Sofia is frequently overlooked by travellers as a boring city with little to do but we discovered The Red Flat and think it might be Sofia’s best city tourist attraction? If you’re looking to visit Sofia and searching for unique things to do in the city, think about having a trip over to this house’s link to its communist past.
How Much Does It Cost
Ever since we visited the DDR Museum in Berlin, I’ve been fascinated with learning more about communism in eastern Europe. Although many western media outlets paint communism as a black period in time most older Bulgarians talk about this period with fondness and many even wish to return to those times as they were much less complicated than modern life.
I was eager to learn more about why life from that period is often tainted with rose glasses. Our visit to the flat cost 18 Lev or €9 each. We paid in cash in lev but they do accept card payments as well.
Where To Buy Tickets?
You will need to purchase the tickets at the shop: GIFTED urban culture hub, on Ul. Ivan Denkgolu.
Once you’ve paid for the tickets, you’ll meet your guide and be accompanied to the apartment on the opposite street. It’s roughly a 3 minute walk into the apartment and at least two sets of steps up.
When Is It Open?
The Red Flat is open Monday – Sunday 10:30-13:00, 14:00 – 18:00.
What Happens In The Apartment?
Once in the apartment you’re made to feel at home and you have the chance to remove your shoes and wear the family’s slippers, hang up your coat, take your listening device and explore the house at your own leisure.
How Long Will A Visit Take?
There are forty-six different elements to listen, touch, smell, eat, drink and learn! I’d allow at least ninety minutes and really use this opportunity to go through the cupboards, play with the toys, try on the clothes, eat the toast & fenugreek and see how this family lived here in this apartment.
Our kids were 9,11 & 16 years old when they visited here. They all enjoyed it however I could see with a child, maybe under 7 years old, that they would become bored quite quickly.
What Is There To See?
There are five different rooms and forty-six different elements to listen to on your listening device. These include the reception area, open plan living room and dining room, a bedroom, bathroom and kitchen.
You can sit in the mustard yellow comfy chairs and listen to the stories or you can walk around the house and explore each element. Whether you’re looking through the photo albums in the dining room, listening to music in the lounge, admiring Boyan’s bike in his bedroom or wondering whether you can still use the washing machine in the kitchen, there’s plenty to see and do.
You’ll learn about what life was like for this family under communist rule with a father working away in Libya and the electricity being randomly turned off (nothing has changed there!). You’ll be made some communist toast which you’ll dip into fengreek (a herb used in Bulgaria to welcome guests) and you’ll drink something that resembles fizzy burdoch juice. I really liked this part!
Take Your Time
Don’t be afraid to open all of the cupboards & drawers, look through the books, try on the clothes, move the pots & pans, open the washing machine, change the records, play with the toys, look at the badges, flick through the telephone book. The more you do and see, the more you’ll be able to grasp what life must have been like under communist rule.
I was surprised how easy it was to become emotionally involved in the red flat and the occupants life. Do you feel frustrated for Boyan? A teenager’s life under communist rule was not easy but his father benefited from foreign luxuries that most familes could only dream of!
Best Parts Of From The Red Flat?
Some of our best moments from the flat were playing with the toys in the bedroom, drinking the juice and listening to the stories of communist life on the listening device.
What will your best part be? Let us know!
What Else Could You Do In Bulgaria?
After your immersion into communist life, what else could you do in Bulgaria?