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Independence Square

In general, the Independence Square in the heart of Sofia stands for the so called Largo /in Bulgarian: Plostad Nezavisimost/ where three imposing classic style edifices, fine examples of the architectural from the Socialism period, are situated gracefully. The yellow-cobblestoned square around the architectural ensemble consists of two lanes with a lawn in the middle, where today the visitor will see the flags of all NATO member states. The Largo is formed by the Knyaz Aleksandar Dondukov Boulevard and Tsar Osvoboditel Boulevard, merging from the east to continue as Todor Aleksandrov Boulevard west of the Nezavisimost Square.
As stated above, the Independence Square is surrounded by prestigious buildings but not limited to: TZUM, which is the central department store, the former Communist Party building, the Presidency and the Council of Ministers. In close proximity one can also visit the Roman Rotunda and don’t miss to light a candle in St.Nedelya Church which is just opposite the exquisite Sheraton Hotel.

A decree was issued in 1951, concerning the construction of the Largo. The space in the centre of the city, seriously damaged by the bombing of Sofia during World War II, was cleared in the autumn of 1952, so that the construction of the new buildings could begin in the following years. Hence, the Largo was designed and built in 1950 as its original purpose was to serve as the city representative center. Having in mind the period when this grand square was erected, we would proudly declare that it is considered a prime example of Socialism Classism architecture in Southeastern Europe. Nowadays the Independence Square, lying stately in the heart of Bulgaria’s vigourous capital, is one of the major Sofia’s landmarks.

The former Communist Party House /Bulgarian: Partien Dom/ is now used by the National Assembly of Bulgaria. The light-coloured neo-classical edifice lies at the end of the Independence Square, but it is the evidence how former Communism leaders in Bulgaria made their effort to follow the whole Communism concept and establish a grandiose building with the intention to house the Communist Party central Committee. The impressive building, now one of top Sofia’s landmarks, was designed by a team of prominent architects. It was completed in 1955. In order to represent the Communism in Bulgaria, a massive red star crowned the rocket-shaped spire of the building. However, when Bulgarians attempted to torch the building in 1990, the star was removed in a hasty manner. Subsequently the red star was substituted by the flag of Bulgaria.

The attractive TZUM, Sofia’s central department store, and the Council of Ministers of Bulgaria are located to the left of the former Party House. Once the Largo also featured a statue of Lenin, which was demolished and replaced by the one of St.Sofia. Being a part of the Independence square the fountain between the Presidency and the National Archaeological Museum was also established in 1958.

Sofia’s Central Department Store /TZUM/ lies in immediate proximity to the Council of Ministers, the President's Office and the National Assembly. Built in the beginning of one of the oldest boulevards of Sofia, Knyaz Alexander Dondukov Blvd, this stately building epitomizes the cosmopolitan capital city. The TZUM was designed by the architect Kosta Nikolov in 1956 and it is must-see of the so-called Largo. It is considered a symbol of prosperity and a pride for the country.

The 4th-century red bricked St. George Rotunda behind the Sheraton Hotel is one of the oldest buildings in Sofia . If you are exploring sites at Independence Square, a visit to the fascinating temple is essential. It boasts impressive frescoes and unique ambience.

Sheraton Hotel is housed in magnificently refurbished building at the back of the Presidency, so the striking appearance and key position makes it another landmark at the Independence Square.


Contemporary appearance of the Independence Square and renovations


As the Independence Square is the place where the former Party House rises, it is inevitably a spot of contradictory. Hence, some suggestions have been made to reshape the Party House building since it considered a remnant of a past ideology, so more modern and fine architectural elements need to be introduced. As of 2006 the Independence Square is being reorganized in accordance with the new architectural plan of modern Sofia. The lawn and the flags in the centre are to be substituted by a glass lid on the floor, so that the ruins of the ancient Thracian and Roman city of Serdica can be exposed in an impressive way, and in this way the Independence Square will turn into an tourist attraction in central Sofia.

Independence Square on the map of Sofia

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