Mosaic is one of the earliest monumental techniques in art history. In Bulgaria, it developed in various forms from Antiquity to the early Middle Ages, and after a long hiatus, it was revived in the 1960s.
During this period, artists from the famous Plovdiv group played a significant role in the creation of mosaic art. At its core were the artists Yoan Leviev, Dimitar Kirov, Hristo Stefanov, Encho Pironkov, Georgi “The Elephant” Bozhilov. At the same time, several younger names such as Valchan Petrov, Angel Pachamanov, Dechko Dechev, Dimo Kenov, Trifon Nedelchev and others appeared in the city under the hills.
A characteristic feature of the mosaics of socialism is the monopoly of the state over the process of their assignment, design and implementation. Among the most memorable in Plovdiv are:
The mosaics from Starinna Bath subway:
They are a project of Yoan Leviev from the 70s and represent 6 mosaic panels, all of which contain the different names of our city - Pulpudeva, Trimontium and Ploudin (the first 4), Philippopolis and Plovdiv (the fifth), Philibe and Ploudin (the sixth). The execution technique is opus tesselatum. According to eyewitnesses, the mosaic was arranged on site by contractors.
The Postal Pigeons mosaic in Central Post Office Plovdiv
It occupies almost the entire northern wall of the inner lobby. Its author is Georgi “The Elephant” Bozhilov, who presented a decorative composition with stylized figures of doves, developed symmetrically and horizontally. The construction of the plastic follows the principles of sgraffito.
The struggles and goals of the party mosaic in the former Party House
It is located on both sides of the entrance to the administrative part of the building. It consists of two panels. The larger one, on the left side of the entrance, is composed horizontally and includes two groups of figures depicted on a golden background. Its author is Yoan Leviev.
The Mercury mosaic at International Plovdiv Fair
The authors are Valentin Starchev and Hristo Stefanov, and the year of creation is 1987. It is located on the facade of the central building. It depicts the image of the ancient Roman god Mercury, the patron saint of merchants and travelers. Geometric intertwining figures around the image represent landscapes from Plovdiv.
The mosaics on apartment block 15 next to the old town hall of Trakia region
Each of the two panels represents an abstract composition of irregular geometric shapes. Creators are Trifon Nedelchev, Alexander Baldev and Margarita Tomova.
The plastic mosaic in the water facility in front of the polyclinic in Trakia region
It is precisely laid out with a very flat surface despite the complex volumetric shapes. It represents plastic figures made of concrete, covered with a mosaic of a purely decorative nature. Authors are Trifon Nedelchev and Margarita Tomova.
The mosaic from chitalishte Aleko Konstantinov
It depicts two griffins in the medieval Bulgarian style, symmetrically placed on either side of a decorative shield. According to the author Valchan Petrov, the mosaic panel was executed by him personally in the 1980s.
The Yuri Gagarin mosaic
It is close to the International Fair, northeast of the roundabout. It is located on a specially built structure and represents a male figure - the ancient Greek hero Icarus. Above the palm of his left hand in a circular opening is an inauthentic, non-mosaic element - a tondo with the popular portrait of Yuri Gagarin. The author is Yoan Leviev, but the mosaic is arranged by contractors.
Source: Balkan Heritage Foundation
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