How close are the Serbs and the Bulgarians? Do Sofia and Belgrade look alike? Answers to these questions were given by the Photographic exhibition with photos from the two capitals by a Serbian photographer and her Bulgarian colleague.

The exhibition at the "Academy" gallery was dedicated to the Bulgarian Presidency of the EU and was organized by the Ministry of European Integration of Serbia and the Embassy of our Western neighbour in Sofia. The project was supported by the Embassy of Bulgaria in Belgrade and the State Cultural Institute to the Minister of Foreign Affairs. The exhibition Applied Nostalgia – Photographs of Sofia and Belgrade aims to promote the cultural exchange between the two countries, to highlight the values ​​of European integration and cooperation between Serbia and Bulgaria. The opening of the exhibition took place on the 7th of June in the presence of the Serbian ambassador to Bulgaria H. E. Mr. Vladimir Curgus and the State Secretary at the Ministry of European Integration of Serbia Mrs. Anja Rović. There were dozens of ambassadors, journalists, artists and friends.

Serbia's project for such exhibitions is based on a model that started during 2007 and has been successful in Portugal, France, the Czech Republic, Sweden, Spain, Belgium, Hungary, Poland, Lithuania, the Netherlands, the Slovak Republic, Malta and Estonia. It represents a series of photo exhibitions, the authors of which are always two - one from Serbia and one from the country that is president of the Council of the EU.

"Applied Nostalgia - Photographs from Belgrade and Sofia" is an attractive creative expression of the famous photographers – the Serbian Dragana Udovic and the Bulgarian Hristo Rusev. Dragana Udovic visited Sofia and for seven days made pictures of places, events and people who reminded her of her city. The Bulgarian author Hristo Rusev photographed Belgrade. The two photographers did comply with the condition of working as artists under the influence of "nostalgia".

Thus, in the exhibition 20 images were selected that were intriguing with their themes and performances, which convincingly illustrated the common features in the everyday life of the two cities and the proximity of the two neighbouring Slavic people.

"Sofia and Belgrade are very similar cities, which is not surprising because they are located in the same part of Europe and have a lot in common in their history" said Dragana Udovic. The places of the Roman and Turkish rule in our country remind her of Kalemegdan, the underground tunnels beneath Belgrade and the Belgrade mosque. "The Vitosha Mountain, though bigger than Avala, is just as close to the city as Avala, which offers a variety of sport opportunities. The parks with fountains, flowers and monuments can be compared to Kalemegdan, Tasmajdan and other places in Belgrade. The Parliament's Monumental Buildings, the Courthouse and the University are stunningly beautiful and even resemble our City Assembly, Parliament, Main Post Office and others. Besides, I am pleased with the kindness of the people in Sofia, which is no different from what you can feel with the Belgrade residents. Finally, I am happy that I had the opportunity and the task to visit Sofia and will certainly come back again when I have a chance because I felt like being in my Belgrade", says the Serbian photographer.

"For the first time, I encountered such a different and interesting idea for presenting Belgrade and the capital of the country - President of the Council of the EU" said the Bulgarian photographer Hristo Rusev. "I have passed through Belgrade many times, but I had never visited it before. "Applied Nostalgia" made me regret for not entering this city before.

The project was a great challenge for me. During my stay, I had to explore every part of Belgrade, meet people, create new friendships, mingle and feel the romantic atmosphere of the city, and find things that remind me of my capital - Sofia. I feel privileged for having participated in this wonderful idea that gives photographers the opportunity to think, to look, to be creative and unique, to show Belgrade through their own eyes and to express their views. This is an idea that allows the visitors to the exhibition to see the two capitals in a different way, invisible for quite a bit in this frantic pace of life.

I'm glad I met such nice people in Belgrade, I found new places, I learned new things, I ate "pljeskavica" and I still feel the pain in my legs because of the long roaming! Ha, just kidding for my feet. From now on, I will have a good reason to visit Belgrade and have a cup of coffee with my new Serbian friends", says the Bulgarian photographer.

After Sofia, the photos of "Applied Nostalgia - photographs from Belgrade and Sofia" will be exhibited in Belgrade and other Serbian towns.

The material is provided by "Standart" newspaper - standartnews.com

Photos: Diplomatic Spectrum