Abandoned Buzludzha: Old Communist Monument

I’ve been to many abandoned places in my life. Whether it was an abandoned brewery, bobsleigh track, military hospital or train yard, I haven’t seen anything like Buzludzha. It was like the communist needed to make a statement with the monument they built. In the end, in my opinion, they did an excellent job.

The reason why Buzludzha was built is that the Bulgarian communist regime wanted to commemorate the events that happened on that mountain which the Bulgarian rebels defeated Ottoman Empire on that peak. So the monument was opened to the public in 1981, on the anniversary of the foundation of the Bulgarian State. More than 6000 people worked on this project that lasted 7 years to build. After the fall of the communist regime in 1989, Buzladzha has been left to its fate to rot away like the regime. Here is also a great website with information and pictures from the “Golden” days. (link)

How to get there

Getting to Buzludzha is quite the challenge. I was lucky enough to have a local friend who drove me there from Sofia, which was a great advantage. I dont think I could have made it without him. So great thanks to my friend Boril! But for those who don’t have a local friend or guide, it can be tricky and a long way. First you’ll have to catch a bus from Sofia that goes to Shipka or Kazanlak. From any of these two cities, you need to then get a taxi or rent a car to drive up the 1441 metres high mountain. I don’t think it would be wise or even manageable to climb up the mountain via foot. Also if you do end up taking a taxi, the driver would have to wait for you until you’re finished exploring.

How to get in

This is also tricky. Obviously the main door is shut and locked. The only way to get in is if you walk around the main gate towards to the right hand side of the monument you’ll see a hole big enough to climb up and get into the building. Although take extra caution climbing up and going through the hole. Thankfully someone has piled up some rocks to get you high enough to climb through the wall although it isn’t stable and there is a possibility you can fall! So it might be wise not to go alone and have someone with you.

What you’ll see

Imagine your going to a church with great fresco’s or paintings from a famous painter or your at the Sistine Chapel and looking at the paintings from Da Vinci or Michelangelo. Buzludzha is like a church made for communists. The amount of artwork done with mosaics is mind blowing. I haven’t seen anything like this before. Staring at the old USSR Flag with the cross-peen hammer crossed with a sickle on the ceiling is also amazing (not that I’m a commi lover or anything, just interested to see history fading away). Also I don’t need to mention about the building itself that it looks like something the aliens built 2000-3000 years ago. The building is shaped like an UFO alongside a huge tower with the red star that can be a beacon. If your there on a nice sunny day, you can also probably see a nice view of the valley from the top of the mountain.

Any Dangers

While I was there it was spring time and the rainy season. So it was very moist and wet all over. The floor was covered in water to a point my shoes and the lower parts of my pants were soaked. Due to the wetness climbing through the hole to get inside was also tricky and slippery. As I mentioned before, this part requires extra caution and attention. Also bring a friend or someone with you.

 

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