The Bulgarian National Bank

2, Prince Alexander I Sq.

Established in 1879 by the Provisional Russian Government, the Bulgarian National Bank is among the first state institutions of the newly liberated Principality. Its first known address, used by the bank since 1894, was on the corner of Lege Str. and Prince Alexander I Blvd. The two-storey building was designed by the Swiss architect Herman Mayer, also author of other emblematic buildings of the capital, such as the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, the first home of the Slavyanska Beseda Community Centre, the mausoleum of Prince Alexander I. The richly decorated elegant façade, the colonnade and the imposing metal dome crowning the building, put it on the list of iconic Secession specimen, which contribute to the late 19th century transformation of the architectural identity of the capital. Despite several extensions, the building retained its majestic appearance and functions until the second half of the 1930s, when the Bulgarian National Bank gradually relocated to the newly constructed building on Prince Alexander I Sq., designed by the prominent Bulgarian architects Ivan Vasilyov and Dimitar Tsolov. The former building was ceded to the newly established Bulgarian Credit Bank. The Second World War left its stamp on both Bulgarian National Bank buildings. The one on Alexander I Blvd. took a severe hit from the bombings. The roof was destroyed; the sculptural panel on the gable lost forever. The more robust building on Prince Alexander I Sq. was spared, perhaps by the stationed on its roof Light Air Defence platoon.