The National Palace of Culture is way more famous by its Bulgarian acronym NDK (pronounced En-De-Ka). Despite the acronym overload that many Bulgarians felt by the final years of Communism, the name stuck.
It currently houses a convention center, close to 20 concert halls - the biggest holds 3000 people- several cafes and restaurants, a movie theatre and a few of Sofia’s most happening nightclubs.
THE HISTORY BEHIND NDK
The colossal complex, formerly called The People’s Palace of Culture, was built between 1978 and 1981, in only 4 years instead of the 12 years originally planned.
NDK opened in 1981, just in time for the mass celebrations for the 1300th year since the formation of the First Bulgarian State.
The building was the brainchild of Lydmila Zhivkova, the culture-loving daughter of the Bulgarian communist leader. After her untimely death in 1981 it was re-named to People’s Palace of Culture “Lydmila Zhivkova”.
Building up “people’s palaces” was a Soviet invention; there is a palace of sports, a palace of the kids in Sofia. The “palace” complexes were to serve as a place for cultural and recreational activities for the masses, a function NDK still serves today. It is the premier spot for concerts, exhibitions and conventions in Sofia.
The building was not big enough to bankrupt the country as did the Ceausescu's "palace" in neighboring Romania. Nevertheless, urban legends about 6 underground floors, bomb shelters and tunnels to the airport circulated at the time.
The small park is a popular meeting and hangout spot for the locals. It hosts open-air cafes and an outdoor cinema.
Take a look at the large decrepitated communist-era monument "1300 years of Bulgarian Statehood" pending demolition.
A modest chapel commemorates the victims of Communism in Bulgaria. The names of the thousands who perished are engraved on a black marble wall.
A chunk of the Berlin Wall also stands nearby.
The area in front of NDK is currently undergoing a reconstruction which is to put the famous NDK fountains back in business.