what you get here

This is not a blog which expresses instant opinions on current events. It rather uses incidents, books (old and new), links and papers as jumping-off points for some reflections about our social endeavours.
So old posts are as good as new! And lots of useful links!

Monday, January 14, 2013

different municipal styles

Over the past 6 years, I’ve basically spent most of the winters in Sofia and the summers (apart from 2008) in the Carpathian mountain house – with 6-7 weeks each year in Bucharest. So I’m in a good position to compare and contrast two (neighbouring) countries which are enjoying only their second brief period of freedom after half a century of communist control and several centuries of Ottoman domination. Each has its reasons for feeling different eg Romanian a romantic language in a sea of Slavs; Bulgarian still Cyrillic in its lettering.
Romania is aggressive – both in the size of its buildings and in social behaviour – Bulgaria much more modest in these respects. For more on the differences, see this post.
Yesterday I noted another difference - under the control of Sofia municipality, the Sofia City Art Gallery (to which this blog has often paid tribute) flourishes. Under the control of Bucharest municipality, 5,000 paintings apparently languish with nowhere to be displayed – apart from 2 rooms donated by ArtMark which manage to display about 15 of them. A rich Romanian émigré with an empty palace in the city offered the Bucharest mayor the palace rent-free to give the paintings an outlet – but the offer was turned down. Too much trouble for the lazy mayor whose favourite hobby is demolishing such old buildings
Bucharest and Sofia appeared recently at the very bottom of the list of livable European cities - but Sofia at least tries and has indeed many features which make it highly attractive. It's where I go to cycle. swim and wander pleasurably visiting friends in small galleries!
The gouache is a Zhelezarov - of Sofia's women's market 

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