Sofia University Saint Kliment Ohridski
Sofia University or the St. Clement of Ohrid University of Sofia is the oldest higher education school in Bulgaria. It was founded in 1888. That is 10 years after the liberation from Ottomans. The brothers Evlogii Georgiev and Hristo Georgiev supported the Construction of the building. And it has been made mainly between 1924 and 1934. We can still see the brothers’ sculptures on the facade of the university in our daily tours Sofia.
Sofia University has 16 faculties and three departments. More than 21,000 students receive their education in the university. In addition, it also has a university library, a university press, a computer centre, a sports centre and several other structures.
The university was founded as Bulgaria’s primary institution of higher education. Initially, it had 4 regular and 3 additional lecturers and 49 students.
On 1 October 1888 Sofia University, as we know it today, came to the world as a Higher Pedagogical Course. In January 1889 it became a Higher School. Eventually, in 1904 it became ‘Bulgarian University brothers Evlogii and Hristo Georgievi from Karlovo’ (as was their donative will). The first rector was the Bulgarian linguist Aleksandar Teodorov-Balan.
In 1907, during the opening of the National Theatre, Prince Ferdinand was booed. Sofia University students, who were not happy with his reign, organized a noisy demonstration against him. With his order the university was closed. And all professors, readers and lecturers fired. The crisis carried on for 6 months till Alexander Malinov became in charge of the new government.
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In 1901 the first women were welcomed to the university. Till the beginning of the Balkan Wars, student number reached to 1,379 (725 men and 654 women).
In 1906 Henri Bréancon won the competititon for a building of the state university with his project. However, several were the reasons why the university couldn’t be built until 1920. One of them was surely World War I. Then architect Yordan Milanov had to revise Breancon’s project and eventually the construction process began on 30 June 1924. University officially opened on 16 December 1934.
After the regime in Bulgaria became communist on 9 September, radical changes were made in the university system of the country. Communist lecturers got better position in the university. It didn’t matter how good they were. If they were not sharing the idea of communism, they were not welcome in the university. A Russian model had been used in the communist time.
The idea of the first Bulgarian Antarctic expedition and team was discussed in the Sofia University. In commemoration of the university’s centennial celebrated in 1988, and in appreciation of the university’s contribution to the Antarctic exploration, the Bulgarian expedition founded a Bulgarian base on Livingston Island which today serves as a centre for explorations.
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