September 30th, 2019 | 11 mins 30 secs
bulgaria, museum of humor
To the extent that there was a Communist capital of humor in the last half of the 20th century, it was Gabrovo, Bulgaria. Situated in a valley of the Balkan mountains, the city prides itself on its unique brand of self-effacing humor. In 1972, the Museum House of Humor and Satire opened here, and the city celebrated political humor with people in Soviet block countries and even some invited Western guests.
Today, three decades after the collapse of Communism, the Museum House of Humor and Satire remains one of the region's most important cultural landmarks. The museum has had to reinvent itself to interpret not only a democratic Bulgaria, but a the global, meme-driven, and internet-forged culture most visitors live in.
I went to Gabrovo to visit museum director Margarita Dariskova, who describes how the museum's strengths in its early years—like knowing how to present political humor without arousing the interest of the authorities—inform how the museum thinks of its role in the world today.
November 19th, 2018 | 14 mins 8 secs
brian muthaliff, bulgaria, buzludzha, dora ivanova
High in the Balkan mountains, Buzludzha monument is deteriorating. Designed to emphasize the power and modernity of the Bulgarian Communist Party, Buzludzha is now at the center of a debate over how Bulgaria remembers its past.
Architect Brian Muthaliff wants the building to evolve along with Bulgaria. His master’s thesis on Buzludzha describes a re-adaption of the site to subvert the original intention of the architecture, including installing a winery and a theater.
Unlike architect Dora Ivanova’s Buzludzha Project, which we discussed at length in episode 47, Muthaliff’s plan only calls for a single, museum-like space. In this episode, we go in depth on what a museum means and what is the best path forward for this building and for Bulgaria.
October 1st, 2018 | 12 mins 42 secs
bulgaria, yulina mihaylova
The Jewish Museum of History in Sofia, Bulgaria tells the full story of the Jewish people in Bulgaria from ancient Roman times to today. The museum takes on the complexities of the rescue of the Jews in Bulgaria from deportation to Nazi death camps during the Second World War.
49. Deyana Kostova Centers ‘The Little Man’ in War at the Bulgarian National Museum of Military History
September 3rd, 2018 | 10 mins 13 secs
bulgaria, bulgarian national museum of military history, deyana kostova
The campus of the Bulgarian National Museum of Military History in Sofia is defended on all sides by a garden of missiles and tanks. But as Director of Public relations Deyana Kostova points out, many of the exhibits inside focus on the consequences of war rather than the tools of warfare.
July 23rd, 2018 | 9 mins 59 secs
bulgaria, buzludzha, dora ivanova
High in the Bulgarian mountains, Buzludzha monument is deteriorating.
July 9th, 2018 | 10 mins 1 sec
bulgaria, muzeiko, vessela gercheva
There were no children’s museums in the Balkans before Muzeiko opened in Sofia, Bulgaria in 2015.
June 11th, 2018 | 11 mins 27 secs
bulgaria, bulgarian national polytechnical museum, vassil makarinov
The Bulgarian National Polytechnical Museum is a science museum that also tells the story of Bulgarian and world history.
July 17th, 2017 | 8 mins 6 secs
bulgaria, elitsa terzieva, museum of socialist art, nikolai ushtavaliiski
After the fall of communism in Bulgaria in 1989, statues of Bulgarian communist leaders, idealized revolutionary workers, and Lenins were taken down all over the county. Some of these statues are now in the Museum of Socialist Art in Sofia. Bulgaria doesn’t have a history museum that explores its communist past.
June 5th, 2017 | 5 mins 53 secs
During the planning stages for the Sofia Metro in Bulgaria, ruins of an old Roman fortress and city wall were discovered at the network’s proposed Serdika station.