Walltopia is the main supplier for the next biggest climbing gym in Bulgaria

Walltopia climbing walls and training boards in Balkan Climbing Center, Sofia, Bulgaria

Balkan Climbing Center is the biggest commercial climbing gym in Bulgaria and the Balkans! Walltopia was honored to be involved in the whole process of planning, designing and building the majority of the climbing walls in the gym. Over 2500 sqm of climbing surface is distributed between indoor and outdoor rope climbing, bouldering and training board areas on their own floor and a separate kids climbing zone for the youngest. The facility is housed in a new building erected ground-up for the purpose of the climbing gym.

Brief outline of the development of indoor climbing in Sofia, Bulgaria

Despite Bulgaria being the home to the world leader in climbing wall manufacture, indoor climbing does not boast a ton of popularity in the country compared to the other markets we work for in western Europe or the USA.

Until 2013, when the first Walltopia-built and owned commercial climbing gym in Sofia appeared, Sofia, Bulgaria’s capital, only had a few small climbing walls in university campuses and buildings. All recreational climbers would go there outside of the university classes hours. Polished holds, no flooring under the rope walls, rotating t-nuts, no showers and proper changing rooms were the norm.

Recognizing the growing popularity and potential of climbing worldwide and the need to present it to a wider part of the local community in Bulgaria, in 2013 Walltopia opened a visually intriguing bouldering gym, Boulderland, in a shopping center. Combined with a Funtopia kids zone with Fun Walls, Boulderland was strategically designed to ensure a significant portion of the gym is visible to the average mall passersby. This design effectively fulfilled its purpose of introducing the niche sport to a broader audience.

In 2017 Walltopia finished our new HQ building which was designed with climbing in mind – the 6-floor office space is integrated with three tall atriums featuring 19-meter rope climbing walls and a substantial bouldering area – a total of 1800 sqm of climbing terrain. The climbing gym in the shopping mall was repurposed to fully serve the young audience – the boulders were replaced by trampolines, a Cloud Climb and a Ninja Course to differentiate the active entertainment experience for the youngest visitors of the shopping mall. The climbing gym in the HQ has been serving the local climbing community ever since and up to now was the biggest climbing gym in Bulgaria. But it was not enough to satisfy the surge in climbing’s popularity in the city!

The time has come for climbing to go big in Bulgaria

It took 11 years after the opening of the first commercial climbing gym by Walltopia for another private investor to set their eyes on climbing and go big. In the meantime a few very small gyms or climbing corners in sports centers popped up here and there but nobody thought of climbing as a profitable business model.

Finally, in 2024, Bulgaria is going to have the first full-scale climbing-only facility built ground-up for the purpose, just like our clients do a few hundred kilometers west of here. We are honored and proud to be the main supplier for the biggest portion of the climbing walls in the new Balkan Climbing Center! Our sales manager and hardcore climber, Emiliyan Kolevski, was involved in every step of the design process working long days with the client and coordinating the work between our dedicated team of climbing wall designers, engineers, project managers and technicians in order to deliver and exceed the client’s expectations.

“In the course of 10 months we worked on the wall design together with the client and our 3D design mastermind Petar Iliev. We tried many layouts and made a lot of changes and iterations along the way as we wanted to make sure we will create the optimal climbing space that we can possibly fit within the building.”, says Emiliyan Kolevski, sales manager of the project.

Carefully thought out with the sole purpose of serving the local climbing scene – from beginners to advanced, from boulderers and kilter-maniacs to lead climbers – Balkan Climbing Center was built ground-up to house an enormous climbing terrain, where 2328 sq.m. (25000 sqft) in total was designed, produced and installed by Walltopia. We wish them a full house of happy climbers and very soon the need to extend to another facility!

Proudly designed and built by Walltopia are:

  • Indoor rope climbing walls
  • IFSC-certified speed climbing wall
  • 80% of the bouldering
  • Kilter- and Moon boards
  • Training zone
  • Kids area
  • Climbmat safety flooring

Sales manager: Emiliyan Kolevski
Designer: Petar Iliev
Engineer: Lilyana Stoyanchova
Project Manager: Ivaylo Hristov
Lead Technician: Georgi Valchev

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