Buzludzha is a peak in the Central Balkan Mountains of Bulgaria. The peak is a site of historical importance since the 1800’s. The mountain is located to the east of the Shipka Pass near the town of Kazanlak. The peak is 1,432 metres (4,698 feet) high. It was renamed to Hadzhi Dimitar (Хаджи Димитър) in 1942 but remains popularly known as Buzludzha. The peak’s name derives from Turkish word : buzlu which means ‘icy’ In English. It is also often referred to as the Spaceship as it does slightly resemble the Starship Enterprise.
A place of national importance
The peak was the location of many battles over the years. In 1868 it was the location of the final battle between Bulgarian rebels led by Hadzhi Dimitar and Stefan Karadzha and the forces of the Ottoman Empire. On 31 July 1868 , Hadzhi Dimitar and a band of 30 chetniks fought a losing battle against 700 Ottoman troops which only four Bulgarians survived. Their action served as an inspiration for the Liberation of Bulgaria from the Ottomans ten years later. The decisive battle of that conflict was fought a few miles away at the Shipka Pass.
In 1891 the mountain was the site chosen for the first congress of the Bulgarian Social Democratic Workers Party, which later became the Bulgarian Communist Party led by Dimitar Blagoev. In 1944 the peak was the scene of fighting between Communist partisans and detachments of the Bulgarian Army when the latter were attacked whilst operating there.
Construction of the monument
A early as 1898 there was desire for a national monument to be built at the peak to commemorate these events. And so, the Buzludzha Monument was built between 1971 and 1981 by public subscription. In 1974, explosives were to remove more than 15,000 cubic metres of rock and create a level foundation for building the monument. The new flat foundation lowered the peak by 9 metres (30 feet) – from 1,441 metres (4,728 feet) down to its current height of 1,432 metres (4,698 feet).
The site also has several other monuments commemorating other important events in Bulgarian history:
- a statue of Hadzhi Dimitar,
- a relief of the 1891 Congress,
- and a monument to the partisans who fought there in 1944.
The monument today
For several decades the monument was abandoned. There was no maintenance carried out. The opulent tiled interior and the structure soon became battered by the icy weather that covers the mountain in the winter months. However since 2019 there has been a pro-active plan to halt the state of erosion and to repair and re-open the monument to visitors. Currently it is not possible to enter the monument but it is worth a visit to connect with Bulgarian history and enjoy the spectacular mountain views. A detailed history and plans for the future are on the monuments official website.
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