Once upon a time when I was a child there was an “Assembly of Peace”, later renamed to the International Park of Children of the World here in Sofia. The site itself is a quiet park some 14km far away from the city centre in the outskirts of the capital. The area is too green and the scent of Vitosha Mountain adds additional beauty to that lovely and charming place.
The Bells (or Kambanite, as we often nickname it), was built and inaugurated by Lyudmila Zhivkova on August 25, 1979. She was a young woman with humanistic values whose only aim was to gather the children of the world in one place and unite them by staging festivals of children’s art under the auspices of UNESCO. It was planned as a one-time event which was visited by kids from 79 countries (the record being in 1989 when it was attended by small participants from 135 countries). The interest was really great and that’s why it was decided that it would be held every three years.
A 37-high vertical monument with four pillars was erected. A spatial sphere symbolizing the globe was formed at the top of it, housing 7 bells (their total weight is 12 tons, the heaviest one being 3650kg) representing the 7 continents on the planet. They also had another aim, i.e. to accompany instrument performances during the various events held in the complex.
And, yes, Kamabnite did host cultural gatherings for children from any part of the world. That’s why any country from all continents had their own bells embedded on massive, winding walls along aisles. Some of the bells were big, others – smaller, but surely all of them were musical. Only the little participants of the events were allowed to ring them and play a simple song. As to adults, they were “strictly prohibited” to do it simply because this was children’s Assembly of Peace where kids were taught to keep peace in the world, opposing wars and violence. The motto and the major idea were embedded, i.e.
The Children of future accept the eternal and fiery call of immortality – Unity, Creativity, Beauty
Nowadays the Park still exists and is still there. Unfortunately, it’s not maintained at all. Some of the bells along the aisles have been broken and even stolen. The place has somehow been forgotten mainly by the new generations that ignore it on purpose. No matter in which period it was built, the main idea of the International Park is important and no prejudices of any type should “blur” it.