Tourist Attraction in Plovdiv: Church of St. Louis of the French
The cathedral of St. Louis of the French is the cathedral church of the diocese of Sofia and Philipoli, is located in the city of Plovdiv, Bulgaria. Until 2006, the year when the construction of the new Catholic cathedral of St. Joseph in Sofia was completed, the St. Louis of the Franciscan Church in Plovdiv was the largest Catholic church in Bulgaria. Historical sources confirm that the church was built in the framework of a project by the Roman architect Alfonso to replace the old, small-size Catholic church, which stood there on the site already in 1600. The foundations of the present church were laid in 1858 'then bishop Andrea Canova, and was consecrated on March 25, 1861, when it was finally completed. In 1861 the first organ was installed in Bulgaria, then replaced with a new one and bigger. A fire severely damaged the cathedral in 1931, destroying the carved wooden ceiling. The cathedral was restructured on a project by architect Kamen Petkov and embellished with frescoes by Krastyo Stamatov, and then reopened on May 8, 1932. The bell tower was built in 1898 and was equipped with five bells from the German city of Bochum, as a gift from Pope Leo XIII. In 1991 a new body with 12 registers was installed. The church encloses the tomb of Maria Luisa of Bourbon-Parma (1870-1899), was Princess of Bulgaria as a consort of Ferdinand I of Bulgaria (1861-1948), later named Bulgarian Tsar. He was Tsar Boris III's (1894-1943) mother. From an architectural point of view, the cathedral is an eclectic combination of neoclassicism and neo-Baroque, as evident in the façade, enriched by statues, half-columns and decorative elements.