[DAY1 pt.1] Monument of Bulgarian-Soviet friendship

“Croatia Infiltration” as a project started around 2009. Guessing by the name – we were primarily focused on exploring abandoned locations in Croatia. Some of us explored abroad but we never went as a group. Thankfully, in October 2016 that changed.

Monument of the Bulgarian-Soviet friendship

Monument of the Bulgarian-Soviet friendship

We planned on travelling to some exotic location that was full of wonders and weird abandoned architecture… After a few tries, we realized that it’s gonna be hard to pick a date so that everyone in our team can go, so we settled for something less exotic – Bulgaria. Bulgaria is not so far away from Croatia so we managed to clear our schedules and take a 10 day trip all around the country, our main objective being the fabled Buzludzha monument.

We did some repelling preparation (we were THAT hyped), double checked our gear, invited a friend that was crazy enough to go with us (and his car) and around 9pm embarked on an epic journey to the most furthest point of our trip – Varna. Google maps said that it should take us about 14 hours, 1,300km. We had some issues with our photo gear on the Croatia -Serbia boarder, lost almost 2h there, but finally arrived around 4pm next day, completely delirious from the road.

Once we reached the boarder of Bulgaria, we had some luck because a really beautiful sunrise boosted our morale and gave us some hope of ever reaching our destination.

Varna Monument - stairs

The inscription on the center once read “Friendship for centuries throughout centuries”.

After a long sleep, we realized that we’re actually in Varna and the whole trip wasn’t a very bad dream. The first thing we visited was the Monument of the Bulgarian-Soviet friendship. It’s located on a small hill in the city so you can see it from afar. As it was a particularly beautiful day, some people were jogging and training on the “Staircase of Victors”. The 15-metre wide staircase includes a total of 305 steps up to the monument itself, and in the surrounding park more than 20,000 decorative trees were planted to represent fallen Soviet soldiers. It took 7 months, 27,000 volunteers, 10,000 tons of concrete and 1,000 tons of armature to construct. It was functional and cared for until 1989, and similar to the fate of other relics from the communist era it was completely forgotten.

Concrete soldiers harboring pigeons

Concrete soldiers harboring pigeons

Doing some research online we found that a total of 180 floodlights were originally positioned to illuminate the monument at night, so that it would be visible even by ships far out in the Black Sea. Meanwhile, a public address system set up in the park played Symphony #7 by the iconic Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich, on constant repeat.

Sith throne room Varna Abandoned

Main chamber inside the monument

The inside of the monument consists of a lot of empty rooms, access to the roof, and the Croatia Infiltration labeled room “Sith throne”. It was a great moment and an awesome start of our adventure. “The rough trip was worth it, we’re here – let’s do this thing” – was the thought going thorough our minds as we were on our way to the city of Shumen.

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