If you’ve ever read an article listing strange abandoned places, you’ve probably seen this one. A massive building on top of a peak in the Bulgarian mountains, this place used to be a tribute to the Communist Party until the regime fell. It was supposed to impress everyone going there and show how strong the party was (like everything else they build). And to this day, when you are driving towards this place you see it from kilometres away and you think this thing must be huge. And it is. It’s also falling apart.
I went to Buzludzha last year. There were a few tourists around (two or three over the hour we spent there) and a lone security guard telling us that we are not allowed to go inside. You need a car to reach it and it’s not exactly advertised. Still, the curious dark tourists have found it and this is why my boyfriend knew about it and convinced me to go.
I don’t know much about the Communism in Bulgaria, seeing how I’ve only lived in it for the first 4 months of my life. A lot of people say things were much better back then, everyone had a job secured and there was no unemployment. Other people say it was horrible. Everything depended on whether or not you were a good communist citizen. If not, you were a criminal. I recently found out that my own grandfather had been held in a labour camp when my father was a child. He died before I was born, but I can guess that he was not a fan of communism. My parents on the other hand say that I was born in a very stable time. Then the regime fell and Bulgaria hasn’t recovered since then.
A lot of young people feel a sort of nostalgia for the socialist times they’ve never experienced, mostly because the style from that time reminds them of their childhood. My boyfriends feels it, because he was born in East Germany. I don’t know if I feel it, but I am definitely curious to know more about it, even though most people don’t like to talk about it.
It would be foolish to say that communism was all bad and capitalism is all good. But capitalism won and history is written by the victors. Now we can only observe as the monuments of the past slowly fall apart and no one dares to touch them from fear of waking up old demons. This is what the inside of the Buzludzha Monument looks like when you squeeze your hand through the fence to take a picture. The rest was inaccessible.
The monument is interesting and impressive. It is a massive concrete and metal building in the middle of nowhere. A snapshot of the past located in beautiful nature, next to a modern wind farm. I can only hope that the projects which want to recover it and preserve it are successful. It would be a shame to let it crumble so that we can pretend we’ve never had any problems in our history.
The thing you see on top of that other peak is the Shipka monument, bringing us even further back in the Bulgarian history. This time to a period we not ashamed of, but of which we are proud. With that it is much better preserved and has a lot more visitors.