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Bertinoro, Italy

Thermal town between rationalism and Roman inspiration

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Castrocaro, Italy

Illusory beauty

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Cesenatico, Italy

Town of holiday camps

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Dimitrovgrad, Bulgaria

Between modernism and Stalinist architecture

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Forlì, Italy

Showcase of modernity – a story of contradictions

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Forlimpopoli, Italy

Urban regeneration

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Iasi, Romania

Modern and ancient, side by side

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Labin, Croatia

Industrial mining town in transformation

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Predappio, Italy

From pilgrim destination to site of critical reflection

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Rasa, Croatia

Between Istrian tradition and modern architecture

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Sofia, Bulgaria

Architectural landmarks from two different periods

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Torviscosa, Italy

Town of autarchy and cellulose

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Tresigallo, Italy

Planned town dedicated to agricultural industry

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Traces of two regimes

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Tirana, Albania

A mosaic of architectural styles

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Ferrara, Italy

Rationalist traces in a Renaissance city


Between modernism and Stalinist architecture

Dimitrovgrad, Bulgaria

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.

Socialist propaganda

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.

Dimitrovgrad today

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.