Day trip from Sofia to Buzludzha monument: Remembering the Communism times in Bulgaria
A few weeks ago me and Krasi went on a day trip from Sofia to the astonishing Buzludzha monument in central Bulgaria. The tour guides from Communism Tours in Bulgaria helped us discover this abandoned building which was “the heart” of the Communism Party in the country from its opening in 1981 to the fall of the regime on November 10th 1989. Now it is closed to the public and is slowly destroyed…
Before telling you more about this trip and the spectacular history behind the Buzludzha monument, let me first tell you this:
I was born after the Communism regime in Bulgaria. Although I don’t support the ruling of the Party in any way, nor I am interested in politics, I am interested in commemorating the past. And Buzludzha monument along with the Communism times were a huge part of the Bulgarian history. A part we should never forget.
Unfortunately Communism is still a controversial topic in Bulgaria, people are barely talking about it. I personally knew almost nothing about the regime before this trip. That’s why I can say that it was genuinely as educational and informative as interesting for me. A trip everyone, even Bulgarians, should take because what better way to learn about the past than living it.
Now let’s get to the point.
The Buzluzdza monument and the Communism
The Buzludzha monument is a massive abandoned building on a peak in Central Balkan Mountain in Bulgaria. It was officially opened in August 1981 and became the headquarter of the Communist Party. It is also one of the most famous and spectacular abandoned buildings in the world.
The building of the monument took around 7 years and was financed with mostly “donations” from the Bulgarian people. Back then the government printed stamps and everyone had to invest money for the monument. That way the Party collected 14 mln. Bulgarian levs (approx. 7 mln. Euro) from the people.
The Buzludzha monument was built on a high peak so that the people can see it from afar. Next to the massive main building is the 70 m high pylon symbolizing a waving communist flag. Some people say that the monument looks like a giant UFO… and it kind of does. But the idea was to look like a wreath.
Since the political changes in Bulgaria on November 10th 1989 and the fall of the Communism, the Buzludzha monument has fallen into disuse and destruction. Mostly people who was against the regime came and started destroying the place. That’s why it is said that the building is created by the people and destroyed by the people.
Nowadays the monument is no longer open to the public as it is heavily damaged. Millions are needed in order to repair the damages but no one wants to take care of it.
We left Sofia at 9:00 am. Along the 3-hour drive our friendly tour guides – the sisters Tsveti and Beni, started telling us more about the Bulgarian history, the lifestyle during the Communism times and even showed us authentic old newspapers and money from the past years. The music we listened was also typical music from the 70s. Of course, we stopped for a quick snack – typical Bulgarian banichka and boza or ayran drink.
Image: “Ayryan” youghurt drink, old newspaper, money and sweets from the Communism times
There is no direct train or bus to the place. The best thing you can do is to get by car or take the day tour to Buzludzha monument we took.
When we almost got to the top, we stopped by another monument from where a spectacular view to Buzludzha caught our attention.
From there it is just 15 minutes hike to the monument. You can also get to the top by car but I suggest you take the hike because the view is worth it. You can also better feel the majestic of the building by slowly approaching it.
It is an adventure to get inside the Buzludzha monument as it is heavily damaged. We were lucky because the weather was nice and there was no wind. We entered the monument on our own responsibility, though.
There was something spectacular about the inside of the place. All the mosaic, beautiful colors and damaged roof made this massive abandoned monument a mysterious place where you can really feel the burthen of the past. The view from the missing windows was also astonishing.
On our way back to Sofia we stopped in Kazanlak for a nice lunch where we had the time to discuss what we just saw, the Communism times and the situation nowadays. We arrived in Sofia around 8 pm with great impression and memories.
The Buzludzha monument is the place where you can genuinely feel the past and learn more about the Communism grandiosity back then. The next day trip from Sofia to Buzludzha monument is on November 14th with Communism Tours in Bulgaria. I recommend visiting the building and learning more about the regime and make your own impressions! You can follow them on Facebook, too.
Many thanks to Tsveti and Beni from Communism Tours in Bulgaria for inviting us on this trip and making it so memorable. All opinions are our own, as always!
What do you think about the Buzludzha monument – would you visit?