For most of us, this year will be marked by trips around Bulgaria, and when we find real gems in unexpected places, it motivates us even more to use every convenient weekend and travel. For all who are in Plovdiv and the surroundings, the area around Hisar and Starosel is painfully familiar, but we are convinced that there aren’t so many who have stopped in the picturesque village of Staro Zhelezare. Most often we pass it on the way to another mineral pool or wine tasting, but the visit here is really worth it and doesn’t take much time.
Staro Zhelezare is the place that the artist Ventsislav Piryankov and his wife Katarzyna managed to turn into a real open-air gallery with their impressive paintings on walls and fences. His grandparents are from here and a large part of his family history was connected with the village. That's why they decided to diversify it with stories and portraits of local heroes. In the beginning, the works were located mainly on MOMA Street, dedicated to the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan, New York. You'll recognize it by Mickey Mouse, who seems to be pointing in the right direction. The idea of the creators was to hold a Wall Painting Festival on a regular basis, with which to gradually increase the works. After the first year, students from the University of the Arts in Poland joined, contributing to more than 40 paintings on the village walls. Most of them depict the owner of the property/canvas in combination with a famous person.
As soon as you enter from the direction of Plovdiv, we guarantee that you will be wondering which side to turn to, so as not to miss anything from the color of the place. The interesting characters from Staro Zhelezare are in excellent symbiosis with famous people from pop music, fashion, culture, political life. The village of modern art hides secrets on literally every corner, so we advise you to leave your car in the square and take any direction with a camera in hand.
We can't be comprehensive enough and reveal everything in photos, but we will only mention that on the walls you will recognize faces like Trump, Marilyn Monroe, Barack Obama, John Lennon, Freddie Mercury, Yoko Ono, Boyko Borissov, Lady Diana and many more.
Be sure to visit the ethnographic complex House of Traditions, which is located in the center and presents rituals, costumes and themed corners typical for this region. It is open every day and the lunch break is between 12 and 2 pm.
Even if you come back every year, we guarantee that you will find something new and undiscovered so far. The walls are often renovated and supplemented, and after the initial reservation of the owners, they now order their own plots and wait their turn to be immortalized in the open gallery.
The tour itself can take you between one and two hours, and the graffiti is literally scattered in different parts, so as to provoke the discoverer in you. We share a small part, and the rest, we will expect you to reveal to us!