The Balabanov House is a representative for the development of the symmetrical Plovdiv house and is one of the most lavish examples of a house whose spatial composition is characterized by the equal role of two perpendicular axes, the one of the ground floor and the one of the 1st floor. It is also characterized by the exclusively rich elaboration of the architectural detail, of plastic and flat ornamentation. This pattern transcends the pure residential function and is similar to the features of a public building.
The house was built in the early 19th century by Hadzhi Panayot Lampsha, Bulgarian citizen, born in Plovdiv. He was a rich trader and an usurer, a member of the kaftandziyski guild. According to Lyuben Karavelov, hadzhi Panayot is one of the most famous Plovdiv merchants by the middle of XIX century. The house had three owners. Today the house bears the name of its last owner, the tradesman Luka Balabanov. The houses’s dimensions are impressive, it has 546 m² of built area. The big gate on the street side and the wide door to the yard opposite it lead into a long veranda with a high ceiling, round which there used to be some farming and household premises. To reach the upper floor one must go up an inside ladder, which takes the visitor into a large glassy saloon. Its middle part is the most imposing one due to the richly decorated wood-carved ceiling it possesses. Round the saloon there are 4 rooms unique in atmosphere. They are fitted up with restored antique furniture, fabrics and other articles, demonstrating the taste and capacities of the rich Plovdiv citizens.
This house was unfortunately demolished in the 30es of the 20th c. and because of the long-standing work of arch. Hristo Peev, the most prominent researcher of the Renaissance houses in Plovdiv, the home of Hadzhi Lampsha was reconstructed in the 70es, based on photographic material and schemes, and under the guidance of renowned Plovdiv architects.
At present, the ground floor features a permanent exhibition of modern Bulgarian art. The second floor, once having served for inviting guests, exhibits Revival period interior and serves as a popular venue for the holding of cultural events – exhibitions, literature premieres, chamber music concerts, theatre performances, meetings etc. The traditional “Balabanov House Music Days” festival, with its spring and autumn editions, has been organized here for several years, bringing more dynamism to the museum house.
There are two halls in the basement area, serving for the organization of temporary art exhibitions.
Day for free visit: Every first Thursday of the month for students and retired people.
Visits are in compliance with the anti-epidemic measures.