The Challenges of Abandoned Architecture : Buzludzha Monument / Gueorguy Stoilov

Why would this building be abandoned when at one point it was such a significant symbol for the country? Buildings such as this that have been left to stand alone are calling out for architects to intervene and come up with well thought out solutions while being sensitive to its historical significance. At one time, the Buzludzha Monument, designed by Gueorguy Stoilov, was the most celebrated monument dedicated to the sociopolitical movement of communism. Now, in the mountains of Buzludzha National Park in Central , , stands an abandoned communist concrete structure right in the middle of the country taking on a “flying saucer” in appearance. What should be done with buildings that have been abandoned all over the globe? Now is the time to think critically and discover the possibilities. More images and after the break.

© George Alexandru Marinescu

So what is the story of this construction exactly? In 1891 the socialists, led by Dimitar Blagoev, assembled secretly in the area to form an organized socialist movement. In honor of this act, architect Gueorguy Stoilov designed the Buzludzha Monument to be built as one of the symbols of the socialism taking shape in Bulgaria in the most beautiful landscape.

Unlike most post-Communist regimes in Eastern Europe, Bulgaria found the transition to capitalism more painful than expected as the backward state of the country’s industry and infrastructure were revealed. In a time when its citizens were dissatisfied with the system of democracy, these negative reactions could have played a huge role as to why such a significant monument such as Buzludzha was abandoned toward the end of the 20th century.

© Georgi Chorbadzhiyski

Instead of leaving it in its abandoned state, architects have the opportunity to use the history of Bulgaria and its current cultural conditions to enhance its quality and to preserve this historical symbol of the country for a variety of functions that would be inclusive of its citizens. A cultural community center particularly comes to mind that could involve educational aspects as well. In these modern times, the possibilities are endless and with such rich cultural significance this monument once had, the best way to approach a building like this would be to revitalize the surrounding area and to make it a rich center as it once was.

Cite: Furuto, Alison. "The Challenges of Abandoned Architecture : Buzludzha Monument / Gueorguy Stoilov" 05 Nov 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed 22 Sep 2014. <>


  1. Thumb up Thumb down +1

    It’s unfortunate that no pictures are shown of the interior of the building. Though locked up, it’s relatively easy to enter and the tile murals, rotting velvet ceiling, and beautiful design of the entirety of the interior of this building make it well worthwhile. Combine that with the inevitable decay that has occurred over the last couple decades, and what you have is something truly unique and superbly captivating.

    • Thumb up Thumb down 0

      Why, then, with its beautiful interior would it just be left standing along? abandoned? Its a great opportunity, especially with what you stated about the entirety of its design on the inside as well…What should architects do to take advantage of something such as this?

  2. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    The architect’s name is Georgi Stoilov and he’s the president of International Academy of Architecture (Sofia).

  3. Thumb up Thumb down +1

    there is a strange beauty in ruin. I believe that some buildings like this one (ruined, dilapidated, abandoned etc) have more character, beauty and meaning than some of the buildings that are being built today.

  4. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Not sure about having beauty, but having character and meaning – definitely.
    Because of the real, unobstructed communication with the public, recorded literally on it’s walls (as graffiti, slogans, etc.)I see two layers of monumentality – the first, representative of the totalitarian regime, and the second – of what came after that – a society deprived of identity and direction. Now it’s a public work of art and should be preserved as such.

  5. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Frank Lloyd Wright said “No house should ever be on any hill or on anything. It should be of the hill, belonging to it, so hill and house could live together each the happier for the other”

    In the case of a monument i think placing it right on top of the hill like Stoilov did makes an incredibly powerful statement. I guess there can be exceptions to Wright’s rule…

    That said, I’m sure many see it as an eyesore in a national park? Plus, wouldn’t the politicos want to remove all reminders of communism?

  6. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    You can ponder all you want about this or all the other abandoned properties worldwide. Wax poetic. The real question is how can you attach commerce to these sites. No matter what fantastic ideas, dreams and good intentions, it always comes down to money.

  7. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Thanks for paying attention to this problem AD.
    There are many communist monuments in Bulgaria which people somehow failed to handle properly after 1989. I mean to preserve the history and the distinctive and often unique architecture (also often “not-human” or even “scary”) and to give these monuments new meaning and social use. So these monuments are abendoned or even distroied (like the G. Dimitrov’s mausuleum) as people try intentionally to forget about the dark communist period. But I think one they will regret the loss if we do nothing to change it.

    The architect’s name is Georgi Stoilov (Георги Стоилов) as is said above. He is also known as the youngest partisan (communist guerilla fighet) in 1943-44. Former major of Sofia in the late 1960s. And distinguished architect in the 60s, 70s, 80s.

  8. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    This building would make an EXCELLENT centrepiece for a hotel / spa resort…it has a decent size (about 66m diameter), gutted interior, beautiful views…needs some serious work to restore it to former glory. Pity about the distance to Sofia…

    Original (1981):



  9. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Heh, dare to say a good commercial opportunity to the naive westerners who keep dreaming their pink communism dreams….
    The article stresses the importance of the place a bit too much. Yes the architecture may be good, and by no doubt no one should forget the history either. But to celebrate it, keeping the meaning and original intension of it?
    You do not know what you are asking for.

  10. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Absolutely agree with Exsoviet – we need to know and remember our history. “Unique architecture”, “cultural community center”, “revitalization of the surrounding area” simply do not apply to a symbol of a painful memory. Why would you attach commerce to this building? It sits atop a mountain peak – is more deforestation, pavement, and destruction of natural resources needed, just to satisfy one’s desire for resurrection of an agonizing past? Let’s be realistic – architecture has inherent meaning. Gueorguy Stoilov may have poured his heart into this pice – do not take it out of context. It has lived its time and purpose. And this is not a pity.

  11. Thumb up Thumb down -1

    I think it’s not yet time to deal with these constructions.

    People that never experienced the times before 1989 in Eastern Europe, and even the harsh times in the ’90s can’t fully understand what such buildings mean, and a head-on approach will only do harm. The “natives” also are too personal about this, going between full-out demolition and renovation.

    I think we should let some more time pass so we’ll have a better understanding of how to deal with our recent past.

  12. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    This structure has meaning that outweighs the interests of art or history. Why preserve a monument to a political system that enslaved, tortured, and killed tens of millions?

    The best thing to do with this atrocity would be to blow it up. There’s nothing nearby that would be damaged by the explosion or debris, and demolition would perfectly symbolize rejection of the embodiment of evil that was Bulgarian communism.

Share your thoughts