Cookies Policy

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

I accept this policy

Find out more here

Ideology and Urbanism in a Flux

No metrics data to plot.
The attempt to load metrics for this article has failed.
The attempt to plot a graph for these metrics has failed.
The full text of this article is not currently available.

Brill’s MyBook program is exclusively available on BrillOnline Books and Journals. Students and scholars affiliated with an institution that has purchased a Brill E-Book on the BrillOnline platform automatically have access to the MyBook option for the title(s) acquired by the Library. Brill MyBook is a print-on-demand paperback copy which is sold at a favorably uniform low price.

Access this article

+ Tax (if applicable)
Add to Favorites
You must be logged in to use this functionality

Making Sofia Socialist in the Stalinist Period and Beyond

image of Southeastern Europe

The socialist reconstruction of Sofia evolved at the juncture of institution-building, formation of professional expertise and social engineering, framed by a party ideology in a flux that time and again revised the social mission of urbanism and the professional role of the architect. This paper first focuses on four areas of Sofia’s reconstruction that illustrate the interplay of ideology and urbanism in the Stalinist years: the endorsement and subsequent betrayal of Marxist guidelines for urban planning; the replication of the leader cult and its prime monument, the Mausoleum; the reorganization of architects into a Soviet-style professional union; the application of the Stalinist art canon in monumental architecture. The paper then discusses how de-Stalinization affected urban planning, public architecture and architects’ professional standing. It concludes by reflecting on the post-1989 transformation of Sofia as a radical breach with socialism or a symptom of path dependence.

Affiliations: 1: European University Institute, Florence, Italy,


Full text loading...


Data & Media loading...

1. Abel U. 1987. “"Icons and Soviet Art",” in C. Arvidsson and L. E. Blomqvist (eds.), Symbols of Power: The Esthetics of Political Legitimation in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe (Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell International): 141162.
2. Åman A. 1992. Architecture and Ideology in Eastern Europe during the Stalin Era. An Aspect of Cold War History (London: The MIT Press).
3. Anderson B. 1991. Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (New York: Verso).
4. Andrusz G.,, Harloe M., and Szelenyi I. (eds.). 1996. Cities after Socialism: Urban and Regional Change and Conflict in Post-Socialist Societies (Oxford: Blackwell).
5. Arhitektura. 1950. “"Maвзoлeят нa Гeopги Димитpoв"” (The mausoleum of Georgi Dimitrov), Arhitektura Vol 1: 45.
6. Arhitektura. 1962. "“Oтpaжeниe нa култa към личнocттa в apxитeктуpaтa” (A reflection of the cult of personality in architecture)", Arhitektura Vol 6: 3.
7. Bater J. 1980. The Soviet City: Ideal and Reality (London: Edward Arnd).
8. BIKSGNS. 1964. "“Пo кoнкуpca зa цeнтъpa” (Regarding the competition for the center)", Byuletin na iksgns Vol 2: 5764.
9. Birne T.,, Goltz S.,, Mennicke C.,, Engler W., and Rehberg K. (eds.). 2006. Wildes Kapital / Wild Capital: Reflexion zur postsozialistischen Stadt / Reflections on Post-socialist Cities (Nurnberg: Verlag für moderne Kunst).
10. BKP. 1949. V Кoнгpec нa БКП, 18–25 дeкeмвpи 1948: Cтeнoгpaфcки пpoтoкoли (V Congress of bcp, 18–25 December 1948: Stenographic protocols) (Sofia: Izdatelstvo na BKP).
11. Clark K. 2003. “"Socialist Realism and the Sacralizing of Space",” in Dobrenko and Naiman 2003: 318.
12. Crowley D., and Reid S. (eds.). 2002. Socialist Spaces: Sites of Everyday Life in the Eastern Bloc (Oxford: Berg).
13. Dobrenko E., and Naiman E. (eds.). 2003. The Landscape of Stalinism: The Art and Ideology of Soviet Space (Seattle and London: University of Washington Press).
14. DV. 1945. "“Hapeдбa-зaкoн зa финaнcиpaнe възcтaнoвявaнeтo нa cтoлицaтa” (Regulation Act on the financing of the reconstruction of the capital)", Darzhaven vestnik Vol 206: 12.
15. DV. 1946. "“Зaкoн зa opгaнизиpaнe и изпoлзвaнe нa тexничecкитe кaдpи c виcшe и cpeднo oбpaзoвaниe” (Act on the organization and utilization of technical cadres with higher and secondary education)", Darzhaven vestnik Vol 242: 3.
16. DV. 1947. "“Пocтaнoвлeниe 22 нa MC oт 21 oктoмвpи 1947 г.” (Decree 22 of CM from October 21, 1947)", Darzhaven vestnik Vol 257: 46.
17. DV. 1949. "“Укaз зa oтмeнянe Hapeдбaтa-зaкoн зa ИAК и зa Aкaдeмичнaтa opгaнизaция нa инжeнepитe и apxитeктитe в Бългapия” (Edict on the repeal of the Regulation Act on the cea and the Academic organization of engineers and architects in Bulgaria)", Darzhaven vestnik Vol 194: 1.
18. French R. A. 1995. Plans, Pragmatism and People: The Legacy of Soviet Planning for Today’s Cities (Pittsburg: University of Pittsburg Press).
19. French R. A., and Hamilton F. E. I. (eds.). 1979. The Socialist City: Spatial Structure and Urban Policy (New York: John Wiley and Sons).
20. Genev N. 1947. "“Bъзcтaнoвявaнe и изгpaждaнe нa Coфия” (Rehabilitation and construction of Sofia)", Serdika Vol 5–6: 635.
21. Georgov E. 1947. "“Oбщecтвeнaтa poля нa инжeнepa и apxитeктa” (The social role of the engineer and the architect)", Spisanie na iak Vol 3–4: 15.
22. Groys B. 2003. “"The Art of Totality",” in Dobrenko and Naiman 2003: 96122.
23. Hamilton F. E. I. 1979. “"Spatial Structure in East European Cities",” in French and Hamilton 1979: 195261.
24. Harris S. E. 2013. Communism on Tomorrow Street: Mass Housing and Everyday Life after Stalin (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press).
25. Kaganovich L. 1931. Socialist Reconstruction of Moscow and Other Cities in the U.S.S.R . (New York: International Publishers).
26. Kotkin S. 1997. Magnetic Mountain: Stalinism as a Civilization (Berkeley: University of California Press).
27. Kulić V. 2014. “"New Belgrade and Socialist Yugoslavia’s Three Globalizations",” International Journal for History, Culture and Modernity Vol 2 (2): 125153.
28. Lebow K. 2013. Unfinished Utopia: Nowa Huta, Stalinism, and Polish Society, 1949–56 (Ithaca: Cornell University Press).
29. Markov B. 1953. “"Изгpaждaнeтo цeнтъpa нa Coфия – пъpвocтeпeннa зaдaчa нa нaшeтo coциaлиcтичecкo cтpoитeлcтвo"” (The construction of the center of Sofia – a paramount task of our socialist building), Arhitektura i stroitelstvo Vol 7–8: 311.
30. Mikuškovic A. 1948. "“Cтaнoвищe oтнocнo paзpeшaвaнeтo цeнтъpa нa Coфия” (A standpoint regarding the solution of the center of Sofia)", Spisanie na iak Vol 2: 1922.
31. Molnár V. 2013. Building the State: Architecture, Politics, and State Formation in Post-War Central Europe (New York: Routledge).
32. Musil J. 2003. “"City Development in Central and Eastern Europe before 1990: Historical Context and Socialist Legacies",” in F. E. I. Hamilton, K. D. Andrews and N. Pichler-Milanović (eds.), Transformation of Cities in Central and Eastern Europe: Towards Globalization (Tokyo: United Nations Press): 2343.
33. Paperny V. 2002. Architecture in the Age of Stalin: Culture Two (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).
34. Petrov I. 1953. "“Цeнтъpът нa нaшaтa coциaлиcтичecкa cтoлицa” (The center of our socialist capital)", Arhitektura i stroitelstvo Vol 7–8: 12.
35. PINM. 1954. Плaнoвo изгpaждaнe нa нaceлeнитe мecтa (Planned development of settlements) (Sofia: Nauka i izkustvo).
36. Rees E. A. 2004. “"Leader Cults: Varieties, Preconditions and Functions",” in B. Apor, J. Behrends, P. Jones and E. A. Rees (eds.), The Leader Cult in Communist Dictatorships: Stalin and the Eastern Bloc (New York: Palgrave MacMillan): 326.
37. Rolf M. 2009. “"A Hall of Mirrors: Sovietizing Culture under Stalinism",” Slavic Review Vol 68:3: 60130.
38. Seissel I. 1947. "“Mнeниe нa пpoфecop Иocип Ceйceл oтнocнo гpaдoуcтpoйcтвeния плaн нa Coфия” (An opinion of Prof. Iosip Seissel regarding the urban plan of Sofia)", Spisanie na iak Vol 1: 123.
39. SGS. 1958. Cтaтиcтичecки гoдишник нa Coфия 1957 (Statistical yearbook of Sofia 1957) (Sofia: Nauka i izkustvo).
40. Stanoeva E. 2010. “"The Central City Square as a Legitimation Resource: The Main Square of Socialist Sofia",” Critique & Humanism Vol 35: 285320.
41. Stanoeva E. 2011. “"The Dead Body of the Leader as an Organizing Principle of Socialist Public Space: The Mausoleum of Georgi Dimitrov in Sofia",” in M. Behrensen, L. Lee and A. S. Tekelioglu (eds.), Modernities Revisited (Vienna: IWM Junior Visiting Fellows’ Conference, vol. 29).
42. Stanoeva E. 2013. "“Cтpoeжът нa coциaлиcтичecкия гpaд: eгaлитapизъм или мoнумeнтaлизъм?” (Building the Socialist City: Egalitarianism versus Monumentalism?)", Critique & Humanism Vol 42: 5594.
43. Stanoeva E. 2014. “"Architectural Praxis in Sofia: The Changing Perception of ‘Oriental’ Urbanity and ‘European’ Urbanism (1879–1940)",” in J. C. Behrends and M. Kohlrausch (eds.), Races to Modernity: Metropolitan Aspirations in Eastern Europe, 1890–1940 (Budapest: CEU Press, 2014): 177201.
44. Stoilov S. 1946. "“Жилищният пpoблeм” (The housing problem)", Serdika Vol 3–4: 127.
45. Todorova M. 2006. “"The Mausoleum of Georgi Dimitrov as lieu de mémoire",” The Journal of Modern History Vol 78: 377411.
46. Tonev L. 1945. "“Coфия днec и утpe” (Sofia today and tomorrow)", Serdika Vol 1–2: 3350.
47. Tonev L. 1949. "“Пpoблeмът зa цeнтъpa нa Coфия” (The problem of the center of Sofia)", Serdika Vol 1–2: 4959.
48. Tonev L. 1955. "“Пo въпpoca зa нoвия цeнтъp нa Coфия” (Regarding the issue of the new center of Sofia)", Otechestven Front Vol 3253: 3.
49. Tonev L. 1960. "“Пpoблeмитe нa гpaдcкитe oбщecтвeни цeнтpoвe пpи coциaлиcтичecкoтo гpaдoуcтpoйcтвo” (The problems of the city public centers under socialist urban planning)", Arhitektura Vol 8: 25.
50. Trufeshev N. 1968. Moнумeнтaлнитe изкуcтвa и apxитeктуpa в Бългapия (Monumental arts and architecture in Bulgaria) (Sofia: Tehnika).
51. Trufeshev N. 1978. Ecтeтикa нa визуaлнaтa пpoпaгaндa (Aesthetics of visual propaganda) (Sofia: Partizdat).
52. Zarecor K. E. 2011. Manufacturing a Socialist Modernity: Housing in Czechoslovakia, 1945–1960 (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press).
53. DA-Sf (State Archive – Sofia), f. 65 – People’s Council of Sofia City
54. DA-Sf, f. 2438 – City Architects’ Association – Sofia
55. DA-Sf, f. 3868 – Mausoleum of Georgi Dimitrov
56. TsDA (Central State Archive, Bulgaria), f. 1B – Central Committee of bcp
57. TsDA, f. 77A – Union of Architects in Bulgaria
58. TsDA, f. 136 – Council of Ministers
59. TsDA, f. 188 – Ministry of Communal Economy, Public Works and Roads
60. TsDA, f. 215 – Committee of Construction and Architecture

Article metrics loading...



Can't access your account?
  • Tools

  • Add to Favorites
  • Printable version
  • Email this page
  • Subscribe to ToC alert
  • Get permissions
  • Recommend to your library

    You must fill out fields marked with: *

    Librarian details
    Your details
    Why are you recommending this title?
    Select reason:
    Southeastern Europe — Recommend this title to your library
  • Export citations
  • Key

  • Full access
  • Open Access
  • Partial/No accessInformation