You can see Vrana Park and Palace for free till the end of June 2013
Vrana palace is located on the outskirts of the capital city of Sofia, along the Sofia-Istanbul international highway, and its park covers an area of around 100 hectars.
After Bulgaria’s liberation in 1878, Chardakliya – a Turkish homestead of long-standing, became property of Bone Petrov –a local man of wealth. He auctioned the estate and it was sold to Georgi Stranski, who was in possession of it for three weeks. In January 1899, Prince Ferdinand I bought the Chardakliya homestead and subsequently purchased adjacent plots of land.
A modern two-storey villa, designed by architect Georgi Filov, was built at the royal estate in 1906. The architectural design combines an exquisite interpretation of the Plovdiv baroque with Viennese decorative elements, and is considered one of the masterpieces of Bulgarian architecture from the beginning of the 20th century. The construction of the residence building was coupled with land development for farming purposes and related construction work on large areas. Greenhouses and even a small zoo were built.
In 1900, the ambition of the Prince to create a model homestead kick-started the park development with the planting and afforestation of decorative species. Another lake and several rock-gardens were added to the landscape. The activity involved Bulgarian and foreign landscape architects, but there was no general landscape design of the park.
The construction of the royal palace, designed by architect Nikola Lazarov, took place between 1912 and 1914. Its architecture is an interpretation of Byzantine and 19-century Bulgarian revival-style influences, combined with art nouveau and French classicism. This sophisticated architectural language is subject to a consistently executed baroque composition, extrapolated to the park surroundings with ponds and floral decorative compositions.
In 1912, the homestead was formally renamed Vrana palace. Landscape architect Anton Kraus was entrusted with the design and park development. He skillfully arranged the composition followinf the classical practices of the 19th century art of landscape design. His works display an aspiration to create a kind of a botanical garden, and he was aided in this by Alaricus Delmard, Johann Kelerer and in particular by the natural scientist King Ferdinand I.
The three-dimensional and volumetric composition of Vrana as a decorative landscape design of botanical nature was completed in broad outline by 1920.
In the years that followed, the newly created park underwent improvements in some of its elements and fresh details were added to its unique silhouette and colour scheme landscape, which offers marvelous views in perspective, as designed by Wilhelm Schaht.
The Vrana park and palace in their artistic fusion represent a masterpiece of Bulgarian landscape architecture and the art of gardening.
Location: 381 Tsarigradsko shose blv., Sofia
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