Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Museum of Totalitarian Art

The first real "Touristy" thing we did was visit the Museum of Totalitarian Art.  Truly, this was a fascinating place.  Most of the statues were taken after the fall and erected here in a garden.  One still sees that style statue around, but I think they rounded up the main ones and stashed them here.

Not much grace...nothing slim and smooth and flowing, everything was angles and rough hewn figures.  Some triumphantly striding, holding aloft weapons, or saying goodbye to go face the evil Nazis/Capitalists/insert foe here.

The only statues that seemed to have an air of humanity to them were those of the first post-WWII Communist leader, Giorgi Dimitrov, who was rather non-cooperative with his Soviet overlords and had a "heart attack" when he visited Moscow.  Kind of like when Carmine the Bowler fell down an elevator shaft...onto some bullets (see the movie Mystery Men).  Dimitrov appears to have been well regarded, as he brought Bulgaria from the ashes of WWII and to success; they like him enough still to name a Metro station for him.

Inside were propaganda posters from around the Communist world, including North Korea, China, Africa and the Eastern Bloc countries.

And who can resist a statue of Stalin that just seems to say, "Pull my finger! Or I'll kill you."

Our last stop was at the theater where we watched some short propaganda films that were truncated abruptly with scenes from post-Iron Curtain reactions (generally, the destruction of prominent Communist memorials).

A fascinating museum, it should be on the list if you visit.

Museum of Totalitarian Art (sometimes called Socialist Art)
Address:  7, "Lachezar Stanchev" str, Sofia
How to get there:  Take the Metro from Sofia University Station 3 stops to GM Dimitrov station.  Walk up the street (back the way you came) one block and take a right; museum is about 250 meters on the right (back a bit from the street...look for the Red Star and the statues).
Opening hours: 10:00-17:30, closed Mondays
Entry fee: 6 Leva (about 3 Euro/$4.50)

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