The Sofia State Circus was founded on February 1, 1957. In 1962 it moved to a building on Solni Pazar Square, built according to the project of the architects Stankovi brothers (Yaroslav, Lubomir and Vladimir) and their sister K. Stankova-Mutafova. The circus is in the shape of a dome with a height of 19 meters, an outer diameter of 43 meters and an arena 13 meters long. It had 2000 seats. Its construction cost BGN 2,800,000. The performances included classical pop-circus and variety programs, circus on ice, thematic performances. Representative teams from many countries also visited.
In 1983, the circus burned down. Then the director was Gancho Binev. The exact cause of the arson has not been established. The first photojournalist who managed to capture the flames of the burning circus was the photographer of the Pogled newspaper Ivan Grigorov.
A copy of the building of the Sofia State Circus still stands in Skopje (Macedonia). It was a gift from the Bulgarian government after the great earthquake with the epicenter Skopje in 1963.
Below an article from 1962:
WHEN THE SOFIA CIRCUS WAS NEW
In Sofia on Hr. Botev ”, opposite the Ministry of Agriculture, a modern permanent circus is being built .
Its construction is new and original. The entire housing is made of prefabricated metal and fiberboard panels connected by screws. The circus can be easily dismantled and reassembled. It was built without scaffolding. Of great interest is the huge dome of the circus . Its metal structure was erected in just 20 minutes and unfolded like an umbrella with the help of a high mast. After the construction of the dome, the mast was removed and it was left without internal supports.
For the whole structure of the circus were made 1,500 metal parts of the State Enterprise “Hristo Smirnenski” – Sofia, specialized in the manufacture of heavy steel structures, mobile cranes, poles for power lines and so on. To elaborate structures of the circus , now assimilate and another a new type of production – dome metal structures, which in the future will be prepared for the needs of the whole country.
Another 2,000 fiberboard prefabricated elements were needed for the construction of the circus, which were made in DIP Marshal Tolbuhin at Iskar Station in Sofia. Prior to mounting on the metal structure , they were impregnated with waterproof resin and covered on both sides with refractory paint.
For thermal, sound and fire insulation, the hollow space between the inner and outer fiberboard panels is filled with glass wool. The exterior of the building is lined with glass and aluminum sheet imported from France.
The heating and ventilation installation, water supply and sewerage are developed and built according to all modern requirements. The whole building is painted with refractory paints, and the gluing of the aluminum sheets to the fiberboard panels is done with plastic putty. Both the refractory paints and the plastic glue are made in our country, by the company Lakprom – Sofia.
The circus will accommodate 2,000 spectators. The seats are amphitheatrically located and are not ordinary benches, as we are used to seeing in all circuses, but comfortable armchairs.
In the ground floor of the circus is the central entrance, several exits, the lobby, the buffet, the wardrobes and other service rooms. Above the main entrance will be the room for the administration of the circus .
The circus arena has the shape of a horseshoe and occupies 260 square meters. Such a large space allows mass scenes of 120-150 artists to be performed simultaneously. However, its outlines will be movable and will take the form required by the show.
The circus will also have a large stage with curtains, sets and equipment, with which the artists will quickly rise or suddenly collapse and disappear. This will allow interesting stage effects. A projection booth and a screen are also provided. The circus building can also be used as a cinema.
The building will have changing rooms, wardrobes for costumes, dressing rooms for artists, etc. The openings through which you will go on stage will be so large that elephants with artists will be able to pass through them freely.
The authors of the circus are the architects Er. Stankov and K. Mutafova, assisted by many other collaborators. The construction of the circus is carried out by builders and installers of “Sofstroy” – Dimitrov region.
Soon thousands of Sofia residents and guests will have the opportunity to watch circus games in a pleasant and comfortable atmosphere, under the dome of the new modern circus in Sofia.
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