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[DAY 4]
Buzludzha monument – day

The day has finally come. After a few days of heavy rain, our gamble to stay in Shipka and wait out the weather has payed off. I remember waking up around 5 am and rushing outside for a cup of coffee and hopefully to see the long needed sun. It felt like walking out of a dark cave and seeing the sun for the first time – utter happiness. We quickly grabbed our gear and went driving up the top of the mountain – to our main goal – Buzludzha monument.

Buzludzha Croatia Infiltration the flame

The lower monument near Buzludzha – we call it “the flame”. It is located by the road leading to the peak and offers a ready made composition that all explorers and visitors must take.

When we arrived there was no one there so we managed to stay a couple of hours completely uninterrupted. At one point we saw a guard driving to the monument but he didn’t put too much effort in finding us – thankfully. It was all almost too perfect, the weather, the amount of non existent visitors, the scenery…

Buzludzha Croatia infiltration interior

The view from Buzludzha monument onto the surrounding mountains. After all the clouds and fog cleared, the scenery was truly stunning. The ice that formed during the night was slowly melting as the temperature rised.

Overall the monument is in moderate shape, the concrete seems in okay condition, but the most worrying factor is the roof. A general rule in architecture is that as long as you have a stable roof preventing water and other atmospherics, the building condition will not decline at a rapid rate. The roof here is completely devastated, it’s load bearing beams are rusty and lacking in numbers and overall stability – a few sections even collapsed.

Buzludzha Croatia infiltration communist emblem

The saucer shaped interior is dominated by this huge ceiling detail. Around it, the roof construction fell apart and I can’t help but feel it’s strong connection to the change in regimes – how once important buildings can be forgotten and left to slowly decay. Kind of makes you wonder – how long until our “modern” way of thinking will change, and something new will fill it’s place?

The damage caused by leaks and drastic temperature changes have done unknown structural damage that has to be tested out to see the full extent. Although the memorial/building is now protected as a EU heritage site, i fear that the budget they have for sanation is not enough to preserve it full time.

“The project has a preliminary estimated cost (including emergency action) of 7.5 million euros plus taxes. This cost estimate has been prepared with the assumption that the concrete structure and elements are not suffering from any unusual difficulties. The rehabilitation project would generate employment for some 600 people per year. (Local unitary costs may considerably vary, so these estimates must be reviewed in depth and updated in the feasibility study.) In total, a period between 4 and 5 years would be reasonably necessary to complete the works.” – a quote from this link

Buzludzha Croatia Infiltration roof

The view from the tower overlooking the roof of Buzludzha monument. From here you can see the extent of the damage done over many years of disuse.

After filming and photographing we went towards Sofia – the capital of Buglaria for some well deserved r&r. Overall this marked the end of our off the grid travel across Bulgaria.

Historical facts about the monument:

Buzludzha is a historical peak (1441 m) in the Central Balkan Mountains, Bulgaria. The mountain is located to the east of the Shipka Pass near the town of Kazanlak and is a site of historical importance.

In 1891 the mountain was the site chosen for the first congress of the Bulgarian Social Democratic Workers Party (later the Bulgarian Communist Party) led by Dimitar Blagoev. In 1944 the peak was the scene of fighting between Communist partisans and Bulgarian fascist forces when the latter were attacked whilst operating there.

Following a desire for a national monument at the peak to commemorate these events (proposed as early as 1898) the Buzludzha Monument was built between 1971 and 1981, by public subscription. The site has several other monuments to its history: A statue of Hadzi Dimitar, a relief of the 1891 Congress, and a monument to the partisans who fought there in 1944.

 

Buzludzha Croatia Infiltration scenery

“I hope you don’t have fear of heights…”

 

Buzludzha monument red star croatia infiltration

Red bleeding on concrete

 

Buzludzha monument Croatia Infiltration man dome

The main room, surrounded by mosaics on it’s perimeter, and a huge emblem on the ceiling. This photo was taken in 2016 and it was unguarded, free to enter. Today it’s a different story, there are rumors of a possible conservation of this historical site in the future. The main problem with the deteriorating state of Buzludzha is the leaky and unstable roof which lets rain and other atmospherics inside producing massive damage over time.

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