It was a misty morning for both the weather and my head. There had been too much Rakia and apparently a performance by well known Bulgarian rapper 100 Kila at the club the night before left little memory in the light.
My wonderful hosts in Stara Zagora wanted to make a day of it though so we piled into the car for a spot of driving. We had a few destinations in mind – most prominently for me was the House Monument of the Bulgarian Communist Party, simply known as the Buzludzha Monument. Set up on the mountain peak from which it garners its common name, the monument sits atop of the final battlegrounds of the Bulgarian rebels against the Ottoman Empire in the mid-19th century.
The present state of bizarre Buzludzha Monument leaves more to be desired. While open to the public and used for public parties until 1989, the Bulgarian government has left it without maintenance since the change of power. The abandoned monument in the middle of the countryside has become an attraction for adventurers like myself.
Our views of the monument and the surrounding countryside were marred by the rain and mist on our approach and throughout our visit – but it lent a more eerie feeling to the entire experience. The building is covered in graffiti, particularly by the bolted entrance. Walking around you can easily spot a high hole for the more fit to climb through. After gaining entrance you can ascend to the Solemn Hall, an auditorium with beautiful artwork left to deteriorate. Word to the wise though, the roof is clearly unstable with many pieces missing. Trespass at your own risk.
This abandoned piece of architecture is a throwback to different times. Bulgaria’s UFO (as many people call it) is one of many odd – but entirely captivating – artistic pieces developed under Communism dotting the Balkans. It’s a hundred percent worth a visit if you find yourself crossing Bulgaria in the near future.