Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture
Since the fall of communism the population of Bulgaria has declined by approximately 2 million. The United Nations Population Division projects that, by 2050, it will have continued to decline by a further 23%, leaving Bulgaria the fastest shrinking country in the world. Subsequently, many of Bulgaria’s rural communities have become largely uninhabited or, in some cases, abandoned entirely. These ghost villages present themselves like the ruins of an ancient civilization creating a liminal landscape situated between Bulgaria’s communist past and a nation on the road to democracy. Between 2017-2019 I travelled to some of the regions most impacted by depopulation. What I found was that many of the so-called abandoned villages were in fact lived spaces. Even though many were on the verge of not existing, they did exist for the people that still inhabited them. The Place of No Crows is therefore, not only about spaces that have been abandoned by people, but about people who have been abandoned to these areas. The name of the series ‘The Place of No Crows’ comes from a local expression I came across in North Western Bulgaria which was used to refer to an abandoned village.