Monument to Yordanka Nikolova

Plovdiv, the intersection of "Shesti September" Blvd. and "Vasil Aprilov" Blvd., 1982

By In 80s, Monument

Monument to Yordanka Nikolova
Plovdiv, the intersection of “Shesti  September” Blvd. and “Vasil Aprilov” Blvd., 1982

The monument to Yordanka Nikolova was placed in 1982, but work on the conceptual project began a few years earlier and involved a huge collective. Several variations of the composition were discussed until the final solution crystallized. The space in front of the then Bitov kombinat, today the Regional Council, has been turned into a large platform – a pedestal for the sculptural composition. In the foreground is the monumental female figure of Yordanka Nikolova, about 4 meters high and made of bronze. In the background – 4 parallelepipeds made of stone with plastic art forms on their front part, creating the illusion of a waving flag – symbolizing Yordanka’s comrades-in-arms.

The monument was dismantled in the 1990s, and at the moment the platform, the pedestal, still stands on the original site. During the dismantling, the statue of Yordanka Nikolova was moved by the artist George Trak and for some time it was stored in the yard of the former “Kombinat for decorative and monumental arts (KDMA)”. After that, the sculpture was moved again by George Trak and is currently located on his private property, between Plovdiv and Asenovgrad, where he plans to create an art theme park exhibiting such removed monuments from the time of socialism.

We contacted George Trak and visited the current location of the monument.

Явор Тодоров и Жорж Трак

“For me, the monument to Yordanka, which was in front of the Regional Council and represented a proud woman, raising her chin and looking ahead into the horizon, was extremely impressive. Viktor Todorov has managed to weave the best of himself and the best of the art he represents. On the one hand, he captured the human character of the woman as a whole, and on the other hand, he made her somehow unattainable and above things. It is evident, in the construction of the monument itself and the overall appearance, that the artistic impulse here was very strong. Viktor’s artistic presence in our urban environment, be it in parks or architecture, is strongly felt.

For this reason I was very hurt and I felt it almost physically when the campaign to remove the monument began. The typical Bulgarian nihilism erupted again. We cannot so easily cross out an entire period as if it did not exist in our history. And it’s as if only our most recent history actually exists. The principle from which we proceed is the principle of oblivion. Like the lack of an objective assessment of Ottoman slavery – reflected in the entire medieval world – we say: this is a dark period. We are not interested in this period of our history and we ignore it without examining it, without analyzing it. Thus we reject everything life-affirming ever done. In the same nihilistic way, we also ignore this almost 50-year period of our history. We rejected everything that could be rejected.

Whatever we may say about all these art forms during the period in question, it was extremely constructive and extremely fruitful. During this period wonderful and valuable things were made which were later denied and destroyed. In this way, an amnesia was created in Bulgarian culture and art. Because no matter how much art had an ideological undertone, certain authors touched upon common human values and achieved a non-partisan exposure of their works. This means that art should be preserved and not used for political purposes.”

interview with George Trak, artist, sculptor, February 2023.

All photos of the monument with the possibility of detailed enlargement see here: