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First Chicago Festival in Bulgaria’s Capital Sofia

July 03, 2011

The first Chicago Festival in Bulgaria’s capital Sofia is over. Although almost every Bulgarian has read Aleko Konstantinov’s famous book “To Chicago and Back”, contemporary Chicago is not well known in this country. Therefore, the Friends of Chicago Foundation launched Bulgaria-Chicago Friendship Program in October 2010. The Chicago Festival is the core of this Program. Last week, we celebrated Chicago in the Bulgaria’s capital. Concerts, exhibitions, lectures and videopresentations about Chicago culture and architecture brought Chicago closer to Sofia and its citizens.

The Festival Program was designed to encompass different types of events in order to reach to as large an audience as possible. For the same reason, many of the events were organized in cooperation or partnership with other institutions and organizations. We also added a Pre-Festival Program and a Post-Festival Program. Thus, Chicago ideas, images and sounds will be present in Sofia cultural environment for almost a half a year. 


Held just before the 4th of July, the 2011 Chicago Festival was initiated by a Bulgarian non-governmental organization – Friends of Chicago Foundation, established in Sofia, Bulgaria in 2010 - and benefited from people-to-people diplomacy to promote Bulgarian-American friendship and cooperation and to provide public support for establishing a sister city relationship between Bulgaria’s capital Sofia and Chicago.

In 1960, Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley signed the first Sister Cities’ agreement with Warsaw, Poland. Since then, Chicago has established official relationships with a total of 28 cities in almost every region of the world. The Friends of Chicago Foundation strives to make Bulgaria’s capital Sofia the next city with which Chicago has a sister city relationship.

The 2011 Chicago Festival in Bulgaria’s capital Sofia is over. We intend to make it an annual event, however. Therefore, if anyone has ideas or suggestions how to make Chicago Fest much more interesting and exciting, please send us an email at

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