Article by Richard Fawcus. 20 May 2018.
Edited: 25 May 2020.

Security post installed at the side of the monument.

Photographed by Darmon Richter, 2018.

The Buzludzha monument receives a round-the-clock security detail.

The rumours are true—a new security hut has been installed beside the Buzludzha Memorial House, and there’s now a full-time guard watching over it. Previous entry points have been sealed, and it is currently no longer possible for visitors to gain access to the monument’s interior.

Visitor numbers have reached a new high in recent months, with around 100 people arriving at the monument on any given day. The recent record was approximately 400 visitors, on the last day of April 2018. Some of those visitors are leaving graffiti, others are taking souvenirs… but with no maintenance or visitor infrastructure provided, even the most casual and well-meaning of visitors to Buzludzha, arriving in these numbers, are serving to further accelerate the monument’s decay.

In light of this, the closure of the monument is very good news. Buzludzha is currently in an extremely vulnerable condition. The graffiti has got worse than ever, with messy tags now appearing on top of the mosaics themselves (before, they just surrounded them). Stones are falling away from the mosaic panels faster all the time, but even more concerning, the circular wall that supports the mosaics is itself liable to collapse if not reinforced soon.

Buzludzha has reached the stage where if it isn’t preserved soon, there isn’t going to be anything left of the interior worth preserving.

We celebrated a massive success recently, when an application to Europa Nostra resulted in having Buzludzha recognised as one of the seven most endangered heritage sites in Europe. This is huge. It means more visibility, more discussion, and a greater chance of securing funding. It also puts a lot of pressure on local government to engage with potential plans for preservation.

Later this year a full action plan will be drawn up. All being well, the project should then be able to move ahead: first conducting a structural survey to establish the condition of Buzludzha’s concrete, steel and rebar skeleton; and then fixing the roof, installing new windows, and fully draining the moisture from the monument’s interior spaces.

So while we appreciate that the monument’s restricted access may be a disappointment for some visitors to the site–and some people do travel a very long way to see it–please understand that ultimately this is good news for the Buzludzha monument itself. As ever, we will keep this site updated with news on all coming developments on Buzludzha Peak.