10th August 2014
For those who follow me on Flickr or who are friends on Facebook, you will know that I have recently returned from a trip to Bulgaria with friends to explore several locations. Due to the state of the roads in Bulgaria, no one gets anywhere quick and it’s quite an unknown country for those more familiar with exploring abandoned stuff in Belgium, Germany and France. We managed about five locations but met with hostility and armed security on one occasion.
The main place we wanted to see was Buzludzha which is located on Mount Buzludzha and is the biggest ideological building in Bulgaria. It was built as a tribute to the creation of the Bulgarian socialist movement in 1891.
The construction of Buzludzha was made possible thanks to government funds and supporters’ donations for an amount of around 14 186 000 leva (around 7 000 000 €). The site was built by civil engineering troops from the Bulgarian army and volunteers. The master builder was General Delcho Delchev who was in charge of the Stara Zagora civil engineering section. The author of this project was the architect Guéorguy Stoilov. Several famous painters and sculptors have participated to the decoration.
‘How it did look’
Ever since the superseding of Bulgarian president Todor Givkovand and the political changes that occurred in Bulgaria from 1989, the state of the monument has continued to decay. portraits of Ludmila and Todor Givkov have been destroyed. The copper adornments have been stolen. The building is slowly disintegrating; the monument is abandoned and no public institution seems to be concerned by the conservation of renovation of the building. The Bulgarian socialist party itself is not taking any action towards the maintenance of its most important symbol.
The big star has been perforated by gunshots because it was thought to be made out of ruby!
The rumours that circulated after we booked this trip were an issue. The socialist party would be in force and holding their rally at Buzludzha and the police would seal and be guarding it all weekend. The police were indeed barricading the road but we assumed it was to make room for all the coaches coming down the 17km trail to the main road carrying 45,000 people.
Luckily, we found an alternative route up and due to the time, on a late Saturday afternoon, it was clear all the way. The mist on the top, the lack of view and the wind only produced shots full of atmosphere.
We managed to access both inside and outside as we were lucky enough not to encounter any issues. However, we made plans to come back and photograph at sunrise.
Mist photos below.