Optimism for Bulgaria

Your Know a Community by Its Shared Spaces

For the past 13 years, the AGORA Platform has been uniting communities in Bulgaria in aid of local causes and supporting their efforts to solve problems together. In cooperation with chitalishta, civic organizations, cultural institutions, business associations, and municipalities, and with the long-term support of the America for Bulgaria Foundation and other partners, the AGORA Platform has been a catalyst for the success of hundreds of local initiatives nationwide.

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Business Gets Merry-Making like No One Else

The route from Western Europe to Istanbul has passed through the Bulgarian town of Harmanli for centuries, and locals have long provided food and shelter to passing travelers—a tradition reflected in the town’s name.

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How to Do Philanthropy Right — Oryahovo Style

Giving and altruism were an important part of life in Oryahovo and Bulgaria before 1944 and helped build many of the country’s major institutions, according to the book A Window to Goodwill, a chronicle of philanthropic initiatives in the Danubian city from the 1870s to the mid-twentieth century.

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Telling the Basilica’s Story, Pen and Shovel in Hand

Dimana Trankova is an archaeologist by education and a journalist by vocation. She joined Vagabond Media in 2006 and is currently an editor at Vagabond, Bulgaria’s English-language magazine, where she writes about travel and local culture in Bulgaria, the Balkans, and beyond. She is a coauthor of a series of non-fiction books and guidebooks on the historical, archaeological, and cultural heritage of Bulgaria in English and Bulgarian, and the author of the novels The Smile of the Dog (2014) and The Empty Cave (2017).

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Kicking Up a Little (Ancient) Dust in Plovdiv, Bulgaria

Scott W. Briggs, AIA, is Associate Principal at SKOLNICK Architecture + Design Partnership, New York. His work is focused on cultural planning and design projects that integrate architecture, exhibitions, interpretation, graphics, and media to create engaging visitor experiences.

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Restorer Elena Kantareva Rescues Ancient Mosaics from Oblivion

Assistant Professor Elena Kantareva-Decheva is the deputy director of the Ancient Plovdiv Institute. She is a painter-restorer and lecturer at the Faculty of Fine Arts at the Academy of Music, Dance and Fine Arts in Plovdiv. Since 2015, she has headed the team that restored the mosaics of the Bishop’s Basilica of Philippopolis.

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Meet the Designer behind Bulgaria’s Most Famous Peacock

Nikolay Tonkoff is a graphic designer and founder of formschlag, a design company based in Berlin and Sofia with over 25 years of experience in crafting corporate visual identity. The formschlag team worked on some of the most recognizable Bulgarian brands such as Bulgarian National Television, BG Radio, Nova Television, and the Golden Rhyton Film Festival. International clients include Shell, BMW, Daimler, and L’Oréal. Nikolay is the author of the Bishop’s Basilica of Philippopolis logo and other visual elements.

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FourPlus Studio: Transforming Spaces through Design

FourPlus were among half a dozen businesses that worked on the Basilica interactives, but the Sofia-based design and motion graphics studio was instrumental in connecting all the creative work into one coherent whole — “a job they did with remarkable success,” according to Diana Trifonova, program officer at ABF, who managed the Basilica’s interactive elements for the Foundation.

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