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New Chapter in Saga over Bulgaria’s Botanical Garden Ownership

Date: 03.05.2010

Bathing in sunlight most of the year, the botanical garden is home to more than 2000 plant species belonging to 85 families and 200 genera

The wrangle over the ownership of the botanical garden in the coastal town of Balchik is back with a vengeance, it emerged on Tuesday.

Two years after Bulgaria's Ministry of Culture and Sofia University St. Kliment of Ohrid signed an agreement, which ended the old dispute between them over the ownership of the popular tourist site, the university has alarmed it is about to be robbed of its plot.

“Sofia University may lose all 74 decares that it owns in the botanical garden in Balchik,” Ivan Ilchev, rector of the university, said, citing a draft decision of the government, signed by Culture Minister Vezhdi Rashidov and Regional Development Minister Rossen Plevneliev.

The botanical garden in Balchik spreads over 190 decares, out of which 74 are owned by the university and the remainder by the culture ministry. According to the university a plot is underway to transfer the whole area under the management of the culture ministry to the benefit of private investors.

The Ministry of Culture is expected to respond to the allegations in an official statement later in the day.

Bathing in sunlight most of the year, the botanical garden is home to more than 2000 plant species belonging to 85 families and 200 genera. One of the garden's main attractions is the collection of large-sized cactus species arranged outdoors on 1000 square meters, the second of its kind in Europe after the one in Monaco.

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