[DAY1 pt.3] The D**k Of Shumen

This „thing“ was literally the first building that caught our eye during our visit to Shumen. We noticed it driving through the city on our way to the Founders of the Bulgarian State Monument. It was a genuine surprise. Back in Zagreb we all spent a lot of time in front of maps, pictures, blogs etc preparing for this trip and yet none of us have seen it before.

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The D**k of Shumen

Imagine a huge empty building placed in the middle of the city, bare concrete and rebar surrounded by rusty fences right on the main square. That’s what was waiting for us in Shumen. It was kind of weird for an abandoned building of this size and urban context not to appear while browsing the web.

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The main square of Shumen

On our way back to the center of Shumen we had a choice to make. Do we stick to the plan and head for the next stop we had planned, or do we spend some more time here and see what this place has to offer? Have in mind that at this point we were behind schedule and still had a long unknown way ahead.

We decided to stay and see what was hidding in this odd-shaped building. We parked at the main square and began looking for a way in. Finding an entrance went smooth, in one of the alleys surrounding the complex we found a hole in the fence and we were in.

This place is huge! Not only does it consist of two wings, a tower and a courtyard it has several enormous underground floors that look like they were meant as a parking structure connected by a pedestrian subway to the main pedestrian street in Shumen.

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Enormous underground floors – parking and connection to the main pedestrian street

At this point we realized that we definitely didn’t have enough time to record the whole place properly. We started sneaking faster and faster with one obvious thing on our mind. We have to climb that tower!

Since the moment we entered up until now we remained hidden from prying eyes, nobody saw us enter or move around, we haven’t encountered anyone inside and the structure looked safe enough for us to move without concern. The tower was a different story altogether.
The staircase at ground level had an improvised cage made out of rebar intended to keep people from climbing, but two of the bars were bent making a big enough opening for us to squeeze through. Above the ground floor the tower is open on all four sides, there are no fences or boards covering the windows and doors to hide us.

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Improvised cage intended to keep people from climbing

We start the climb, moving slowly and quietly in a line. We pass the first floor, all is well. We continue climbing, but suddenly we start hearing voices (not in our heads). We stop to make sure what we heard was real and coming from inside the building and not the wind or the leaves or just people in the street. We hear nothing. We continue climbing. All of a sudden something flies straight down past us as if someone threw it at us. Of course that the more we climb the more nervous we get, but we got too far not to make it to the top. Only a few floors left, we hear a commotion. No turning back now, we meet whoever’s up there face to face. We enter only to find a group of scared children who tell us they like to come here to play.

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The view towards the Founders of the Bulgarian State monument

The roof was awesome to say the least. The whole city on the palm of your hand, not one person thinking of looking up to see you enjoying the view.
It was only a week later in Sofia that we learned the people of Shumen call this building „The Dick of Shumen“.

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View of the city – onward and upwards!

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