Popa (The Priest) – Popular Places in Sofia

Popa, The Priest – the small square or to be more precise, the small triangle locked between the central streets of Vassil Levski Blvd, Graf Ignatiev Str and Patriarch Evtimii Blvd possesses the monument of the last partiarch of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom – Patriarch Evtimii.

The statue remains, however, unnoticed among the so many people that crowd it in the Sofian evenings. The place is where everybody meets. Mostly young people, pupils and students.

It used to be notorious with the riots of the football hooligans, the fans of Levski FC who used to tie their blue scarves on the tree that towers over the meeting spot. But that is part of its history.

The location is very lively and busy. You can always see someone waiting. That is why there are so many public phones, too. Lovers, friends, business partners they all take off and find their way from one and the same spot. So I can freely call it an egalitarian spot.

The very interesting thing about the Priest (Popa) is that is not exactly a hanging-around spot, no matter that you can often enough see youngsters sitting at the feet of the monument drinking beer and smoking cigarettes. Who and when called it „Popa“ (i.e. „the Priest“) is unclear but the appellation obviously endured.

Just opposite the street you can see the film library cinema – Odeon it is the alternative to Popa as a meeting spot. I think that the more shy people prefer to meet there because Popa is a place of popularity and main stream.

If you have a meeting at the triangle you will inevitably end up looking at all the other people there as everyone have dressed-up and are ready to impress the awaited one. And the spirit of the place is prevailed by temporary fashion as attire, attitude, slang and popularity so characteristic of the young and eager. That is why the more underground affilitated prefer just-opposite-the-street spot in front of the Odeon cinema.

Popa, however, attracts and one of the most recent proof is the counter of the sexually satisfied placed for a day there by the Sexual Health Association during its Flame for Sex campaign. The plate with the counted practitioners is still there up on a lamp to the left.

Can you allow yourself to call the place conventional? I am just joking, but this once more comes to show that this is a spot which belongs to the forever young.

The place in itself is a tram stop and a small garden, up the stairs near the always grubby tap and the always broken benches. Unfortunately, the ruined small garden is not thawing with the years, it stands like the shadow of the well-lit meeting spot swarming with well-dressed youngsters.

Hopefully some day the garden will bloom. And there among the pure urban medium, among the machinery of public transportation and all the hustle and bustle of thoughts, emotions and expectations Popa will be in itself cosy and beautiful.

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