Buzludzha

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The Buzludzha Monument

Buzludzha (Bulgarian: Бузлуджа Buzludzha derived from Turkish icy) is a historical peak in the Central Balkan Mountains, Bulgaria and is 1,432 metres (4,698 feet) high. In 1868 it was the place of the final battle between Bulgarian rebels led by Hadji Dimitar and Stefan Karadzha[1] and the Ottoman Empire.

The House-Monument of the Bulgarian Communist Party (or informally, the Buzludzha Monument) was built on the peak by the Bulgarian communist regime. It commemorated the events of 1891, when a group of socialists led by Dimitar Blagoev assembled secretly in the area to form an organised socialist movement that led to the founding of the Bulgarian Social Democratic Party, a forerunner of the Bulgarian Communist Party.

Construction of the monument began on 23rd January 1974, under architect Georgi Stoilov: a former mayor of Sofia and co-founder of the Union of Architects in Bulgaria.[2] TNT was used to level the mountain peak into a stable foundation, reducing the mountain's height from 1,441 metres (4,728 feet) to 1,432 metres (4,698 feet).[3] The monument was built at a cost of 14,186,000 leva, which by today's rates is roughly equivalent to $35 million.[4]

The monument was opened on 23rd August 1981.[5] At the opening ceremony, Bulgarian communist leader Todor Zhivkov announced:

"I am honoured to be in the historical position to open the House-Monument [of the Bulgarian Communist Party], built in honour of the accomplishments of Dimitar Blagoev and his associates; who, 90 years ago, laid the foundations for the revolutionary Marxist Party in Bulgaria. Let the pathways leading here – to the legendary Buzludzha Peak, here in the Stara Planina where the first Marxists came to continue the work of sacred and pure love that was started by Bulgaria’s socialist writers and philosophers – never fall into disrepair.

"Let generation after generation of socialist and communist Bulgaria come here, to bow down before the feats and the deeds of those who came before; those who lived on this land and gave everything they had to their nation. Let them feel that spirit that ennobles us and as we empathise with the ideas and dreams of our forefathers, so let us experience that same excitement today! Glory to Blagoev and his followers; those first disciples of Bulgarian socialism, who sowed the immortal seeds of today’s Bulgarian Communist Party in the public soul!"

The building exemplifies the brutalist architectural style common to many state constructed communist buildings. No longer maintained by the Bulgarian government after 1989 however, it has since fallen into disuse. Currently the monument stands abandoned and vandalised. The roof of the building is heavily damaged, and due to the danger of collapsing metal tiles the main entrance of the building has been closed to the public.

Buzludzha can be reached by two side roads from the Shipka Pass[6]: either a 16 km (10 mi) road from Kazanlak in the south, or a 12 km (7 mi) road from Gabrovo on the north side of the mountain.

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Coordinates: 42°44′09″N 25°23′38″E / 42.735819°N 25.393819°E / 42.735819; 25.393819

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