GES141 - Buzludzha Monument to Socialism
Having spent the morning being detained on an airfield (see GES144 (currently unwritten)), it became a bit of a rush to get across the country to the Buzludzha (spelt Buzludja in English) Monument. I was quietly getting peeved at GE099's sedate driving pace, as the daylight available began to diminish. Eventually, as the GPS took us through all sorts of villages and crappy roads, we caught sight of the monument perched on a hill, visible from miles around. Unfortunately it was still a fair drive to get there.
As we got closer, it's oddness became more apparent, like a UFO landing next to a giant inverted bowling pin. Also there was a fair splattering of snow on the ground. So much that we couldn't proceed further up the road at one point, and had to quickly climb the rest of the hill on foot. There were a few other people here and there around the monument, but no one inside.
GE099 dropped through a precarious gap and through a big drop from what was once a subterranean window. Not being too keen to do the same, I focused on getting some externals. From the front.
The main tower of the monument, capturing the fast sinking sun's glow.
The main building used to look like this, with glass in the slits around the main saucer.
I found my way around to the far side of the monument, and found disabled access into the structure. For some reason I ended up going around in circles in the basement, rather than locating the rather obvious stairs to the main dome. I came across some sort of telephone exchange or circuit board in one of the basement rooms.
Finally though I made it up to the main saucer area. As GE099 agreed, it wasn't as large as we had envisioned, but still impressive. I popped up for a perspective shot with Engels, Marx and Lenin. The main entrances are on the left and right of the picture, from behind the concrete.
While GE099 was beavering away with his 23,344 attempt at getting the perfect picture, I left him too it, and found the amazing views across the Balkan Mountains which stretch for hundreds of kilometres across Bulgaria to Serbia.
Around the main room of the saucer was a wall with lots of tile mosaics on, all showing socialist themes.
Mosaics of workers with jackhammers and sledgehammers.
the area above used to look like this
GE099 having finished his pics, I could grab a wide shot of the main auditorium of the saucer.
Amazingly It used to look like this.
Another mosaic from the outer interior wall of the main auditorium.
The setting sun and low cloud over the neighbouring mountains. The monuments sits at 1800m above sea level.
With the sun setting, it was a frantic climb up the inside of the tower next to the saucer section. What was once a solid metal door and been bent in half by local types, keen to allow all to see the views. Seemingly endless black metal ladders sent one dizzy going around and around as one progressed up. Eventually things opened up to reveal a few floors which went up by the huge red glassed star near the top of the tower. And then a shoulder to the hatch at the top, and we were back in the last remnants of daylight. On the opposing hill a slew of wind turbines.
Looking down on the saucer, the large communist star just visible in the inlay.
Handheld of myself and GE099 not worried about sheer drops, obviously!
The best view of all, just as the daylight disappeared. It was freezing cold, but the warmth was still in us from the climb.
I was disappointed that we didn't get more time there, bloody secret service. I was keen to stay the night hobo style, and see dawn. However common sense prevailed, as we watched the thermometer drop below freezing. And eventually I drove down the hill at crazy speeds, GE099 rigid with fear as the speedometer climbed over 20kph. We roared off to the next town we wanted to see, the old capital of Tarnovo.