© Yulia Lazarova
The archaeological findings have been preserved, the terrain in front of “Sofia Hotel Balkan” has been leveled.
© Tsvetelina Nikolaeva
Another shot from the archive – the parking lot in 2004.
Learn the most important and interesting with the bulletin at 5 p.m. Every day, directly to your email.
Part of the archaeological excavations on the “Sveta Nedelya” square were buried, and machines leveled the place in front of “Sofia Hotel Balkan”. The municipal parking lot will be expanded there, the Center for Urban Mobility (CGM), which manages it, explained to “Dnevnik”.
However, the municipality said that “field conservation” was carried out at the excavations and they did not issue a building permit. Both sides did not answer more questions – why the space will be a parking lot again, until when and whether the redevelopment is possible without approval from the municipality.
In this area until 2015 there was a large parking lot. He shrunk when the archeological dig began. The parking of cars in front of the entrance of the hotel and around the church creates problems for moving through the square, and the part that has been fenced off for years (finds were stored in nylons pending the reconstruction of the square) further deteriorates the appearance of the area, through which many tourists pass every day.
Parking prices there are currently BGN 4/hour for cars and BGN 6 for buses. The expansion of the parking lot will certainly have a good effect on the revenues of the Central Railway Company, although they did not comment on financial issues and motives. Their argument is that there used to be a parking lot on this terrain.
© Asen Tonev
What the parking lot in front of the hotel looked like – 2007.
Fuksas’ project does not foresee cars in the square
The reconstruction of the area must be according to the project of arch. Massimiliano Fuksas, winner of the competition of the Metropolitan Municipality in 2019. The entire “Sveta Nedelya” square will become a pedestrian area, and the archeology will be exposed by placing a thick transparent glass on it to walk on. The implementation of the project has been delayed for years due to an appeal in court, recalled the chief architect of Sofia Zdravko Zdravkov.
New obstacles delay the renovation of Sveta Nedelya Square
The extension of the municipal parking seems to be at odds with the concept of Fuksas, and also of the famous Danish urbanist Jan Geel, who assessed “Holy Sunday” as “a very sad church surrounded by cars” and recommended that the square become a pedestrian zone.
“Dnevnik” asked the mayor’s team Yordanka Fandakova what exactly is being built on the square. “Field conservation of archaeological structures was carried out as prescribed and in the presence of a restorer,” was the short answer. And no construction permit has been issued, Fandakova’s team added.
© Maxim Karadjov
Fadroma and tamping machines in the fenced area between the temple and the hotel during the expansion of the paring.
It is not good for archeology to stand for years in the open
Excavations at the northern end of the square began in 2015, suggesting that the Roman Serdica mint was here. In 2018, the studies stopped pending state funding, but also the reconstruction of the square by the Metropolitan Municipality.
Nothing has happened for the sixth year now, explained the head of the excavations, Dr. Vesela Katsarova from the Archaeological Institute with Museum of the BAS.
“It is not good for ancient architecture to stand in the open for six years. Now the small excavation, which is not planned to be exposed in Fuksas’s project, is covered with inert mass. If it is not exposed, at least it should not be ruined,” she commented on “Dnevnik” and confirmed that there is no problem with burying the finds.
© Yulia Lazarova
These archaeological finds were buried now.
The other part of the excavations, which are in the large fence in front of the hotel’s entrance, will be exposed, but when Dr. Katsarova was unable to answer, because this is the work of the Metropolitan Municipality.
Five years, it feels like a lifetime: renovations of two streets in the center of Sofia continue