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  1. History The Buzludzha Monument aka The House of the Bulgarian Communist Party is a huge concrete circular structure that many say resembles an abandoned UFO. It sits derelict on top of the Buzludzha mountain slowly crumbling away as it deals with lack of maintenance and fierce winter conditions. The Monument opened in 1981 after being built at a cost of 14 186 000 leva (around 7 000 000 €) but after the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989 only 8 years later the Communist Headquarters closed and began to fall into disrepair. The master builder was General Delcho Delchev who was in charge of the Stara Zagora civil engineering section. The lead architect of the project was Guéorguy Stoilov. Several famous painters and sculptors also contributed to the intricate decoration. Above the door in bold red paint is the harrowing message: ‘Never forget your past’ while alongside it is the more satirical: ‘Enjoy Communism’, in the style of the Coca-Cola logo clearly added by graffiti artists post closure. The building still holds a lot of significance to the communist party within Bulgaria and each year on the first Sunday in August around 30-40,000 people gather there as part of a socialist party meeting. Our Visit The House of the Bulgarian Communist Party also known as the Buzludzha Monument is one of those places that stands out as being something a bit special and was always a big location on the to-do list, but being so far away in Bulgaria it was just put off time and time again until finally we arranged a SOCC trip :). I’d seen hundreds of photos of this place from all seasons but I was really keeping my fingers crossed that we’d have some snow! Given our travel dates in March it was a long shot and as we travelled across a significant portion of Bulgaria the weather was pretty warm and sunny… Fortunately as we approached the Buzludzha mountain we could see that the peak had a nice dusting of the white stuff! So much so that we couldn’t even get our cars up to the hotel and our base camp for the next few days! After ditching the cars and walking the rest of the way to the hotel we ditched our bags and headed straight up to the monument to catch what was left of the daylight. The Buzludzha, given its location right on the top of the mountain, is very visible for quite some distance as you approach but the sheer size of the structure doesn’t set in until you walk up to the main building. The tower seems much larger than it appears from further away and even more so when you climb the ladders to the top! Once inside we made our way up the main set of stairs into the large circular auditorium which would have previously been filled with hundreds of communist party members. Undeniably the building is now in very poor condition with only the steel reinforced concrete structure remaining and a few original features from the mosaic pictures on the walls of the main room and the iconic emblem on the ceiling, still in the white cover of the snow this place was still very impressive. As it began to get dark I hunted around for access to the tower and made my way up to catch the sunset, I thought some of the other guys were following but I ended up up there alone for a good 45 minutes watching the sun go down over the surrounding mountain tops. Definitely one of those unforgettable moments in life! Shortly after it was back down, back to the hotel and time for cheap beer and local moonshine :D. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. Higher res copies of the photos and quite a few more over on my website: http://www.proj3ctm4yh3m.com/urbex/2015/11/28/urbex-buzludzha-communist-party-monument-bulgaria-march-2015/
  2. 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. 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. 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. 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. Verses from political songs on the front of the building All the walls were covered with murals, but most were hidden by snow View from the 107m high tower Inside the star on the tower Star trail Capturing the movement of the stars in the background over a 1 hour period
  3. Havent posted for what seems an eternity ! So this was a trip to Bulgaria that 7 of us went on in March. Wont go into the history as its out there Small copy and paste from wiki Buzludzha is a historical peak in the Central Balkan Mountains, Bulgaria and is 1441 metres high (4728 ft). In 1868 it was the place of the final battle between Bulgarian rebels led by Hadji Dimitar and Stefan Karadzha and the Ottoman Empire. The Buzludzha Monument on the peak was built by the Bulgarian communist regime to commemorate the events in 1891 when the socialists led by Dimitar Blagoev assembled secretly in the area to form an organised socialist movement with the founding of the Bulgarian Social Democratic Party, a fore-runner of the Bulgarian Communist Party. The Monument was opened in 1981.No longer maintained by the Bulgarian government, it has fallen into disuse. The monument was built at a cost of 14 186 000 leva. Buzludzha can be reached by two side roads from the Shipka Pass either a 16 km (10 mi) road from Kazanlak or a 12 km (7 mi) road coming north from Gabrovo. Now the monument is abandoned and vandalised. As the roof of the building is heavily damaged, the main entrance of the building has been closed for the public. (cough cough) So as said 7 of us went, 2 traveled from Glasgow (got knows why Nikon came up here to fly down to Stansted lol) met another 4 in Stansted then our final party member met us in Plovdiv after travelling from Belgium. So many laughs had on this trip, ranging from 1 party member going missing at night, after getting bladdered and trying 4x4`s in the pitch black, to absolute nonsense conversations after too much cheap booze. For me it was what a trip is all about, fun fun fun and seeing and shooting a pretty cool place. We spent 3 days/2 nights at the base of the monument, personally only went up twice, but I know others done it many times at all times of the day and night. Anyways, mixed bag, in the order they were shot Not happy up here !!! 200ft pitch black climb then 100ft on see-thru ladders, anyone who knows me knows I dont do heights !! Pretty chuffed I got to the top tbh, but bob hope I was going out on the ledge !! cheers The Baron
  4. Our first visit was late in the afternoon. We were keen to find out if it was worth going there early the next day. After we had booked our flights and car hire, we heard rumours that the weekend of our trip was also the weekend of a large Socialist gathering. If there were loads of Socialists, although the "documentary" style photography would be good, in reality it would be a total let down. We all put a brave face on it, but in reality it would be a waste of time going there and not being able to even attempt to get in - maybe not even get near. As we approach the access road, we noticed a lot - A LOT of coaches coming down the hill. Great. Eventually we found the other route, this time, no coaches, in fact no one at all. When we got to the top, it was bloody windy. Very cold too. After walking around the monument we spotted what looked like the way in, and decided to make the most of being there with some exterior shots. Around this time a lad arrived and asked if we were going in - errr... no, of course not... He then asked if we knew how to get in, we said we had a good idea and just carried on doing our own thing. "Well I am going in, [email protected]#k the police" he said and sprinted up the stairs. We all looked at one another and decided to follow. So, even though the light was fading fast, we were in. I won't lie, it was great being in the monument, although it was howling a gale, pretty cold and the light was rubbish, it was still awesome. No sign of any Socialist gathering, no security lurking about, just us - oh and the local youf. We decided to make tracks and return for sunrise. Although we waited around in the main area for the sun's rays to create shaft of light - there wasn't enough in the atmosphere to give that effect, so off we went to document this quite amazing place The main area is surrounded by mosaics and above the centre is a large Hammer and Sickle The detail in the craftsmanship is amazing There were all sort of rumours some French explorers falling to their death on the rickety ladder leading up the tower which is to the side of the "dome" Looked around for the supposed memorial, and found nothing. As it happens, the ladder up is a series of flights of stairs, totally sound. The stars in the side of the tower are, 12m high, I think. The wind through here was fierce, and I wasn't too keen on the idea of stepping out at the top. I figured that if it was as windy there as it was walking by the stars and the broken windows, I wouldn't bother going out. As it happened, it was totally calm. Just as well, as the shot I really wanted was this one Of course I could tell you that I got my tripod out, lined it up, double checked alignment, took a couple of shots and moved forward a little until I had the perfect shot... Errr.... OK, it wasn't quite like that. I did climb over the low railing on to the platform, lie down flat and edge forward so that my arm was able to dangle the camera (strap still around my neck) over the edge. Fired the shutter and checked the image. It wasn't quite right so out went the arm again and fired off another shot. Nailed it. Good. Edged back and having lost some weight (heights not so great without a harness), over the railing and double checked the image again. It would do. After 4 hours inside, it was time we headed off and on to other adventures, but we are all glad with the explore. It was a glorious day and, I for one, didn't really mind where else we went, Buzludzha had been epic Thank you for viewing - yep, more images over on Flickr