the town of Rakovski, which has a large Roman Catholic population.

The Interior Ministry said that arrangements for the public during the Pope’s visit were intended to achieve maximum effectiveness in protecting public order, traffic organisation and counteracting crime.

Residents of Sofia and visitors to the city will be able to attend three main events in Pope Francis’s programme.

Two are on May 5, the Regina Coeli at 3pm at Alexander Nevsky Square, and at 4.45pm, a mass on Knyaz Alexander Square. The third is on May 6, when at 6.15pm at Nezavisimost Square, there will be a prayer for peace, in the presence of representatives of various religious denominations in Bulgaria.

In Rakovski, residents of and visitors to the town will be able to follow the liturgy of the first sacrament that Pope Francis will serve at the Church of the Sacred Heart at 11.15am on May 6. Access to the area will be via checkpoints, which will open three hours before the start of the event, the Interior Ministry said.

The Interior Ministry said that there would be checkpoints for all the events in Sofia and Rakovski.

No one would be admitted if in an apparently intoxicated state, nor with bulky baggage, nor with firearms, knives, sticks, knuckledusters, bottles or perfumes. Umbrellas may be carried, the ministry said.

The ministry said that details of the checkpoints would be published on the official site for Pope Francis’s visit to Bulgaria, www.popeinbulgaria.gov.bg, as well as on the sites of the Interior Ministry, Sofia directorate of the ministry and of the Plovdiv regional directorate of the ministry.

Sofia municipality gave details of traffic and parking restrictions in the city, some taking effect from May 1.

Map 1:

From May 1 at 10pm until the end of events on May 6, driving and parking at the Knyaz Alexander I Square is forbidden. The same restriction will be in place from May 2 at 10pm until the end of the event on May 5 on the north-western part of Alexander Nevsky Square between 11 Avgust Street and Oborishte Street, behind St Sofia church.

Map 2:

From May 4 at 8am until the end of the events of May 6, no parking will be allowed on Nikolai Gyarov Square, the parking area at the bridge in front of Vassil Levski national stadium, on General Gurko Street between Evlogi and Hristo Georgievi Boulevard and Vassil Levski Boulevard, and at sector G of Vassil Levski national stadium.

From noon on May 4 until the end of the events on May 6, on Slavyanska Street between GS Rakovski Street and the square in front of Ivan Vazov national theatre, Ivan Vazov Street between GS Rakovski Street and the square in front of Ivan Vazov national theatre, and G Benkovski Street between Tsar Osvoboditel Boulevard and Ivan Vazov Street.

From May 4 at 10pm until the end of events on May 7, on Alexander Nevsky Square, Oborishte Street between GS Rakovski Street and Vassil Levski Boulevard, while the flea market at the square also will be closed; on 11 Avgust Street between Dondukov Boulevard and Alexander Nevsky Square, on 15 Noemvri Street between Tsar Osvoboditel Boulevard and Alexander Nevsky Square, on Vrabcha Street between GS Rakovski Street and Vassil Levski Boulevard, on Moskovska Street between Vassil Levski Boulevard and Alexander Nevsky Square, on Dondukov Boulevard between Alexander Nevsky Square and Nezavisimost Square, on Suborna Street between Sveta Nedelya Square and Knyaz Alexander I Street, on Dyakon Ignatii Street between Tsar Osvoboditel Boulevard and General Gurko Street, on Knyaz Alexander I Street between Tsar Osvoboditel Boulevard and General Gurko Street, on Aksakov Street between GS Rakovski Street and Dyakon Ignatii Street, on the section of Budapeshta Street in front of Arena di Serdica, and on Paris Street between Dondukov Boulevard and Moskovska Street.

Map 3:

From 10pm on May 5 until the end of the event on May 6, on Osma Street, Vrazhdebna residential area, from Vladimir Vazov Boulevard to Sofia Airport, in the parking area of the Sofia Hotel Balkan (formerly the Sheraton), on Knyaz Boris I Street between Todor Alexandrov Boulevard and Exarch Yosif Street, on Triaditsa Street between Serdika Street and Maria Louisa Boulevard, on Maria Louisa Boulevard between Dondukov Boulevard and Triaditsa Street, and Exarch Yosif Street between Maria Louisa Boulevard and Knyaz Boris I Street.

Map 4:

From midnight on May 3 until the end of events on May 6, driving will be forbidden on Tsar Osvoboditel Street between GS Rakovski Street and Nezavisimost Square. The same restriction will apply from 8am on May 3 until the end of events on May 5, on Oborishte Street between GS Rakovski Street and 11 Avgust Street.

There are other restrictions on entering a number of streets, though exceptions may be made at the discretion of the traffic police. These are:

From 10am on May 5 until the end of events on May 7, on Dondukov Boulevard between Vassil Levski Boulevard and Nezavisimost Square, on 11 Avgust Street between Dondukov Boulevard and Alexander Nevsky Square, on Vrabcha Street between GS Rakovski Street and Vassil Levski Boulevard, on Moskovska Street between Vassil Levski Boulevard and the barrier at the British embassy, on Dunav Street between Dondukov Boulevard and Alexander Nevsky Square, on Paris Street between Dondukov Boulevard and Moskovski Street, on the section of Budapeshta Street in front of Arena di Serdica, on Oborishte Street between GS Rakovski Street and Vassil Levski Boulevard, on 15 Noemvri Street between Tsar Osvoboditel Boulevard and Alexander Nevsky Square.

From 7am until the end of the events on May 5, and from noon until the end of the event on May 6, on Knyaz Alexander I between Gurko Street and Tsar Osvoboditel Boulevard, Aksakov Street between GS Rakovski and Dyakon Ignatii streets, G Benkovski Street between Ivan Vazov Street and Tsar Osvoboditel Boulevard, Lege Street between Suborna Street and Tsar Osvoboditel Boulevard, Dyakon Ignatii Street between Aksakov Street and Tsar Osvoboditel Boulevard.

From noon on May 5 untl the end of the event on May 6, on Tsar Osvoboditel Boulevard between G S Rakovski Street and Vassil Levski Boulevard.

From noon until the end of events on May 6, on Maria Louisa Boulevard between Alexander Stamboliiski Boulevard and Exarch Yosif Street (this does not apply to public transport vehicles), Todor Alexandrov Boulevard between Hristo Botev Boulevard and Maria Louisa Boulevard, Knyaz Boris I between Todor Alexandrov Boulevard and Exarch Yosif Street, Exarch Yosif Street between Maria Louisa and Knyaz Boris I, and Triaditsa Street between Serdika Street and Maria Louisa Boulevard.

The arrangements also mean changes to the routes of night buses from midnight on May 3 to 5am on May 6, on the N1, N2, N3 and N4 lines, the municipality said.

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