Bulgarian Socialists Closer to Reclaiming Ruined ‘UFO’ – Balkan Insight

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The House-Monument of the Bulgarian Communist Party at the Buzludzha peak. Photo: Corey Byrnes/ Flickr

Bulgaria’s Minister for Regional Development, Nikolay Nankov, is meeting the leadership of the Bulgarian Socialist Party, BSP, on Thursday to discuss the future of the House-Monument of the Bulgarian Communist Party, located at Mt Buzludzha in central Bulgaria, his office confirmed to BIRN.

The meeting is in response to a letter that Socialist leader Korneliya Ninova sent to Prime Minister Boyko Borissov on June 16, again demanding property rights over the memorial complex.

Ninova recalled a decision by the Council of Minister from 2011 – during Borissov’s first mandate as a prime minister – offering to transfer the rights over the monument to the BSP for free.

Six years later, the Socialists seem ready to regain control of the monument, which has gained international popularity as Bulgaria’s “UFO”, owing to its peculiar shape, by signing a contract with the government.

Krum Zarkov, a Socialist MP, told BIRN that the party’s aim is to stop the decay of the building before it then develops a project to restore the monument together with its architect, Georgi Stoilkov.

”The first and foremost thing is to stop the decay because the monument is in a horrible condition”, he said, adding that restoration of the complex will be a long-term process.

Funds to restore the landmark complex will come from the BSP’s budget and through a nationwide donation campaign conducted by the Socialists, resembling the campaign for its construction in the 1970s and 1980s. 

The collapsing, eerie-looking building, located 1,432m high up in central Bulgaria, is under the control of the Stara Zagora municipality, which closed it for visitors last February.

In June 2016, during his second government, Borissov promised to put an end to the decay of the Communist monument, after meeting Bulgarian architect Dora Ivanova, whose idea to turn the “UFO” into a museum of Bulgarian history, recently gained popularity.

The huge monument on Mt Buzludzha was built in tribute to the foundation of the Bulgarian Socialist movement in 1891.

Designed by architect Georgi Stoilkov, it was unveiled in 1981 after seven years of construction work, involving over 6,000 workers and 20 leading artists, who worked on the interior.

The star on the top of the 107-metre-high tower is the biggest in the former Soviet world, and three times larger than the one in Kremlin.

Nowadays, however, the star is riddled by gunshots fired by vandals who thought the red star was made of ruby. Much of the glasswork and mosaics have also been stolen and the whole construction is disintegrating.

Bulgaria’s last interim cabinet, which governed between January and May, mulled repealing the decision to hand the monument back to the Socialists, but this idea was scrapped for unknown reasons.

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