The Administration of the President and the Defence Ministry of Bulgaria held an Open Day on Saturday as part of the European Heritage Days (EHD).
Held in September each year, EHD events take place in the countries party to the European Cultural Convention. During this time, doors are opened to numerous monuments and sites, allowing Europe’s citizens to enjoy free visits and learn about their shared cultural heritage and encouraging them to become actively involved in the safeguard and enhancement of this heritage for present and future generations.
Hundreds of citizens visited the President’s Administration in downtown Sofia on Saturday. The visitors, including many children, had a chance to learn about the history and the functioning of the institution of the president. They toured Coat of Arms Hall, where official guests are received, the president’s office and the library. They viewed specimens of the orders and the medals which the head of state confers on distinguished persons, and gifts he has received during his visits.
Students from Secondary School No. 18 in Sofia told BTA that the most interesting stop on the tour was the room from which the president makes his official televised statements. They particularly noted the fact that the valuable paintings in that room are originals. The young people also appreciated the sentimental value of the gifts received by the state leader.
A couple of blocks away, at the Ministry of Defence, visitors were welcomed by the Head of the Protocol Department, Colonel Petko Petkov. He said the interior of the lobby is in its original appearance dating as far back as 1885, when the construction of the building was completed, with two lion statues flanking the stairway. The room where the Defence Ministry leadership holds official meetings has kept its original design as well.
Military uniforms are displayed in showcases in various rooms, some of the oldest dating from 1876. Other exhibits include badges, sabres and other weapons, and documents. Two bust sculptures of freedom-fighters Vassil Levski and Hristo Botev can be seen in the corridor on the second floor. Military colours were specially displayed in the building on the occasion of the Open Day.