1884 – 2014
130 YEARS OF THE FOUNDATION OF THE UNION CLUB
The Union Club has been keeping the noble traditions for 130 years now.
In 1884 the Club was found after the model of similar clubs in West Europe and
gathered the elite of Sofia.
After the Liberation, the young Bulgarian state was bursting with life, full of
enthusiasm, and ambition to come up with Europe and why not getting ahead of
it. The Bulgaria’s capital city started to transform into a centre of the political and
cultural elite, which on its part needed active social life. Thus in 1884 naturally arose
the idea for the establishment of the Union Club after the model of similar clubs in
Prince Kantakuzin, Baron Corvin (an officer of the Guards of Prince Battenberg),
prince Ghica, Kennedy, Nihad Pasha, Uvaliev, Dr. Stoilov, Pellegrini, count Schime,
Tapchileshtov, baron Tro du Vardienne, Tsankov were among the founders.
Union Club aims to establish social life and to create personal relations between its
member – representatives of foreign diplomatic missions and other foreigners who
live in Bulgaria and the Bulgarians admitted as members. Since 1884 the official
language of Union club is French. The founders chose a building on Ivan Vazov Str.
and Rakovska Str., which was destroyed during the bombing in January 1944. From
1944 to 1950 the Club was housed in the halls of Restaurant Crimea.
As all renowned clubs in the world, Union Club also had a restaurant where various
and healthful food was served; a reading hall, billiard and halls in which banquets and
celebrations were organized.
While reviewing the members list it seems that we see the map of Europe before
and after the War. We see prominent representatives of the Bulgarian and foreign
policy, the diplomacy and the army from almost all countries in the world – Romain
Gary, count Du Varen, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, Captain Pichon (the founder of the
Bulgarian Marine Fleet, Count Di Montorio Roncalli /the future Pope Ioannes ХХІІІ/,
Prince Sayn-Wittgenstein, Gen. Racho Petrov, Atanas Burov, Prof. Aleksandar
Tsankov, Ger. Vladimir Stoychev. The Club is proud of the fact that Aleksandar
Malinov, the Bulgarian Prime Minister, was its member and that it was the favourite
place of Stefan Stamolov.
Union Club is proud of its long history and its paramount moral influence on the
social life of the capital city. And also with the virtues of its members who represent
the elite of Sofia. From its establishment in 1884 until it was closed in 1950, the
Union Club maintained the noble traditions for good understanding among its
members belonging to different nationalities and different social layers. No club has
ever existed, which in such a friendly way has become the uniting link between its
members regardless of their nationality and rank.
For these reasons following the democratic changes in Bulgaria in 1990 several
persons professing the same values gather and restore the club. Mr. Christo Kourteff
has been its president since 1990. Among the guests of its meetings were H.M.
Tsar Simeon II, the ambassadors of USA, France, Italy, Japan, Czech Republic,
Serbia, Croatia, Sudan, Indonesia, Turkey, Argentina, South Africa, the Netherlands,
Belgium, Morocco, Algeria, Austria, prominent representatives of the social cultural
and economic elite of Bulgaria such as Tsveta Markova, Viktor Papazov, Anastasios,
Petropoulos, Tsvetan Vasilev Nikolay Vasilev, Ivan Iskrov, etc. They maintain the
noble traditions of the club. One of the club’s recent and high-profile initiatives are
the evenings devoted to different countries, which are held under the patronage of
the relevant ambassador and take place in the halls of the Crimea Restaurant in order
to keep the traditions. In addition to tasting the best meals and drinks of the relevant
country, these evenings provide good opportunity for business contacts and talks.
The Club has reciprocity contracts with clubs in Paris, Berlin, Brussels, Barcelona,
London and all over the world.
Since 1884 the French is the official language of THE UNION CLUB – SOFIA.