The Buzludzha Monument

Located at the historical peak of Buzludzha in the Central Stara Planina, Bulgaria, stands a magnificent piece of architecture. The Buzludzha Monument 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 organized socialist movement. The peak itself was the place of the final battle between Bulgarian rebels led by Hadji Dimitar and Stefan Karadzha and the Turks, in 1868. At one time, the Buzludzha Monument was the most celebrated monument dedicated to the sociopolitical movement of communism. Now, in the mountains of Buzludzha National Park it stands abandoned, vandalized, and devastated.

The saucer-shaped monument rises to a height of 107m, and was designed by the architect Georgi Stoilov. More than 60 Bulgarian artists collaborated on the design of murals for the site, and thousands of ‘volunteers’ were involved in the construction process, which took almost seven years to complete. In the 15 meter-high main hall of the memorial a 500 sq.m. fresco present portraits of Marx, Engels, Lenin and the Bulgarian communist leader Todor Zhivkov. The dome of the structure was covered with thirty tones of cooper. Two 12m stars of ruby glass was built-in on the top of the 70m high pylon of the monument that symbolizes a waving communist flag. The Soviet star which adorns the tower of Buzludzha was three times larger than that at the Kremlin.

Scrawled above the main entrance in red paint, Latin characters spell out the phrase ‘FORGET YOUR PAST’, flanked on either side by powerful socialist stanzas emblazoned in Bulgarian Cyrillic.

Bulgarian Communism came to an end in 1989, and immediately afterwards, the headquarter came into disuse. In 1991 the monument, which still belonged to the ex-communist party, was ceded to the state and was abandoned, looted and left to self-destruction.