Buzludzha: Bulgaria’s “Communist UFO”

Sights from the unique communist inheritance

First, Buzludzha was a peak in the Balkan Mountains, one with historical relevance. In 1868, a battle between Bulgarian rebels and the Ottoman Empire was fought here.

Some 23 years later, Dimitar Blagoev and a group of sympathizers met in this same area in order to form a socialist movement, which is seen as the predecessor of the Communist Party.

In the 1960-s, during the Cold War, the regime in Sofia wanted a monument on the Buzludzha Peak, one which would commemorate the history of the party, and one which would impress.

Architect Georgi Stoilov came up with several proposals. It would take him a decade to present a concept which was was approved. In 1974, the construction commenced.

First, the communist regime had tons of rock blown off the mountain with TNT. The peak, which had been 1441 meters high, lost 9 meters during the process.

The construction commenced in early 1974, and lasted until 1981. More than 6,000 people, including engineers, designers and “volunteers”, were part of the big endeavor.

A total of 73,000 tons of concrete and steel were transported up to the peak, along with a lot of glass.

Today, almost three decades after the collapse of communism, the saucer-shaped Buzludzha Monument is falling apart. The giant construction’s roof has rather large holes. Rain and snow get into the building.

An entire armada of excellent photographers have shot Buzludzha from all angles. Until 2017, they could even climb into the monument through several holes in its walls.

Recently, modern Bulgaria decided to preserve Buzludzha, the important historic site. As a result, all entry points were closed and a guard was employed.

On a windy Saturday morning in late May of 2018, three photographers from Czechia were very disappointed when the guard did not let them enter the building. Even their attempts to bribe him were not successful.

Ichi, a traveler from Japan, had come to this area of Bulgaria for two reasons: The roses and Buzludzha. At 8 a.m., he parked his rental car up here, in sight of the impressive monument, and started shooting.

Because of the strong wind up at the peak, all cameras had to be held really tight. Even tripods would fall, unless they were held.

Bozludzha, the “communist UFO” is definitely unique. There is no sight quite like this one, anywhere on the planet.

This monument can be spotted from Kazanlak, which is 23.4 kilometers away. And the closer any visitor comes to Buzludzha, the more impressed he or she will be.

What used to stand for the power of the communist regime is now a historic site. Its decay reminds the country and foreign tourists of recent dark times in Bulgaria, and of the collapse of communism.

The trip to Buzludzha is rather shaky, due to the roads in the area, which resemble Swiss cheese more than anything else, just like the monument they are leading to.

Note: There is a German version of this article and the video.

 

 

 

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