Bulgaria’s Smolyan Renovates Museum Dedicated to Hungarian Poet Laszlo Nagy

The Laszlo Nagy Museum (Memorial House) in Bulgaria's Smolyan. Photo: Todor Bozhinov, Wikipedia

The Laszlo Nagy Museum (Memorial House) in Bulgaria’s Smolyan. Photo: Todor Bozhinov, Wikipedia

The city of Smolyan in the Rhodope Mountains in Southern Bulgaria has completed the renovation of its museum dedicated to the life and work of famous Hunagarian poet and translator Laszlo Nagy (László Nagy) (1925-1978).

Throughout his lifetime, Laszlo Nagy authored over 400 poems which have been translated into 15 foreign languages.

Nagy himself translated a large number of international literary works into Hungarian, including three volumes of Bulgarian folklore songs and works of some of the most famous Bulgarian poets.

The poet’s belief in socialist ideology of his early period was shattered by the Soviet Union’s crushing of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956.

The Laszlo Nagy Museum (also called Laszlo Nagy Memorial House) is located in the Raykovo Quarter of Bulgaria’s Smolyan. It was opened in 1981, and covers Nagy’s work from the late 1940s until his death in 1978.

The Museum itself is housed in 19th house with typical Bulgarian National Revival period architecture, with over 200 square meters of museum space.

The Laszlo Nagy Memorial House features, among other things such as manuscripts, drawings, photos, and personal belongs, a room with traditional rural furniture from the birthplace of the poet in Hungary. It is part of the Stoyu Shishkov Regional Museum of History in Smolyan.

Bulgaria’s Ministry of Culture, which funded the renovation of the museum, reminds that the famous Hungarian poet and translator first came to Bulgaria as a university student on a scholarship to study Bulgarian.

He lived in Bulgaria from 1949 until 1951, and later visited numerous times, becoming fluent in Bulgarian, and even in the local Rhodope dialect spoken in Smolyan.

Because of that, Laszlo Nagy has been affectionately referred to by the locals in Smolyan as “the Hungarian of the Rhodope Mountains”.

In addition to being by far the top translator of Bulgarian folklore songs into Hungarian, Nagy also translated the works of Bulgarian poets such as Hristo Botev, Peyo Yavorov, Geo Milev, Hristo Smirnenski, Nikola Vaptsarov, among others.

During his lifetime, Laszlo Nagy was awarded several Bulgarian literary awards, the St. Cyril and St. Methodius Order of the Bulgarian government, and the title of “Honorary Citizen of Smolyan”.

In the fall of 2015, the 90th birthday of the Hungarian poet and translator was celebrated with events in Sofia and Smolyan, including the unveiling of a Laszlo Nagy monument before the Nikolay Vranchev Regional Library in Smolyan.

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The Laszlo Nagy Museum in Bulgaria's Smolyan is housed in a 19th Bulgarian National Revival home, and features a replica of a rural room from Nagy's birthplace in Hungary. Photos: architect Elena Vrabcheva / Bulgaria's Ministry of Culture

The Laszlo Nagy Museum in Bulgaria’s Smolyan is housed in a 19th Bulgarian National Revival home, and features a replica of a rural room from Nagy’s birthplace in Hungary. Photos: architect Elena Vrabcheva / Bulgaria’s Ministry of Culture

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