photo: Nelly Kirilova

Blagovest Hristov is a history teacher, and Janitsa Petrova graduated in Psychology at the University of St. St. Cyril and Methodius. " They are intrigued by their interest in literature and their favorite Harry Potter series. These same interests are the catalyst for a bigger dream, namely the creation of a coffee shop in Veliko Tarnovo. A short while later, Page 394 opens.


Before you talk about your dream come true, or the Page 394 coffee shop, let's tell you a little bit more about you. Blagovest Hristov, in addition to teaching, you have long been an actor in student theater at VTU. Tell us more about this activity and interests in performing arts?


I have been involved in theater since I was 16 years old. It all started as a joke, they just called me, but I felt that my place was on the stage. I liked it. It gives me the opportunity for a moment at least to immerse myself in the lives of people different from me, in the lives of the characters and this is a pleasant entertainment and a short escape from reality. Going out of yourself to be someone else, to see the world through his eyes…


Will the 394 Page become a place to host different theater productions?


Yes. We have a separate stage, but rather we hope to present one-man shows and alternative forms of theater. Of course, its main functions will be presentations by various authors and their books. One of our last guests was family consultant and psychologist Nevi Bozhukova, who presented her book Fear of Love.


Janitsa Petrova is the other person who opened the Page 394 coffee shop. Introduce yourself to the readers?


I am from Kavarna. I came to Veliko Tarnovo to study, and after that I stayed after graduating from the university. I studied Psychology and currently work with children at risk.

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# interview

Why a coffee shop and just in Veliko Turnovo, tell us more about how the idea of ​​such a place was born?


Spontaneous. It turns out that we have the same wishes. Our interest in books was one of the factors that brought us closer. We both love to rest with a book in hand. One evening we were talking: How good would it be if there was such a place here ?! And we just did it. We believe that this is exactly what the cultural and spiritual capital of Bulgaria has lacked so far - a cozy place where you can read a book of your choice, drink aromatic coffee or another refreshing drink.


I can't help but ask you: Why "Page 394"?


Welcome to the 394 Page Bookstore, where you can find one of Harry Potter's books, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. And there on the corresponding page lies the answer to the question.

Do you think that this kind of places can turn your interest in cultural events right now? I mean, there is a growing tendency to move certain types of literary, and not just, performances, "performances" from libraries to establishments and bars? Do you approve of this movement and do you think it will arouse interest in the young?


There is an interest in cultural events. This movement of young people is normal, today they are looking for something different and more unusual. In this pursuit, however, they are isolated in precisely this type of establishment. Not all events are widely publicized and are known only to a certain circle of people. We hope that we will be able to expand this circle to see more people, that the culture is actually alive and there are young and reading people. The idea in our place is to be broken enough for young people and yet to keep the comfort, so that it can direct people's thinking to culture, literature, art.


Over 800 books are currently stacked on the shelves of the 394 Page. How do you see their path to readers?


We believe that everyone will be able to find a suitable reader here at an affordable price. We have both old and new books in different genres. Books can also be read locally at no charge.


Want to turn the place into an arts and culture center, what are the intersections between the arts that visitors to the coffee shop can observe?


We have adapted the room so that there is room for art and photography exhibitions, for movie screenings. The last movie our visitors got to watch was Kafka. The screening was dedicated to the birth anniversary of one of the most mysterious writers of the twentieth century, namely Franz Kafka. The ideas we have are really not one and two, but everything takes time. We would like to keep people under light pressure so that the surprise can be greater. But definitely the structure allows us to improvise, the actor's favorite weapon.

 You both have an interest in literature. Do you write fiction?


Blagovest Hristov: I try, but I don't think so! At the moment, all my attention is focused on the coffee shop, but I secretly hope that by the end of the year I will be well advanced with my adventure historical novel.


The menu, the choice of drinks is quite unusual, you only develop cocktails whose names are literary. Tell us more about this idea? 


Our cocktails are not numerous. We developed some of them ourselves, and their tasting event was a small adventure. This type of drink is a "light wink" to visitors, creating an atmosphere that runs from the outside world and strives for the fictional worlds of literature. Through drinks, we want to immerse the reader as much as possible in the artistic fiction of famous series of books sitting in one of the comfortable chairs in the Page 394 coffee shop. Welcome!

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