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Buzludzha

Kazanluk, Bulgaria
1 of 31Pavel Tcholakov

This monument located on Mount Buzludzha is the biggest ideological monument in Bulgaria. It was completed in 1981, as a tribute to the 90th anniversary of the foundation of the Bulgarian socialist movement, which was established in a congress held at this location in 1891. North and south access roads were built, from Shipka coming to the north side of the monument, and a road up from Kazanluk in the south. At this southern exit for Buzludzha is a gigantic statue of Dimitar Blagoev, the 'grandfather' of Bulgaria socialism.

Construction

The construction of Buzludzha was made possible thanks to supporters’ contributions, in a voluntary donation campaign conceived by architect Georgi Stoilov himself. The total construction cost ran to around 14 million leva (rough 30 million euros, by today's rates). The site was built by civil engineering troops from the Bulgarian army and volunteers. The master builder was General Delcho Delchev who was in charge of the Stara Zagora civil engineering section. The author of this project was the architect Georgi Stoilov. A team of 500 artists, including numerous famous Bulgaria painters and sculptors, participated in the decoration.

State of the monument

Ever since the superseding of Bulgarian president Todor Zhivkov and and the political changes that occurred in Bulgaria from 1989, the state of the monument has been worsening. A wall mosaic of Todor Zhivkov's face was destroyed, soon after the changes. The copper adornments have been stolen. The building is slowly disintegrating; marauders are consistently breaking windows and stealing mosaics and ornaments. The monument was left abandoned for decades.

The monument is the property of the new Bulgarian government. Several times, the modern Bulgarian Social Party have made bids for ownership, though their applications have been refused, as they were unable to present practical plans or proof of funding for the proposed worked. Eventually, in 2019, an independent campaign to preserve the monument was awarded a $185,000 grant from the Getty Foundation in the US, to fund the creation of a preliminary conservation plan. The monument is currently closed to the public, while work is conducted on conserving its interior mosaics.