Text and photos: Petya Bankova, intern in Lost in Plovdiv
Do you know what do Hristo G. Danov and Plovdiv have in common? No, the common thing between them is not just a street of the same name and the name is not just a coincidence. The figure of Hristo G. Danov inspires not only the naming of one of the streets of Plovdiv and Hristo G. Danov School, but also the love of books. The story of the Bulgarian publisher is an example of the contribution of Revival figures to the otherwise clichéd expression "education and culture of the people". The best Plovdiv guide will take you on a photo walk of the publisher's house and bring you back to the past to get a sense of book publishing history.
The house-museum of Hristo G. Danov is part of the exposition of the Regional History Museum in Plovdiv, dedicated to "Book Publishing in Bulgaria". Stairs hidden behind a green iron fence with a door lead to it. In the yard, you can hide from the summer heat - for this purpose there are several benches, trees and a beautiful vine that will keep you in the shade.
The house-museum has been restored and painted as it looked in the past, which makes it even more impressive. Hristo G. Danov lived in it from 1865 until his death in 1911. From 1896 to 1899 he was in fact Mayor of the city under the hills. For this activity, he refused to receive the mayor's salary and remained in history as a man, thanks to whom Plovdiv got its first city works plan.
After the front door, the house welcomes you with a huge space, at the end of which is a wooden podium with a cardboard figure of the publisher. You can visit 5 rooms – the publisher's office, Danov's classroom and 3 rooms to bring you back to Bulgaria from the past with information about publications and prominent book publishing, letters of thanks, writing aids and explanatory panels with text in Bulgarian and English.
All the rooms are impressive - not with their size or furnishings, but with the spirit, they have kept and carry within themselves, showing the past reality of book publishing. In one of the rooms, you can see a wall map, as published by Hristo G. Danov. The classroom is recreated in the most authentic way possible with wooden tables and benches for sitting and a desk at the beginning of the room. Interesting are the large iron counting frame and the cabinet with the letters of the alphabet, with which text can be created by placing them in specially made slits in the first lines. The restoration, the objects and supplies make the experience authentic and inspiring.
In the house you can see an album with pictures from the Hristo G. Danov Publishing House with a massive iron sign with a handmade inscription "Hr. G. Danov 1855-1905 May 8”. It includes photos of Danov himself, as well as of the people who worked in each department of the publishing house.
If, after your visit, you want to leave something of yourself in the museum house or simply thank the hospitable and friendly curators, you can write something in the red book left by the door. It was started in 1996 during another exhibition related to book publishing at the Museum of History, and to this day it is filled by visitors. Besides the curators, on arrival and departure you will be greeted and sent by an affectionate Plovdiv cat, which we called Danov's cat.
The house-museum is located on 2 Mitropolit Paisii St in the Old Town, and the price of the visit is 4 BGN. All exhibits at the Regional History Museum also offer discounts for students and groups.
The Lost in Plovdiv team challenges you to visit this and other exhibitions and get to know not only Plovdiv but also Bulgaria's past. The photos cannot recreate the feeling of the visit, but we hope they will become a reason for a future visit.