Text and photos: Theodor Karakolev
Steep and even. Torn in two parts. Connecting the houses of three Plovdiv mayors, but bearing the name of a fourth, who lived in a completely different place. This is Bozhidar Zdravkov Street, which is one of the most interesting and beautiful streets in Plovdiv.
It really gathers extreme contrasting examples of urban living. Some of the houses are large, representative and aesthetically pleasing to the last detail, while others are more common small cottages. Bozhidar Zdravkov starts from the very foot of Bunardzhika and ends in the highest residential part of Sahat Tepe.
On the corner of the street with Ruski Blvd is the first impressive house - the home of the Plovdiv mayor Georgi Todorov. It was erected by architect Boyan Chinkov's design in 1932. Back then, it was only one-story - years later it was upgraded to its present volume. Its own resident - lawyer Georgi Todorov became mayor for a short time in 1935. Curiously - in terms of the name of the street - is that it "divides" the Bozhidar Zdravkov's presidency. The building has an interesting architecture, with typical techniques for Boyan Chinkov. Especially beautiful, for example, is the small visor above the front door.
In the meters from Ruski Blvd to the fire station, there are 3-4 houses on both sides. From the north is the back of the Aleko Konstantinov School - also one of the beautiful Plovdiv buildings between the two world wars. At the very intersection with Alexander Ekzarh Street, there are three beautiful buildings on the three corners - the fourth is the back yard of the school. The street seems to end in the firefighters’ building, but it actually goes on the other side.
First is the stone house of Georg Marsh, the priest of the Neogothic Evangelical Church. Then the street again "jumps" through several stairs and continues along Sahat Tepe - on one side the green park begins, and on the other are small houses with endlessly beautiful gardens. There it is starting to descend again until it reaches one of the buildings of Anna May School. At the very end of the street, where it turns again to Lady Strangford Street, the houses of two more Plovdiv mayors meet - the erudite Vasil Shopov and the infamous Denyo Manev.
And the most interesting thing is that although three Plovdiv mayors live in houses that are partly or wholly on this street, none of them is the one to whom it is named - Zdravkov's house is in the lower part of town, close to today's Cosmos Cinema on Nikola Kozlev Street.