Page 166 - MIGRATION

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MIGRATION, MEMORY, HERITAGE: SOCIO-CULTURAL
APPROACHES TO THE BULGARIAN-TURKISH BORDER
materials purchased through the Refugee Loan. In other places, including in Svilengrad (69 in
number), there were whole districts built following the type of the so-called detached common
house (See below pictures of the standard types of buildings).
Today, in the “Trakiyski” district in Haskovo, there are almost no preserved residential
houses or farm buildings from the original buildings for refugees. The situation in Svilengrad is
the same.
There is no evidence of Thracian refugees building schools, churches or other public
buildings with their funds or by means of the Refugee Loan provisions. Both districts, “Trakiyski”
and “Makedonski” had no church until recently, the closest being St George Church in “Ovcharski”
district. At present, the new St Petka Church is still under construction. The school and the
kindergarten were built during the socialist period. In Svilengrad, on the other hand, Thracians
make use of available public buildings and urban space in the town at large since they are not
separated in a district of their own.
Urban space as a refugee story
In principle, urban space captures different policies for constructing citymemory – through
monuments, buildings, memorial plates, street and other place names. This inherent function of
urban space is realized in different ways in the two case studies I discuss here. In Haskovo, as I
already pointed out, this happens through the separation of a whole newdistrict (or two, if we take
into account “Makedonski” district), which is revealing of the concentration and the large-scale of
the refugee population, as well as of its perceived distance in relation to the local population. At
the same time, in Svilengrad, there are not many topoi unequivocally symbolizing or reminding
us of refugee times. The explanation for this may be sought along the lines of the time period in
which the Thracians arrive – a time of a deep crisis for the town and for the country as a whole, but
also a time of celebrating the liberation and taking pride in the victories achieved during the war.
The spatial narrative of Svilengrad includes national heroes, heroes from the battle at Edirne, and
Thracian places. Actually, at the time when the first urban development plan was put into motion,
they started naming the new streets in such a way as to demonstrate and state their inclusion
within the state of Bulgaria. For instance:
The straight street leading from the railway station to Edirne is to be named after the
Minster of DomesticAffairs andPeople’sHealthMr. HristoG. Popovwhowas behindour unification.
The square in front of the school district is to be named after the Military Minister
General Boyadzhiev.
Detached common house, Tobacco-silkworm house, Minimal house, Central house (Hitilov 1932: 160–163)