THE BUZLUDZHA MEMORIAL
What was Buzludzha?
Buzludzha is a name of a mountain peak with 1432m altitude in the heart of Bulgaria, part of the Balkan Range. Its historical importance Buzludzha received in 1868, when the last fight of the revolutionary formation, led by Hadzhi Dimitar, took place. This event was significant for the liberation of Bulgaria from the Ottoman Rule. Knowingly, on the same place the socialist party was founded in 1891 as a successor of the revolutionaries. Furthermore, guerilla movement members were killed at Buzludzha in 1944. In 1981, for the 90th anniversary of the party’s foundation, the Monumental House Buzludzha was built. It was financed with public donations, because it had to be a nationwide cause. The building is positioned solitary on the mountain peak and its 60m wide spherical body symbols a wreath, laid on the mountain top as an acknowledgement of the historical events, whereas the 70m high pylon represents waved flag with the world’s biggest enlightened pentagrams, which had to be seen north from the Danube and south from the Aegean Sea. The monument is built to be a pantheon of the socialism, where ritual political events as obtaining party membership took place. With its clear architectural shapes, advanced light system, unique acoustic and more than 1000m2 storytelling mosaic panels the building was a synthesis of the architectural and monumental art at highest level for its time. The materials used in its implementation – white marble on the floor, granite plates on the staircases and red velvet on the walls – contributed to the strong impact of the monument.
What is Buzludzha?
After the collapse of the communist social model in 1989, the new government did not take care of the most significant symbol of the previous ideology. In 1992 the Monumental House Buzludzha was nationalized, the last employees were released and the doors were locked. Having been neglected a number of thefts were recorded and vandalism started. Some of them were because of pure hatred towards communism, others resold inventory and metals for scrap, third just enjoyed destruction. This process brought the building to its present condition – abandoned and half-destroyed monument of past time. The Monumental House Buzludzha is floating in time without a place in the past, because it is rejected and without such in the future, because its past prevents it. However, the architecture’s power stands in zero gravity to time, sending eternal message, provoking deep respect and astonishment. Buzludzha waits in an intermediate dimension its past to be recognized and its future to be allowed. Nevertheless, a lot, but not everything is lost. The monument’s support structure is stable and the majority of the mosaic panels are still standing. The white marble in the ritual hall’s floor is damaged, but not taken out, so as those at the staircases’ walls. The frame of the monument is still there, but the glamour turned to decay.
What is Buzludzha going to be?
Just a beautiful ruin? Abandoned symbol of the socialist regime and of the transition to democracy? Multifunctional concert hall? Restaurant and a night club? Luxurious 5-star-hotel?
The most logical future usage is a museum of communism. However, this concept will not work for Bulgaria, because of the affection by this period and because of the politicization and association with present political parties. Beside of this Buzludzha is not only a symbol of communism. Its condition today shows the traces of the transition to democracy. Moreover, on this place the rebel Hadzhi Dimitar and his men fight for the liberation of Bulgaria. In this area there are hundreds of Thracian tombs from the antiquity. Because of this and the fact that Buzludzha is located next to Shipka – one of the national symbols of the country, the monument should have a national significance and usage, should unite the different layers of the society around the idea that the history and the cultural monuments must be preserved.
The proposal “Buzludzha – memory of time” suggests a usage as a monument of the entire Bulgarian history, presented clear and emotional through the atmosphere of the existing architecture. In this museum the building will be the most important and influential exponent.
Although this idea finds understanding and support by institutions and Bulgarians, the start of implementation appears almost impossible. Modern heritage sites in Bulgaria do not have statute of cultural value as they are still not listed in the national lists of monuments. Only monuments with statute can be managed by the Ministry of culture and can apply for funds for their preservation. Ownership is another difficult topic, as Buzludzha is managed by a regional governor, who can not apply for funds and does not have budget for such purposes. There are three options for Buzludzha – governmental involvement, business involvement or donations.
The NGO “Buzludzha project” foundation takes the initiative and offers solutions, organizes exhibitions, search for support and tries to depoliticize the difficult topic. If you would like to support the initiative, your donation will be highly appreciated and used for the popularization of the initiative trough exhibitions, round tables and discussions as well as for the start of the project with accurate architectural drawings and constructive expertise of the actual state of the building. Every Euro is warmly welcomed
Conceptual project “Buzludzha – memory of time”
Forum – Present time (1989-today)
In the central hall 400 seats will be installed. This will allow concerts, reading, discussion and performances to take place. Beside this, the seats will be the exhibition itself, telling the Bulgarian history from 1989 until today trough the national achievements in the fields of sport, science and art. The names of the most significant Bulgarians will be written on the seats and will be added personally by every new national success. Thus the building will live in the present and will continue writing the history nowadays.
Inside ring – Socialism (1944-1989)
The mosaic already tells the history of socialism. The missing 20% will be completed with two-dimensional wire-sculptures. They will show the outlines of the missing images, helping the visitor to understand and imagine the missing areas.
Corridor – Ottoman rule (1396-1878)
The corridor between the inside and the outside ring will display the destiny of the Bulgarians during the Ottoman rule. The walls will be left in their present condition, whereas black floor and ceiling will be added to create a dismal tunnel. The combination of decay, darkness and narrowness will enhance the emotional perception of this hard period.
Couloirs – Middle ages (681-1396)
In the outside ring an image of а significant Bulgarian ruler will be placed on every of the 16 columns and his contribution will be described under the window. The beauty and the magnificence of the nature will emphasize the majesty of the Bulgarian history in the period 681-1396.
Exhibition funnel – Antiquity (prehistory – 681)
The vertical tour tells the history of the country from the prehistory until today. It starts in the underground level with three sequent halls, which display the prehistory (until 1200BC), Thracians (1200BC – 100AC), Bulgars and Slavs (100-681). The exhibition in the third and biggest hall ends with the founding of the Bulgaria.
Panorama elevator – Bulgarian rulers (681-1944)
The panorama lift will not only display a wonderful view over the ridge of the Balkan Mountains, but chronologically follow the history from 681 until 1944, represented simple and clear only through the names of all Bulgarian rulers and the year of their coming into power.
The ruby room – Socialism (1944-1989)
The pylon expands in its upper part and the elevator goes inside the hall between the two 12m-high-pentagrams. This ruby room emotionally represents the socialism – it is massive and impressive, but in the same time the ruby glass is broken – a metaphor, which everybody can interpret freely.
East-west room – transition (1989-?)
Going out of the elevator, the visitor is in a closed, heated room with a view, strongly concentrated to the East and to the West, representing the reorientation of the country in the time of transition to democracy. The floor is expanded with a skywalk, on which the enthusiasts could stand on. The fear and insecurity, but also the freedom which it provokes match emotionally to this period.
Panorama terrace – present time and future
On the last level of the tour the visitor is lead back to present time with a panorama over contemporary Bulgaria. The terrace offers 360° view over more than 100km by good weather, but in bad days “the present” can be also clouded, however still open to new horizons.
foundation “Buzludzha Project”
First Investment Bank
for donations in Euro: IBAN BG14FINV91501216590170
for donations in leva: IBAN BG90FINV91501216590160
for contacts: firstname.lastname@example.org
for more information www.buzludzha-project.com