…And why do some municipal councilors want Central Square to be named after him


"Wealth gained through honest work must serve man in order to do good and useful deeds."

Dimitar Petkov Kudoglu was born on August 21, 1862, in the village of Malko Gabrovo, Xanthi region. His surname is strange and unusual with its suffix, but it is purely Bulgarian - Kudov. The Turkish "Oglu" comes as a tribute to the ancestors. He studied in his native village, then in a Greek school and graduated from the French College in Constantinople, fluent in five languages (Bulgarian, French, German, Greek and Turkish).

Dimitar inherited the tobacco trade and expanded his business, opening an office in the town of Xanthi. In 1903 he settled in Dresden, Germany, which was the center of the European tobacco industry back then. Although far from home, he didn’t forget his countrymen. He adapted his building in his native village for an outpatient clinic and a pharmacy. He donated his father's house to a school. He financially supported the refugees who came to Plovdiv after the Balkan War. During the First World War he opened 11 dining rooms for the needy in the city under the hills. He generously contributed to the disabled, nursing homes, orphanages, charities, cultural, educational, and sports societies, commissions, committees, churches, monasteries, students, pupils, the poor and the sick. The funds spent by him exceed 3 million leva. As early as 1920, he contributed 100,000 leva to the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, with which a fund was established in his name for awards or for publishing literary works. He also contributed 80,000 leva to the fund of the national poet Ivan Vazov and 100,000 leva to the poet Tsanko Tserkovski (Tsanko Bakalov).

The crown of his all-round activity in the field of charity and philanthropy is the Dimitar Petrov Kudoglu House of Charity and Public Health Foundation, established on December 1, 1926 in Plovdiv. The donation consisted of a four-story massive building in the center of Plovdiv. The building was built in 1923-1924. The project was created by arch. Stoyko Stoykov for a hotel. The hotel was called "Tsar Simeon", owned by Mikhail Dimitrov and was the largest and most luxurious hotel of its time in Plovdiv - on four floors and with 45 rooms. Kudoglu bought the building for 5 million leva and immediately began a major interior renovation, for which he spent nearly 2 million. He also gave about 3 million leva for complete medical equipment, delivered from abroad.

For the maintenance of the home, he provided two of his tobacco warehouses on Ivan Vazov Street worth 15 million leva, which he rented himself for 800,000 and this amount he payed annually for the maintenance of the Home.

Only once in its history, the Bulgarian parliament passed a law unanimously, and this miracle happened at the end of December 1926. The law was voted on in an unforgettably short time, all but one of the deputies agreed, and at the end they all jumped to their feet and began to applaud loudly. Thus, the House of Charity and Public Health in Plovdiv was legalized. The newspapers continued the applause in a flash, and the name of the benefactor became known throughout the country. The home was the most modernly equipped and elite medical institution with some of the most prominent doctors and carefully selected support staff. It was opened on October 8, 1927. At Kudoglu's explicit insistence, its opening and consecration was to be quite modest. However, the people of Plovdiv gave it such a solemnity, which rarely happened in the city. According to the donor's will, the service of poor citizens had to be free, but the rich have paid for the service. Home maintenance, staff salaries, consumables, etc. were insured forever.


Unfortunately, in the period after the Second World War - in 1947, the home was nationalized and everything in it was destroyed without anyone realizing its value. In 1973 the building was demolished and replaced by the Central Post Office. The street in the center of Plovdiv, named after Kudoglu and on which the home was located, was also renamed.

After his death in 1940, it turned out that he had made one last gift to Plovdiv, providing 500,000 leva to build a nursery for 50 children under 18 months. Kudoglu's wife asked the Bulgarian Tsaritsa Giovanna to personally fulfill the last will of the donor. On March 25, 1941, the municipal council voted by acclamation to provide land for the construction of the establishment. The nursery building was completed in late September and opened on December 5, 1941. It was personally consecrated by the future Bulgarian Patriarch Kiril, and the celebration was attended by representatives of the palace, the mayor of Plovdiv, the district director. The value of the building and its furniture was 1 million leva. In addition to the money bequeathed by Kudoglu, funds were added by the Bulgarian queen and the Italian manufacturer Eraldo Bonecchi. The nursery was named "Ekaterina and Dimitar Kudoglu". It was located on today's Vasil Aprilov Blvd, which was called Benito Mussolini at that time by a decision of the municipal council.

Nowadays, again with a decision of the municipal council, the land of the nursery was sold to a private company. In its place is now the building known as Kopcheto. Thus, Plovdiv liquidated the last sign of the activity of the largest donor under the hills.