Georgi Dimitrov Mausoleum
The white marble mausoleum was built in 1949 to contain the embalmed body of Bulgaria's first Communist leader, Georgi Dimitrov (1882–1949), construction beginning immediately after the news of Dimitrov's death. It was completed in just six days, the time it took Dimitrov's body to be returned to Sofia from the USSR. Dimitrov's body remained in the mausoleum until August 1990, when Dimitrov's remains were cremated and the ashes buried in the Sofia's Central Cemetery.
The mausoleum itself was destroyed by Prime Minister Ivan Kostov's UDF government in 1999 after a heated nationwide debate. The prime minister and his party claimed that retaining the mausoleum was inappropriate following the fall of Communism in 1989 because it represented Bulgaria's repressive past. Even within the government there was opposition to destroying the building, and an opinion poll revealed that two-thirds of the population opposed the demolition. Proposals were made to turn the mausoleum into a museum or art gallery because it contributed to the unique atmosphere of the capital city.
In August 1999, the government made four attempts to demolish the building. The first three failed because they relied on a single powerful explosion. The building did not budge after the first two attempts and tilted only slightly after the third. The fourth (and successful) attempt was carried out using a series of consecutive, less powerful explosions.
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