This September we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Atanas Krastev, also known among Plovdiv residents as the "Mayor of the Old Town"


Atanas Krastev was born on September 17, 1922 in Asenovgrad. In 1954, he started working in the Science, Art and Culture department of the Plovdiv municipality. His first nickname most likely appeared back then – Kulturata (the Culture), by which we often call him to this day.

He is the basis of the "Ancient Plovdiv" administration created in 1968. In the period between 1969 and 1986, when he served as its director, the most significant cultural monuments of national and local importance were restored in Old Plovdiv, although at the beginning this seemed almost impossible.

Much of the houses were uninhabited, dilapidated and without any potential for the glamor and opulence that they symbolize to us today. Step by step, Atanas Krastev managed to restore their Revival splendor and showed the architectural wealth hidden by ruins and dust to the world.

In a very short period, under the leadership of Nacho, as many as 94 buildings were restored, bases of the Union of Bulgarian Writers, Journalists and Teachers were erected. A museum of the artist Zlatyu Boyadzhiev and a memorial house-museum of the publisher Hristo G. Danov were created.

Krastev organized the first exhibition in the Old Town, exhibiting 33 watercolors of his friend Georgi the Elephant Bozhilov in his home in 1967, and later turning the house into the first private gallery in Plovdiv. Named "The Red Pony", Steinbeck's work of the same name inspired Dimitar Kirov to depict a scarlet horse on the fence, and it brings the gallery its name and can be seen there today. Again, on his initiative, in 1970, the annual National Autumn Exhibitions began to be held in the Old Town. A collection of works of art was also created for the "Ancient Plovdiv" management. The authentic interiors of the old houses Nedkovich, Hindlian, Birdas and others were restored.

During his leadership, the creative homes of the Union of Bulgarian Writers - House Lamartin, of the Union of Bulgarian Artists - House Stambolyan, as well as the representative houses of the Ministry of Culture - House Pavliti, and of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs - Antova House, were created.

The discovery of the Ancient Theater in 1981 is also largely credited to him. Krastev defined it as one of the biggest attractions "not only in Plovdiv, not only in Bulgaria and not only in the Balkan Peninsula".

In this way, he turned this part of our city into a real open-air architectural museum and layed the foundations of what Old Plovdiv is for all of us today.

Nacho Kulturata left this world on November 25, 2003. Until his last day, he kept that youthful fervor that was embodied forever in the atmosphere of the Old Town. An entire era passed with him. He was declared an honorary citizen of Plovdiv in 2002.

After the death of Nacho Kulturata in 2003, the square in front of the Balaban house received his name. A monument to the man who turned the Old Town into an architectural reserve was placed there in 2008, and his house has been turned into a museum with a unique collection of portraits of the famous Plovdiv cultural figure.

Some of the works he owned can be seen on the second floor of the house. It is located almost at the top of Nebet Tepe. The building has a beautiful courtyard, from the windows of which there is a unique view of the city on the hills, and it is an example of the early Revival asymmetrical house. The first owner of the house was Boyan Nasev, and the last - Atanas Krastev.

2022 marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Atanas Krastev (born on September 17, 1922), therefore the Old Town Holidays 2022 are under the sign of this important anniversary.