The dead body of the leader as an organizing principle of socialist public space: The mausoleum of Georgi Dimitrov in Sofia

JVF Conference Papers

On September 9, 1944, a long period of socialist governance in Bulgaria was begun with the overthrow of the government by the left-party coalition, Fatherland Front.

In its aftermath, the city center of Sofia was subjected to an intensive reshaping that aimed at recreating, in visual codes, the new ideological identity and political course of the state. The main task that urban planners faced was to erase or, at least, symbolically overshadow the royal emblems of the former, now delegitimized, political regime and to replace them with new urban artifacts in a socialist key, which would facilitate the ritual legitimation of the new power.

Within the parameters of subsequent architectural competitions and in proliferating urban planning projects, the “main civil square” was prioritized as the functional and symbolic core of the socialist city.

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