Monuments have been erected for millennia, and often they turn out to be the most time-resistant objects, transformed into symbols of ancient civilizations and peoples. In their essence, they are objects whose purpose is to honor a person or event as part of the memory of historical times or cultural heritage through artistic, historical, political, technical or architectural significance. They are often placed in central locations and used as a starting point for orientation in populated areas.
There are probably hundreds in Plovdiv, connected not only with the city's past, but also with events and personalities that contributed to the development of Bulgaria. Today, however, the team of the only digital bilingual guide under the hills highlight a few that are perceived as more controversial among the public and we are often asked by tourists about the history surrounding their rise.
Monument of Milio
The Plovdiv bohemian Milio Ludiya is one of the most famous stars under the hills. His birthname is Mikhail Dimitrov Todorov, but today no one remembers him like that, but rather with his madness and good nature. People in the city don’t agree on the cause of his loss of reason. Some claim that he was extremely intelligent and spoke several languages, but went mad from reading too many books. The other version is perhaps more probable, namely that he suffered from meningitis in childhood and this led to his retarded mental development.
The money for the monument was donated by Georgi Lazarov, a doctor who worked in the USA for many years. The sculpture is the work of the master Danko Danev. The place was chosen because Milio often sat right there, on the staircase above the Main Street, and watched the passers-by.
Monument of Sasho Sladura
Alexander Georgiev Nikolov nicknamed Sasho Sladura is a famous Bulgarian jazz musician. He wasn’t afraid to tell jokes about socialism and people in power, but the time after 1956, when Todor Zhivkov was at the head of the state, became especially dangerous for him. Then State Security started monitoring Sladura and agents of the services wiretapped him and reported him daily and everywhere.
On September 15, 1961, he was arrested and after spending eight nights in the cells of the State Security, ended up in the Sunny Beach labor concentration camp, near Lovech. The instructions to the head of the camp Nikolay Gazdov and his assistants were clear - Sladura should be brought to a "natural death".
In the city of Plovdiv, in September 2002, his monument was placed in the space between the Academy of Music, Dance and Visual Arts and the Ancient Theater.
The pile of our discontent
"All state power derives from the people." This is the inscription on the sign next to the pile with stones piled up on Hristo G. Danov street, which lately we remember only around the date of January 10 every year. The thing acts as a monument dedicated to the January events of 25 years ago. It was erected spontaneously by the thousands of protesters who left stones at the end of that winter's marches.
January 10 marks the 25th anniversary of the beginning of the protests in front of the National Assembly in 1997, the so-called January events. In the period January - the beginning of February 1997, Bulgaria fell into a deep political and financial crisis. Major cities were engulfed in protests, roads and streets were blocked, the country descened into chaos. Roads were blocked, workers refused to work, inflation was rising by the day, and grain was running out, starting food shortages. In about a month, the price of the dollar against the leva jumped to BGN 3,000, and inflation was already 300%. The average wage fell to a value equal to $5.
The project for the reconstruction of the Dondukov Garden lacks the idea of preserving the pile. Due to the special importance of the first city garden for the greening of Plovdiv, it itself has been declared a monument of the Bulgarian garden-park culture, which makes the pile illegal and it is expected to be removed.
The dog on the stairs to Prolet Street
A statue that is a little off the beaten track, but it is a real mystery what exactly it was inspired by. If you don't look, you can even easily miss it. The dog "proudly guards" the stairs to one of the streets at the foot of Sahat Tepe, and no one knows exactly when it was placed. Stories are made up that it is probably there in memory of a pet of someone living nearby, but whether that is the case – we can only guess!