BUZLUDZHA THROUGH THE LENS OF ROMAIN VEILLON

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Roman Veillon is a photographer obsessed with disuse and abandonment. A previous journey took him to the sand-ridden Namibian ghost town Kolmanskop, and his website is awash with photos of theme parks left to ruin and industrial sites worked into submission.

Last month he visited the Buzludzha Monument, a building built in 1981 by Bulgarian communists. It sits atop a 1441 metre peak in the Balkan mountains, surrounded by open space, hilly terrain and miles and miles of nothingness. The monument itself looks straight out of old sci–fi – a beacon of an intended future and a place evidently designed to represent a future greatness.

This monument is the biggest ideological building in Bulgaria. Several access roads were built (today in a really bad shape) from Shipka and from the main road Stara Zagora – Roussée. The road exit for Buzludzha is a gigantic statue of Dimitar Blagoev).
The construction was made possible thanks to government funds and supporters’ donations for an amount of around 14.186.000 leva (actual 7.000.000 €). The site was built by civil engineering troops from the Bulgarian army and volunteers. The master builder was General Delcho Delchev who was in charge of the Stara Zagora civil engineering section. The author of this project was the architect Guéorguy Stoilov. Several famous painters and sculptors have participated to the decoration.
Ever since the superseding of Bulgarian president Todor Givkovand and the political changes that occurred in Bulgaria from 1989, the state of the monument has been worsening. portraits of Ludmila and Todor Givkov have been voluntarily destroyed. The copper adornments have been stolen. The building is slowly disintegrating; marauders are consistently breaking windows and stealing mosaics and ornaments. Nowadays, the monument is abandoned and no public institution seems to be concerned by the conservation of renovation of the buildingThe Bulgarian socialist party itself is not taking any action towards the maintenance of its most important symbol.The big star has been perforated by gunshots because it was thought to be made out of ruby.
Doors are now closed to the public. Legend has it that buried somewhere within the Buzludzha Monument’s concrete structure is a time capsule that outlines its significance for any future generations who are wondering why their ancestors built a building so surreal in design.

Roman Veillon main site

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