21 July 2021. This page features details about an ongoing PhD research project, being conducted by Richard Morten at the University of Central Lancashire, UK. This PhD began in January 2015, and examines the phenomenon of Buzludzha tourism – investigating who visits the monument, what they value about the monument, and how those factors can be harnessed in order for Buzludzha to provide continued value within and for Bulgaria today. The PhD is due to conclude in 2021, after which time the intention is to make all results available to the public.
Research for this project has been gathered in the forms of semi-structured interviews with experts and stakeholders, as well as questionnaire data gathered from an online survey of more than 300 past visitors to the site. The questionnaire was created specifically for this research project, with questions that were developed to tackle the themes that emerged from a comprehensive literature review. The questionnaire can be seen at this link, where it was collecting participant responses for two weeks in November 2018.
The survey questions were as follows:
1. What was the main purpose of your visit to Bulgaria?
2. Who did you travel with?
3. If you took a tour, what was the name of the company or guide?
4. What made you want to visit Buzludzha? Please score the following, according to their appeal (where 1 is not very interesting, but 8 is a strong reason for visiting).
Having an adventure
Sympathy for the socialist movement
5. How many times have you been to Buzludzha?
6. What month and year was your most recent visit?
7. Did you read about the monument’s history before (or after) you visited?
8. Did it live up to your expectations?
9. What was your favourite / least favourite aspect of the visit?
10. Would you visit again, or recommend others to visit?
11. Of all the places you have ever been, which was the most like Buzludzha? And why?
12. Have you visited other communist-era monuments in Bulgaria? Feel free to name any that made a strong impression on you.
13. How did you first hear about the Buzludzha monument?
14. What does the monument say to you? (Be as creative as you like…)
15. How do you feel about the current state of the monument?
16. What do you think should be done with it? Rate the following suggestions out of 8 (where 1 is terrible, and 8 is a very good idea).
Leave it to decay
Preservation in semi-ruined state
Commercial use (i.e. hotel or casino)
Museum of Bulgaria
Museum of Socialism
17. Or can you suggest a better idea?
18. Are you aware of any plans to restore the monument?
19. If the monument was preserved, would you pay to visit it? (If so – what’s a fair price? If not – why not?)
20. And the final question: ‘Dark Tourism’ is a term often used to describe tourism to places associated with death and/or suffering. With that definition in mind, how dark does Buzludzha feel to you?
[Answered on a scale of 1-8.]
© 2018-2021 Richard Morten, University of Central Lancashire. All Rights Reserved.
The above survey questions constitute an original research instrument designed by the researcher specifically for this study. Any unauthorised use or adaptation of these questions will be considered to be a breach of copyright.