State of the Stadium (2009)

Architect L. Velcheva's project for the exposition of the uncovered part of the Ancient Stadium, realized in 1977, has the significance of a first professional attempt for preservation and presentation of the uncovered archaeological findings, but in the beginning of the XXI century its concept is already outdated. 

In the past years a controversy between the great cultural value of the stadium and its critical physical state increased dramatically. The underground archaeological space of Dzhumaya Square, where in a unique way the Ancient street-corridor, the structure of the stadium, the pillars of the Aqueduct and the fortification wall of Philippopolis meet, was completely neglected (the site used to be notoriously known as “the Hole”). The uncovered archaeological substance was deteriorating. The heavy worn out concrete frames blocked the archaeology from the public and the structure of the stadium under the Main Street, over 200 meter long,  was left unknown to the public. The coffee shop and the terrace were closed and turned into an internet club with no connection to the stadium whatsoever.

All that created a pressing problem for the fate of the urban archaeology. The significant cultural resource of the Ancient Stadium remained highly compromised, paradoxically unused, with no contribution to the cultural tourism and for most of its part unknown.