Explore the epic, abandoned Communist headquarters hidden in the Bulgarian mountains

In 1970s and 80s, the Communist Party was strong in Bulgaria. In order to honour the movement’s leaders, as well as to create a space for meetings and rallies, the government built a massive monument atop a high peak in one of Bulgaria’s mountain ranges.

Dubbed the Buzludzha Monument, after the mountain it was built on, the structure became the headquarters for the Bulgarian Communist party. Finished in 1981, it was only used for eight years before it was abandoned when the Iron Curtain fell.

While many in the government would like to restore the building —  as it has become quite popular with tourists — the cost of doing so (an estimated $US20 million) is too high a price for the state’s coffers.

So, for the time being, the massive monument to a bygone era still stands, crumbling day by day. 

The headquarters is located in a fairly isolated place in the Central Balkan Mountain range. It sits on the top of the historic Buzludzha peak, from which it gets its name.

The complex is about 130 miles from Sofia, the closest major city. You have to take some back roads, most of them unmaintained, to get there, but once you're close, you can't miss it.

Here's what the main hall looked like when it was new. The entire building reportedly cost more than $11 million to construct.

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