Buzludzha Monument – Flying Saucer. Exhilaration and awe. Literally, a giant saucer was suspended on top of Buzludzha Mountain. I stood at 4,700 feet and surveyed the Balkan Mountains. Ashen clouds surrounded the sterile flying saucer. I made my way up the stretched out stone-grey staircase of what appeared to be Captain America’s evil enemy’s secret lair. I was anxious to explore. I was ready to enter the Buzludzha Monument.
Buzludzha Monument, located in Bulgaria, was opened in 1981. Buzludzha Monument is built in recognition and celebration of socialist communism. For seven years, 6,000 workers labored to create this brutalist-architectural style structure. This monument was placed on this peak for two reasons. First, near this spot, Bulgarian rebels with their Russian allies battled their Ottoman Empire overlords for independence. And second, Dimitar Blagoev met on this peak to organize a socialist movement which was a forerunner of the Bulgarian Communist Party.
The Bulgarian communist government fell from power in 1989, and the monument fell into severe disarray and is subject to vandalism and the elements. The monument is ostensibly boarded up but easy to enter for urban explorers via a hole in a door.
Sinuous switchbacks led to the peak. The ride took nearly 30 minutes. Buzludzha’s 300 foot plus tower was punctuated with a Soviet Star. In its heyday the star used to be illuminated red.
After reaching the top of the stairs, I took in some giant lettering in Cyrillic and was disappointed by the graffiti. I folded my body and maneuvered myself through the door. Darkness clouded my eyes and I switched on my flashlight. I headed up several series of cement stairs.
And then I entered. A massive and spacious circular room. I imagined communist apparats toasting to the spirits of Marx and Lenin. A sickle and hammer rained down from the center of a raised ceiling. Magnificent murals covered the walls. This room was in a dilapidated state. A vicious combination of vandalism and the weather have laid blight to this room. Light pierced through the arced roof. I lamented at the thoughtless graffiti that detracted from the uniqueness of the room.
Surrounding the center room was a hallway that traced the circular structure. On the interior wall more incredible mosaics traced the walls, most in some form of disrepair. On the outer wall, giant windowless windows overlooked the nearby mountains.
Rain began to seep through the roof. Mist and the sharp cold enveloped the giant circle. It was time to go.
I discovered this awesome structure with the man behind the Bohemian Blog. Buzludzha Monument – Flying Saucer.
And check out my friends at Kathmandu and Beyond and their visit to the Buzludzha Monument – Flying Saucer.