Communist Party Headquarters Buzludzha – Bulgaria Is So Hot Right Now

Buzludzha - former meeting place of only the best communists in Bulgaria.
Buzludzha – former meeting place of only the best communists in Bulgaria, now abandoned.
G

ood news! We’ve reached the sixth floor!” Apart from our motley crew of lamps that included an old Nokia cellphone screen, it was absolute darkness. It wasn’t really a staircase. That’s far too generous a term. More a collection of rusty steel ladders. Later, on our way back down, we timed the descent to the basement. It took twenty minutes, and it probably takes about double that time, to reach the roof of the tower component of perhaps the worlds most spectacular abandoned building – the former Bulgarian Communist Party Headquarters (and urbex Mecca) known as – Buzludzha.

Located atop Mount Buzludzha in the geographic heart of the nation of Bulgaria, I found myself with an unlikely team of experienced urban explorers. Our members were from three nations – Australia, Romania, and England. We had been planning our infiltration of Buzludzha via Facebook and email, and now it was actually happening. I had dreamed about this moment.

“How do you know what floor we’re on?” I shouted out to our Romanian leader, who was now a couple of floors ahead.

“There’s a six on the wall.”

“How many floors are there?”

“At least six.”

I laughed.

“Do you want the good news?”

“Sure.”

“We’re not at the top yet.”

We were laughing like naughty high school kids. It was quite surreal – I know I’m a long way from home now, geographically, but considering I was with a group of people I had just met, being lead in the darkness upwards through the enormous abandoned communist meeting house, I was seemingly quite a long way from reality as well.

Buzludzha - abandoned communist building
Looking up at Buzludzha, Bulgaria’s largest abandoned communist monument/meeting house/headquarters.
The view approaching Buzludzha.
The view approaching Buzludzha.
buzludzha communist artwork
Extensive mosaic work is showing severe decay inside. Some intentional, some through the ravages of time.
Buzludzha, former communist meeting hall in Bulgaria.
Incredible artwork of Buzludzha, former communist meeting hall in Bulgaria.
Buzludzha communist artworks
The mosaics of Buzludzha are large, detailed, and beginning to be lost to time.
communist monument headquarters in Bulgaria
The main hall of Buzludzha, Bulgaria.
Mosaics of Buzludzha, Bulgaria.
Mosaics of Buzludzha, Bulgaria.
 Buzludzha, Bulgaria.
Decaying artworks. What a huge shame. Buzludzha, Bulgaria.
Communist headquarters/monument in Bulgaria - Buzludzha
Seeing glimpses of the stunning Bulgarian countryside through the decaying concrete openings was a sight I won’t soon forget.
urbex in Bulgaria - Buzludzha
After emerging from darkness, the glass stars put a red glow on the remaining few floors we ascended at Buzludzha.
buzludzha communist star
This is inside the star that you can see at the top of the tower section. It was three or four levels high, to give you an idea of scale.

We continued on, up the ladders, and across the rusty landings, getting higher and higher. I’m not sure how many levels it was to the top – maybe 12 or 14. On the way, there were plenty of strange unidentifiable noises coming from the pitch black. Bangs, clangs, metallic pings, cracking sounds. Roll calls continued intermittently, as our team spread out over two or three floors at a time.  We were all looking out for each other, and it just added to the surrealism to be hearing a Romanian accent calling out “Nate! Are you still with us?” every now and then.

Of course, we made it to the top of Buzludzha, and captured the spectacular view –  the roof of a UFO shaped decaying concrete structure, surrounded by a pristine Bulgarian mountain-scape. I could describe the history of Buzludzha, and all of the various chambers we traversed within the grand structure. But I think in this case, the photos really do give a sense of just how ridiculously cool this place is.

I’m certainly not the first person to have visited Buzludzha. However, with the rapid amount of decay that has occurred -unfortunately -I may be among the last. It’s not exactly a “safe” environment inside, and it’s getting worse by the day. But apart from a few cuts, scrapes and bruises, our team had no incidents at all. Buzludzha looked after us all on this day.

When we finally exited the darkness through a hole in the concrete close to ground level (I was the last to leave), Phillipa was awaiting outside, getting to know our friendly team members. I noticed an enormous concrete “n” sitting on the ground. Just one of a collection of letters spelling out a message of communist propaganda on the walls at the now sealed entrance of Buzludzha.

“Phillipa – take a photo of me sitting on this “n”, it will be great to show the scale, and it’s my initial as well…”

My new Romanian friend overheard what I had said, and interrupted our moment with a serious tone.

“Nate, that’s not an “n”, in Cyrillic, that’s a “p”. Please respect our language Nate.”

I was unsure. “I didn’t think you used the Cyrillic alphabet in Romania?”

“No.. we don’t use that crazy alphabet.”

I like this guy.

Looking down on Buzludzha.
Yep. It was worth it. Looking down on Buzludzha.
top of the communist era monument
Some people just aren’t happy until they have *really* reached the top. Rusty communist-era scaffolding hmmm…
grass on the abandoned communist monument - Buzludzha, Bulgaria
Grass was thick and lush even on the top of the tower.
Underneath the main meeting hall at Buzludzha.
Underneath the main meeting hall at Buzludzha.
Buzdluzha communist propagand
Each letter is large, concrete, and heavy.
 scale of Buzludzha
With a person in the frame, the scale of Buzludzha becomes apparent.
 exploring Buzludzha, Bulgaria
One of the team, Darmon is an old hand at exploring Buzludzha.
buzludzha, bulgaria. Communist Urbex paradise.
Buzludzha – the perfect place to bring a small child. I’m absolutely serious, I would have killed to see things like this at his age.
greatest abandoned communist monument on Earth
One last photo at the base of Buzludzha, the greatest abandoned communist monument on Earth.
Finally, I absolutely have to say – exploring abandoned communist party headquarters is not for everyone. It can be a dangerous hobby. Those of you on my Facebook page, have seen the photo I posted from the dark basement of Buzludzha – showing the shrine of remembrance to the two French urban explorers who tragically died inside Buzludzha.

These environments are dark, toxic, rusty, slimy, and dank.

Much like the front page of most travel blogs.

So, if you decide to jump on the Bulgaria bandwagon (and you should), and visit Buzludzha (you should), make sure you’re with a team of people that have experience in exploring abandoned spaces.

Sure, be adventurous.

But whatever you do, don’t go solo.

You just never know what might happen.

Nate

 

PS, for a little continuity – I have left Bulgaria, and travelled back to Serbia, and have just returned from having a dip in the Adriatic sea off the cost of Montenegro. The Balkans journey continues. I’ve been in this part of the world since late January, and I’m not leaving yet. The Balkans really is one of the most incredible travel destinations anywhere on Earth – and I feel totally at home here.

PPS, coming up – more incredible communist-era monuments of Bulgaria, a ride on Marshal Tito’s original Blue Train, and the stunning beauty of Montenegro. I suggest you try out the free email delivery – have the next post sent to your inbox. No spam, ever. Just pop your address in here:

 

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45 thoughts on “Communist Party Headquarters Buzludzha – Bulgaria Is So Hot Right Now

  1. that is by far the coolest building i have ever seen. i have to see that in person one of these days. (i have an eerie softspot for abandoned buildings…strange as it may sound).

    1. Hey Megan… I have an eerie soft-spot for abandoned buildings as well, so I don’t find that strange at all. You would be amazed how popular these sorts of spaces are – there’s a lot of fans out there. Hope all of your travels are going well.

  2. that’s such an awesome place, I so would love to visit it as I’m a huge fan (well, that’s probably not the best word;)) of post Soviet monuments and architecture! Do you plan visiting Caucasus area? In Georgia, on Georgian Military Highway, there’s a monument in the middle of nowhere that was built to commemorate Soviet friendship. It looks like that: https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-jOKU0QCEXzc/TqmaZjWt62I/AAAAAAAAaRY/m9Tm39t8BHI/s812/P1310686-1.JPG https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-TR7w-aYKioI/TqmbMqiIWPI/AAAAAAAAaUk/Nb_OMByYsPc/s812/P1310878-1.JPG https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-9NaLNpDKAqQ/TqmbW1843ZI/AAAAAAAAaVM/H2VWOY0kZH4/s812/P1310891-1.JPG
    I’m sure you’d also love The Museum of Great Patriotic War in Kiev! That was one of the most surreal places I’ve ever visited!!

    1. We’re both fans Kami – I think that is the right word! I’m planning on getting to the Caucasus area for sure, but nothing concrete yet – as you may have noticed, I’m a little bit “spur of the moment”. But thanks so much for the links and info, it looks really cool, even in that decayed state. I chatted to Larissa (Blonde Gypsy) about Kiev, and she agrees with you – I’ll have to put that on my list as well.

      1. I think that might be the reason why I enjoy your blog so much, you cover places with amazing post-Soviet architecture that not many go to (and that I’m interested in big time!) You really should consider visiting Caucasus as soon as possible (I guess I’ve already suggested that a while ago;)) as the area is fastly changing and loses its charm. Especially Georgia is so European and American obsessed it kind of hurts.
        I’m sure you’d love Kiev! Not only there’s this great Museum (with old Soviet war songs playing in the background!!) but the main street and the center are great examples of Soviet architecture plus there’re so many awesome and really impressive blocks of flats!!

  3. Awesome Nate, you’re hitting up all of these places I’ve been thinking about for years… except you’re actually doing them :)

    Hope seeing your work helps get me out there sooner rather than later…

  4. This building is stupendously awesome. Imagine what it must have looked like in its heyday, with all of the associated security and Bulgarian communist heavies inside.

      1. What an incredible photo, thanks for that Darmon. And, big thanks for all your help, had a great time hanging in Bulgaria with you. (for anyone else reading this, check out Darmon’s blog – amazing collection of urbex/dark tourism, and all things cool and abandoned.

  5. Wow that is a serious and amazing building. Great photos. It is a shame it is decaying, but fantastic that you have recorded it. Love your work. Always have. Always will.

  6. Make that “sight” not “site” in caption of pic 10….. you’re welcome.

    PS This shiz is cookoo bananas!

  7. I posted a picture of this building in my blog several months ago. I think I wrote that I wanted to see more of it some day. And here you are inside it. I had a feeling this is the place you were going.
    Incredible pics, so grandiose. Words…err, pics can begin to describe…
    Thank you

  8. Wow! It’s been a while since I’ve been blown away by something as different as this. I love Bulgaria and the Balkans in general, having spent lots of time there as communism fell in 89-94 including 6 months in Sofia in 91-92. I never knew about this place and would love to visit. Thanks for writing about it, your photos are so atmospheric.

    1. Yo Joelz Santana – nice to hear from you mate… pretty damn crazy hey. Maybe it was my Mecca… we’ll see. Take care buddy, catch you sooner or later.

  9. Funny thing is the Romanians were using that crazy alphabet until 1860 when they definitely switched to Latin script. :)

  10. Nate,

    I have been watching this great series on Vimeo by Michael Bott on the megalithic sites in the british isles. I swear to god, this is the new stonehenge. The circle the menhirs… Crazy, to restore this would be an undertaking. It should be restored, not to fall into such decay. It seems alien, other worldly and deeply mysterious. Great shots.

    Be well

    Laurence

    1. I agree with your sentiments Laurence. I love the decayed buildings, and there is a definite character that the decay brings. Unfortunately the inevitable conclusion of this is that the buildings will eventually be lost. It’s understandable that people would not care about these buildings, what with their links to e bad times and dictatorships, but the are an important part of history, both socially and architecturally.

  11. Dude, you find the coolest things! You have to hand it to the communisits, they certainly knew how to make a statement with concrete. This one looks like it’s ready to take off to space. It’s just so so said that those beautiful mosaics are going to be lost. They are stunning. If you ever make it to Minnesota, I have a crazy sculpture garden to take you and Phillipa to.

  12. This place definitely looks like something out of a sci-fi movie. It does look quite unsafe but if one day I’m in Bulgaria (soon I hope), I will do my best not to miss visiting this place, before it’s too late. Really cool pictures Nate!

  13. Without a doubt the strangest and most sinister structure I’ve seen. A combination between a flying saucer outside and a coagulated nightmare inside. The mosaics are a triumph of an infernal caricacture of Byzantine art. Absolutely ghastly.

  14. Had to come and re-read this post, after watching the music video of Finnish band Haloo Helsinki! which was shot at this spot.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6I2XMfGvHiQ Has some cool footage of area as well. Well worth watching it even though the song itself is in Finnish. BTW the band has said that they were told the place is going to be demolished in the next year or two. Sad if its so.

  15. Wow, I had never heard of this place until a few minutes before deciding to Google it and stumbling on your story. I visited Bulgaria in 2013 and had no idea! I also got to visit Bosnia, Montenegro, Romania and Croatia over different trips and I agree with you that the Balkans are fascinating! I have to say that though Communism is nothing I feel romantic about, this place should be restored some (at least to prevent decay) as it is now part of history and worth preserving in my humble opinion!

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