Between modernism and Stalinist architecture
Dimitrovgrad is a key witness for the era of socialism in Bulgaria. It was the first socialist industrial town. Modernism and the “Stalinist" architectural style merge into a unique example of an ideal socialist city.
Building a new town
On 2 September 1947, the Communist government officially announced that a new town, Dimitrovgrad, was to be built and organized brigades for this purpose. The construction and expansion of the town continued intensively for several years. The main practical reason behind the new town was to create a modern industrial centre, although there was also a major ideological reason behind its construction.
The construction of Dimitrovgrad was intended to be one of the biggest state successes during the 1950s, and thus a key component of the socialist propaganda. Enthusiastic brigades built the town centre in the spirit of communism - an act which was glorified by the communist party.
Monumentality and functional zoning
The aim of the designers was to create an urban centre with a monumental and powerful architectural image. They combined urban planning and the architectural ideas of European modernism with “socialist classicism” imposed by the Soviet Union. According to the concept of functional zoning, the “garden city” of Dimitrovgrad is divided into a town centre, residential complexes (such as the “Third of March” Complex), park areas (such as the “Penyo Penev” Memorial Park) and an industrial zone.
Today, the small town is an open-air museum of the 1950s: unique architecture and examples of socialist park creation bear witness to the socialist period in Bulgaria. Only recently, the Bulgarian state granted a fund for the restoration of the façades in the town centre. As one of the greenest cities in Bulgaria, Dimitrovgrad offers three large parks with lakes, rare species of trees and flowers, sculptures, gazebos and fountains.