Yesterday, the Metropolitan Municipal Council made a decision regulating the procedure and deadlines for the restoration of the Memorial to the First and Sixth Infantry Regiments in the capital.
On November 28, 2022, municipal councilors from “Patriots for Sofia” (VMRO) Carlos Contrera and Mihail Petrov submitted a report with a proposal to define a framework with specific interrelated deadlines.
Why is the Memorial important?
The memorial of the First Infantry Sofia and Sixth Infantry Turnov Regiments of the First Infantry Sofia Division, called “Iron” or “Shop”, was opened on October 28, 1934 by Tsar Boris III. Military commemorations, parades, commemorations and other celebrations were held in front of it until the Second World War. It consisted of three large marble walls arranged in the shape of the letter “P”, on which were inscribed the names of over 3,000 dead from both regiments in the Balkan, Allied and First World Wars.
What has prevented the restoration of the Memorial of the First Infantry Regiment of Sofia and the Sixth Infantry Regiment of Tarn until now?
After the decision of the Metropolitan Municipal Council of 18.12.2014 to restore the monument, the only thing that has been realized to date, thanks to the then Minister of Defense Krasimir Karakachanov, is that on November 2, 2017, the bronze lion standing in front of the National Museum of Natural History, after a long cleaning and conservation treatment was returned to its authentic place on the reshaped garden hill. On St. Archangel’s Day, November 4, 2017, it was consecrated and opened with a solemn military, church and city ceremony. At its base was placed a sleeve with a finger from the War Grave – 1916 memorial in Tutrakan. During the capture of the “impregnable” fortress, where in a fierce battle with the Romanian, Serbian and Russian troops helping the occupier, many soldiers of the Iron Sofia Division sacrificed themselves therestated before Novini.bg Adv. Mikhail Petrov.
After the placement of the bronze lion on Archangel’s Stump, on 04.11.2017, the full implementation procedure from 18.12.2014 for the restoration of the monument practically died.
In 2018, the announced Competition for the project for the construction of the Memorial is terminated by the contracting authority with strange explanations.
A new one was announced from 15.05.2019 by Ch. arch. Zdravko Zdravkov. An Announcement for a project competition has been prepared, together with approved documentation for participation in the competition, Terms of Reference for the development of an investment project, Methodology for evaluating the competition projects, etc. The projects of the participants in the procedure are not presented to the public, the judging is not in a normal simultaneous familiarization of the members with the projects and a meeting of the composition, it is not public, which is done even in a procedure with secret voting, which is not entirely clear how and whether took place. Full-time municipal employees are abundantly appointed to the jury. Only 1 member from all 14 non-governmental civil organizations was allowed to participate. In the end, without choosing a winning project, Ch. architect with the Decision of 25.02.2021, terminates the procedure for holding an open competition for a project for the development of a project for the construction of a Memorial to the fallen soldiers of the First Sofia Infantry Regiment and the Sixth Turnov Infantry Regiment under the First Sofia Infantry Division in the Balkan War 1912- 1913, the Inter-Allied War 1913 and the First World War 1914-1918. The reason is that “the assignment provides general information and guidance on the layout and location of the territory” and that “the assignment allows creative interpretation of the architectural space around The National Palace of Culture, which implies the achievement of a completely new modern vision”. This “requires the conditions of the public procurement to be specified, in order to achieve an appropriate architectural and stylistic solution by exposing the historical value in the modern urban environment, as part of the overall concept of the National Palace Square”. The basis is Art. 110, para. 1, item 9 of the PPA – (1) The contracting authority terminates the procedure with a reasoned decision when…. item 9: essential changes are needed in the conditions of the announced contract, which would change the circle of interested parties.
The extremely general 2014 SOS Decision allowed the administration to kick the ball ad infinitum. They had evidently decided to bluster on this decision and not take the necessary action until there was general desperation to delay the Memorial’s restoration.
A technical assignment has already been drawn up, which must be approved by an expert council under ch. architect. Then it agreed with the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of War. After that ch. an architect announces a competition for conceptual projects, and once one is selected, a short deadline is set for selecting a restoration contractor. It is planned to open a donation account, and the insufficient funds will be provided from the budget of the Metropolitan Municipality. So tightly timed, the procedure is highly likely to be completed by the end of next year. Naturally, we will observe for delays and will take the necessary steps to ensure that there are no delays.
The contribution of the patriotic organizations, which with their civil position helped restore the Memorial to be a common Sofia cause, should also be taken into account, revealed Petrov.
“I sincerely thank everyone who actively expressed a position, all the municipal councilors who supported our proposal today, because this is a step towards preserving the cultural and historical identity of Sofia. We owe it not only to our ancestors, but also to the next generations,” wrote Contrera on Facebook.
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