Urban Menus

Street Gluharche, Dragalevci

Upon leaving the roundabout towards the Dragalevtsi district, past the ring road, one is met with exquisitely designed and constructed residences, restaurants, and shops. However, as you delve further into the heart of this elite and costly district, marked by a cemetery park on the left and a Chinese restaurant on the right, a conspicuous problem arises: the unmistakable odor of sewage. Despite its status, Dragalevtsi lacks a proper sewage system.

The most direct pedestrian path to the district’s center, Gluharche Street, embodies further infrastructural issues. It, along with several other streets, lacks sidewalks and surface water drainage systems. These shortcomings lead to overflow, freezing, and subsequent damage to the asphalt pavement.

Car owners freely park on sidewalks, due to a lack of regulation and enforcement by the municipality regarding maintenance of the spaces in front of houses. This lack of oversight contributes to an environment of disorder. Winter makes crossing the sloping streets difficult due to frozen water runoff. Despite these issues, the street still boasts of a hotel at one end and a view of the “Saint Mary, Mother of Jesus” church at the other. Even in the summer, the water continues to flow, acting as a metaphor for the persistent spirit of overcoming adversity.

Main Road between Knyazhevo and Vladaya

Residents of Vladaya, a remote district within Vitosha, encounter daily struggles in commuting to their workplaces in Sofia’s city center or the adjacent Knyazhevo district. The problematic journey revolves largely around Tsar Boris Blvd., a vital 5-kilometer long artery in Sofia that extends from Acad Blvd. Ivan Evstratiev Geshov to European road E79, intersecting multiple districts and markets. The boulevard’s infrastructure deficiencies, including a lack of transportation alternatives and deteriorating asphalt conditions, exacerbate the issue. The daily intervention by traffic police with barriers and cones to manage the 2-lane route adds to the congestion.

Frequent road repairs due to asphalt conditions, coupled with the low speed control on the boulevard, often result in traffic accidents, restricting the traffic flow on the already narrow road. This makes the daily commute of Vladaya residents, many of whom work around the city center, an arduous task.

If Vitosha municipality colleagues from Vladaya aim to arrive at work almost on time, they must allot an hour and a half for a mere 7.5-kilometer commute involving two vehicle changes and walking. Punctuality would require an even earlier start and almost 2 hours of commuting time. The poor transport services connecting these nearby neighborhoods, despite being part of the same municipality, highlight the shortcomings in traffic organization.

The Dragalevci Lift

The Dragalevci lift, situated in Vitosha mountain, holds the distinction of being not only the oldest lift in Bulgaria but also in the Balkans. A two-seater lift that starts from Sofia’s Dragalevci district, it covers an elevation difference of 893 meters over a length of 1775 meters, taking 32 minutes for the full journey. Despite its historical significance and potential utility, the lift has been inactive for three years due to political reasons.

The lift building has unfortunately been subjected to vandalism, attributed largely to the lack of security and surveillance. This poses a challenge for nature conservation, as the mountain access is restricted to motorized vehicles. The lift was once frequented by cyclists for day trips up the mountain and served as a direct route to Goli Vrah and further to Cherni Vrah, the mountain’s peak.

The lift and the station pose safety risks due to the high current voltage that needs securing. Despite being a symbol of Sofia, offering natural experiences and adventurous journeys, the lift is now unlit, unwelcoming, and hazardous during the evenings. Nearby pedestrian alleys lead to attractions such as the Dragalevci Monastery, but lack of maintenance and exploitation hinder the area’s potential. Despite council meetings and reconstruction approvals, no repairs have been initiated, leading to a decline in tourism and local interest.

Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Education and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA). Neither the European Union nor EACEA can be held responsible for them.

Funded by the European Union.