The Ermakov Collection

‘The Balkans’ – a shared heritage

In 2005 Horizon has asked the Bulgarian photographer Ivo Hadjimishev to make pictures of cultural objects and artefacts in Bulgaria, Greece, Turkey, Macedonia, Serbia, Bosnia, Croatia, Albania and Romania. This assignment was to form the basis of a project which means to show to politicians, scholars, artists and the general public that the Balkan countries as we know them today have much more common cultural roots than is usually recognized. To Western Europeans the history of the
Balkans is mainly known for its many wars, not only between the inhabitant peoples but also caused by a constant interference in its internal affairs by countries outside the region. Contrary to politics, culture connects. Therefore the primary target group for a photo exhibition on the subject and an accompanying book on Thracian, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman cultures are the countries in the region itself. A broader group includes the countries that so frequently played a role in the development of the Balkan, mostly at the expense of the local population. The Balkans, on the one hand a shared heritage, on the other hand a crossroad of civilizations.

The photographic expeditions of Ivo Hadjimishev have taken much more time than initially expected. But the result, a collection of hundreds if not thousands of photographs, is impressive. After completion of a theme based photobook with accompanying texts written by renowned scholars from the region, the exhibition ‘The Balkans – a shared heritage’ was opened in Paris at the headquarters of UNESCO by Mrs. Irina Bokova, its Director-General, on 17 March 2015. In the near future, the exhibition will be on show in various countries.