| Dávid Harangozó

Bulgarian Cultural Institute in Budapest

Under the auspices of the Ministries of culture in Bulgaria, the institute introduces Bulgarian culture to Hungary’s international audience through exhibitions, a great number of concerts, film screenings, literary evenings and more.

Located on Andrássy Avenue in a magnificent old building, only a few steps from the Opera House and Oktogon, Budapest’s Bulgarian Cultural Institute is the home to the cultural scene for all things relating to Bulgaria. It has an own concert hall, its impressive reception hall often hosts exhibitions, currently showcasing paintings of Bulgarian artist Milena Mladenova, while in the second floor gallery, a photo exhibition entitled ‘Meetings with Bulgaria’ is open for visitors. “The material of this exhibition comes from our annual competition for non-professional photography that we started to organize in 2008 and have organizedrealized five editions so far,” the Director of the Institute, Plamen Peykov tells Diplomacy & Trade. “The aim is to encourage Hungarians to visit Bulgaria by showcasing how other Hungarians have captured Bulgarian cultural and historical heritage and beautiful nature while touring the country.” According to the Director, spring is a peak season for Bulgarian culture: following the visit of the Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev on April 2, they started preparing for the Bulgarian National Day. “May 24, in fact, commemorates Cyril and Methodius, often referred to as the ’Bulgarian Apostles’ or the ‘First Slavonic Teachers’. This is a celebration expressing the spiritual longing of the Bulgarians for ecclesiastical independence, enlightenment and national development,” explains the Director, adding that programs in Budapest kicked off on May 9 with lectures and conferences at the Eötvös Lóránd University, and continued with a visit to Zalavár, a little town that features a monument of the Saint Brothers and also a Hungarian school named after them, on May 24. A number of events, including concerts of performers of different musical genres from folk and classical music to jazz; authors' and poetical evening performances and book presentations, are scheduled for the summer, as well. “During my 10-year-long stay in Hungary, I have co-organized and seen an immense number of concerts by Bulgarian performers, including Bulgarian folk songs, classical music and choirs, this latter being a very popular genre of musical performance in Bulgaria. There is a huge thirst for quality music from both Hungarians and Bulgarians. Music can certainly serve as a bond between the two nations.” Peykov notes that the institute is a member of EUNIC, and often collaborates with, supports and partners with other similar institutions, and cultural representatives in Hungary. “We also offer a small library and reading room with a selection of Bulgarian and foreign literature and other materials.”

Established in 1936, at the Slavic Faculty of Pázmány Péter University (today Eötvös Lóránd University - ELTE), the Bulgarian Cultural Institute is one of the oldest cultural institutes in Budapest, and by all means, the oldest Bulgarian Institute in the world.

Réka Alíz Francisck

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