Want to get a closer look at the traditions and customs of Bansko? Or would you like to enjoy a rich cultural and musical program while you are a guest of the town? Then the place for you is one – the “Nikola Vaptsarov – 1894″ community center!
Bansko is a town that keenly preserves its rich historical, cultural and architectural heritage, and its community center is the biggest cultural center not only for the town but also for the whole municipality.
History of the „Nikola Vaptsarov – 1894” community center – one of the symbols of the Bulgarian history in Bansko
The year in which the Community center was founded is the distant 1894. It was a time when more and more people in Bansko were craving for new knowledge and had a strong need for a place where they can both evolve and develop, but also to protect their traditions and customs, passing them from generation to generation.
We do not know who gave the idea of creating the community center, nor did we know how this initiative has become a reality, but we know that it was originally called “Rural Holiday” and in the first years of its creation began to develop an active educational and amateur activity.
The founders of the community center had a clear vision of how they could reach the hearts of all the Bansko people and realized the power of the art and the influence it had on the people.
That is why one of the first things that they did as soon as they collected a book-stock for their library was to create an amateur theatrical troupe, which presented in front of the public of Bansko popular theater performances.
This was the way to introduce the people of Bansko to the rest of the world, presenting it through the prism of theater plays.
The first staging of the amateur theater, formed in the Community center, was „Long-suffering Genoveva”. The names of the amateur actors involved in the play are lost in time and are unknown today, but it is known that when the town was announced to have a theatrical performance, the community center was overwhelmed by people who came to see what theater was.
“Long-suffering Genoveva” has been a huge success and this has set the beginning of a rich theater program, which the Bansko people awaited with great interest.
Once attracted by the magic of Melpomena, the Community center decided that it was time to present to their fellow citizens an art that has been unknown to that moment.
Thus in 1922 for the first time on the stage of the community center was placed the operetta “Gypsies” and believe it or not, this art was also very highly appreciated by the people of Bansko.
Elated by the enormous success of the performances that the amateurs performed in front of the local audience, Angel Balev decided to create the first mixed choir for school singing in Bansko, and a chitara-mandolin orchestra, in which also participated Nikola Vaptsarov.
After the end of the Second World War and after the change that took place in our country, the ideology that the Community center followed also changed. Some of the books disappeared, others came in their place, and it was no longer possible for some world authors to be made available for reading.
Similar changes occurred throughout the country and the Bansko community center, which has been renamed “Nikola Vaptsarov – 1894”, had to follow the imposed political line. The more important thing, however, was not that!
Despite all these changes, the Community center not only did not reduce or stop the development of amateur activity, but also expanded that activity.
During the first years after the changes in the political atmosphere of our country, Lyuben Chuchulayn restored the mixed choir, Angel Zahov created a dance ensemble, Valentin Leanov formed the first pop group in Bansko, and Snezhana Yoleva took under her wing the young talents of the town and created a circle of art word.
In the 60s of the last century, the famous Bansko men’s group for singing in two voices was created at the Community center, which was so successful that it became the ambassador of Bulgaria around the world.
After the Bansko men’s group, which the locals know better under the name of the Matsurev’s group, several more similar bands for male singing in two voices were created, some of which exist and are still active today. Some of the most popular groups that are favorite of the Bansko people are the groups created by Georgi Gumov, the band of Boris Popov (“Star Merak”), the youth folk group of Dimitar Kasapinov and others.
The ladies are also very talented and wanted to show their singing and dancing abilities, and as a result were created women’s folk groups such as “Glazenski napevi” with leader Nadka Hadjilaskova, the singing group led by Yordanka Kehayova, the folk dance group with directors Raina Asseva and Desislava Bahanova and many more, which, like the men’s groups, have achieved great success and were enjoyed not only by the people from Bansko but also by the people from all over the country and abroad because of their unique performances.
Approximately ten years ago, a children’s tambourine orchestra with the head Georgi Kasapinov was created at the Community center, where young amateurs participate in a number of folk and international folklore festivals.
In 2009, on the occasion of the 115th anniversary of the establishment of the “Nikola Vaptsarov – 1894” community center, the amateurs of Bansko surprised their fellow citizens with the performance of the newly formed Ensemble for Authentic Folklore, which managed to build a bridge between the generations with the music and the dances that it recreates on stage.
Of course, it is impossible today to reach the youngest generation without cheerleading ensemble and modern dance school, so similar groups were created at the community center. The performances of the young talents of Bansko are invariably present in the cultural program of the town and are enjoyed by ll people in Bansko and by its guests.
In addition to the cheerleading ensembleand the modern dance school, a Youth Theater and Music School and the Pop vocal group were created at the Community center.
The Community center is actively present in the life of the people in Bansko and today it is no wonder that for the locals it is one of the symbols of the Bulgarian history in Bansko.
The unique thing about this community center is that from the moment of its creation to this day it does not stop evolving and keenly guarding the customs and traditions of the Bansko region.
It takes a lot of effort to be able to work so selflessly for the preservation of cultural traditions, but people in Bansko are “made ffrom another dough.” They do not give up on the difficulties and they hold extremely much on their area, traditions, customs and values.
This is very clear today, and everyone who visits the town can feel the love with which various amateur groups tell the history of the town through the music, the songs and the dances.
Today the Community center has a library of over 50 000 volumes of literature, which it provides to its readers. One of the main goals of all employees who work in the Community center is to continue to collect and increase this stock, as reading books is the only way for the younger generation to expand its horizons and begin to dream about the world.
At present, the library has a rich collection of artistic and scientific literature from authors around the world. Everyone who visits the library at the Community center can also benefit from free internet access, which is highly appreciated not only by the younger but also by the older generation, which with enormous curiosity enters the world of internet communication.
Besides the amateur ensembles that are active, there are also painting schools, piano classes, accordion, tamboura, folk dance school, and so on, at the Community center.
In the amateur groups more than 190 people perform on the stages of different events, festivals, singing competitions and outplaying in the whole country and abroad.
The Community center is among the main participants in the celebration of important events for the town and the performances of its amateurs are included in the cultural program of the town. There is no celebration or event popularizing the traditions and customs of Bansko, which does not include the amateur groups of the Community center.
And that’s not all! The building of “Nikola Vaptsarov – 1894” community center almost all year round hosts various theatrical and musical productions, exhibitions of local and foreign artists, literary readings and presentations of books and more.
The cultural calendar of the Community center is extremely varied and multi-layered and if you are a guest of Bansko you will visit at least one event held in the town, in which there will be for sure the amateur groups of the Community center.
The Community center is among the organizers and hosts of some of the biggest cultural events held in Bansko, such as the International Ballet Festival, The Summer Music Celebrations “To the Audience with Love”, the International Jazz Festival, the “Morning Star” Art Festival, the International Festival of Mountaineering Cinema and many, many others.
For the people in Bansko, the Community center is not just a building where a number of books are kept. For them the “Nikola Vaptsarov – 1894” Community center is a true symbol of Bulgarian history. It is the flame that keeps alive the music, the songs, the dances, the crafts and the customs with which the generations of Bansko people have been living. It is the thread that connects the young generation with their roots but is also the place where young people can dream, develop and discover other worlds.
Why did we tell you all this?
Because we do not want you to miss visiting this place while you’re in town. Because we do not want you to miss to feel the magic of the music, the songs and the dancing of the amateur groups of Bansko. We do not want to miss a theatrical performance or an exhibition hosted by “Nikola Vaptsarov – 1894” Community center.
We do not want you to miss those events because this community center is really unique and it is worth to be considered as one of the biggest sights in the town.
What is the location of the community center in Bansko?
The address of the Community center is N 1 “Nikola Vaptsarov” square and you can reach it very easily. You just have to get to the center of the town and to the museum – house of Nikola Vaptsarov … and you are already in front of its doors.