The Tobacco City

A leading project

"The Tobacco City" is a flagship project for Plovdiv 2019 that started during Plovdiv's preparation for the race for hosting the European Capital of Culture 2019. It continues as a key component of the programme of Plovdiv 2019.

"The Tobacco City" is part of the TRANSFORM platform, within the Urban Dreams cluster, which aims at bringing about sustainable long-term interference into Plovdiv’s cityscape, as well as rediscovering and revitalizing deserted city spaces by filling them with cultural content.


The project seeks to use art to attract attention to the challenge of preserving the industrial and architectural heritage of the unique tobacco warehouses and factories, which still carry their onetime charm and the scent of tobacco in the heart of the city. The project's specifics relate to the face of the district – large-scale development, protected cultural-historical areas and the fact that all the buildings are private property.

The development of Tobacco City relies on partnerships with local and international organisations and artists with whom to exchange good practices and to organise, in a contemporary context, a European-level discussion about the problematic heritage.



  • October: The Plovdiv 2019 Foundation and the Bulgarian National Television organise "The Disappearing Tobacco City", an exhibition laid out as a series of documentaries and dedicated to the crumbling district. Idea for the event and the materials for the exhibition come from the journalist and theatre critic Ms Penka Kalinkova, who also engages the students from The Academy of Music, Dance and Fine Arts in Plovdiv, the National High School of Stage and Film design and the National High School of Fine arts in the city. A public discussion arises which attracts attention to the issues of preserving history in the area as well as to the area's transformation into a centre for culture and art. Check more details Here


  • It is citizen participation and initiatives that are a key factor for the development of the project. The Plovdiv 2019 Foundation organises a public discussion titled "Tobacco City – Possibilities and Expectations". The opinions expressed centre on the transformation, through art mechanisms, of the warehouses' interiors and exteriors.
  • Plovdiv 2019 develops a visual identity and a website, Tobacco City (, where visitors can take a virtual walk around the area, share stories, experiences and ideas for how the buildings should look.
  • Plovdiv 2019 and its partners organise Shared Space, a one-day event in which a street in Tobacco City is transformed into a common space featuring art installations, a brass orchestra concert, a farmer's market, a gourmet corner, artisans' stalls and a children's corner.


  • A content-rich bilingual website, (, is publicly presented offering comprehensive information about the activities within the Tobacco City project, the area's history, the best examples from around the world and a multitude of general ideas about the area's future. The Tobacco City website starts alongside the thematic issue of Nula 32 ("Zero 32"), a medium dedicated to the tobacco warehouses and their history. Information about the project and its visual identity are presented in an exhibition on Plovdiv's Central Square.
  • The Plovdiv 2019 Foundation and the Open Arts Foundation jointly turn a tobacco warehouse into the hosting venue for an educational series of lectures, "Introduction to Contemporary Art", which presents an overview of the tendencies in contemporary art. A workshop follows the discussions.
  • 30 April: An Easter farmer's market and an outdoor Family Day take place in conjunction with the organisers of the first-ever farmer's market in Plovdiv. We turn one of the streets in Tobacco City into a festive social space.
  • October: An international forum-discussion titled "Nontangible Cultural Heritage – Preservation, Control and Sanctions" takes place in the wake of the devastating fire that swept the area on 27 October 2016.
  • November: The first-ever event dedicated to the Volunteers Plovdiv 2019 programme takes place in Tobacco City.


  • The activities for the revival of Stolipinovo and the knowledge about its past and present continue with discussions, seminars, educational meetings, exhibitions and innovative urban initiatives.
  • A detailed study of the history of the area is the subject of "Stories from the Tobacco City", a book by the theatre researcher and journalist Penka Kalinkova.
    April: The farmer's market continues partially its operations. On 14 April, a special Easter bazaar of the farmers community is held.
  • "Tobacco City" is actively presented also in a project by our partners from the Open Arts Foundation. "Alternative Map of Plovdiv", officially presented in April, seeks to attract attention to Tobacco City’s buildings and architectural monuments and their significance, as well as to our responsibility for preserving this heritage.
  • June: The first edition takes place of the "Industrial Archaeology – The Living City in the Context of Contemporary Concepts of Cultural Heritage". The project is a key part of the Plovdiv 2019 programme with a focus on Tobacco City.
    Tobacco City becomes a professional scene for hip-hop workshops as part of the "Plovdiv Urban Days Festival – Street Masters", which has been on the programme of Plovdiv 2019 since 2017.
  • November: The City Games take place on 11 and 12 November. "Inception, the Weekend of City Games", attracts 230 participants on the streets between the tobacco warehouses in Plovdiv. A total of three games organised by the Plovdiv 2019 Foundation in partnership with game designers from Milan, Ludz, Vienna and Cologne prompt a rethink of "Tobacco City" as a key project of the programme of the European Capital of Culture.
  • December: A three-language publication marks the tenth anniversary of Bulgaria's and Romania's joining the European Union.


  • Тhe new headquarters of Plovdiv 2019 moved to the Tobacco City sending a strong message and as part of the idea of active interference. SKLAD, the renovated six-floor former tobacco warehouse. SKLAD is the home of creative and educational institutions in Plovdiv and the partners of the European Capital of Culture. As part of the programme of Plovdiv 2019, a public discussions hall, exhibition spaces, repetition and stage halls and co-working spaces started being active. From the summer of 2018, among we already hosted international exhibitions, dance festivals, cinema screenings and professionals forums...
  • Thanks to the Plovdiv – European Capital of Culture 2019, "Tobacco City" is becoming part of the European Route of Industrial Heritage (, the largest information platform dedicated to the subject. With support from the EU, the European Commission and "Creative Europe", the website gives information about the locations across Europe which, despite having changed their functions, are now attractive tourist destinations. Tobacco City is represented by footage from the 2017 City Games, which present it as the right site for exercising creativity and having fun.
  • OPEN CALL FOR URBAN GAME DESIGNERS - Tobacco City. Time Machine! - three-days urban game festival promoted by Plovdiv 2019 - European Capital of Culture. Check the full details - here.
  • Tobacco City. Time Machine! - urban games festival - 16 - 18 November 2018 - See more details HERE


  • Dozens of events - highlights, workshops, discussions, associated and leading projects took place in SKLAD and thus placed the Tobacco City as one of the main cultural destinations for the city in the title year. Check the events here.
  • Urban Games Festival FUSION - a coproduction of Plovdiv 2019 and Marea 2019. Curators: Departament Gier -  Poland. The festival takes place from 31 October till 2 November in Matera and from 8 November till 10 November in Plovdiv. Details HERE

Find information about the "Tobacco City" project, historical facts about the quarter, and an array of hot news at

Smoke. Tobacco Stories (Opening)

Programme Revive, Transform
Part of the programme for the Opening of Plovdiv 2019

The Events in SKLAD

Programme Transform

Tobacco City! Time Machine - Urban Games weekend festival!

Three-day urban game festival promoted by Plovdiv 2019 - European Capital of Culture

SMOKE. Tobacco Stories

Теодора Димова

Plovdiv 2019 Foundation Returns To Its Old Premisses

Temporary restriction related to COVID-19

Svetlana Kuyumdzhieva, the artistic director of the Plovdiv 2019 project, talks about ECOC

Svetlana Kuyumdzhieva, the artistic director of the Plovdiv 2019 project, talks about ECOC's successes and failures, the widespread misunderstanding of its funding mechanism, and how publics and artists experienced Bulgaria's first EU-level cultural project.

Plovdiv – European Capital of Culture 2019 will present the new history of the city of Wrocław

Urban Games Festival 2019 (Save the Date / 8–10 November)

Exhibition "European Eyes on Japan"

GOLDEN DELUSIONS – World Premiere in Plovdiv

Five Years of Plovdiv 2019

A showcase of work made in collaboration with the people of Stolipinovo

Sustainable Fashion Concept Presented at SKLAD

Plovdiv 2019 and Leeuwarden 2018 are running a joint musical project for the role of women in society

Digital Ecologies

The "Listen To Us – Artistic Intelligence" Contemporary Art Exhibition Already with a 3D walkaround

Фотоателие среща пловдивчани с българите променили историята

LISTEN TO US – ARTISTIC INTELLIGENCE: Works from Art Collection Deutsche Telekom

Untold Told - Travelling Stage project with a premiere and a message for nonviolence

Ayliak Parade – STALKER TEATRO Workshop

LISTEN TO US – ARTISTIC INTELLIGENCE Opening (04. April – 30. June 2019)

Works from Art Collection Deutsche Telekom
Curated by Nathalie Hoyos, Rainald Schumacher. Coordinator: Dimitrina Petrova
04. April 2019 – Opening

Plovdivians will create an emotional map of the city during the most romantic month – February

A British master of carnival dolls, is opening a workshop to prepare for Ayliak Parade in Plovdiv (17 - 24 January 2019)

Placemaking Еxperts Will Be Present in Plovdiv

Top Russian photographer Sergei Borisov for the first time in front of Plovdiv audience

Join us for the amazing fun with Ailyak Parade

LIEU d'ÊTRE - Presentation in Plovdiv

Swing culture and dance conquer Plovdiv at the end of September

Digital Ecologies 2018-2019, Plovdiv, Bulgaria: a project in two folds

Forum 2019: Focus Building Audiences

Plovdiv hosted the annual meeting of European Capitals of Culture

The team of Plovdiv 2019 welcomed 29 representatives from 16 capitals of culture.

Предизвикателство за социална промяна в градовете Пловдив, Стара Загора и Враца

Кажи го с рисунки. Уъркшоп за визуализиране на идеи

Първа среща с резидентни артисти по програма ADATA AiR в СКЛАД-а

Massive Pan-European dance event ‚ Work it Out in the Tobacco City

On Labour Day, Europe will be dancing amidst industrial settings – come to Plovdiv in the Tobacco City in front of SKLAD 2019 at 4 pm Bulgarian time.

The Tobacco City becomes part of the European Route Of Industrial Heritage

The ensemble of former Tobacco warehouses in Plovdiv, built in the 1920s, became part of the European Route of Industrial Heritage. The Tobacco City is now together with sites such as the "Steel Heart" of Ostrava, the Czech Republic, the Metal City of Gegenheimer, Germany, and the Museum of Iron and Steel Industry and mining in Castilla y Leon, Sambre, Spain.



General partners

EU Japan Fest
Pod tepeto

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