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Chitalishte Hristo Botev – Plovdiv – 1905

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Chitalishte Hristo Botev – Plovdiv – 1905

About us:

The Chitalishte was established in 1905 and quickly became the centre of activity in the neighbourhood as the single focal point of cultural events at the time. According to witness accounts the chitalishte started developing a rich cultural and educational program; a theatre group was set up and its first performance was the Revival period play “The sufferings of Genoveva”. In this period the beginnings of its library which was funded through the tickets sold for the performances held at the club and the membership fees was also established.

Following the outbreak of the Balkan war of 1912 and then WWI in 1914, the men from the area were drafted to the front and the majority of them did not return. The activities subsided. After the end of the war the neighbourhood saw an influx of refugees from Eastern Thrace and East and Aegean Macedonia. The need for a cultural centre became even more palpably felt. In 1927 following the initiative of Stefan Zlatarev the activities of the chitalishte were restored. During the same year there was a campaign for book donations on behalf of the residents of the residential areas. 1,000 volumes were collected, in addition to chairs, tables and other furniture that was necessary for the setting up of the reading room.  The building of the premises for the chitalishte began in 1957 whereby a great majority of the inhabitants volunteered their labour to the purposes of its construction. The building was completed a year later and there was a formal opening ceremony. Throughout the years there were a number of cultural events and activities held, among them a mixed choir; tambura and dance groups; different schools – in music, languages, ballet, fine arts; a community house newspaper “Probuda” (Awakening) was set up; a female folk choir was founded, drama and photography clubs. The residents would gather often to attend the lectures of various poets, writers and cultural pundits. The building housed the Popular Theater and in 1967 the Youth Stage as a branch of the Drama Theatre N. O. Masalitinov was established which held numerous performances related to notable Plovdiv personalities and beyond. In 1974 the Chitalishte became the place where the State folklore ensemble Trakia was set up and it continued to function for 24 years on its premises. Its founder and art director was Professor Kiril Dzhenev. The ensemble comprised a folk choir, a folk orchestra and a dance troupe and was the successor of the People’s ensemble of Plovdiv. For many years the theatre hall also functioned as cinema hall “Vastanik” (Rebel). The period between 1976 and 1985 was one of intensive development, with diverse activities: the Youth club “Zvezda” (Star) was set up; meetings with notable cultural and artistic figures were held, accompanied by exhibitions arranged in the entrance hall of the Community house. Children’s drawing competitions were organized and the jury selections took part in regional and national contests. Since 1985 there began a new period with a number of partnerships established with Sofia (The Czech and Hungarian Cultural centres) and Kalofer (the house-museum).  Between 1985 and 1991 Botev Days were organized annually, an initiative which stopped after the closing down of the Regional Council for Culture. The cinema hall stopped functioning for many years apart from sporadic guest screenings. In 1998 the chitalishte restored the cinema hall which continued to function for 2 years. The stage of the Chitalishte was host to a number of artists, actors, writers, poets, and singers from Plovdiv and Sofia. The meetings and discussions with cultural activists have always enjoyed popularity.

The period 1999 – 2003 marked a downturn in cultural activity. In 2003 the board of trustees was completely changed and a new leadership was elected.  This marked a new period in the chitalishte’s development. New forms of activities and educational initiatives were set up. Such as two festivals: the Winter festival of professional art “Stage, palette, word” and the National festival of chitalishtes’ art schools, together with those which work with children and private such. Theatre troupes from all over the country do guest performances on the stage of the chitalishte. The school attracts an increasing number of pupils and since 2005 a daycare and activity centre for children between 1st and 4th grades has been organized. The community centre is constantly upgraded and renovated with public and private funds.

If you are curious to find out more, see the Information card of the chitalishte provided by the Regional centers for expert consultation and information (RCECI).

Director: Krasimir Valentinov Voskresenski

Secretary: Miroslava Kirova Georgieva

Library: Tanya Vangelova and Velichka Dimitrova  

Address: 1 Dame Gruev Str.

Phone:   +359 32 692705; +359 32 692858

E-mail:   [email protected]

Web site:



The chitalishte is housed in a two–storey building and includes a library with a loan room, a book depository, a reading room, a children’s department, as well as an auditorium, a ballet hall, a lecture hall, a study center hall, a solfez hall, a foreign language hall, a piano office, an accordion and guitar studio. The center also has two wide lobbies that are suitable for different cultural events, exhibitions and other activities. In good weather, the outdoor spaces are used for events and other activities: a yard, two playgrounds with a capacity of up to 350 people.


  • Working hours
  • Mon-Fri:
  • Saturday:
  • How to get there
  • 1 Dame Gruev Str.

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