Monument to the Communards
Plovdiv, center, in front of the Municipality building, 1970.
A monument to the Plovdiv Commune, or for short a monument to the Communards, was placed in front of the municipality building in 1970 in connection with the 50th anniversary of their brief rule of the city – a period of three months, between December 1919 and March 1920. The project for the monument went through several conceptual phases and commissions until the final version was fully approved.
The composition is a monumental multi-figure sculpture, developed in a frontal-triangular form. The central figure is accompanied in the background by two other figures, bilaterally positioned in a descending position and creating a progressive upward movement. Geometric sculptures, oriented in the same direction, complete the monument. The sculptural composition “The Communards” reflects the high plastic culture of the author. This work is an example of Viktor Todorov’s already formed and characteristic style marks.
An important merit of this monumental work is its monolithicity. It is sculpted from a whole block of Vratsa limestone and with approximate dimensions of 4 m x 2 m. There are not many cases in the then practice of monuments being made from whole blocks – both because of the difficulty of preparing and processing a monolithic block of such dimensions, as well as because of transport and installation. I remember that when my father was working on this project, my mother became seriously worried – my father would be away for weeks at a time, coming back from the quarry blackened and with piles of dirty clothes. He worked on the detailing of the monument, and a team of stonemasons did the rough work.
In 1996, “The Communards” was dismantled and moved in an unknown direction, to the outskirts of the city. The removal of the “Communards” is a controversial issue. Ambiguities appear in several periodicals surrounding the question of what exactly the monument represents and symbolizes. It is definitely not a partisan monument. Of course, the party ideology in 1970 found a reason for pride and sought heredity by honoring their actually elected representatives at the municipal level 50 years earlier. During the short three-month administration of Mayor Nikola Galabov, a number of social activities were carried out: health care, housing policy, and assistance to refugee families. But purely populist actions were also taken, such as the distribution of 1 million BGN to the striking railway workers. As always, the story is multi-layered.
“The monument to the Communards was clearly not a party monument. There was a kind of romance in its appearance. Viktor himself was a romantic person.” – Ivan Totev, sculptor, student of Viktor Todorov. Stanev, Stefan. Names from the city of the artists 3. Plovdiv, Stovi, 2014, p.36
We found the monument by absolute chance in 2023, in a yard of a marble company on “Rogoshko Shosse” street. We had no access. The monument is left next to the fence and it is clear that it was not put there as intended. It is not clear why and how it ended up there. We have taken steps to change the fate of this monumental sculpture and have it displayed in a more appropriate location and with public access.
All photos of the monument with the possibility of detailed enlargement see here: