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Bulgaria - Expo Brussels 1935

Bulgaria at the Exhibition Expo Brussels 1935
© L'Epi
Architect(s) : De Bouver

The Bulgarian Pavilion, set against a forest, was one of the few buildings at the Exhibition that was not in the modern style. The architect had reconstructed a well-to-do peasant's dwelling, with its white walls, corbelled wooden balcony and red-tiled roof, similar to the dwelling Lamartine lived in in 1881 in Philippopoli.

However, the door reproduced one of the entrances to the old convent of Rila, in the Rhodope Mountains, the most famous monastery in Bulgaria, whose foundation dates back to the Middle Ages. And the top of the facade was decorated with the royal coat of arms and the motto of the kingdom, similar to our own "Union is Strength". The busts of King Boris and Queen Johanna decorated the main hall; to the left was a reconstruction of one of the most characteristic rooms of the Bulgarian house, the "boliar", a kind of dining room-kitchen, with its hearth and long bench with drawers, loaded with rustic objects of art, made of copper or wood engraved with fire.

The ground floor was devoted to Bulgaria's main resources: cereals, wine, roses, tobacco, rice, corn, yoghurt, so that this country seems to be singularly privileged, since only beautiful or perfumed things are grown there: wine, tobacco, flowers... A carved wooden balcony ran all around the pavilion, at the height of the first floor. Beautiful carpets, thrown over its openwork balustrade, added to the intimate and sumptuous aspect of this highly original pavilion.

At the top of the polished stairs, showcases contained marvellous hand-made Bulgarian embroideries, remarkable for their colours and the finesse of their workmanship. Leather was also worked with delicate art, as were wooden objects pyrographed and painted in bright colours. There were also colourful costumes, photographs and models of old Bulgarian towns, which were particularly picturesque. Finally, a showcase contained precious objects of ancient goldsmithery, lent by a collector, Mr. Van Ackere-Goddyn: silver dagger, gold belt, necklaces adorned with natural stones, earrings, rings, bracelets, diadems, Byzantine discs of beautiful gilded silver work, relic holders, icons, a holy water font which was used to bless the Patriots as they left to fight the Turks, sculptures on wood and mother-of-pearl...

Alongside these venerable relics, there were works by a number of modern artists; paintings by Nicholas Mikhailov, Vladimir Dimitroff, portrait artists; Boris Deneff, Peter Ourou-moff, landscape artists: Vassil Zaccharieff, engraver. Also, sculptures by Mr. Paul Meteorov, former student of the Brussels Academy of Fine Arts.

© Le Livre d'Or de l'Exposition Universelle de Bruxelles 1935