If you plan to visit Sofia, it is quite possible to come across the effects of the communist regime in Bulgaria on the streets. You can see the communist history of Bulgaria, the pros and cons of the period, and the artifacts from that period. But have you ever wondered what the life of a normal Bulgarian family was like during the 45 years Bulgaria was ruled by the communist regime?
The Red Flat is an interactive exhibition in a communist-era apartment in the center of Sofia that takes you back to the 1980s, to the end of the communist era in Bulgaria, and explains its historical and social context. The Red Flat project is a smart and creative way to learn about the past. You buy your ticket in a shop and then take a short walk to the flat. As soon as you enter you are given an MP3 player with 46 stories about life in Communist Bulgaria in the 1980s. The stories take you from room to room. You step back in time into the life of the Petrovi family, a normal Bulgarian family, and vaguely trace 46 objects through visual and audio information. The museum stories are told through the characters of the fictional Petrovi family, father, mother and son, who live in the apartment.
The story of the Petrovi family began by explaining that for a normal Bulgarian family, socializing takes place inside the home. Photographs on the wall, albums with family photos and books approved by the communist party made the living room special. While examining the radios and record players from that period in the apartment, you learn about the difficulty of accessing Western artifacts and the government’s interference in broadcasting. The Balkan bicycle on display in the bedroom was a legendary item for Bulgarian children growing up in those years.
In Red Flat, unlike other museums, visitors are allowed to explore objects, open cupboards, read newspapers, books and magazines. You can interact with all available objects inside the apartment and touch them. In the living room, you can sit on the sofa and watch programs from the 80s. In the last stories, you can learn about the social and economic changes that took place with the collapse of the Soviet Bloc. Red Flat was one of the most interesting places in Sofia with all these different perspectives. It is a creative project that makes you think and gain insight into the life of a family in 1980s Communist Bulgaria. I recommend you to visit this red flat, frozen in time, to get an idea of what is behind this interesting project.