never forget your past

One of communist Bulgaria’s most famous remnants is the Buzludzha monument, sitting atop the historical namesake peak. The UFO shaped building, opened in 1981, is little more than a ruin nowadays, but it still attracts thousands of people with its unusual architecture, unique location, and the symbol it’s become to how we handle our past. That’s how it looks from afar and below is the view from up close.


I tend to agree with that one. It’s a shame it’s been left to deteriorate (by the democrats of the 90s who decided to distance themselves from the past) and little has been done to preserve the heritage, it could be such an incredible museum for instance. There are ideas and plans to restore it, but let’s see how far they go. Technically you’re not supposed to go in, but there’s ways to get around that…


The main atrium… what a spot!


Imagine the party meetings these guys must have had back in the day. When you’re standing right at the very center of the atrium, there is an incredible echo even with half the roof gone.


Mosaics. That left head was removed on purpose, obviously. There are more around the main hall.


The hammer and sickle symbol, alongside which it more or less says “Workers of the world, unite!” Class.


Which of course some graffiti masters have mocked 🙂


The big side windows give you an amazing 360-degree view. The windmills add a nice “old vs new” touch.


But if you really want to make things more fun, you have to go up the tower (better seen from this angle) 🙂 It’s not the most pleasant of trips given that for the majority of the 10-15 stories it’s quite claustrophobic, pitch dark (having a headlamp is a must, holding a phone won’t do as you need both your hands), moist, and the metal stairs are near vertical and quite slippery.

But then you reach the huge red star of the tower and you know it was worth it. The red star was three times larger than that at the Kremlin and has been claimed to emit light that could be seen from as far away as Romania in the north, and the Greece in the south. Crazy.


And then there’s this view. It’s unbelievable, the image doesn’t do it justice.


And from the other side. Notice the state of the roof of the main building below.


Tiny people.


Climbing on top of the ledge is a bit daunting, but so worth it.


Layers in late afternoon.


The Shipka monument in the distance. And the reverse view.


This was just a cursory post on this incredible place. If you’re curious to know more, there is plenty of information around the web on it, such as this post that I recommend.

On a side note, the song might seemingly not really fit with the images, but it’s called Atlantis which seemed quite appropriate to me… Also that sax is a killer 😉


113 thoughts

  1. This is such an interesting site, it’s absolutely facinating. I really wish it were restored, although I can imagine it would be very expensive..

    • The figure that’s circulating in the media is around €1.5M, which seems too low for me. Our Prime Minister had a recent meeting with the person who created one of the most exciting restoration plans/projects (whom I know) and has verbally said he’d do what he could to find that funding. Let’s see, politicians are big on talk 🙂

  2. I love the unity, the almost claustrophobic “hug” of this building. “You are a part of a big thing, but there is no escape of it”. It is graaand in all meaning of this word. What was the feel like inside?

  3. That’s such a cool capture of a slice of history – I love the photos… and the description of climbing up to the top.

  4. Reblogged this on The Missal and commented:
    I am not at all a fan of communism, actually I worked to help destroy it in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. I’d still love to see it completely eradicated from places like China. Hell, I’d like to eradicate it the world over. Just to be honest.

    That being said places like this should be preserved by turning them into something useful. Though you gotta admit, it makes one helluvah Vadding venue. And I love Vadding.

    Really nice post with some incredible pics.

  5. I agree that it is a shame this building has been left to rot, but then again with such massive social change, the new government might have been worried that spending money to preserve something from the communist past might not be higher priority than stabilizing the country. I am amazed that so much of the graffiti is in English. I love photog blogs and blogs filled with unique pictures. I also like blogs of foreign locations that I am regrettably not going to be able to see myself.

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    • Indeed. Though I tend to think that modern architects also have incredible projects and ideas, it’s just that putting something like this together requires considerable resources that are much harder to obtain nowadays. Back in communist times the head of the party just said I want this done and the whole country was geared in that direction. Today acquiring funding can be a daunting task even for the bravest of architects.

  7. Unbelievable and incredible photos, very important to know where you came from so you can learn from past mistakes (and don’t do them a second time) and remember your greatest triumphs!

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  9. That was a beautiful post! And the idea that you should never forget your past seems really important to me, and it’s something the building itself has done: it’s very modern, yet the mosaics are reminiscent of the way Orthodox idols were painted. The then-present and the past were mixed. Thanks for the beautiful photos as well 🙂

  10. Reblogged this on attimi and commented:
    EU eastern countries can reveal huge surprises… With the correct measure of sensitiveness, one can appreciate how past&present are mingled together, both in buildings and in people, too. I do appreciate your report, hope to find the way to something like that in the near future 🙂

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  13. Pingback: Abandoned, Not Forgotten: A Look at the Haunting Beauty of Modern Ruins – darakmandugagmailcom

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