Universal and International Exhibition of Paris 1900

The balance sheet of a century

April 15, 1900-November 12, 1900

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Bulgaria at the Exhibition Expo Paris 1900

The Bulgarian palace, in Byzantine style, was placed behind the Romanian one. The facades were decorated with twists painted in white, green and red, the colours of the Bulgarian flag, and were pierced by large windows which gave light to the interior of the palace, which was dominated by elegant bell towers, at the top of which floated banners in the national colours.

As he passed through the main door opening onto the Rue de Nations, the visitor entered a hall with a domed roof. To his right was a gallery about 40 metres long, to his left a rotunda, and opposite was a double staircase leading to the balcony built halfway around the hall and gallery. It was on the same level as the VIP lounge in the rotunda. The interior was decorated with admirable carpentry work.

The organisers had, above all, sought to showcase the various industrial and agricultural products of Bulgaria. Thus, carpets of all shades decorated the walls, formed hangings on the doors or ran along the balcony. Sheaves of wheat had been skilfully stitched into the draperies or placed in the corners.

In the centre of a lounge, arranged between the two staircases, a fountain poured the essence of Kasanlik roses.

The gallery on the first floor was reserved for art exhibitions. There were casts of bronze statuettes found in recent excavations, as well as coins from antiquity. In the main hall, a beautiful portrait of Prince Ferdinand was placed under a canopy. On either side are four paintings, copies of ninth-century frescoes, portraits of the former tsars of Bulgaria. Opposite the prince is a rather valuable painting, representing the head of the nation, in the grand uniform of a general, reviewing his troops at the head of his staff. Also of note is a gold Byzantine triptych decorated with translucent enamels, rubies and sapphires, representing the portraits of St. Boris and St. Cyril, the patron saints of Bulgaria and of the prince's two children.

The pavilion also contained an exhibition of the work of the schools. Graphic charts showed the progress made over the past 65 years. They showed that in 1852 there were only 300 schools in Bulgaria, while today there are 3000.

©Louis Rousselet - L'Exposition Universelle de 1900