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Travel advice Eastern Europe

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The southeasternmost point of the mainland EU

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Travel advice Eastern Europe

© 2013-2019

BUZLUDZHA

The Buzludzha monument can be seen from far away in the Valley of Roses, in Central Bulgaria. This striking monument is Buzludzha, the biggest ideological building in Bulgaria. It represents an enormous Soviet spaceship and was built in 1981. It looks like it has come straight out of sci-fi, and was evidently designed to represent an intended future of greatness that never came. The contrast could not be bigger - the building has been in disuse and decay since the fall of communism. The surreal design, the view of the hills and miles and miles of vast emptiness, make a visit to this relic of past times very impressive.

 

The entrance of the building is sealed, it is only accessible through a hole in the concrete wall around the corner. Inside, a staircase leads to the dramatic auditorium which was meant to host thousands of delegates. Walking over the marble floor until the center and staring up, there is a staggering and bizarre mosaic set in a circle in the middle of the roof. It represents the hammer and sickle and Lenin's quote "Workers of the world, unite!". The murals surrounding the auditorium are equally impressive, depicting various headfigures of the communist past, such as: Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Lenin and opposite of them: Todor Zhivkov (his face was taken out of the mosaic after the collision of communism), Dimitar Blagoev and Georgi Dimitrov.

 

Near this mountain, on the Shipka Pass, an epic battle between the Bulgarians, Russians and the Ottomans was fought in minus 30 degrees in 1877. On this mountain, Dimitar Blagoev laid the foundations for the Bulgarian Social Democratic Party. Buzludzha was built in 1981, to commemorate both the liberation of the Ottomans and the foundation of the party. Perched on top of a 1.441 meter mountain, the monument is difficult to reach. This must have been extremely tough for the 6.000 workers, who constructed Buzludzha. Founded by the Bulgarian government and other supporters, the construction cost around 7 million Euros. The ufo-shaped monument was designed by architect Georgi Stoilov and around sixty Bulgarian artists worked on the design of the murals. The red star on the side of the tower is three times larger than the Kremlin's, which made Buzludzha one of the biggest icons of the communist world.

 

Since the fall of communism the monument has been in neglect, and time has taken its toll on the construction. Walls are crumbling and the once proud roof is now a skeleton. The inhospitable location and the lack of maintenance make a renovation of the monument unlikely. There are some who would like it to be restored to its old glory -many others who do not want to invest in this legacy of the past. What remains is to be seen.

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