Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Nope, it’s a monumental concrete slice of Bulgaria’s recent communist history.

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In 1868, Buzludzha was the final battle place between a band of Bulgarian rebels and forces from the Ottoman Empire. Fast forward twenty three years to 1891 and a group of socialists assembled here secretly to form an organised socialist movement that led to the formation of the Bulgarian Social Democratic Party. Perhaps unsurprisingly then, when hardline Marxist-Leninist members split from the BSDWP and formed the soon-to-be ruling Bulgarian Communist Party it would eventually become an obvious place to build the headquarters for the regime. A symbol of strength, power and of historical significance, the construction of the House-Monument of the Bulgarian Communist Party or Buzludzha monument as it is commonly now known began in 1974. The Brutalist building was eventually finished in 1981 and by 1989 the fall of communism in Bulgaria saw it close its doors to government officials for ever more.

To this day, people routinely break in to explore the dilapidated interior. Over recent years, the building has become extremely dangerous and security measures have supposedly been put in place to prevent entry. When we visited, evidence of people sledgehammering concrete walls and basements to enter was clear. We decided not to try our luck - it looked pretty dangerous and we’re usually totally up for this kind of thing.

If you are interested in going in, many hostels in the area are rumoured to give guided tours of the building inside and out.

Whatever you think of the building, it’s an extremely impressive piece of architecture when you’re stood beneath it. I hope that the government will one day wish to preserve the building for future generations to visit and to serve as a reminder not to return to the darker places in history’s books.

Nestled deep in the Central Balkan Mountains you will find a peak named Buzludzha. As mountain peaks go, this one has seen its fair share of history played out over the years.

Have you visited? Let us know what you thought in the comments!

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