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The heaviest communist monument on Earth: The Founders of the Bulgarian State Monument in Shumen

David Goran

The Monument to 1300 Years of Bulgaria, also known as the Founders of the Bulgarian State Monument, is a large monument built on a plateau above the city of Shumen, Bulgaria.

This monument was built in Shumen in 1981 to commemorate the 1300th anniversary of the First Bulgarian Empire, medieval Bulgarian state that existed in southeastern Europe between the 7th and 11th century AD.

The Sculptures ensemble symbolizes the idea of the establishment, development and rise of the Bulgarian State. Source

The Sculptures ensemble symbolizes the idea of the establishment, development, and rise of the Bulgarian State. Source

 

It stands at a height of 450 m above sea level and can be seen from 30 km away. Source

It stands at a height of 450 m above sea level and can be seen from 30 km away. Source

The monument is situated on Llchov Bair Hill, 6 km away from the town of Shumen and is visible from as far as 30 miles away. It has really interesting form – it looks like some castle from some fantasy movie with its statues and paintings.

Designed by Bulgarian sculptors Krum Damyanov and Ivan Slavov and the architects Georgi Gechev and Blagoi Atanasov, it celebrates the defining moments and stories behind the creation of the Bulgarian state and nation.

The monument which is 52 meters high was inaugurated on November 28, 1981. Source

The monument which is 52 meters high was inaugurated on November 28, 1981. Source

 

The architecture is in Cubist style. Source

The architecture is in Cubist style. Source

It was built in concrete in a Cubist style and the eight blocks are forming two semi-halls. 21 various sculptures of significant early Bulgarian rulers can be seen inside.

Statues of King Boris I, the ruler of the first Bulgarian Empire, King Simeon I, ruler of Bulgaria from 893 to 927 and others. Among them, the figures of the Khans Asparuh, Tervel, Krum and Omurtag truly stand out.

View of the interior of the Monument to 1300 Years of Bulgaria. Source

View of the interior of the Monument to 1300 Years of Bulgaria. Source

The mosaic, which is the biggest triptych in Europe, includes two elements – figures are combined with a letter composition above them consisting of three panels with different characters: runic letters, Glagolitic alphabet, and Cyrillic alphabet.

The monument is said to be the heaviest communist construction on Earth. Source

The monument is said to be the heaviest communist construction on Earth. Source

In the first panel “The Victors” warriors acclaim the Khan dressed in crimson.

The second panel is dedicated to the acceptance of Christianity, and the third one is dedicated to the builders of the “Golden Age”, the brothers Cyril and Methodius and their disciples.

Pagan and Christian graves. Source

Pagan and Christian graves. Source

Visitors have to climb 1,300 steps to get to the top of the monument starting from the downtown of Shumen.

It is a beautiful experience to see all the sculptures in the monument because they look like frozen giants from the past, forever guarding the Bulgarian nation.

The sculptures look like giants of stone. Source

The sculptures look like giants of stone. Source

In 1997, the “Founders of the Bulgarian State” monument was presented with the Shoumen and “TOUREXPO’97” award for its contribution to the development of the tourism in the region.