site.btaAstronomical Observatory of Sofia University in Borisova Gradina Park to Be Renovated by Next Summer

Astronomical Observatory of Sofia University in Borisova Gradina Park to Be Renovated by Next Summer
Astronomical Observatory of Sofia University in Borisova Gradina Park to Be Renovated by Next Summer
Astronomical Observatory of Sofia University (BTA Photo)

A major renovation of the Astronomical Observatory of the St Kliment Ohridski University of Sofia in the capital's Borisova Gradina park has started several weeks ago. The condition of the buildings is not good and the renovation was long-awaited, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Evgeni Ovcharov, Head of the Department of Astronomy at the Faculty of Physics of Sofia University, told BTA. The renovation of the observatory complex is expected to be completed next summer.

The Astronomical Observatory of Sofia University (SU) has been a monument of culture since 1976 and there are five buildings in the complex, noted Ovcharov. The University Astronomical Observatory is one of the first observatories in the Balkans.

He pointed out that the department staff has been fighting for six-seven years for the renovation and restoration of the observatory. In recent years, all the necessary permissions, approvals and design for the renovation have been obtained in compliance with all the rules keeping in view the monument status. "Finally, in early March this year, the construction site was opened for the purpose of repair and restoration of the observatory, and we were first asked by the SU administration and the contractor to dismantle the observatory's Large Telescope, the oldest telescope on a permanent foundation," said Ovcharov. The old telescope has been temporarily dismantled and its mount and column have been packed away to protect them during the replacement of the dome's cladding. On May 10, 2023, the renovation work actually began with work to strengthen the foundations of the Great Dome and the Clock Building.

He expects that in the summer of next year the renovation will be completely finished, including the renovation of the fountain and the pool with the sculpture of Vasil Zidarov: a child holding a star from which water comes out. "The child is holding a comet, and comets are in a sense the symbols of life, because they are believed to have brought water to Earth," explained Ovcharov.

He clarified that the funding for the project has not been fully secured yet. "Back in 2017, a large private company expressed willingness to donate BGN 50,000 for the renovation and this will happen in the coming weeks and months. BGN 100,000 has been secured by a decree of the Council of Ministers in 2018. As far as I know from the management of the SU, more funds have been allocated for the observatory again this year from the SU's earmarked funds for renovations," he said. According to him, about half of the amount needed for the restoration has now been secured, which, according to last year's accounts, is about BGN 850,000. A charity exhibition at the Rector's Office is to be held next week to help financially with the repairs and restoration and hopefully there will be enough targeted funds in the coming months and next year to complete the repairs as planned, he said.

/DS/

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By 00:46 on 18.04.2024 Today`s news

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