Forget Your Past

Buzludzha, Bulgaria

Photo: Copyright Timothy Allen . http://humanplanet.com

Meanwhile… in Bulgaria

.. Over the years I’ve visited my fair share of abandoned buildings.  They’ve always held a very strong attraction for me.  Somehow, their silent decaying facades offer the perfect blank canvas for an introverted imagination like mine… literally allowing me to conjure up vivid images of the past in my present.  Unfortunately, I fear that this may be the best opportunity I have to experience the reality of time travel in my life time, something that I’ve fantasised about incessantly since I was a small child.

It has to be said, that when I was younger there were a hell of a lot more interesting derelict buildings around.  These days, in my country at least, it’s very unfashionable to let a significant building die gracefully.  Aside from the money-making implications, we tend to feel that we are somehow disrespecting our heritage by allowing them to decay, and so, often we attempt to stop the march of time by tidying them up and imprisoning them behind a red rope, preserving them in a most awkward state of disrepair for future generations to line up and look at from a viewing platform.  The ironic thing is that abandoned buildings feel alive to me.  They are involved in a beautiful natural process that the act of preservation will, by its nature, halt and kill.

Of course my opinion is an unfairly idealised and overly romantic one.  The argument for preserving old buildings is a very strong one that I wholeheartedly support myself.  However.  On the rare occasions that I get to visit a forgotten building as magnificent as this one, I can’t help day dreaming about some of the incredible monumental relics I know back home and quietly wishing that a few more of them had been left to grow old and perish naturally rather than being unceremoniously hooked up to the proverbial life support machine of modern tourism as is so often the case these days.

Photo: Copyright Timothy Allen . http://humanplanet.com

Our first view of Buzludzha in the snow storm

I first heard about the Buzludzha monument (pronounced Buz’ol’ja) last summer when I was attending a photo festival in Bulgaria.  Alongside me judging a photography competition was Alexander Ivanov, a Bulgarian photographer who had gained national notoriety after spending the last 10 years shooting ‘Bulgaria from the Air’.  Back then he showed me some pictures of what looked to me like a cross between a flying saucer and Doctor Evil’s hideout perched atop a glorious mountain range.

I knew instantly that I had to go there and see it for myself.

Sure enough, 6 months later amidst the worst winter weather the country had experienced for many years, I was back in Bulgaria, and with the help of my friend Kaloyan Petrov we drove the 250km from Sofia to the edge of the Balkan Mountain range in which this magnificent building is located.

Timothy Allen

Every day we had a gruelling trek through deep snow to reach the monument.  Photo: Kaloyan Petrov

Buzludha is Bulgaria’s largest ideological monument to Communism. Designed by architect Guéorguy Stoilov, more than 6000 workers were involved in its 7 year construction including 20 leading Bulgarian artists who worked for 18 months on the interior decoration. A small, universally expected donation from every citizen in the country formed a large portion of the funds required to build this impressive structure that was finally unveiled in 1981 on what was the 1300th anniversary of the foundation of the Bulgarian state.

Buried in the monument’s concrete structure, is a time capsule containing a message for future generations explaining the significance of the building.

Photo: Copyright Timothy Allen . http://humanplanet.com

… The monument during its glory days

The decor was a sumptuous mixture of marble and glass including a magnificent main hall containing 500sq metres of mosaic fresco depicting Bulgarian and Soviet communist themes.

Photo: Copyright Timothy Allen . http://humanplanet.com

The impressive former main auditorium

Photo: Copyright Timothy Allen . http://humanplanet.com

Mosaic frescoes around the gallery area

In 1989, Bulgaria’s bloodless revolution ended with the disbandment of the Bulgarian Communist Party.  Ownership of the monument was ceded to the state and consequently it was left to ruin.

Today, this incredible derelict building stands as an iconic monument to an abandoned ideology.

Photo: Copyright Timothy Allen . http://humanplanet.com

.  .  .

A terrible snow storm surrounded the monument for the first 4 days we spent on the mountain.  During our daily visits to the site, I did not once get to see this fantastic structure from a distance. Striding towards it through deep powder, it would only emerge from the dense white fog just a matter of metres away.

Finally, on the 5th day of our stay the weather began to change.

Photo: Copyright Timothy Allen . http://humanplanet.com

As the weather started to clear up, the monument began to reveal itself

It was always my plan to try and fly a microlight over the Balkan mountains to try and get a shot of Buzludzha from the air.  Unfortunately, after waiting all week for the storm to clear, it didn’t look promising for a flight especially since my pilot had to depart imminently in order to travel to the other side of the country where he was beginning a new 6 month contract doing geological surveys.  However, on his last day before leaving we decided to risk it even though the weather was still unpredictable.  He forecast a 50/50 chance of seeing anything.

Photo: Copyright Timothy Allen . http://humanplanet.com

Above the clouds at -25°C

On the first attempt, we were forced to ascend to 1500ft to avoid the cloud cover over the mountains. (Flying through clouds in a microlight is not a good idea).  We were up in the air for a good hour but came back with nothing more than some pretty shots of the tops of the clouds.  My focusing finger went completely numb after just 10 minutes of flying even with my gloves on.

On the ground, we waited another few hours but the cloud didn’t budge.  I was gutted.  Then, at the eleventh hour, I pleaded with the pilot to take me back up and this time we decided to fly in low under the cloud.  Needless to say, it was a quick flight… there and back in half and hour with 2 dangerously windy circumnavigations of the monument… probably the scariest 30 minutes of my recent life.  Between the frost bitten fingers and frozen eyelids, I just about managed to get some snaps.

Photo: Copyright Timothy Allen . http://humanplanet.com

Making our approach to the ridge under cloud level

Photo: Copyright Timothy Allen . http://humanplanet.com

Photo: Copyright Timothy Allen . http://humanplanet.com

The monument’s impressive dome was originally covered with thirty tones of copper.

Photo: Copyright Timothy Allen . http://humanplanet.com

… and the two 12m tall stars either side of the top of its 70m tower were adorned with ruby coloured glass. Fabricated in Russia, these stars were three times larger than their counterparts at the Kremlin.

.  .  .

All week, thus far this mountain top had been an eerie and mysterious place for me, but since the snow had started to clear from the air it had really begun to open up and reveal itself along with the true majesty of its location.

Photo: Copyright Timothy Allen . http://humanplanet.com

When the cloud finally cleared, the view was spectacular

By sunset I was back on the ground and for the first time since we arrived I got to appreciate the full magnificence of Mount Buzludzha.  This is a site of deep historical importance for Bulgaria’s socialist movement for it was on this spot in 1891 that a secret assembly led to the formation of the movement who’s influence spanned nearly­ 100 year’s of the country’s modern history.

The next morning I got up promptly at first light and trekked up to the monument in the most glorious dawn weather possible.  It was as if I had been transported to a completely different place.  So calm and serene.

Photo: Copyright Timothy Allen . http://humanplanet.com

Photo: Copyright Timothy Allen . http://humanplanet.com

Either side of the entrance are Socialist slogans written in large concrete Cyrillic letters

Photo: Copyright Timothy Allen . http://humanplanet.com

Photo: Copyright Timothy Allen . http://humanplanet.com

Above the entrance the words ‘Forget your past’ have been daubed in red paint.

Photo: Copyright Timothy Allen . http://humanplanet.com

Once inside, the deep snow took a bit of navigating…

Photo: Copyright Timothy Allen . http://humanplanet.com

Looking up one of the staircases into the main auditorium..

Photo: Copyright Timothy Allen . http://humanplanet.com

Many of the original mosaics remain intact…

Photo: Copyright Timothy Allen . http://humanplanet.com

Photo: Copyright Timothy Allen . http://humanplanet.com

… others have disappeared with the souvenir hunters

Photo: Copyright Timothy Allen . http://humanplanet.com

The old gallery area still maintains its phenomenal views of the Balkan mountain range

Photo: Copyright Timothy Allen . http://humanplanet.com

… such a magnificent spot for this beautiful building…

Photo: Copyright Timothy Allen . http://humanplanet.com

Photo: Copyright Timothy Allen . http://humanplanet.com

Photo: Copyright Timothy Allen . http://humanplanet.com

Photo: Copyright Timothy Allen . http://humanplanet.com

Photo: Copyright Timothy Allen . http://humanplanet.com

Photo: Copyright Timothy Allen . http://humanplanet.com

Buzludzha… If Blofeld was a real person… he would definitely live here

.  .  .

In September 2011, the Bulgarian cabinet transferred ownership of the monument to the Bulgarian Socialist party.

Bulgaria’s Prime Minister Boyko Borisov declared, “We shall let them take care of it because here it also holds true that a party which does not respect its past and its symbols has no future”.

They have still not come to an agreement about what to do with it.

To date, every year at the end of July, 30-40,000 Bulgarian Socialists still congregate at Buzludzha to mark the founding of the Bulgarian Social-Democratic Party.

.  .  .

Want to visit Buzludzha for yourself?  HERE is the location on google earth.

Want to join me on a Photo Workshop? Click HERE

Up for a discussion?  Why not join me on Facebook

Alternatively, I’ve started a twitter account now… 

228 Responses to “Forget Your Past”

  1. Ian Watts says:

    Great Photographs! There’s so much more to Bulgaria than what meets the eye..

  2. Stanislaw says:

    It’s future of humanity. Like in books of Brothers Strugatskie Arkadiy and Boris. It’s beautiful past not implemented of perfect social society.

  3. Valentin says:

    Amazing article! I’ve read this and knew I had to go and explore it myself. So I went there in February 2014! It was full of snow and not easy to get there, but absolutely worth it. I was able to take several nice shots and even took the time to draft a simplified map of the building inside. So if anyone needs any info or advice, please let me know or simply check out my personal experience report, where you’ll also find the map as a PDF: http://www.dont-complain.com/2014/02/04/buzludzha-buzludja/

  4. AB says:

    What is amazing is how stupid people can be. There are still some that would like the old regime back because the have lost the ability to think for themselves. This so called monument should be erased from the face of the earth along with all traces of the communist regime.

    • angel says:

      You are a capitalist pig, the capitalism has brought more misery and death than any other regime. The comunism is well dead maybe, but now is the capitalism turn.

  5. Check this video out – PARKOUR Buzludzha – Crcv Bad case:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NcJSWolxKWo

    It is really amazing :)

    • Alex says:

      What a waste of time and money. That is all commies are good for. Making everyone equally poor since 1917. For those who want the commies back all I have to say is get off your butt and do something now you can!

      • Chris says:

        What a stupid thing to say. People should never forget their past. Whether their past is communist or capitalist it is still history. Any history can teach us a lot about people, wisdom, culture art and many other things. I find the study of history enjoyable. Chris
        Also that monument is a lovely piece of architecture. What a shame it was vandalised with graffiti.

  6. Encho Kolev says:

    We live in Bulgaria near Buzludzha and we have an idea that is shared on this blog: http://www.infotogift.blogspot.com/ If you approve it we can help you with useful information about Bulgaria.
    We wish you luck and happiness in your endeavors!

  7. Sam McFadden says:

    I went here last week, it is breathtaking.
    This is the video I made
    https://vimeo.com/67306955

  8. Michael says:

    Hi there,

    Just to update everybody, I was there taking photographs yesterday on a road trip around the continent. You can still get in, the front entrance is well and truly gated up but there have been several areas of concrete cracked open. There are 4 deep holes (20 feet) with medium sized entrances into the lower rooms around the sides (two each side of the building), there are safe anchor points for abseiling bolted to the ground. But while I did have climbing gear on me, being not only alone at the site but alone in the country I thought it best not to start jumping into deep holes. Theres another more shallow hole (10-15 feet) with a large entrance, this you could access easily with a ladder. These holes are good for carrying equipment.

    The easiest way, the way myself and my camera used to get in and out in 20 minutes… (I had to drive to Istanbul that evening and I wasn’t overly keen on leaving my car, laptop and other camera gear unattended for too long.) Was a crawl hole that enters on the right hand stair case. Just follow the wall round from the front entrance to the right and you’ll see it around the first corner. The hole is just big enough for me, 6’3″ 85kg and a small rucksack to crawl through.

    The place has deteriorated a lot since you were there, Tim. Most of the mosaics have gone around the balcony and the roof seems almost see through now. But the view is spectacular as ever. There are a few other monuments to check out in the area too and a beautiful russian church. I’m planning a trip back there with some friends to spend a few days waiting for some descent weather, it looks like people will keep braking into the building if anyone seals it up. All the holes seem to have been made in fairly fresh concrete.

    So, if anyone wants to go, it’s all good at the moment!

    Last word, a lot of people were visiting while I was there (around 15 cars in the hour I was there), all seems like families but I waited for a gap to make my entrance. I’m not sure what the locals opinion is of people going inside.

    Best, Mike

    Anyone has any other questions, drop me an email, I’ll do my best to help out mike@linewalker.co.uk

  9. Stephane says:

    Hi,

    I’ve been very inspired by your pics and decided to go there and film.

    Here is a short that we shot in that monument tree week ago.
    http://youtu.be/5ekLr0vChlM

    The place is really amazing and worth the look.

    Thanks.

    Regards,
    Stephane.

  10. Sabina says:

    Hey, i heard from people that the entrances were filled with cement a few months back and that it is not possible to enter it anymore, any idea if that is true? Thanks!

  11. wow, this looks just truely unreal and the snow cover makes it look otherworldly. Amazing story and breathtaking photographs!

  12. Amazing photographs of an amazing building that I long ago fell in love. Being a British ex-pat whom has lived in Bulgaria for 6 years. I guess if I vere to win the lottery it’d make a fantastic concert hall come recording studio, but for now I’m proud to pout it on the cover of my new album. Enjoy. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E4_-99X89qU

  13. John B. says:

    Scary, beautiful, frozen and very interesting. It reminds me of H. P. Lovecraft and his story Mountains of Madness. The monument to remind us about the greatness of one of the most barbaric regimes in the world.

    I still don´t know whether to consider this building ugly or beautiful. You know that even many buildings in Canada and USA are very strange and some people consider them ugly while others no.

    Anyway, Buzludha is something I would love to see on my trip to Europe.

    • Dmitry says:

      “The monument to remind us about the greatness of one of the most barbaric regimes in the world.”

      Are you talking about Capitalism?

      • Ovidiu says:

        Nope, Capitalism is the one that doubled the average wealth and life expectancy of all the people who have experienced in during the XX century. He was speaking about Communism, which killed about 120 million people during the same period.

        • Chris says:

          Actually it is righteousness that has exalted nations. All of man,s ways whether they be communist or capitalist will never ever be the perfect system because people are inherently selfish. It is God who raises up or pulls down both nations and people. Chris

  14. Stanislaw Stanin says:

    It’s perfect! Greeting from Krasnodar, Russia

  15. That monument shows the tragic that was stalinism ( not communism ). The Bulgarian Communist Party never allowed workers to rule for themselves. It was not communism that was build in Bulgaria, but conservative nationalist; stalinism.

    If you look at how the Bulgarian Communist Party ruled the nation, you see a lot of nationalism and little genuine socialism. For anti-stalinist communists the People’s Republic of Bulgaria was a typical stalinist state. The only genuine socialist about it was its planned economy, that failed not because it was a bad idea. It failed because it lacked democratic participation of all workers. Also Todor Zhikov said just before his death in 1998, that Marxism was nonsense showing that he never believed in Marx ideals. He was just a nepotist who gave all power to his family and himself!

    The monument should be restored because it is history. But the Bulgarian Socialist Party should not have it. That party is even more bad the the Bulgarian Communist Party. Sure the stalinists were totalitairan and anticommunist, but the Bulgarian Socialist Party is anticommunist, pro-capitalist and NOT SOCIALIST at all. I oppose stalinism but I hate social democrats ( pro-capitalist ”socialists” ) that love capitalism and did nothing to stop poverty and capitalist exploitation while they were in power!

    Bulgaria is a poor nation, thanks to 23 years of neoliberal capitalism. Many elderly people want stalinism back. They hate the capitalist system and they have a good reason to hate it. Also neonazi’s are growing in numbers since the Bulgarian state is corrupt and does nothing for young people. The wages are low and corruption and income inqueality is high.

    Capitalism is destroying Bulgaria and that is the reality of 2012. The pro-capitalist European Union will not change that. Bulgarian workers need a workers party on a socialist program. Such party could win voters and take power. Then capitalism can be abolished an democratic socialism can be build with a genuine democratic planned economy.

  16. J says:

    Sir,

    Interesting photos, but they are very small and compressed. Are higher quality photos of your shoot at Buzludzha available? If yes, do they have to be pursued using the licensing form?

    Respectfully,
    J

  17. Moritz says:

    Amazing article and monument! I will travel in Bulgaria next month, do you know if it possible to go there by any chance? How?

    • cvetelin says:

      My from is Bulgaria! Here have road for get to Buzludzha! Up on top of a mountain near Buzludzha has several huts! It is very beautiful, but do not recommend winter to go there! Have very snow!

  18. Kevin Ridgway says:

    Looking at the photos and comments of people I wonder if any budding horror producer has thought of doing a horror mmovie or something up there. The eerie atmosphere you feel from the photos would lend itself well to the screen i think, then at least some of the cash could be made available towards keeeping it safe.

  19. Rich says:

    I think it was an “EEK & MEEK” cartoon that once contrasted modern and ancient societies by stating that at least the Egyptians left better-looking ruins! And I would add, ruins that would stand for hundreds if not thousands of years without collapse. I’m all in favor of saving some reminders of history, admirable or detestable, but this is one best recorded photographically and then imploded and recycled. For those adventuresome photographers willing to complete the job, I hope you have signed waivers.

  20. Daren Critz says:

    dude, can I hug you! :)

  21. Anna Gantcheva says:

    Very inspiring photographs and essay. Thank you for sharing with us.

  22. Great post, Tim.

    I actually live in Bulgaria, and your magnificent photos inspired me to check the place out for myself… as well as researching a little deeper into the history of the site.

    I’ve added a report to my blog – I’d love to know your thoughts, if you get the chance to take a look.

    Best wishes,
    Darmon Richter
    The Bohemian Blog

  23. Xiao Yang says:

    Thank you Timothy!!!!
    Your article became the trigger for me to go there one week ago. We spent 3 days and 2 whole nights there,it was my best experience ever in my life!
    Here are some photos we made in Buzludzha :)
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/inhiu/sets/72157631722508902/

  24. Pat says:

    Awesome!! You have balls to be flying around in a microlight in that weather and temperature!

  25. Steve L.R.Polzak says:

    It is a shame that this building it being left to slowly rot or fall apart.So much could be or have been done with it.One thing I could see for its size,it could have been made into like a hotel/lodge.For where its at the view summer or winter and that’s just the simplest idea or how about if its not that far to get to some special theater.I just feel so bad its going to ruins.I wonder how strong the building is the way it is now.Why let this poor beauty fall?I really think they don’t know what they have.The pain oh the pain.I am sorry I do go on,its just I can see it was something and still could have.Bye

  26. Andrey says:

    Wow Timothy, this was really a time travel for me… The last time I entered this building was when it was still operational! You can imagine the effect it had on a teenager seeing it for the first time. My memories from this place are really vivid. The reason, for me being there, was an official function(probably one of the last ones…) – I was formally accepted in the Communist Youth League and handed my membership card. At that time (around 1988) that was a compulsory exercise… surreal times! I left Bulgaria in 1998, but still go back and enjoy the great nature when I have a chance. You gave me a great idea for my next trip – I think Buzludzha is a must see for my kids! Thank you very much for the great blog and the awesome pictures!

    • Timothy says:

      That’s a fantastic story! Thank you so much for sharing, and yes, I can totally imagine how much of an effect a place like that could have on you. I sat alone in the middle of the atrium for ages, totally mesmerised, thinking about it all, accompanied by just the sound of the wind making the roof creak. It’s a very surreal thought for me to imagine such a ceremony… traveling towards it up the mountain back then must have built up such an incredible sense of anticipation in a young mind. I hope your children manage to see it and get you’re unique commentary as well. I would have loved to have gone there with someone who had personal experiences. Thanks again.

    • Ivan says:

      Hey Andrey, i don’t think it is a good idea to bring the kids there. Buzludza has tons of azbest inside.

      • Cymek says:

        Only long-term exposure to asbestos is dangerous. The effects of a few hour visit would be pretty much non-existent. Also the current state of the building probably provides decent air ventilation of the interior (holes in roof, etc…) – so unless you live in this building you don’t have to worry about asbestos.

        • B W says:

          Not sure what kind of asbestos is in that building but with certain types you can develop asbestosis from a one time exposure.

        • Stephanie says:

          I didn’t know this. I always thought any type of exposure to asbestos was harmful. Thanks for sharing!

          • Steve says:

            Don’t take your kids? So it only hurts kids then. OK.

            Drink too much water and you will die too. Unless you are huffing the stuff, no worries.

    • bankherald says:

      I never would have thought such aspiring photos could be taken in Bulgaria. Sort of a forgotten land by many.

      • Bulgarian says:

        Actually, Bulgaria was visited by close to 7 million tourists in 2011 and that’s excluding over 2 million transiting. For a country with a population of just over 7 million, I’d say that’s pretty good.

      • Bulgarian says:

        Never seen the place in person, but these pictures are some of the most amazing I’ve ever seen! Awesome work!

  27. Sultan Janjhi says:

    I remember that era and this monument it should be saved as it was

  28. Graeme says:

    Whilst not wanting to discuss the politics of the site, as I don’t have any in depth knowledge of the workings of the Bulgarian Communist Party, or to what level they “governed” their population.

    I am interested in the possibility of visiting the site this coming weekend, as the architecture interests me, i wondered just how easy it is to actually access the building once there, as I have seen references to it being “moderately easy”, but no pictures of open doors/gates, etc.

    If anyone can provide any information that would be greatly appreciated.

    • Timothy says:

      When I went there the door was ajar. You can see it in this photo…

      http://humanplanet.com/timothyallen/wp-content/gallery/buzludja/bulgaria-timothy-allen-13.jpg

      … it’s underneath the ‘R’ of ‘FORGET’

      • Graeme says:

        Hi Timothy,

        Thank you for your reply, the outer door was indeed ajar, and there was an opening broken/cut into the inner wooden door.

        Provided you take care and have reasonable mobility climbing through the 75cm sq hole should be easy enough. I would definitely suggest you need a decent torch and footwear, plus watch carefully where you tread.

        Fascinating building and mosaics inside it, thank you for bringing it to my attention.

        If anybody intends visiting the inside of the monument I would suggest there is a limited time to do so, as the dilapidation is pretty severe, and I was told that visits are already banned (according to Kazanluk’s tourist information office).

        • lionel says:

          Well i visited the site today, i’ve been meaning to since i saw your pictures.
          I just wanted to update everyone that the doors have been welded shut… boo!
          Also the graffiti has been painted over grey, so the iconic ‘don’t forget your past’ is no more… time for someone to update it again ;)

          Still, it’s fascinating to see the madness of communism, the unbelievable amount of resources allocated to a building set in such a remote place, for so few to see.

  29. metalux says:

    i have been 3 times at Buzludja,and its really a bizarre building.
    check my clip at youtube.
    the last time i was there was 2 years ago ,and it get more and more in decay.
    but i see on your picture a warning sing ,that is new.its left and right at the entrance.
    its written in bulgarian and says : No trespassing,its forbidden and dangerous for life (falling parts)

  30. Mosaic Man says:

    I have to agree with Dave – having some experience with mosaics and their designs the illustrations and attention to detail of these pieces is excellent. It never ceases to amaze me how good the quality of mosaics were so many centuries ago and also how well they have withstood the elements of time.

  31. Martin says:

    It’s an amazing place but heartbreaking at the same time when you see this with your own eyes.

    Some say the state paid as much as $30mil to build it. It’s in a completely remote place and it took some extraordinary efforts to raise it as there were no roads in the area at that time. At first they forced prisoners to work on it, then the military to help out and even volunteers.
    The interior was in marble everywhere, the heating was nearly always on despite the fact the building was used only few days of the year. It also had 24/7/365 security.
    The rumor was that those massive stars on the tower were made of real ruby! That turned out to be just a rumor… As soon as the communism fell (and the 24/7/365 security with it) some people went up with some machine guns and shot at the stars to get the ruby… which was just ruby-coloured-glass. Nonetheless when Buzludzha was still operational and stars were lit at night you could see them from miles and miles and miles away. They were taking so much electricity from the grid the nearby villages were left in the dark.

    When you are stood at the top of the tower (which you shouldn’t be doing really!) during the summer and clear sky you can actually see the Black Sea which is like 150 miles away.

    The history of it is filled with interesting facts which unfortunately are forgotten as the time passes by.

  32. Blofeld says:

    …get..out of my yard.

  33. Jess says:

    Wow – I had no idea such a building (and in such good shape) was around, and I would love to see it for myself. I just so happen to have a husband who digs old socialist monuments!
    Thanks for sharing this beautiful place with us.

  34. Adele says:

    Some stunning images of a place I never knew existed!

  35. H I L says:

    wow, awesome photos! I never heard about this place. Thank you for such an informative and nice post!

  36. Rosen says:

    Greetings from Bulgaria! Amazing article and pictures. I’ve visited this mountains many times but your adventure is above anything I ever done (flying over it in the middle of the winter). I’m too young to see the building functional but I know it pretty well – my grandmother is born in a village near by.

    Thanks for sharing your excellent work!

  37. Peter says:

    That is some snowstorm!
    I had completely forgotten about this place but after reading the article and looking at the pictures I finally recalled going there for a grade school field trip in 1999 (or possibly 2000). We stayed at a very nearby inn and walked to the monument… well to the hands holding torches specifically. The teachers didn’t want us getting close to the UFO monument (as the students called it). The field trip was primarily about going to Shipka Pass and learning about its historical significance. We were also supposed to go skiing but there was almost no snow at all and we couldn’t do it. That was a huge letdown for all the students and we were all quite disappointed with the trip. No wonder I almost didn’t recognize the Buzludja UFO… if it wasn’t for the last few pictures I’d have never remembered it. For the students it was a stupid looking, abandoned building/monument in the middle of nowhere, but for the teachers it must have been surreal, considering the thing would’ve been open just 10 years prior.

    Anyway good job, brought back some memories. My family left Bulgaria over a decade ago. The weather sure seems to have changed since. Looks like Hoth.

  38. Nickolai says:

    I was there couple days ago for first time. Crazy building in beautiful place…

  39. simon says:

    this is such an awesome place, i’m planning a visit there this summer already. i really enjoyed your article about it, thanks.

    i’m pretty new to the whole abandoned buildings thing, but i’m absolutely fascinated by stuff like this. you put it into words in your opening paragraph, that’s pretty much my outlook too. anyway, living in berlin means there is plenty of stuff to visit. my latest was on the ostsee coast, an abandoned soviet training camp. big place, it’s called halbinsel wustrow. there’s a few pics here http://pannonicauk.tumblr.com/post/19345821414/here-are-some-photos-and-a-short-video-of-me-and i really recommend a visit, it was amazing.

    next on my list is the Beelitz-Heilstätten sanitorium. it’s not far from berlin and it looks amazing. maybe you know about these places, or have any other recommendations??

    thanks again

  40. niapush says:

    Great work!!! Great reminder!!!For some years I have been initiating events around abandoned buildings for triggering social action via the arts- e.g turning them into art centers or the like; here is some samples of the main symbol of the festival the Water tower in Sofia : http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.191366934231125.42926.111065985594554&type=3
    there are so many amazing buildings – completely abandoned and let only to time and weather’s mercy! Let alone what happens to the dwellers insides, if a building represents the body as a metaphor!

  41. krass says:

    Wonderful pictutres! Great idea to go there during the winter! I’ve been there as a child while it still was operational, and twice since 2005. I felt the same magic as you did! Great work!

  42. John says:

    Fantastic. What an amazing place.
    A tip for you: http://www.jornmark.se he is an urban explorer and professor in economic history who has published tons of pictures of abandoned places, along with stories about why they are abandoned. Sadly, it is in swedish but the pictures are still great.

  43. Daniel says:

    A Fantástic Work!!

  44. Matthew says:

    What an outstanding blog post. Are there awards for “best blogging” somewhere? You are my vote.

    Thanks!
    Matthew Cibellis

  45. Daniel says:

    Amazing place and awesome exploración!

  46. Jorge says:

    I can see that place from my balcony on clear days, with binoculars! I always wondered, what this object is! It should be restored as a historical monument and the facilities used as a cultural place for any kind of ART: Music, festivals of cultural value (not chalga!) Seen without anticommie glasses, this architecture has some charme!

    pozdravi jorge

  47. This is amazing! I really enjoyed reading this and looking at the photos!

  48. Daniela says:

    I too am originally from Bulgaria and grew up there. Buzludja was built in my childhood but I somehow never went. Your pictures make me want to go back and visit it though. You did an amazing job. I agree with some of the comments that Bulgarians have a weird relationship with their past. Some want to forget because it wasn’t pretty in a lot of ways but for those of us that grew up there it’s the only childhood we had, so we live with it. And I have to say it wasn’t all terrible. I don’t want to sound like I am making excuses for the communists. They did plenty of bad stuff and I am not a fan of theirs. But you are born where you are born and there’s not much you can do about that. I had loving parents (who were not members of the Communist Party) and they tried their best to make my life as nice as they could within the confines of a repressive regime. That’s why people who grew up there may have conflicted emotions. That’s something that’s difficult for others to understand. Thanks once again for the awesome pictures! Look forward to seeing more.

  49. Quite extraordinary. I’ve alerted readers at The Interpreter to your wonderful photos

  50. major_tom says:

    well done mate, the blizzard puts this in a whole different class!

  51. Philip says:

    As a point of interest, the “Socialist slogans written in large concrete Cyrillic letters” are the Bulgarian translation of the universal socialist hymn – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Internationale

  52. Matt says:

    I have been to Buzludzha (during the summer, though). Great pictures! Thanks so much for posting this.

  53. Rob says:

    Amazing photography, but I wish the images were just a teeeeeeeenie bit larger. My face is literally 8 inches from the screen. You can always watermark them and make them bigger. Just a suggestion.

  54. Oliver says:

    Thank you for this awesome post and the kick-ass photos!

  55. Fargin Bastiges says:

    Never forget (or forgive) the past.

  56. Those are amazing photographs of an incredible building I never knew existed. It’s like futuristic off-planet buildings of sci-fi or a long forgotten set piece from Independence Day the movie. Thanks for braving the elements regularly to obtain such beauteous images. Spectacular.

  57. Magical, like some crazy seen from a James Bond movie. Hard to believe it even exists.

  58. Chad says:

    Amazing photos. I never knew this place existed.

  59. daveyb says:

    Incredible photos! What an amazing place, almost like an alien relic.

  60. Mary says:

    Very inspiring photography and story….I am ready to grab my camera and go!

  61. Matt Davies says:

    It makes me puke seeing all the people fawning over a monument to virtual slavery. The many who suffered to allow the power man and control freaks their penis extensions must be rolling over in their graves at the lessons not being learned.

    • nick says:

      it makes me puke when i read comments like yours. really. i threw up. the story of this thing is amazing. yes, it’s a lesson from our past to learn from. that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be amazed by it. stop being an idiot and get out of your house. sounds like you’ve been in front of your computer for too long. now i have to clean all this puke up off my desk. what did you use to clean your puke up? or were you just using a figure of speech? guess you’re a liar too.

      • Vels says:

        And Matt, the people of USA are much more slaves now, than we were 23 years ago in Bulgaria, so, stop listening to the massmedia and get some critical thinking

        • Hugh Reid says:

          Americans are wage slaves.

          My wife works for an american company and regularly has to work two to three hours per day over her contract. In her company if you get a promotion you don’t get a wage rise.

          Fortunately, because she lives in the UK, it’s harder to fire her, because of our (being eroded by our US sycophant government) labour laws, but her US boss was fired two weeks ago.

          She arrived at work one day and at the end of the shift she was unemployed. They can do that in the US.

          I know many people in Hungary, through Esperanto, and through my wife’s family in Slovakia, who tell us that life under the Soviets was good. There were some restrictions on freedom, but even in Russia it was never as bad as in the extremist East Germany. Otherwise, life was good.

          How many Brits or Americans can say that?

          • saureign says:

            @Hugh Reid:
            don’t make the mistake to take things and extrapolate to all the Eastern European countries… I am a Romanian, and I clearly remember the life before 1990. It was a gloomy society, full of fear and wrath. It was really bad for Romania. The Comunism was a huge social experiment which failed, but leaved behind so many waisted lives and so much wasted time… You better bear this in mind.

            • Anonymous says:

              It is widely known that life in Roumania was bad at the communist time. But it was not so in Bulgaria. Or far not at that degree. So it was not a big surprise if the communist party won at the first free elections. And then again and again. But at last nothing was to be done against the big forces deployed by the inernational imperialist Corporatocracy against the will of bulgarian people to achieve a democratic form of socialism. And the result today is a country in ruins and a dying population. But we are trying to save it. Just sit and watch. I hope you will appreciate the show.

              • My experience as a British man living in Bulgaria confirms this – there is widespread support for the old communist regime and much support in the hearts of Bulgarian for a return to a more just a socialistic system. Sadly British people have no comparison – we have always had a capitalist system and during the cold years wars communism was a dark evil. My experiences here confirm that it certainly wasn’t. Communism wasn’t the problem – the dictatorship of the regime was. I wish Bulgaria every success – the poverty and treatment of the people here is not acceptable and I am so please that a new national conscience has arisen!

          • Rock says:

            Whatever Hugh. My uncles, aunts, and cousins were all slaughtered by the communists as they came down the road killing anybody with wealth, education or land. So go screw yourself. Your wife can find a better job – sounds like she should have been looking for something awhile ago. She has the freedom to do that you know.

          • Maxs'ed Man says:

            Things are scary here in the U.S. When I was young (the 1970’s) things were OK but now I worry for my children’s future. We ARE wage slaves and they are always making us pay for more & more. I even worry that there will be trouble just for writing this truth.

            “We don’t have to live like this.”

    • PLane says:

      I totally agree with you. Most of the writers here, and the author as well cannot imagine how much monuments like this had cost to Bulgarian people. This is pure grain of communist frenzy and should be demolished as soon as possible.

      • Matthew says:

        Destroying the artefacts of the past makes it too easy to forget that past.

        Better use it to explain the “cost to Bulgarian people” you say people cannot imagine.

        If you don’t keep the history alive and the lessons of it in the common consciousness you are inviting all those mistakes and tragedies to happen again.

    • Foreskin says:

      Mister “Cheap quality zombie..” – Bulgarians – under the communists had a higher quality and standards of life and civilization than any of the places you and your mates are poisoning by presence today…
      THAT – is a piece of memory – of a COLLECTIVITY – that says “United We Stand”… So – you and others like you – decided to give them – a whole Nation – the “present..” of the Today’s MISERY… But GUESS WHAT – you and your alike – are f****d for GOOD… You forgot about the CHINESE… Ha.. ha.. ha…

    • Martin says:

      Sure. Lets demolish the Pyramids, the Great Wall and lots of other monuments around the world because they are symbols of slavery

  62. Claude says:

    A science fiction from the past.

    The great photo quality emphases the mystery.

    Incredible story.

    Thanks for sharing.

  63. Peshun says:

    Great pictures of Buzludzha. It is also the site of one of Bulgaria’s most tragic events, the shooting of voivod Hadzhi Dimitar by the Ottomans in 1868.

    Bulgaria’s most celebrated poet, Hristo Botev, who died in identical circumstances in 1876 wrote a poem about Hadzhi Dimitar and Buzludzha, see translation:

    http://www.slovo.bg/showwork.php3?AuID=2&WorkID=3166&Level=1

  64. Flo says:

    Wow! Congrats on the great article and pictures!
    And thanks for not letting us forget our past, that’s really important.

  65. Mark Craig says:

    Beautiful photographs of an amazing site. I travel to Bulgaria every year, but haven’t had the opportunity to visit Buzludzha. The country is filled with incredible sites from ancient Thracian ruins on down to communist structures that have been either re-purposed or (as in the case of this one) allowed to decay. Even the mid-sized city that I regularly visit, Dimitrovgrad, has its own little quirky “spaceship” of a building abandoned near the center of the city.

    As others have noted here, Bulgarians have a conflicted relation with this element of their past (as do so many from the former East European block). Some structures are still in use and the communist murals have been cleaned up. Some destroyed. I love that some of the socialist art style sculpture in Sofia now gets regularly repainted by graffiti artists. Back in January, many of the statues had had their eyes covered, “blindfolded” in an incredibly creative statement on politics both then and now (formerly communist officials and informers keep resurfacing – most recently in the Bulgarian Church).

    I also agree with the comments on Bulgaria – it’s an amazing place, too easily overlooked, with a rich history and fascinating people. In the seven or so years I’ve been visiting, it has changed dramatically with its integration in the European Union.

    • Flo says:

      Mark’s absolutely right about Bulgarian relation with the communist past. There has been a recent example of the that with the monument he’s talking about and, since its transformation was really interesting, I thought I could you give a link to the picture of it, for those who might be interested:
      http://www.streetartutopia.com/?attachment_id=6006

    • Theodore says:

      Yes, during the last 20 years it changed dramatically and tragically. We are living our Third national catastrophe. From 35 place as standart of life in the world to 62 place nowadays is not a joke. Buying power dropped with 500%. People are dying every day in large quantity. HELP!

  66. corey says:

    awesome story! i was there in june and it was one of the most unreal photographic moments of my life. thanks for sharing your photos and story. what an experience!

    here are some photos i took while i was there, including a 360 view from the center of the room: http://hola.coreybyrnes.com/2011/06/25/el-dentro/

  67. malchev says:

    Timothy, thank you for these beautiful pictures and for braving the insane winter just to visit the summit and this monument. I won’t pass judgement as to what it all means, as you can tell it’s still a very sensitive topic to many of us.

    Anyway, there are a number of these monuments throughout the region. Here’s a link describing more of them in Bulgaria:

    http://dprbcn.wordpress.com/2010/03/22/communist-political-monuments-in-bulgaria/

    I grew up and went to school right next to the one in Varna, and I’ve visited the one in Shumen several times, as well. They’re all haunting and beautiful, in their own ways.

  68. This. Is. Beautiful.

  69. Wow! that’s some building and great photos. Took a massive effort I’d say but worth it.

  70. Jaime says:

    What an adventure! Thanks for bringing us this story. As an architect I can say you made me question my own views on the topic of preservation, abandonded buildings can indeed be a treasure and tell a whole new story out of their current situation and this example is clearly a supreme example.

  71. Mr. Nick says:

    We used to go there as kids , part of the school program , An awesome exiting place

  72. These are AMAZING pictures! Stunning! I am Bulgarian and I have been to Buzludzha once, very long time ago. I can’t but feel sorry to see what this monument has become. We must not forget our past! Thank you for showing this to the world!

    P.S. Love your reply to a comment above: “There are so many other amazing things to see in Bulgaria.”

  73. Georgi says:

    hey Tim,

    Best photographs of the monument I have seen, so perfectly dystopic! I’m glad that the motorglider was safe enough during the winter, the areal photos are a must.
    Work on a very similar topic:
    http://www.taschen.com/pages/en/catalogue/photography/all/05744/facts.frederic_chaubin_cosmic_communist_constructions_photographed.htm

    Too bad that very few people besides you do anything creative with the 80’s Bulgarian ruins.

    Thanks for the photos,

    Georgi

  74. Vera says:

    Noone who has suffered the craziness and injustice of 45 years of communism will be “amazed” by this monument. It makes me sick just thinking of the people who built it back then. A picture in the history books will be the closest I ever get to it.

  75. LB says:

    NEVER forget. It’s YOUR and OUR history.

  76. YKoleva says:

    Absolutely stunning! Timothy, thank you for publishing these pictures and the story. Yes, there are many other beautiful monumental buildings from the 70ies and 80ies in Bulgaria, and it is very sad that they are abandoned and falling apart. Not to mentioned about tearing down the Mausoleum in the center of Sofia which was a bad decision. I am truly ashamed that destructive thinking has prevailed among my fellow Bulgarians during the years of transition. No matter how unpleasant the communist past has been for some people, it is part of history. We cannot and should not pretend that it never happened.

  77. Evgeny says:

    I had the chance to visit the fully operational Buzludzha monument when I was a third grader in 1989, just few months before the fall of the communism. The futuristic building had a profound effect on me and my classmates. I suppose we really believed it was a flying saucer :D

  78. Nadin says:

    Just amazing! And so sad…Never forgive past. I believe – this building in its best days is message from our future.

  79. Olga says:

    Amazing images! I was there last summer and took some photos, still haunted by the place. But it looks even more surreal during the winter… It’s funny we both used the same old images for comparison. I guess there are not that many old photos of Buzludja on the internet. I definitely want to go back before it completly goes to peril.

  80. Great, stunning photos, I am really glad that you’ve visited that place and made those photos! Great work!

  81. Mike says:

    I was actually in Bulgaria this past November, and had a chance to visit this monument but unfortunately passed due to a lack of time/bad weather (my girlfriend will never let me live down the fact that I ruined her one opportunity to go!)

    The best thing I heard about it was an anecdote from one of the locals who worked in a hostel in nearby Veliko Tarnovo (Hostel Mostel, great place to stay!) You mention that the stars used to have ruby colored glass in them- apparently, there was a rumor going around that it was actually filled with rubies. People would go out there at night with their guns and try to shoot the star so that all the rubies would spill out and they would be rich! This goes a long way towards explaining why the stars aren’t red anymore.

  82. RussBenk says:

    What a weird, weird place… Never seen anything like it.

  83. Gabrielle says:

    What a great post. The way you captured the different feelings in the various weather conditions. I am fascinated with abandoned buildings. I love these pictures!

  84. Brad says:

    Are you sure that it’s not a spaceship?

  85. sr says:

    this is beautiful!

  86. Nik says:

    Amazing photography, but did anyone else think ‘Myst’?

  87. Paul says:

    “It’s” means “it is” (or sometimes, “it has”). “Its” means “its” as in: “The monument during its glory days” or “either side of the top of its 70m tower”.

    • Timothy says:

      Thanks. I never was any good at spelling.

    • Lexi says:

      No. Wrong.

      Apostrophe to be used for contractions of it is/has – correct.
      Apostrophe NOT to be used for possession = INCORRECT.

      *****Apostrophe is correct in a contraction of it is/it has AND ALSO IS CORRECT to denote ownership/possession, for example, “the monument during it’s glory days’.*****

      THE ONLY TIME when an apostrophe is NOT USED is in the case of plurals such as ‘my hands are cold’ (where the incorrect form would be ‘my hand’s are cold’).

      • Bob says:

        No Lexi, *you* are wrong. “Its”, the possessive pronoun, does not have an apostrophe. “It’s”, a contraction of “it is”, does. End of story. Please refer to a copy of Strunk and White.

        • Anonymous says:

          Yes, Bob, you are right. ?? ???? ?????? ??????? ???, ?? ???? ?????, ?????????? ????????? ?? ?? ???? ????? ???? ???? ??????? ? ?? ?????????? ??-????? ?? ?????????? ??? ??? ??????? ?? ???????? ?? ?????? ??????… ??????? ? ?????… ??????? ?? ?? ?????? ?? ?.?????, ?????? ?? ?????? ?????????? ?? ?????????? ???????… ??????? ?? ???? ???????? ????? ?? ?????? ??????????? ??? ?????? ??????? ????? ??? ????…

  88. Traverse360 says:

    Amazing photographs and amazing building. Thanks for venturing out in the freezing and blizzard conditions to capture the desolate mood. I had no idea this existed.
    Fantastic!

  89. Fay says:

    My superlatives drive has melted in awe, so I’ll just say thank you so much for this.

  90. Vladimir says:

    This pictures likes futuristic images. Great imperia fallen.. for time. It’s our past and its our future. For USSR 2.0 revised and enhanced. Thank you so mach TomothyAllen.

    Vladimir from Belgorod town, Russia

  91. Jane says:

    I have just seen the post on Twitter and….surprise, that’s in the town where I was born! Great pics!

  92. Joey says:

    I agree with you about the wishing more buildings were left to acquire some history. I’m not an explorer myself, but I hate visiting castles open to the public who’s rooms have been made to look “as they would have” or have been restored. Castles are old buildings, why would I want them to look anything but old? I want them to be partially ruined.

    There’s a quote by Ada Louise Huxtable that I love…

    ““Restoring it back” means re-creating the place as someone thinks it was, or would like it to have been, at the cut-off date.”

  93. Ivan says:

    I’m russian. This is my past too. And I never forget it too. Our future is SU ver. 2.0.

  94. Dmitry Olendar says:

    Forget your past?! NO WAY! Red Spring is coming back! USSR 2.0 is on the way!:) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J6Mw7ZaAqYM (http://eot.su/)

    P.S. Great job, Timothy! Thanks!:)

    • Lachezar says:

      USSR 2.0 will be worse than USSR 1.0 You guys never learn from history

      • Dmitry Olendar says:

        Hah! I don’t think so! We’ve learned a lot from our Great Past and we’re learning a big deal from our present too and we’ll make the History! Just watch us and enjoy!:)

    • Pavel Stavrev says:

      About the communism:

      I’ve been used. And you knew. All the time. God I’ll never ever know. Why you chose me for your crime. For your foul bloody crime. You have murdered me!

  95. Max (USSR) says:

    REMEMBER your PAST!
    Memory of past is the culture making a civilization.

    Only animals forget their past and bacause stay animals

  96. Thomas Crapper says:

    It looks like a giant toilet. The star is where the flush handle attaches.

  97. Igor says:

    Izumitelno, kak takoye mozhno bilo brosit’??

  98. Cheecho6 says:

    Love this post. Any plans to visit other Bulgarian attractions? I would love to see more pictures of Bulgaria.

  99. Mikhail says:

    This is simply incredible. Who would have known such places exist and if they did, who would have thought to capture them like this. This is magisterial!

  100. airmax says:

    fucking awesome photos!

  101. Tatyana says:

    I’m russian. This is my past too. I never forget it.

  102. As a Bulgarian I can only say I’m so pleased with the article and the pictures!There are so many other beautiful places like this in my country that remain “hidden” and even forgotten and it’s just so great that somebody reminds even US – the Bulgarians, about all those scenic places in our own country that we tend to ignore.

  103. Prohor says:

    Many thanks for the big work done by you.

  104. Lazy says:

    I love that ‘Forget your past’ part. People should never do that and yet they do it every time once one culture defeats another. Immediately after the victory the past is declared to be dark and cruel and all memories should be erased.

    Pity.

    Thanks for photos, amazing view.

  105. Laraluppo says:

    transit gloria mundi…… ??? ???????? ????? ???????……

  106. Johnny says:

    How awesome.
    Everybody, lets just pray for communism to come back as soon as possible.

  107. [...] a glorious mountain range.’ This winter Timothy went there, 250km from Sofia, and took ↑glorious pictures of the Buzludzha monument, a gigantic, now abandoned and decaying monument to socialism. The pictures show the building from [...]

  108. Herb says:

    Came here from a link @ ginandtacos.com.
    Nice.

  109. Carole says:

    A beautiful, mystical and magical experience in viewing these photographs. Thank you for sharing them with so many and especially those of us who did not know this even existed.

  110. Ned says:

    Beautiful piece of art!

  111. Memory loss says:

    Here is an example how we spend tremendous efforts to eraze the memory of our past, trying to mimicre that we have changed. It is easier to destroy something instead of understanding and trying to improve. a great pity. The behaviour is the same as when the barbarians captured Rome.

  112. Yuri says:

    OOO! Das ist PIZDECCCC ! Ohuitelno ! Zaebis.

  113. r0m says:

    Very interesting story ! amazing photos.
    but why 360-photo technologies was not used ? and can we get more detailed photos ?

  114. 1g0g says:

    ???????? ?????? ? ?????????? ??????! ???????!

  115. Montmorency says:

    A place of worship of sorts, dedicated to man, work and progress. As people say, everything good that still exists in this world and keeps it together is what was left here by Soviet Union. And this place is like a piece of that legacy. Seeing it like gives people hope that not all is lost and there’s still hope. It is great to see that people in Bulgaria still understand that.

  116. Carol says:

    It’s a monument to early Eighties design. It looks like something out of Buck Rogers. I’m glad it’s been given over to people who have an interest in taking care of it, but I agree, there is something alive about an abandoned building that is lost when it’s frozen in time during a restoration.

  117. Yuri says:

    ??…. ??? ????????? ??????????? ?????? !

  118. Jam says:

    Haha. I loved it all so much I downloaded all the photos you had here. I’ve even printed the pic you had of that awesome scene where the sky was rippling with the color of a sunset.

    Damn. Now I want to go there and just stand in that room under that huge dome. I really want to know what it feels like for myself.

  119. Stiliyan says:

    One of my favorite monuments. I want to point out that the offical name of the summit is Hadji Dimityr(bulgarian hero fought against turkish oppressors and died on this very summit). Buzludzha is the old name till 1942. It is a turkish name meaning – icy chunk (I think the author understood why the turkish have called it that way :)

  120. simon says:

    great job – you really did justice to that place – it looks as though you got every great picture you possible could.

    i’d love to blog some if there are bigger versions?

  121. Lekker says:

    Today these meetings are held in a much nicer, more elegant place – with BIG security ;)

  122. Anonyvox says:

    This is a glorious building, and I’m so enchanted by abandoned structures, so this article tickles me right down to my toes. Thanks!

    (Here via BoingBoing)

  123. Gretchen says:

    Awesomeness – thanks for posting these great photos and fascinating story! What a neat place and what a cool (lit. and fig.) trip you took to get there.

  124. phurbumukpodom says:

    Am I the only one looking at this and thinking: Wow. This would make an excellent Call of Duty level? Or Hoth, too.

  125. Wolff7532 says:

    So strange how people are. Let’s build a huge piece of crap and have meetings in it about how to take over the world. Joe Rogan! Follow him. He’s the bomb.

    • Svistulka says:

      Yeah, Pentagon is pretty ugly.

      • Mike says:

        The pentagon is nothing more than an office building… it serves a direct purpose, and the whole thing is being used to capacity all the time, coordinating intelligence and whatnot. What a contrast to this shiny, ultimately useless monument to a (sadly) failed ideology. Maybe if the communist government spent more time actually being productive instead of constantly trying to keep everyone under their veil by building vast monuments to themselves, communism would still be around today.

        In the end, the biggest problem with communist governments is that they spend more time policing their citizens than actually getting things done. They have to do this to survive, because without the motivation of money, the only way to get people to actually do anything is by force. Hence, they spend so much time forcing their people to work, while capitalist economies pretty much take care of themselves, so the government can actually get shit done instead of babysitting the citizenry.

        • dess says:

          It’s an interesting point you have about communism vs capitalism. I’ve never thought it that way. Anyway, I grew up in communism (it was called socialism, though) and was raised by communists but I had to go to the capitalist USA to see communism actually working.

          P.S. @ Timothy, thank you for the Great job!

  126. GeA says:

    Awsome pictures!
    I’ve always thought this ‘flying saucer’ as a spooky symbol and was intending to include it in a ScFi story I am writing. I haven’t seen so beautiful pictures of it by far: you’ve just captured the wasteland of a planet where communism has ended.
    Congratulations!

  127. Gjovig says:

    Ozymandias

    I met a traveller from an antique land
    Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
    Stand in the desart. Near them, on the sand,
    Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
    And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
    Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
    Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
    The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed:
    And on the pedestal these words appear:
    “My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
    Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
    Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
    Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
    The lone and level sands stretch far away.

  128. Peter Griffin says:

    I’ll join you for that fat bowl in there! make it a blunt….

  129. Sean says:

    Great photos Mr. Allen! Very much enjoyed them and the story behind them. Thank you. Would love some wallpaper sized version for my desktop.

  130. Heath says:

    Id love to smoke a fat bowl in there.

  131. MaartenVS says:

    Very sad that this monument is rotting away because of the recent dark past. It should be maintained, maybe as a Unesco monument, for future generations. As a reminder to communism, or even the labor and engineering skills to build this giant building in the middle of nowhere.

  132. lts says:

    Plz post bigger pictures, or makes some wallpapers, something plz

  133. Barrett says:

    Very nice photos.
    A monument to what communism does to a people. Rotting away under the care of the government leaders…

  134. Steve says:

    Wonderful story & pictures. Thanks!

  135. Stefan says:

    “In 1989, Bulgaria’s bloodless revolution ended with the disbandment of the Bulgarian Social Democratic Workers’ Party.”

    That should be Bulgarian Communist Party.

  136. dany bloom says:

    Amazing photos and yes, you need to read POLAR CITY RED a new sci fi book by Jim Laughter in USA about polar city life in Alaska in year 21oo AD or so. His polar cities look alot like these photos. GO GO GO. and see “pcillu101″ as a blog title to see my photos.
    danny bloom, founder POLAR CITY RESEARCH PROJECT, Taiwan
    1949-2032

  137. This is all so amazing Tomothy, I am just thankful I bumped into this space and read the story. Loved every bit of it, and of course loved the pictures as well…

    As for the building itself, well its just unbelievable! And they are just now known to the rest of the world…that seems so odd!

    • Timothy says:

      Lots of local photographers have shot Buzludzha.. it’s very well known to Bulgarians.

      There are so many other amazing things to see in Bulgaria.

  138. Gary says:

    That is absolutely fantastic. Thank you for sharing.

  139. Janet says:

    Wow, what an extraordinary place and your photos really do it justice. I really felt I was looking at Armageddon in the first shot! I love all the different angles you got, great job man! :)

  140. Katrina says:

    Love this! I am not usually a fan of architectural decay, but this is just lovely. Thank you. :)

  141. Great pictures of one iconic place! Greetings from Bulgaria and I hope we’ll meet one day.

  142. Dimo says:

    Great pictures and very good article!!!
    Greetings from Bulgaria!

  143. Justin says:

    I really enjoyed reading this Tim. The pictures are great of course, that sort of goes without saying, but it is so evocatively written too. Perked up the day. Thanks, J

  144. Hafs says:

    Amazing work Timothy! Well captured

  145. sefton F-B says:

    Wow, great shots & nicely written Tim its amazing to see what iconography is hidden away from ‘general’ view, thanks for sharing this.

  146. Interasting to see Bulgaria from your point
    Great

  147. Richard says:

    Holy cow… that’s one of the most awesome blog posts I’ve ever seen. Just beautifully done and amazingly interesting. Excellent work!

  148. Roberto says:

    Amazing photos, and very interesting history :)

  149. Beautiful photos Timothy, thanks for sharing. Amazing to see a place like that in the middle of winter, overtaken by the elements.

  150. Dave says:

    That’s amazing! Those mosaics are pretty awesome.

    • Hi there Timothy,fantastic photos,a reel big effort to go up there in winter,i can see the spaceship from where i live about 30 km NE away(this is what we call it,dont mean to be ignorant though.)
      A friend and i where camping up there a couple of weeks ago,and couldn’t help but go and have a look for ourselfs.,WOW,what a monument it must have been,i think it took decadence to a new level,we where so overwhelmed by the effort in which the people built this conference centre for the movement, wright up there in the bulkan mountains/clouds.
      It is all locked up now with iron bars welded to the grand entrance gate,but if you walk around to the right of the building,someone has knocked a hole in the wall,a little hairy to get in,but you can all the same,on entering the building,you can feel quite unsettled,as your eyes adjust from bright sunlight to a dimly lit building,but after a Minute or two you can start to see the enormity of this structure,slowly walking through and up the stairs,try not to fall through rotten concrete,you come to the centre of the building,an eary silence,only a light breeze across the holed roof,but the splender of what’s is in-front of you is overwhelming,you can see/imagine the speakers and party’s actually being there,it is very unnerving.the marble floor,still intact in the centre,must be 40mm thick,and all around the biggest mosacic you have ever seen(what is left of it).
      i am going on now,but if anyone is ever around this area,it is a must see thing to do,you dont have to camp,there are lovely/friendly hotels all the way up to the monument,it is dangerous….
      the concrete has cancer,but as far as the asbestos goes it is very damp inside,which keeps the dust down,if you talking children under 12,not recommend, difficult entry,but saying that its a fantastic picnic spot,while dad goes off exploring,and then mum.
      anyway Timothy thanks for the inspiration.
      keep on travelling mate.
      regards
      mark

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