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Report - Monument of the Bulgarian-Soviet friendship - Varna- Bulgaria - July 2013

Discussion in 'European and International Sites' started by bhg, Aug 19, 2013.

  1. bhg

    bhg In Search of Lost Time
    Regular User

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    Visited with Darmon Richter.

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    I saw many different sites during my holidays this year - amazing train depot in my hometown, interesting air raid shelters and sewers, abandoned factories, and finally climbed my first solo crane and a beautiful church tower, but I must say that this was certainly the best place I had a chance to see...
    Since I can remember I drove past it with my parents on the way from the Varna airport to Balchik where we used to spend summer holidays, it was always a familiar but a bit gloomy landmark for me.
    My generation was born in the communism era but I don't remember tanks on the streets during Martian Law in Poland in early '80s but I remember that I had loads of fun standing in never ending queues with my parents or the first taste of incredible sour Cuban oranges - and they are my happy childhood memories. My parents also tended to take embarrassing and weird pics of me like this one with a creepy mannequines in the background :)

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    As much we always loved concrete in Poland we never had that many communist era monuments built in our country. Of course socialist realism (officially approved type of art ) was also very common, and plenty of soldiers or Lenin's sculptures appeared in every small town or a big city, but it never turned in the sort of cult like it did in Bulgaria.
    According to nikolamihov.com website there are apparently over 100 forgotten monuments (built between 1945-1989) remain standing. Situated in towns across the country, and once a symbol of pride, today most of communist era monuments are neglected and ransacked. Regardless of whether they were built to commemorate the Soviet Army or the struggle against Ottoman rule, they all share one and the same fate: to be a silent symbol of the forgotten past.

    Some totally unique like The House of the Bulgarian Communist Party (mount Buzludzha):

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    Some a bit controvercial like The Monument to the Soviet army (Bourgas) with kissing Bulgarian and Russian soldiers..

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    We decided to visit Bulgarian-Soviet Friendship Memorial few days after our unlucky trip to Buzludzha, which we found sealed.
    I spent some time, sitting on the steps by the monument, admiring this amazing structure. This is certainly not a place I could find in my homeland. The epic symbol of communism, typical example of socialism realism...Well, then we finally got inside and I must say that it just looked incredible and bizzare. Tonnes of concrete, labirynth of tunnels and steps, not a single straight wall, unknown symbols written on the walls, all together it was overwhelming...

    Some history:
    Architect: Kamen Goranov Sculptors: Alyosha Kafedzhiyski, Evgeni Baramov Height: 23m The park-monument of the Bulgarian-Soviet friendship was built on the Turna tepe hill, the site where the Russian forces had its base before the successful attack on Varna during the Russian –Turkish War of 1828–1829. Constructed for 7 months with the help of 27 000 volunteers, the monument is made of 10 000 tons of concrete and 1000 tons of armature iron. More than 20 000 trees were planted in the area surrounding the monument. During the night, the 7th symphony of Shostakovich used to be played on the public announcement system in the park. The 48m wide monument was illuminated by 180 spotlights, so it was visible from the sea – kilometers before reaching land. Soon after the political changes regime, in the beginning of 1990, the monument and the adjacent bookstore, bomb shelter and tourist office were abandoned. Today the eternal flame has disappeared, just like the massive bronze letters from the inscription reading “Friendship for centuries throughout centuries”.
    Monument officially opened on November 13th 1978


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    Some pics:

    View from the top:

    301 steps of the "stairway of winners" Ten thousands trees and 11440 shrubs were planted in surrounding park to commemorate the soviet soldiers who fell in the battle.

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    four marching Russian soldiers - with their gloomy faces a typical example of the heroic realism

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    three Bulgarian women - one with her arms outspread, one holds out a flower and one offers bread and salt to their liberators.

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    Inside the monument:
    Rooms are very strangely shaped

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    And the most amazing interior I've ever seen. it looks like some futuristic cathedral, with natural light coming through the slits in the roof, with a huge soviet star carved into the concrete.

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    Steps beneath the "stairway of winners" with some unknown symbols written on the walls

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    The site is very mysterious, there are rumours about miles of underground tunnels running from the the hill all way down to the beach below. Darmon was also telling me a story about a couple who went to check out the tunnels and never came back. It might be just a local story, but there is certainly something which is hidden below the monument. Steps from the above pics took us to the double sealed door, is it an entrance to the below bunker? or maybe it leads to totally different system of tunnels... There is also an abandoned villa on the bottom of the hill, which Darmon showed me on our way back. Place is totally empty, but with a big fence around and 24/7 security guy on site...
    Well the place is truly amazing and I was couldn't stop thinking about it for the rest of the night, so many secrets and symbols..

    While looking for the info about the site I also found this :) love it!

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    from http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/08/22/pussy-riot-protests-balaclavas-statues_n_1821783.html -Activists angry at the jail sentences handed down to Russian punk band Pussy Riot have made a statement by placing bright balaclavas over the heads of statues. The head gear was made famous across the world when the female trio performed their single Punk Prayer in Moscow cathedral against the return of Vladimir Putin to presidency.The brightly coloured balaclavas have been placed on the heads of figures in the Bulgarian-Soviet friendship memorial in Varna, Bulgaria, to show support for the band.

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    Thank you Darmon for the great experience! And drinking nice Bulgarian beers on the top of the monument :) I'm certainly planning my trip back - with the better torches next time :)
     
    #1 bhg, Aug 19, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2013
    Mr Sam likes this.

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