The Central Military Club in Sofia
The Central Military Club in Sofia is among the masterpieces of the Bulgarian early 20th-century architecture, which still adorns the city centre of Bulgaria's capital city. It is one of the earliest monumental buildings erected after 1878 (the re-establishment of the Bulgarian state after centuries of Ottoman government). The edifice was initially known as the Officer’s Club and its halls were used for receptions, festivities, balls and various events of the nascent capital's elite, a larger part of which belonged exactly to the military class.
The Central Military Club is located in the center of Sofia, on the popular Tsar Osvoboditel Blvd covered by its characteristic yellow pavement, right opposite of the Crystal Garden and close to the Russian Church of St Nikolay. The bconstruction works began in 1895 with festively laying down of the first stone on a plot of land, bought by the Sofia's Council of Officers for the large sum of 180 000 golden leva. The initial project was worked out by the Czech architect Antonin Kollar, who also designed the Monument of Vasil Levski in Sofia. The architectural plan of the Military Club was developed in full by the Bulgarian architect Nikola Lazov. The building was completed in 1907.
It lines up between the most graceful representatives of the Bulgarian post-Liberation architecture. The building is performed in the appealing Neo-Renaissance style. It consists of two wings and tree monumental towers, whose facades are entirely covered by rich plastic decoration: elegant terraces, elaborate columns, windows adorned by triangular frontons etc. – a rich Renaissance palette of Neo-Classic architectural elements.
The Military Club consists of three main floors (the three corner towers have a 4th floor too), which interior space is distributed following the standards of the classic military clubs in Europe during the 19th century. Its saloons are generously decorated with sumptuous Italian silk, decorative art panels, lavish use of marble and bronze plastics and elegantly ornamented ceilings. They are suitable for various social events, as well as for business cocktails, chamber concerts, conferences and literary presentations etc.
The building of the Military Club features a unique concert hall with capacity of up to 450 spectators. It boasts remarkable acoustics and rich plastic decoration of skillfully created plaster casts of various architectural elements. The hall is lighted by graceful chandeliers, bought from Vienna. It radiates a feeling of style and aristocratic refinement. Its stage has seen a series of famous musicians, singers and actors.
Soon after the official opening of the club it became the place where the fundaments of the Bulgarian theatrical art were laid down. In its ateliers were used by such prominent Bulgarian and foreign artists as Vladimir Dimitrov - the Master and Yavor Veshin. Various art exhibitions were organized in its refined halls.
The Central Military Club houses the Central Library of the Army, which possesses more than 120 thousand of volumes.