Buzludzha / Бузлуджа, the most mesmerizing building I ever experienced, period.

In 2014, writer Gaea Schoeters, my über-ex and still travel buddy par excellence, set one specific goal on our Balkan journey: seeing and climbing into Buzludzha. And thus it happened. The images I had found on the internet were mesmerizing enough already, but this place must be experienced, for words and images don’t come near to this fascinating, dilapidated communist monument.

On this journey, I revisited it with friend Paul Webble living nearby, and I will time and again whenever I pass. Riding my electric motorcycle up to its front entrance (welded shut of course) was a bit of a challenge and I’m no brave heart for steep off-road, let alone rutted, hill climbing or descending, but I made it. There she was, Xena ‘my’ truly beloved Zero DS, a tiny dot in front of the concrete UFO.

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Witnessing the very sad condition it’s in, I give it another 5-10 years to fall to bits. The roof being perforated, weather has a free play destroying the entire structure below, including its stunning mosaics which are being stolen and vandalized to make matters worse. Truly heartbreaking.

Extract from www.buzludzha.com :
State of the monument
‘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 building. The Bulgarian socialist party itself is not taking any action towards the maintenance of its most important symbol.’

Buzludzha Monument, Bulgaria : great images and text by Valentin Rüst, February 2014
fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bouzloudja : the French wiki about the site is the most elaborate.
Inside Buzludja, Bulgaria
: this video gives a pretty good idea about the whole site. Made by a certain Andrew, July 2012. He added: ‘video is shaky as fuck because i was shaking to damn much from excitement’.


de niet-aanval en de niet-foto

We zouden nog even gaan wandelen. Dat was tenminste wat Nurgül en Mariana, mijn vriendinnen in Istanbul, me zeiden. Halfweg de namiddag was er ook ineens een bericht uit de lucht gevallen: een vrouwen-voor-vrede-actiegroep zou een sit-in houden in het midden van de belangrijkste winkelstraat, İstiklal.
Ik had eerder die week al riot police in full force een kleine machtsontplooiing zien ontwikkelen, precies daar. Geen betoger of anderssoortige groep te zien toen maar wel een volledig bataljon met traangasgeweren, schilden, helmen en maskers in de aanslag zoals ik ze had gezien tijdens de opstand in Gezi Park twee jaar geleden. Zelfs zo’n imposant waterkanon torende bovende shoppende menigte uit. Ja, er waren die aanslagen geweest. Zelfs aan de grens hadden de douaniers zich bijzonder pesterig gedragen. Maar die dag zag ik geen enkele aanleiding en ik heb er ook niet op gewacht. Mijn naïeve ervaring met Turks traangas stond me nog bijzonder helder voor de geest. Nee dank u.

Lees verder


Every time I was ‘forced’ by coincidences to stay another day or night, I was rewarded with a special. Serendipity and coincidences #FTW.

Electric Zero
Electric Xena
and her Balkan friend, the sturdy ITM tractor
both fierce and electrified.

Xena and her Balkan friend, a few moments before

Xena and her Balkan friend-new