The Red Flat: an immersive experience of day-to-day life in socialist Bulgaria

Ever wondered what life was like for an average Bulgarian family during communism? In The Red Flat, an interactive and immersive exhibition in an authentic socialist-era apartment in central Sofia, you can do just that.

The kitchen: curiously, Bulgaria was the first Eastern Bloc country to produce Coca-Cola
The kitchen: curiously, Bulgaria was the first Eastern Bloc country to produce Coca-Cola

The Red Flat’s front door might just as well be a time portal to the 1980s. As you enter the apartment, you’re instantly teleported to the private world of the Petrovi family for an audio-guided, true-to-life journey back in time.

Some of the toys in socialist-era Bulgaria were true design classics
Some of the toys in socialist-era Bulgaria were true design classics

Passing through the living room (doubling as a bedroom for one), the children’s room and the kitchen, you’ll learn about topics all around everyday life in communist Bulgaria, from labour in the state’s planned economy to football rivalries and preparing winter supplies. Feel free to browse through the Petrovi family’s collection of books, postcards and photo albums. Peek into the wardrobe and try some genuine socialist wear, if you like! A spontaneous photo session for you Instagram is not just allowed but encouraged.

You weren't strictly required to be a party member back then — but it helped
You weren’t strictly required to be a party member back then — but it helped

You could even listen to pre-recorded fairy tales on the telephone, as Bulgarian children used to do, or read the Worker’s Deed newspaper in the toilet. The legendary Balkan bicycle, Sofia 85 TV set, Maritsa 30 typewriter and Resprom record player are all in working order – I wouldn’t taste the Pleven beer and BT cigarettes from the 1980s though!

What's it gonna be, Bulgarian National Radio or Radio Free Europe?
What’s it gonna be, Bulgarian National Radio or Radio Free Europe?

The Red Flat is located at Tsar Asen Street 12 in the heart of Sofia, a hundred metres away from Vitosha Boulevard. Pass through the Gifted shop at Ivan Denkoglu Street 24 first to buy your ticket for 18 BGN (9 euro). The exhibition is open every day from 10:30 to 19:30, with last admission at 18:00.

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