The buzludzha monument, a reminder of the communist time in Bulgaria

The monument of the Bulgarian communist party

The buzludzha monument is one of the world’s most remarkable abandoned building. The ufo shape makes it a weird architectural construction, it makes you wondering what it is or was. It’s a great example of the brutalism style, but this building still stands out in its extraordinary architecture.

By traveling around I came at some strange and unique lost places but this abandoned and neglected Soviet moment in Bulgaria stands out. Located hight in the Balkan mountains on a remote location but visible from a far distance away. The tower stands 70 meter high on top of the mountain and the huge red star in tower gets you attention right away. The star was a major symbol in communist times and In the building process it was an important element.

From the first moment I saw a picture of this monument I wanted to visit Bulgaria. Surprised I was with the design and the decline that took over the monument, what made it look apocalyptic. In wintertime it’s even more special, it becomes an unreal place when the inside is totally covered by snow and ice.

which season do you prefer – summer or winter Buzludzha

Third time lucky

  • To capture the buzludzha moment in snow and ice I had to travel three times to Bulgaria. The first visit was in February 2015, then it was 7 degrees up the mountain with lots of fog. Making outside shots was tough, in that brief moment when the fog vanished I could take a picture. Inside was the fog also perfect  due to the fact all windows and major parts of the roof is gone.
  • February 2017 was just a big disaster. Two day with only fog and ice rain. Then I couldn’t even take one decent picture.
  • But 2018 was my lucky year, clear skies and lots of snow. Driving up the mountain was even not possible. The last 2 kilometers we had to walk. Seeing this monument is snow and ice was something breathtaking.

History

The place where this moment is built is an important place in the Bulgarian history. Three historical events have taken place here. In 1868  the battle between Ottoman Empire and the Bulgarian rebels took place here. Later in 1877-78 there was the Shipka pass battle, this led to the Bulgarian independence of the Ottomans.

In 1891 the democratic workers party was created on this mountain and later this became the Bulgarian Communist Party.

Building the monument

The building of the Buzludzah moment started 23rd January 1974. It took the Bulgarians 7 year to complete the structure. The project was huge, constructing the building was one part but getting everything up the mountain was an other quest. Roads had to be built, water and electricity had to provided on the mountain.

The architect of this colossal project was  Georgi Stoilov. In August 1981 he was very proud at the grand opening of the monument. The memorial house of the Bulgarian Communist Regime was a place where Bulgarians met and celebrate the regime. Also officials events and parties where organized on this mountain.

Future

For several years an organization attempts to raise money for conservation and renovation.  As you can see the building is in very bad condition.  Achieving this renovation will cost an incredible amount, in my opinion this will not be achievable.

vieuw from on the 70 meter high tower

the entrance hall of the monument 2015 versus 2017

How to travel to budzuldza monument

From the capital city of Sofia it’s an 3 hours drive to Shipka, this town is located at the foot of the budzludzha mountain. Out of Shipka you take the shipka pass that’s an 40 minutes drive up the mountain. If the weather conditions are good you can drive almost to the front of the monument. Just be aware they don’t make the road snow free in winter time, there is a chance you have to walk the last meters or kilometers. But don’t let that stop you, the monument is most spectacular in winter time. On this moment the monument is sealed off and visits inside are not possible anymore.

some facts

  • To get a flat surface to build the monument, the peak had to be leveled.

  • To go from 1441 meters to 1432 they used TNT and 15.000 cubic meters of rock where removed from the top.

  • due to the climate, construction workers were only able to work from May to September.  The harsh weather conditions prevented them from working after September to May. Therefore she worked around the clock in shifts.

  • More than 6000 people have contributed to the construction of the Buzludzha monument.

  • 70,000 tons of concrete, 3,000 tons of steel and 40 tons of glass were required to complete the construction

  • in total there is 510 square meters of mosaics in the entire monument, these are made from cobalt glass and they weight a 35 tons

  • the hammer and sickle emblem at the ceiling of the interior dome is also made of mosaics and covers an area of almost 5 square meters

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