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Unity, creativity, beauty, 35 years later

23 April 2014 / 14:04:25  GRReporter
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Polina Spartyanova

The Bells Park Complex is located in the periphery of Sofia. It was opened in 1979 along with the first International Children's Assembly "Banner of Peace" organized under the auspices of UNESCO at the initiative of Ludmila Jivkova, Chairwoman of the Bulgarian Committee of Culture.

     The first Assembly involved children from 79 countries and 68 bells from different countries were installed in the Complex. The initiative was planned as a single event but because of the positive international response, it was decided that the meetings would take place every three years. The Assembly was considered as a new form of diplomacy and cooperation for peace and was supported by the UN, UNESCO, UNICEF and other international organizations. Until 1989, four assemblies and four meetings of children from around the world took place in Sofia.

They involved a total of 3,900 children from 138 countries and 14,000 children from Bulgaria. The Assembly of 1988 was a kind of a record as it welcomed participants from 135 countries. During Bulgaria's transition to democracy in 1990, the country terminated the International Children's Movement "Banner of Peace" and closed the 18 foreign structures "Banner of Peace" developed by that time and the coordination office in Sofia.
     The Bells Park Complex embodies the idea of the organizers of the Assembly "Banner of Peace" to make the world a more beautiful place to live under the motto "Unity, Creativity, Beauty". The Park Complex should symbolize the aspirations of children from around the world to live and thrive under the laws of beauty, although it is constructed almost entirely of concrete, thus reminiscent of socialist realism. Sculptors Krum Damyanov and Michael Benchev, architects Blagoy Atanasov and Georgi Genchev and engineer Anton Maleev developed the project that was implemented within 30 days.
    In the centre of The Bells Park Complex there is a huge concrete monument, 37 metres high, which consists of four vertical pillars oriented according to the cardinal points and a spiral composition of two hemispheres where some of the bells are installed. There is a bronze sculpture of Ludmila Jivkova surrounded by children from around the world at its foot. A number of much smaller concrete structures were placed around this major monument on which 68 bells from around the world were installed in 1979, today their number being about 100.

    Nowadays some of the old bells are missing but the collection of the park has new additions such as the bell that NATO donated 10 years ago. Last autumn non-profit organizations united around a musical experiment "Concert with Monument" that was supposed to revive the monument that is loaded with negative connotations of the past and almost forgotten by society, and give a new meaning to it. The concert was part of the ATRIUM project that develops a cultural route associated with the architecture of the totalitarian regimes of the 20th century. The route includes 9 monuments in Bulgaria and The Bells Park Complex is one of them.

Tags: Sots ArtAssembly Banner of PeaceThe Bells Park ComplexLudmila JivkovaTotalitarian regimePolina Spartyanova
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