The doors of Bulgaria’s iconic Buzludzha monument have been opened for the first time in eight years as preparations get underway to restore the communist-era landmark.
A group of journalists were allowed to enter the saucer-shaped building, which was built in 1981 by Bulgarian communists as a tribute to the creation of the Bulgarian socialist movement.
Officially called the “House-Monument of the Bulgarian Communist Party”, the building fell into disrepair following the collapse of the country's socialist government in 1989, but remains a popular landmark and tourist attraction.
The trip comes before an expected visit by European and Bulgarian experts at the end of 2018, who will report on the building’s structural integrity with the view of opening it officially to tourists.
The Buzludzha was officially listed as one of Europe's more endangered landmarks by conservation group Europa Nostra earlier this year, who said that the building was suffering under thefts, vandalism and severe weather conditions.
“The ostentatious finish of its Brutalist architecture, heavy iconography and colourful mosaics has decayed,” judges said. “The building attracts increasing international attention [but] no action has been taken by the responsible authorities to protect the site so far.”