Bulgaria’s abandoned Buzludzha Monument looks set for a second life

The communist-era structure will be revived

Bulgaria’s UFO-shaped Buzludzha Monument is set for a full restoration, after winning a Getty Foundation grant that could wipe away decades of neglect.

The concrete structure welcomed more than two million people through its doors in the 1980s but closed less than a decade later, eventually falling into decay.

Buzludzha Monument Auditorium
Photography: Stanislav Traykov

Reminiscent of a flying saucer that’s touched down in the mountains, the Brutalist structure has attracted a global fan base online with urban explorers sneaking inside to capture snapshots of its mouldering interiors – including the mosaics that cover the walls, and hammer and sickle stamped on the domed ceiling.

The Communist monument is in desperate need of a refurb, and in 2018 was named one of the seven most endangered heritage sites in Europe, by heritage organisation Europa Nostra.

Labour March text on the side of the Buzludzha Monument in Bulgaria
Photography: Andrija Simović

The Getty Foundation has pledged $185,000 towards its conservation, which includes evaluation of the building’s structural condition, how it can be re-used, and the development of a new business model for the site. The monument’s original architect, Georgi Stoilov, will also play a role in the project. There’s no word on when the building could re-open, but a public report is expected next year.

See what other modernist monuments that will also be preserved.

Explore Bulgaria’s mountaintop communist monuments

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