Buzludža Monument

Buzludža, Bulgaria | C.1981

Photo Credit: Giuseppe Colosimo

Contrary to how it looks, this is not the site of where alien life forms touched down and made contact with the Earth. However, it is of a foreign world to the 21st Century-born Bulgarian. Built to represent the country’s future, history turned this saucer-like structure into a ruin signifying its past. 

Officially dubbed “The Monument House of the Bulgarian Communist Party,” this futurist structure was completed on the top of a mountain in 1981. Constructed over seven years, the project required over 70,000 tons of concrete, and the peak upon which the saucer sits was reduced to over nine meters to create a stable foundation. Requiring over 6,000 workers and craftsmen, the monument was built to contain a circular ceremonial hall with unique pieces of art. 

With the work of over 60 artists, colorful mosaics cover almost the entirety of the house’s interior. Subjects of the pieces included historical communist figures such as Karl Marx, Frederich Engels, and Vladimir Lenin and commemorations of important events in the Bulgarian Communist Party’s history. Featuring a variety of colors and Socialist Realism-style art found across Soviet-backed governments, the monument was a glittering symbol of the government’s power and progress to come. Unbeknownst to the builders and government leaders, they were creating more of a time capsule to their ideology than a patriotic gathering space for generations to come. 

With the fall of Communism and the collapse of the USSR in 1989, the Buzludža Monument was quickly abandoned–a symbol of a regime that was no longer favored. Only open to the public for eight years, the monument remains closed to this day, left to melt back into the peak it once so easily topped. In recent years, various restoration efforts have begun to preserve what’s left of the mosaics and pieces of the concrete castle still intact. Built for a Bulgarian future that no longer exists, only time will tell where this space-age-evoking structure will fit in the country’s history to come.

Written By: Seamus McMahon

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