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Other Buzludzha, House of the Bulgarian Communist Party - Bulgaria (March 2015)

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Resembling a UFO perched high on a peak of the Balkan Mountains, the House of the Bulgarian Communist Party was a built as a monument to commemorate the founding of the Bulgarian Social Democratic Party. After a quarter of a century of abandonment the monument has been stripped and looted.

In 1891 the Turks were being expelled from Bulgaria marking the end of 500 years of Ottoman Rule in the country. A secret meeting took place on the peak of Buzludzha mountain led by Dimitar Blagoev. The meeting would ultimately lay down the foundations for what would become the Bulgarian Communist Party. 90 years later the BCP built their headquarters as a monument at that very location.

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Sunrise at Buzludzha Mountain

Taking seven years to construct, and costing over 16 million Bulgarian Levs (almost £7 million), mainly collected from the Bulgarian people by the state, the monument stands at 107-metres-high and features a huge flying-saucer shaped auditorium. The building itself was designed by Georgi Stoilov and more than 60 artists worked on the designs for extensive tiled murals that adorn the interior. The giant tower features a red Soviet star on each side – three times larger than the Soviet star at the Kremlin.

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The front of the building was inscribed with verses from “The International†and “The Worker’s March†– political songs that were meaningful in the communist era. Inside featured many marble surfaces, and the staircases were decorated with red cathedral glass. The 15-metre-high main hall was decorated with a 500 sq. metre mosaic featuring portraits of prominent communist figures Marx, Engels, Lenin and the Bulgarian communist leader Todor Zhivkov. The dome ceiling was covered with thirty tones of copper.

The centrepiece of the ceiling features a hammer and sickle. The words surrounding the image read “The proletariats of every country join togetherâ€. Many other phrases are written around the building, some original and many more added post abandonment. Many years ago the slogan “forget your past†was painted in graffiti above the front doors. The word “never†has recently been added preceding the original words.

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The site was widely regarded as one of the greatest icons of the communist world at the time. The end of the communist era in Bulgaria in 1989 saw a change in attitudes towards the many monuments throughout the land, and ownership of the monument at Buzludzha was transferred to the state from the Bulgarian Communist Party in 1991. The state promptly closed the building, just 10 years after its construction and the site has been abandoned ever since.

24 years on, the building has been stripped bare and looters have taken everything of value. In the wintertime the whole structure fills with snow and takes on a post-apocalyptic appearance. But despite this the monument remains as a prominent landmark, a testament to the 6,000 workers who constructed it. Whether the Bulgarians like it or not, this communist-era legacy stands proud.

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Verses from political songs on the front of the building

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All the walls were covered with murals, but most were hidden by snow

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View from the 107m high tower

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Inside the star on the tower

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Star trail

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Capturing the movement of the stars in the background over a 1 hour period

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I really want to see this place with my own eyes, every set of photos I see from it make it look pretty special. Really loving the star trails, top job. :-)

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