Kapana Creative District
"Kapana Creative District" is a flagship project of Plovdiv 2019 and one of its emblems.
It started while Plovdiv was preparing for the race to host the European Capital of Culture 2019 event, and has successfully continued as a highest-rank project in the programme of Plovdiv 2019.
"Kapana Creative District" is part of the TRANSFORM platform, within the Urban Dreams cluster, which aims at bringing about long-term sustainable interference into Plovdiv’s cityscape, as well as rediscovering and revitalizing deserted city spaces by filling them with cultural content.
The project has succeeded in energizing the potential of Kapana
Over the course of its existence, the project has succeeded in energizing the potential of Kapana as a representative quarter. By employing a set of interdisciplinary activities, it has developed the area into the first Bulgarian creative industries district. The underlying concept is the revival of the area in downtown Plovdiv – a busy commercial and artisanal centre since its establishment – and its transformation into a place for discovery, innovation and experimenting in the fields of culture, culture management and the creative industries.
One of the most magnetic city locations
Kapana has again been recognized as a genuine cultural location in recent years, and mostly since 2014, when it was backed by the Plovdiv authorities and became a cultural perspective for the Plovdiv 2019 Foundation. The quarter has become one of the most magnetic city locations – a centre for artists, curators, culture managers, artisans, writers and musicians, and for people working for it to grow into a recognizable and active urban environment. Gradually the focus turned to the experience and emotion that it brings – the things that today make Kapana’s intriguing mesh of streets a place with its own distinctive spirit and unique atmosphere.
Paris was “captured in Kapana”
Also Paris was “captured in Kapana” by the Plovdiv 2019 Foundation and the Bulgarian Institute of Culture in Paris. In 2017 the two organizations presented “Kapana Creative Distirict,” a series of photographs, video and audio installations at the Week of Foreign Cultures in Paris. (For details, visit visitkapana.bg/2017/09/12/). The history of the artisanal quarter, its moments of crisis, its growth into a part of the European Capital of Culture 2019, and the dreams and memories of its inhabitants are some of the themes of the exhibition. The show will continue its journey in Brussels, Strasbourg and Warsaw, among other cities, in 2018 and 2019.
Kapana as a long-term initiative
The Plovdiv 2019 Foundation is currently preparing “Kapana Creative District” as a long-term initiative by launching annual thematic open calls that seek to foster the quarter’s development. This effort started in 2014 and seeks to support and develop creative spaces by paying 12-month rents for studios, galleries and creative centres, among other sites for art development. The open calls that will follow will combine artists’ settling in the Kapana quarter and the realization of events and initiatives in urban environments. Another route is the development of Kapana’s new visual identity, which will invite visitors to live there and become part of its story – visitkapana.bg/visual-identity, – as well as a new web bilingual presence for the quarter (visitkapana.bg).
So far there have been more than 60 projects that have received support in the five stages. More than 300 events have taken place:
- 2014. Phase 1 – Open call “Establishment / Settling in Kapana” - 10 projects, total amount - 36.000 BGN. For details, visit visitkapana.bg/2017/04/18/20142015.
- 2015. Phase II – Open call “Establishment / Settling in Kapana” - 6 projects, as well as “Projects and Events in Kapana” - 13 projects, total amount for both - 40.000 BGN. For details - visitkapana.bg/2017/04/18/20152016.
- 2016. Phase III – Open call “Kapana: Events and Interferences in Urban Environment” - 9 projects, total amount 20.000 BGN. This phase includes also the new visual identity as well as a new web presence for the quarter (http://visitkapana.bg). For details - visitkapana.bg/2017/04/18/20162017.
- 2017. Phase IV – Open call “Events and Interferences in Urban Environment in the Kapana Quarter”. Focus: French culture - 5 projects, total amount - 35.000 BGN. For details - visitkapana.bg/2017/10/18/20172018/.
- 2019. Phase V - Open call with focus' Youth's Core for events in public spaces in Kapana with focus on youths culture, contemporary circus, street art. Twenty-four proposals were received for the competition. Of these, the jury selected twelve projects, totalling BGN 49,981.07, and proposed one reserve. For details - https://visitkapana.bg/en/2019/03/27/2019/
For complete descriptions of all Kapana-related events, news, open calls and projects, as well as for details about the history of the quarter and its inhabitants, visit visitkapana.bg or Kapana’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/kapana.creative.district.
In July 2019 Kapana - Creative District is awarded by the Chamber of the Bulgarian Architects with the prize “Guardian of the Bulgarian Architectural Heritage” #KAB
- In November 2020 Kapana - Creative District was selected, after a successful bid of Plovdiv 2019 Foundation, and included in a catalogue featuring 32 good practices of Cultural Heritage in Action. See details here.
- In 2021, after 5 years, Plovdiv 2019 Foundation made an update to the 2016th mapping of Kapana Creative District. Of the 23 streets in the territory of KAPANA, 12 are entirely pedestrian, 7 are mixed and 4 are fully accessible by car. According to the cadastral map of the neighbourhood and additional fieldwork, a total of 334 buildings/properties have been mapped inside the district, of which 17 are entirely residential, 175 have mixed functions and 142 have entirely public/non-residential functions. 606 is the total number of active locations/businesses in Kapana. From these, 179 meet the classification criteria for creative industries. In the district, there are 24 galleries, 11 music clubs. There are 45 restaurants / fast food spots, and 64 cafes/bars/pastries. The total retail outlets representing non-creative industries is 315. 83 are currently non-functioning sites - some of them are in the process of renovation or construction, others are looking for tenants or buyers, and a third are abandoned. 33 are spaces, both on the first and on the upper floors, which are used as service or storage premises in the service of businesses. Full description /In Bulgarian language/ and the results of the mapping you can find here and on https://visitkapana.bg/.
See more about the district here:
Kapana is a pulse, an emotion, a provocation and a puzzle. Kapana is discreet, and yet significant, human and magnetic. It is the heart of the urban living organism and Plovdiv deserves exactly this kind of spirit and definitely this kind of future - of a creative district - an attractive place for artists, curators, cultural managers, artisans, architects, software specialists, urbanists, writers and musicians from the whole country and of a recognizable international center. There is no other place in our city, which has existed for more than 5 centuries with such a concentration of places vital for our social activities and with a remarkable sense of urban environment and atmosphere. What makes Kapana district so special is its human dimension – it is so easy to find - being close to all the major attractions in the city; you can’t remain indifferent - the concentration of galleries, studios, workshops, pedestrian street spaces, bars and restaurants here is unique; you are always well hosted - it offers a broad range of possibilities for tasting local cuisine and specialties from Spain, Italy, Turkey, Greece and it will make you feel comfortable by providing you with cozy choice and feeling; it will give you the feeling of a friendship, because even though you may be here for the first time you will be surrounded by friends. Kapana is a place that gives you the cosiness of the customized visit, the European cultural hub perspective and the freedom “to get lost”. The efforts and the will of all operators that have invested time and energy in the revitalization and the maintenance of the district are deep-rooted and predispose the pulse of the place to stay.