Bucket list day …..Buzludzha !!!

OMG, team ‘our leap of faith’ is sitting on top of the world, as we have parked for the night in the shadow of the epic Buzludzha Monument (N42.7314 E25.3872). As we trip up the shipka pass ( Paloma eats mountain passes for breakfast these days) we can’t help but spot two epic sights on the skyline.

I am not particularly fond of the term bucket list – on mine, if I have to have one would be simple pleasures, like catching a fish for tea. So to have a building creep onto it, is odd but …..
Buzludzha Monument in Bulgaria is definitely odd and definitely up there!

 Even before getting this chance to travel Europe slowly this imposing UFO-shaped wonder had my intrigue, it started appearing in the uk press around the time that the drone became A must have , I was a little hooked, but thought that I would never see it in the flesh ( or is that the poured concrete).

Opened in 1981, Buzludzha was built by the Bulgarian communist to commemorate the place where, in 1891, the Bulgarian Social-Democratic Workers’ Party first met.

The modernist-style UFO building apparently cost  the equivalent of 7million pounds to construct!

 For several years the Communist Party held annual meetings there but after communism fell the building’s decline began.

So what’s the attraction? Over the past few years, Buzludzha has become something of a Mecca for urban explorers and lovers of Socialist-era architecture. 

It seems that every traveller wants to check it off their list, me included. 

After the building was abandoned in 1989, it was initially left unguarded, largely attracting little attention. More recently it has been shut due to it’s crumbling state.

So this morning when Michele asked what we doing today, I simple said seeing a disused building.

Not sure she was convinced but once we arrived at our parking space, the first glimpses changed her mind. From here a rough flagstone path wound its way along to top of the ridge, where we caught the first close up glimpse of the vast saucer.

The sheer size of the monument was staggering there was something vaguely unsettling about standing in the shadow of this concrete beauty..

The monument sits at the top of a long flight of steps, looking down over a paved courtyard; it was here that the Party faithful would have gathered for rallies.

On either side of the stone stairs had once stood great, sculpted flags… though nothing remained of these now.

Graffitied above the main entrance in red paint,  “(NEVER) FORGET YOUR PAST”; either side is the somewhat more poetic stanzas stamped in Bulgarian Cyrillic. Most of the letters were missing, their message fading into obscurity. The communist call to arms. 

So I’ve ticked off one of the most odd building I probably will ever get the chance to see, sadly it would appear that I was about 5 years to late to get to see the insides…..
So you will have to search on YouTube for those views ( mainly because it’s illegal to enter as we dont want to go to prison in Bulgaria ) 

Back at the bottom of the mountain ridge we stopped to marvel at still in tact Tourch monument. Very little seems to be written about this, but it’s fair to assume that the sculpture idealised the alliance between Russia and Bulgaria, of course Which is represented by the larger of the two torches is up to you! 

I am almost ashamed to say that this morning before arriving here we also visited  the Monument of Freedom as it deserved its own blog ! 

 The Shipka battles will remain in the history of Bulgaria as one of the most important historical events of all time  5500 Russian soldiers and Bulgarian volunteers, led by Gen. Stoletov, defended Shipka pass , keeping the Ottoman troops in Southern Bulgaria.

It’s one of these historical battles with figures quoted that they defeated around 28,000 troops and changed the history by putting the Bulgarian state on the map.

Today Shipka is located almost in the centre of Bulgaria. In 1930 they erected the Monument of Freedom here on the top of shipka pass.

We parked at the bottom ( road level) and started the long climb of around 1000 steps, with each step the view of the tower grows and wills us to climb faster……

As you near the top the rousing music almost makes you want to march the last few steps

Once inside the tower, On the ground floor of the memorial there is a large marble sarcophagus, where bones of Russian soldiers and Bulgarian volunteers are kept. 

We then climb the stairs though the intresting museum of military bits and bobs….

until we reach the roof top, with its stunning 360 degree views.

It’s such a contrast from the monument at Buzludza, as it seems a much more tourist friendly place with its cafes and restaurant……
Only problem now is, I need a new bucket list !


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