Buzludzha: A crumbling reminder of communism | The Economist

Buzludzha was once the futuristic, flying-saucer shaped headquarters of the Communist Party in Bulgaria, but it is now a semi-ruin after being left to rot.

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This is Buzludzha, the former home of Bulgaria’s Communist Party which lies 200 kilometers east of Sofia. It was built in 1981, at a time when the power of the communist regime seemed unshakable. Now it’s crumbling. When it was first commissioned enormous effort was put into constructing the building. It was 15 million Levs, or $35 million today and five years in the making.

6,000 workers, including artists, sculptors, and soldiers from the Bulgarian army came together to construct this elegant monstrosity. Their aim? To create a building that would impress, inspire, and intimidate to make visible the might of the Communist Party. For some the marble and mosaics were a source of pride. For others it was a constant reminder of communisms firm grip on society.

Less than a decade after Buzludzha was opened the communist regime was overthrown and as Bulgarians embrace democracy, this epic monument to communism was abandoned.

ownership of Buzludzha has fallen to the post communist state. But Bulgaria is one of the poorest countries in the European Union and it does not have enough money to maintain or repair it. Instead, the building has been left to the elements.

But there is a haunting beauty in the buildings decline, and people have recently been finding creative uses for the space. Huben Hubenov, editor of a fashion magazine in Bulgaria, staged a photo shoot there in July. It has also been used for art exhibitions, workshops, and as a backdrop for a music video by a French pop band. Even though it’s technically closed, dozens of visitors explore Buzludzha every week. The area isn’t serviced by public transport so the curious must drive or bike some 30 kilometers outside of a town called Gabrovo, up a dangerous mountain road. Once there, they’ll confront crumbling staircases, barred entrances, and broken glass. To enter they must crawl through a small opening on the side of the building, and over a 10 meter drop.

Experts believe a full renovation would cost over $19 million – a price tag that leaves Bulgarians conflicted. Some suggest demolishing the structure. Others think it could be used as a museum to remember communism – but even this is controversial.

25 years after its completion, Buzludzha is still a divisive topic. Bulgarians have different visions for its future but most agree that it should have one.

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Buzludzha: A crumbling reminder of communism | The Economist

EN.- Urban exploration is usually about exploring areas away from urban centers, industrial zones, or abandoned areas. But also for ancient ruins and areas impossible to access, everything depends on each explorer.

ES.- La exploración urbana normalmente se trata de la exploración de zonas alejadas de los núcleos urbanos, zonas industriales, o abandonadas. Pero también por ruinas antiguas y zonas imposibles de acceder, todo depende de cada explorador.

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