Nicola Nicolov: Interhotel, ?–1981

  • Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria, Show on map
  • #TOU #Sculptural #Eastern Europe
  • National architect, Nicola Nikolov, had been working on a new look for the old capital of Bulgaria since 1957. Almost all architectural designs of public buildings in Veliko Tarnovo’s centre (built between the 70s and 80s) were done by great ingenuity from Nicolov. The work for Interhotel Veliko Tarnovo began as early as 1967, that’s when its plans were approved and work on the terrain began. But it would take 14 years, and numerous setbacks, before it was completed in 1981; a year which marked the 1300th anniversary of the establishment of the Bulgarian state. The goal of the project was for it to fit into the style of Veliko Tarnovo, and architect Nicola Nikolov did just that. He would mimic old tiles via the buildings curves, he brought out neat little balconies that are reminiscent of the old porches… To quote Nikolov, from his diary:

    "I got to this object without much thinking. I got carried away. When I realized that it was a difficult task because of the terrain of the surrounding welded building and tree vegetation along the picturesque Yantra, it was too late to go back. I had taken the dance floor and it was not easy to let go. The great displacement of the terrain varies with levels about twenty meters along the river Yantra and along the entire length of the plot. On top of that is a rocky massif of limestone origin. The area is landslide, as are the three landslides in the area of the halls. Carefully conceived spaces had to be explored and arranged so that they would not coarse and seek the spatial solution not in height but longitudinally. In the foreground, I was successfully squeezed with beautifully divided volumes to the riverbank. Opportunities for the perception of the river and the architectural panorama of Veliko Tarnovo I designed with courtyards terraces and the original balconies of the rooms."

  • While the building remains operations, most of its quarters are either unserviceable or closed entirely. For instance, the swimming pool has been “under renovation” for several years now with no sign of completion. The restaurant/nightclub that once rested neatly at the bottom of the building, along the Yantra river, has in been in decay since the 90s. Most rooms have been renovated, but sadly, not a lot of attention and resources have been put towards this former glorious socialist-era hotel. In 2017, the hotel was declared bankrupt and a new owner has since taken over. The new management have since stated their interest in renovating and repairing the building but only time will tell what the destiny of Interhotel Veliko Tarnovo has in store.

    Special thanks to Stefan Spassov