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THE KOUYOUMDJIEV HOUSE

It is also called the Royal House, maybe because it is located in one of the most picturesque areas of the Old Plovdiv and is much more impressive and splendid compared to other houses from the National Revival period. However, there is another reason as well. Its direct link with the fortification masonry from previous periods attributes it to the dynasty of eternal human creations.

With its clear and precise proportions, with its characteristic and varied silhouettes from all possible viewpoints, with its brilliant adaptation to the terrain and to the ancient architectural surroundings, it is a splendid model of the Plovdiv symmetrical house. In addition to the talent and skill of its author, the master-builder Hadji Georgi, the house of Argir Kouyoumdjioglou also reflects the progressive taste of the rich Plovdiv merchant, influenced by European standards.

The building is with 570 sq m built-in area and it consists of a main residential area - symmetrical along the perpendicular axis and parallel to the central facades, and an auxiliary building discreetly adjacent to the southern facade.

The artistically designed and planted courtyard, with a marble fountain and well, is surrounded by a high wall. A small oriel for observation was built in the place of the currently nonexistent two-storey building in Stamat Matanov Street.

The main and the richest facade of the house is oriented towards the courtyard and the garden. Its entrance is shaped with a prominent portico with columns, provoked by the marked incursion into the space of the most representative part of the home - the lounge on the second floor. This Baroque approach is perfectly combined with the elegant wavy curve of the three yoke-like pediments, with the rich glazing and painted decoration of the facade.

The two floors of the house have identical plans. The portico leads to a lounge, with two rooms on either side of it. The three-wing staircase leads to the second floor, directly into the big lounge (18.50 x 11 m), illuminated by five large windows with a view to the courtyard and four -to Strumna Street. The four surrounding rooms repeat the configuration of the floor below, but jut out with an oriel to the courtyard.

The spacious rooms with painted walls are well glazed and decorated with geometrically profiled wooden ceilings, magnificent richly wood-carved "suns", elegantly curved alafranga niches, profiled doors and closets.

At present the Kouyoumdjiev House has been transformed into Ethnographic Museum with a rich collection of national costumes, articles of the old arts and crafts, objects from everyday life, photographs and paintings which give an idea about the traditions, the way of life and culture of the Bulgarians at the time of the National Revival. The house has a large courtyard with lush greenery and a fountain. The International Festival of Chamber Music is held in June each year in this courtyard.

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