The tobacco warehouse at 51 “Hristo Botev” Street in Plovdiv, which has just been protected as a cultural value, was demolished last night, according to reports on Radio Plovdiv and “Pod Tepeto”. This happened despite the decision of the Specialized Council for the Protection of Immovable Cultural Values from yesterday to give it additional protection and in defiance of the police, the Ministry of Culture and the DNSK. They all had management staff in place that night.
At midnight, the official Minister of Culture Velislav Minekov arrived in Plovdiv for the second time that day. “Apparently there are people who underestimate the fact that I’m the minister of culture. They underestimate the importance of preserving cultural heritage. I can’t solve that. Not only now at night, but I’m going to stay here, I’m going to call the police and that kind of thing it will not happen. This is destruction, which is more than an outrage!”, Minekov declared in front of the demolished warehouse, reported “Pod Tepeto”. During his first visit to the city yesterday, he announced what was happening not only as a disaster for the architecture and history of Plovdiv , but also for a blow to the caretaker government.
Minekov also called the police, and the head of the regional directorate of the Ministry of Internal Affairs came to the scene. Demolition has been halted, but according to local media it is almost complete.
“After the signal about the dismantling of the building with heavy equipment, I sent a team of the administration to check the available documentation on the spot. The people have a document from the National Institute for Immovable Cultural Heritage that the building is not a cultural monument and they have taken action to dismantle it. In case I can say that the law has been complied with – from the point of view of the way in which each building should be dismantled,” said the mayor of the Central district, Georgi Stamenov, to BNR.
A few hours after Minekov’s offensive, the Plovdiv District Prosecutor’s Office self-referred to publications in the media and ordered an investigation into the demolition of the “Hristo Botev” warehouse. Instructions have been given for the inclusion of all documents in order to establish the legality or illegality of the actions of the administration and the owner regarding the demolition of the building, the state prosecution reported. The inspection was assigned to the “Economic Police” at the Directorate of the Ministry of Internal Affairs – Plovdiv. The deadline for completion is one month.
Also after a rain hood, the caretaker minister announced that they will protect all 12 warehouses in the Tobacco City. As usual, he justified himself with the law.
“With the adoption of two or three small proposals for amendments to the Law on Cultural Heritage today, the situation in Plovdiv would not be the same. Unfortunately, none of them reached the National Assembly,” said Minekov at the press conference in MK this morning. Regarding these amendments, he shared that he had also received support from UNESCO’s leadership, but absolutely no step to change the law followed. Prof. Minekov stated that the proposals will be left to the Culture Committee for immediate action, which he will insist on on the very first day of Parliament’s work. “This can no longer be tolerated. If I were an MP, I would offer it every day, every hour, every minute,” emphasized the minister.
Regarding the delay in obtaining protection status for these objects before their demolition began, Minekov said: “There is a proposal to request the resignation of Arch. Petar Petrov (the director of the National Institute of National Statistics of Ukraine), but I don’t know what the consequences will be.” The minister commented that until now the institute was created for the purpose of corruption – to serve the owners of the objects of immovable cultural values. And again he added about the pitfalls in the law: “There is an impossibility in the characteristics of the current law to protect the inheritance and an impossibility to punish the guilty – no property has been confiscated so far.”
The shuttles of the serving minister for the second time were not accepted unequivocally. “The Minister of Culture travels like an ambulance from Sofia to Plovdiv and back. He goes again, he returns again. His personal PR publishes blurry photos from the car and in front of the destroyed warehouses on the page of the Ministry of Culture. He fights with some people, threatens, makes It turns out that he just issued the necessary order, but forgot to take it to show the excavator…
The NINCN publishes confused and inadequate posts on its Facebook page, from which very little is clear.
Meanwhile, the destruction continues, and part of our cultural heritage is gone.
It’s a shame to watch this vaudeville.
The job of the Minister of Culture is not to act like a fire brigade. We already had a fireman in charge. No thanks.
The minister should do the necessary institutional work, work intensively with the municipality of Plovdiv, make the NINKN stop unwinding, convene the necessary council,” wrote the former Deputy Minister of Culture Yurii Valkovski.
The drama with the warehouse of “Hristo Botev” 51 has been going on since last week, when activities began to demolish it despite the activated procedure to declare it a cultural value. The beautiful buildings in the so-called Tyutyunev Grad is a group cultural monument and there can be no intervention on them without the permission of the National Institute of Natural Resources and Environment. With the excuse that they do not know that the buildings are protected, the local municipal authorities in Plovdiv issue the owners a safety and health plan, which is used for demolition.
Yesterday, a big scandal arose around the warehouses because of the demolition of another one of them – at the corner of the streets “G. M. Dimitrov” and “Exarch Joseph”. This warehouse was one of those affected by the fire six years ago. Only one bum was blamed for the fire at the time, which engulfed four historic buildings.
“The warehouse is being demolished illegally. It is under protection under the law on cultural heritage. Its demolition is permissible only and only after approval by the Ministry of Culture, which was not done, despite the provisions of the Law on Territorial Planning,” he wrote in ” Facebook” architect Petkana Bakalova and stood in front of the excavators. In the end, during the night the work was suspended here as well, but this morning it was resumed, “Under the Hill” showed in the video.
In both cases, the owners use a municipal permit. It is about the so-called health and safety plan. At the G. M. Dimitrov warehouse, this plan dates back to last year, but the owners – “Galaxy Investment Group” – have decided to start implementing it today, the Plovdiv website “Pod tepeto” reported.
The demolition of the burnt warehouse began on the day when the Specialized Council for the Protection of Immovable Cultural Values had to declare another warehouse – at 51 Hristo Botev Street – as a unique cultural value. In the meantime, information emerged that six tobacco warehouses were supposed to be examined at the meeting in question, but they were withdrawn. A check by “Sega” in the agenda of the meeting showed that only the one at 51 Hristo Botev St. was included in it.
“Why does the mayor of the European capital of culture approve documents for the demolition of cultural heritage, part of the approval of Plovdiv as a capital of culture? Will there be political responsibility for this vandalism? Why did the acting minister of culture not conclude in today’s agenda of the specialized expert council SIX the warehouse, including this one,” said Arch. Bakalova. She also asks whether the president will bear responsibility for the actions of his minister.