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Chitalishte Hristo Smirnenski – 1935

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Chitalishte Hristo Smirnenski – 1935

About us:

The chitalishte was established in 1935 under the name “Napredak” [Progress] in the Saraykar neighbourhood which was inhabited by refugees from Aegean Thrace and Macedonia and it was only after 1944 that it, together with the whole residential area, was renamed as Hristo Smirnenski. An amateur sports club joined from the very beginning. Its members were mostly young people who quickly formed a drama circle as well. Its members were mostly young people who quickly formed a drama circle as well. They started organizing soirees and music evenings, trips and outings; names’ days’ celebrations were put in place. After the start of WW2 several young people who espoused anti-fascist ideas were accused of conducting “communist activities” under the cover of community cultural center work. Three of them were arrested and sentences to five years in prison each and in 1942 the center was closed down and all its assets were confiscated. Five months later the it was restored but some of its most active members were put in a concentration camp, while others were dismissed from leadership positions. After the center received its new name, it was given a small house which was insufficient for its goals, so the ensuing activities were mostly held in the open. In 1975 the residential area which had a significant population of military personnel acquired a Public cultural center of the Bulgarian army which was under the auspices of the Reserve Officers and Sergeants’ Union of the Republic of Bulgaria and which housed the chitalishte as well. Since then the two organisations share the premises of the newly built building and that has left an imprint on the overall activities of the center. They jointly organize celebrations for anniversaries and significant historical events, hold concerts and other cultural programs, mark holidays. In 2004 the chitalishte was recipient of “To the benefit of our kin” award.

Irrespective of the somewhat problematic status of its material base, the center has a rich library collection of over 15,000 volumes; it has vocal and dance formations; it organizes concerts and events, marks significant historical dates and personalities of relevance to the cultural, historical and military memory of the community. The center and its artistic groups hold concerts across Bulgaria as well as abroad and participate in a number of different projects. Apart from this rich portfolio of activities, the chitalishte is still attempting to preserve and separate its material basis from the Ministry of defence.

If you would like to find out more, see Information card of the chitalishte in the Regional Expert Consultation and Information Centers (RECIC).

Director: Aneta Dimitrova Kirova

Secretary: Vesela Dimitrova Kostadinova

Address: 15 Koprivkite Str.

Phone: +359 32 642383

E-mail: [email protected]


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