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National Palace of Culture

An Hour

Estimated Time

Opening hours

  • Sunday 10:00 - 19:00
  • Monday 09:00 - 19:00
  • Tuesday 09:00 - 19:00
  • Wednesday 09:00 - 19:00
  • Thursday 09:00 - 19:00
  • Friday 09:00 - 19:00
  • Saturday 10:00 - 19:00
The National Palace of Culture (; abbreviated as НДК, NDK), located in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, is the largest, multifunctional conference and exhibition centre in south-eastern Europe. It was opened in 1981 in celebration of Bulgaria's 1300th anniversary. The centre was initiated at the suggestion of Lyudmila Zhivkova, daughter of the communist leader of the former People's Republic of Bulgaria Todor Zhivkov. The project was designed by a team of Bulgarian and foreign architects led by Alexander Georgiev Barov (1931–1999) along with Ivan Kanazirev. The landscaping of Bulgaria Square in front of the National Palace of Culture was designed by another team of architects and landscape engineers, led by Atanas Agura. Internally, the building exhibits a unified style, employing an octagonal motif and heavy, dark colours. Large bright murals depicting historical figures and events cover the main wall of many of the smaller halls. During the '90s, immediately following the change of the political model in the country, the NDK lost a significant portion of its property, including infrastructure, commercial areas, and car parks. Since 2011, the NDK has been restructured into a commercial company, but it remains a state property. It is self-sustaining, receiving no subsidies. The first public financial report of the Palace was released in 2012. A substantial part of the revenues are invested annually in new projects and its own cultural events. The Festival and Congress Centre (FCC) is the Varna branch of the NDK. It was founded in 1986 and it is gradually becoming the center of some of the most prestigious events in the field of art and culture. FCC is host to artistic events and festivals, scientific meetings, seminars, and more. FCC is the face of Bulgaria when it comes to prestigious international congress organizations such as ICCA, EFCT, AIPC and it is included in the only pan-European network of cinemas, Europe Cinema, in the European Union (EU). In July 2005, the National Palace of Culture was proclaimed the best congress centre in the world for the year by the International Organization of Congress Centres. The conference centre is equipped to host a variety of events, including concerts, multilingual conferences, exhibitions, and shows. It has an area of 123,000 square meters on eight floors and three underground levels. The National Palace of Culture has 13 halls and 15,000 square meters of exhibition area, a trade centre and a car park. The main hall can seat over 3,000 people. The Sofia International Film Festival takes place in the NDK.
  • Vladimir Eftenov

    4 days ago

    The "palace" is a fine example of the late modernism in Bulgaria of the socialism. Although built in a very short time it's monumental architecture and rich interior decoration benefit from an unusual attention to the detail and quality of the used materials at the time of construction. The project, including the surrounding infrastructure are of unprecedented scale. The main building connects to several other architectural bodies through a vast network of underground tunnels. The legend says, although unconfirmed, that the number of underground levels equals those above ground and that the complex is linked to the presidential residence in Boyana - some 7-8 kilometers to the south - via secret tunnel large enough for a truck. During the first half of 2018 the Palace will host most of the events of the Bulgarian presidency of the Council of the EU so is currently under reconstruction. Normally it's a place where many concerts and exhibitions take place. Anyways, it's a must see place for tourists and a meeting spot for many locals.

  • Nino Correa

    2 months ago

    I love the vintage Soviet style of the building. Its decay has some attractive beauty. The main hall is huge but you get very good visibility from any seat. The acoustics are very decent. Staff was helpful and polite. Only problem when I visited was that there only seemed to be one single toilet facility working in the building. Imagine the lines at the interval.

  • Jason

    13 days ago

    It was nice but it's currently under construction or renovation. This is in preparation for use under Bulgaria's European union presidency in 2018. Until it's ready, don't forget your hard hats.

  • Rositsa Dimcheva

    21 days ago

    Its really hard to orientate in this place, especially when you are in a hurry for a concert or something else and there are a lot of people everywhere. There are not enough people helping you inside and the seats are pretty small and old.

  • Peter Deen

    a month ago

    Not much to see of any world historical value but some thiings to view on the national histoic importance.