Surrounded by controversy, a four metre high statue of 10th century Bulgarian ruler Tsar Samuil was to be unveiled in central Sofia on June 8, amid calls for a postponement and rethink of the placing of the statue and with the row extending even to the appearance of its “glow in the dark” eyes.
Critics have likened the statue - the height of which is further augmented by a 2.2 metre pedestal - to something out of Nikola Gruevski’s grandiosely kitsch Skopje 2020 project, with one suggesting that Gruevski be invited to Sofia to unveil the Tsar Samuil statue. Bulgarian head of state President Rossen Plevneliev was to preside at the unveiling ceremony at the statue’s spot outside the historic St Sofia basilica, with Bulgarian Orthodox Church head Patriarch Neofit scheduled to pronounce a blessing, and with other VIPs attending including Prime Minister Boiko Borissov, Speaker of Parliament Tsetska Tsacheva and Sofia mayor Yordanka Fandukova.
The placing of the sculpture is part of commemorations of 1000 years since the death of Tsar Samuil, a figure who is - as part of a longstanding controversy - also claimed by Bulgaria’s neighbour, the former Yugoslav republic. Samuil was the Tsar of the First Bulgarian Empire from 997 until his death in October 1014. Read more… LINK Independent Balkan news