Georgi Dimitrov Mausoleum

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Coordinates: 42°41′45″N 23°19′34″E / 42.69583°N 23.32611°E / 42.69583; 23.32611

The Georgi Dimitrov Mausoleum in August 1969

The Georgi Dimitrov Mausoleum (Bulgarian: мавзолей на Георги Димитров) in Sofia, Bulgaria was built in 1949 to hold the embalmed body of the Communist leader Georgi Dimitrov (1882–1949). The construction of the Mausoleum was begun right after the news of Dimitrov's death. It was built for a record time of just 6 days, the time it took for Dimitrov's body to return to Sofia from the USSR. The body of Bulgaria's first Communist leader remained there until August 1990, when he was cremated, and buried in the city's Central Cemetery. The Mausoleum was destroyed by Ivan Kostov's UDF-led government in 1999 after heated nation-wide debate.

Destroyers of the mausoleum were accused of fascism, barbarism, and vandalism.[1]

The Prime-Minister and his party were claiming that the Mausoleum was inappropriate after the fall of Communism in 1989, because it was a monument which stood for what they claimed was Bulgaria's repressive past. Within the government, there was much opposition to UDF's decision, and various propositions were given for what to do with the building — including turning it into a museum, or an even a gallery. These people felt that, though it was a symbol of the Communist government, it was not worth destroying a building of such stature and glamour, which contributed to the overall unique atmosphere of the capital city's center. Though an opinion poll showed that two-thirds of the population were against the demolishing of the prestigious white-marbled Mausoleum, the UDF-controlled government proceeded to take it down.

It took the government four attempts to demolish the massive white marble building on Prince Alexander of Battenberg Square in August 1999. The first three attempts failed, as they relied on a single powerful blast to take down the Mausoleum that was reputedly designed to withstand a nuclear attack. It did not budge even after the first two attempts, while the third one managed to make the building tilt slightly to one side. The fourth (and successful) attempt was carried out using a number of consecutive less powerful detonations and bulldozers.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Maria Todorova, "The Mausoleum of Georgi Dimitrov as lieu de mémoire", Contemporary Issues in Historical Perspective