The National Theatre “Ivan Vazov” in Sofia is the largest and most influential theatre in Bulgaria and the small park in front is a favourite hang-out spot for Sofia residents and tourists alike.
Unlike similar buildings in many other European capitals, “The National” is brick-red in color, which makes it particularly photo-friendly.
The building was completed in 1907 in the Classical architectural style typical of the times.
It has been the permanent home to the National Theatre company ever since.
The theatre is named after the Bulgarian literary patriarch, Ivan Vazov, but residents refer to it simply as “the National”.
The theatre’s opening ceremony in 1907 did not go uneventful. Envisioned as a celebration for the masses, it turned political when angry university students booed the King upon arrival.
In retribution, the King, and his government, closed down Sofia University for six months.
The small park in front of the National Theater is a favorite late-night hangout spot for the young crowds.
In the warm summer months, this is a great place to stop by for a drink at one of the several open-air cafés.
Backgammon players in front of the National Theatre
During the day, the area turns into a chess and backgammon battlefield, attracting slightly older visitors.