Our Work

The Buzludzha Project’s achievements so far.

2023

През 2023 г. развихме културния календар на фондацията благодарение на финансиране от НФК. Това позволи покачването на качеството на фестивала „OPEN BUZLUDZHA 2023“, който се проведе проведе от 10 до 13 август 2023 г. около монумент Бузлуджа. На три музикални сцени се включиха 12 групи и над 30 диджеи, включително от чужбина. Дневната културната програма включваше лекции на над 10 културни организации, детска програма, кино на открито, работилници, спортни занимания и игри. Кулминация на събитието бе видео 3D мапинг върху фасадата на Бузлуджа, който привлече огромен интерес. 

За пръв път организирахме „Форум за културно наследство“ в град София, на който представихме предизвикателства пред опазването на недвижимото културно наследство в България, търсейки добри практики и възможни специфични решения. Темите на форума – „управление и интерпретация“ са провокирани от актуалните предизвикателства пред монумент Бузлуджа, които стоят и пред много обекти на културното наследство в България.

Стартирахме международно партньорство с френската организация “Медиатон” благодарение на спечелен проект по програма „ERASMUS+“. Целта на проекта е изследване и развиване на социалното въздействие на фестивала “OPEN BUZLUDZHA”.

 

Мрежата „ARCHETHICS” по програма „URBACT“ обединява девет европейски града, които притежават дисонантно наследство. Един от тях е община Казанлък. Бяхме поканени от общината за съвместно развитие на проекта. Той цели въвличане на гражданското общество и създаване на интегриран план за действие за Бузлуджа.

 

Разписахме кандидатура по програма „Граждани, равенство, права и ценности“ (CERV), която има за цел да защитава и насърчава демократичните и европейски ценности. Нашият проект бе избран от общо 279 кандидатствали. Това ни позволява през 2024 г. да започнем работа по проучване на нематериалната стойност на монумента, събиране на истории и изготвяне на първия прототип на експозиция.

 

През цялата година работихме за отварянето на монумент Бузлуджа за посетители. Смяната на ръководните позиции в Областна администрация Стара Загора и в Министерство на културата доведе до забавяне и изчакване. Стана ясно, че Областна управа не може да отвори сградата. Фондация “Проект Бузлуджа” може да го направи, ако ни бъде дадено това право. В тази връзка проведохме десетки срещи с институции на всички нива и с български и международни експерти.  Изпратихме редица писма с мотивирани предложения. За да се отвори сградата, е необходимо изясняване на модела на управление, което остава наша основна задача и занапред.

 

Очаквайте годишният отчет на фондацията съвсем скоро тук.

2022

In 2022, two important stages of the Buzludzha monument’s preservation were completed. The first is the finalization of the emergency measures to stabilize the mosaics in the monument. After the successful measures to stabilize the wall mosaics in 2020 and 2021, in 2022 the necessary measures were carried out on the dome mosaic. With this, all the mosaics in the monument are now stabilized and protected with protective shelters.

 

The second completed stage is the securing of the building in order to provide temporary visitor access and preparation for further preservation activities. As part of the securing, the debris from the roof covering was cleared, which beforehand were falling during strong winds and creating a danger for people inside and outside the building. In addition, the main spaces in the building were cleaned, visitor paths creating safe areas for visitors were built and essential elements for the visitor experience were created.

 

Two major events were part of the foundation's calendar in 2022. In August, the OPEN BUZLUDZHA festival was held for the second year in a row. It gathered high public interest and presented a rich musical and cultural program in support of the monument preservation. At the end of the year, the first official visit to the monument was held in order to present the results of the field work.

 

In 2022, all major studies and reports of the Buzludzha monument’s Conservation Management Plan project were completed. The plan presents studies of all the main aspects of the building and a strategy for its sustainable preservation and development.

 

Thanks to donations to the foundation, a detailed structural survey of the metal roof structure was conducted. This is the first and mandatory step for the planning of a new roof covering.

 

After completing all emergency measures to stabilize the mosaics and ensure safe access, the next goals of the Buzludzha Project Foundation are to open the building to visitors, as well as to finance and begin the design of a new roof covering.

 

The foundation's annual report can be found here:The foundation's annual report can be found here:

2021

In 2021, the efforts of the Project Buzludzha Foundation to preserve the mosaic in the Buzludzha monument continued. The most important next task was the construction of a protective shelter over the mosaics of the outer mosaic ring to protect them from the damaging influence of weather conditions. To this end, the foundation announced a fundraising campaign "Adopt a Mosaic". In it, 10 mosaics were adopted by individuals or local businesses who made a donation to build a protective shelter over the specific adopted artwork. Many donors with smaller amounts also joined the campaign. Thus, the necessary funds were collected and the protective shelter was built before the onset of winter. The emergency measures implemented to stabilize the mosaics proved to be extremely successful, as no further destruction has been observed to date.

 

In addition, in 2021 the foundation co-organized a scientific conference as well as a festival, which were an invitation for public dialogue and discussion. The international conference In Restauro was held on July 22 and 23, 2021 at Iskra Historical Museum in Kazanlak. The results of the Conservation Management Plan project for Buzludzha were presented and international experience in the field of cultural heritage preservation was exchanged.

 

The first edition of the Open Buzludzha Festival was held under the motto "Music for Mosaics" in support of the preservation of the monument and its mosaics. The festival took place from 23 to 25 July 2021 and offered a varied musical program on two stages, as well as presentations, discussions and tours outside the monument. It was organized by the Foundation, Bar Dak and Kazanlak Municipality through a committed team of volunteers.

 

The foundation's annual report can be found here:The foundation's annual report can be found here:

2020

Throughout the research and analysis of Buzludzha monument, it was identified that the most valuable and simultaneously most endangered element of the monument are the 924 square meter mosaics. Thanks to the Keeping it Modern program by the Getty Foundation (funding of $60,000) we stabilized the mosaics, which is the very first implemented conservation measure at Buzludzha.

 

An international team of restorers from the National Academy of Art in Sofia, the Technical University of Munich, the Bern University of the Arts and the Diadrasis NGO from Athens collaborated to implement the project. Eager volunteers supported the process.

 

First of all, the conservators’ team assessed the place, studied the characteristics of the supports bearing the mosaics, the deficiencies of the materials and of the different art techniques used, gathered information about the main phenomena to map and most importantly plan the forthcoming emergency measures.

 

After this documentation campaign, all fallen mosaic tiles were collected, documented and stored in more than 150 containers. Afterwards, the areas around the mosaic walls were cleaned from debris as a preparation for the planned work.

 

The emergency measures decided in the preparatory campaign were implemented and all mosaics were stabilized mechanically.

 

To protect the mosaics from the elements, a temporary shelter construction has been realized. This structurally completely independent protective roof was installed over the inside mosaics. The vertical protection was done by a water-repellent but air-permeable textile. The shelter thus created functions as a climate buffer avoiding climate jumps, condensation, snow, frost and wind erosion harming each winter the mosaics.

 

The whole process was met with a lot of media interest as the activities were reflected globally, sparking a lot of excitement among not only Bulgarians but Europeans, and beyond.

2019

In 2019 thanks to the Keeping It Modern program by the Getty Foundation (funding of $185,000) and on behalf of ICOMOS Germany the Foundation started the first thorough research of the building to create a Conservation Management Plan. Technical, structural, archival, and restorative research were conducted to document how the building was created and operated, and to clarify its current condition.

 

The plan includes also a Significance Assessment of the monument as well as Conservation principles and guidelines. Moreover, it will show the reuse potential of the monument by presenting possible functionalities. It will also present a Marketing Study and a Business Plan to ensure the sustainable preservation and economical viability of the project.

 

The project was undertaken by a multidisciplinary team of Bulgarian and international experts and the project partners are ICOMOS Germany, the Technical University of Munich, the University of Architecture, Civil Engineering and Geodesy in Sofia, and the Buzludzha Project Foundation as a project coordinator.

2018

Buzludzha monument was listed among the 7 Most Endangered heritage sites in Europe in 2018, following a nomination made by the Buzludzha Project Foundation.

 

Thus experts from Europa Nostra, the leading heritage organization in Europe, and the European Investment Bank Institute, together with the Buzludzha Project Foundation undertook a mission to the monument from 26-28 September 2018. During the mission, a delegation of European specialists in cultural heritage and finance visited the Buzludzha Monument and met with representatives from the Council of Ministers, the Ministry of Culture and the Regional Administration of Stara Zagora. Buzludzha Project Foundation was a co-organizer of the visit.

 

The key findings and recommendations of the mission were published in a report as a feasible action plan on the 5th of December 2018.

 

This was the first international recognition of the Buzludzha monument as a cultural heritage at risk in an official European report.

 

This year also saw the first practical research conducted into the Buzludzha Monument’s future tourism potential. A visitor survey conducted as PhD research by Dr. Richard Morten Fawcus of the Institute for Dark Tourism Research (iDTR) provided new insight into the motivations and perceptions of those visiting the monument, providing valuable data for the conservation discussion, as well as informing the Buzludzha Project Fondation’s subsequent tourism plan.

2017

In 2017 the largest exhibition and discussion, organized by the Buzludzha Project Foundation took place in the National Palace of Culture in Sofia.

 

On the 25th of July, the discussion “Buzludzha – Perspectives and Projects” was organized by Kazanlak Municipality in cooperation with the Buzludzha Project Foundation, together with the Regional Administration of Stara Zagora. The participants united around the idea that Buzludzha is a site of significant national heritage, which ought to remain state property and be preserved for future generations.

 

On the 14th of June the government expressed its willingness to support the cause of Buzludzha Foundation by organizing the first official meeting held in the Ministry of Culture and chaired by minister V. Rashidov. Official guests were - the mayor of Kazanlak, the architect G. Stoilov and the president of the Union of Artists in Bulgaria, L. Genov. Arch. Dora Ivanova introduced them the first concepts of the Buzludzha Project.

 

The 1st festival "Buzludzha rock culture" took place at Buzludzha on 8th of July 2017. The Buzludzha Project Foundation was invited to open the event and to present its initiative. The festival’s aim is to unite people through music and culture on Buzludzha.

2016

Between 19 of January and 24 of March 2016, three exhibitions in three cities - Gabrovo, Stara Zagora, and Sofia - were organized by the Foundation. Тhey raised awareness and underlined the significance of the monument as a cultural heritage site. These events were some of the first public platforms discussing the future potential of the monument.

 

The “Modern heritage at risk” conference held on the 23rd of February, hosted by the European Parliament in Brussels was organized by MEP M. Nekov, in cooperation with Buzludzha Project. Experts from five European countries discussed the risks facing contemporary cultural heritage. Secretary-General S. Mihailović and Vice-President of Europa Nostra, P. Jaspaert, expressed their support for the Buzludzha Project.

 

Other events that the Buzludzha Project cooperated in are the “Heroes we love” conference in Sofia, where the project was invited to present its initiative, and the “12th world meeting of Bulgarian media” where the Kazanlak municipality chose to present the cultural heritage of the region by presenting also the Buzludzha initiative by the Buzludzha Project Foundation.

 

Between the 22nd of August and the 1st of December the first Open-air exhibition in Kazanlak was held. This was the longest and most extensive exhibition of the Buzludzha Project. Presenting photographs of the monument, the history and its future potential.

2015

In the year of its founding, the Buzludzha Project Foundation worked in setting the ground to reach the necessary dialogue for the preservation of the monument.

 

Several exhibitions were organized this year, the very first of which was part of the 14th World Triennial of Architecture, ‘Interarch.’ Chosen out of a selection of 80+ entries from 6 countries – the project was awarded the special prize of the Bulgarian Chamber of Architects. The opening ceremony at the main hall of the National Union of Architects was hosted by the monument’s architect, Georgi Stoilov.

 

On the 20th of August the conference "Soc heritage - heritage at risk" was held in Sofia - the first official co-hosted event of the Buzludzha Project Foundation.

 

Both presidents of ICOMOS Germany and ICOMOS Bulgaria participated in the discussion about the value, risks, and preservation of tangible socialist heritage.

 

Shortly after, on the 5th of September, a follow-up roundtable event "Soc heritage" was held in Berlin. Beside the Buzludzha Project, experts from eight East European countries presented reports on various sites nominated for world heritage recognition.
Another conference was held in Veliko Tarnovo on 16-17 October "Historiography of transitions" where the Buzludzha Project sparked an active dialogue in the cultural heritage community and received a lot of support from local experts.
27 October was the date when Buzludzha Project Foundation sent an official proposal to the Ministry of Culture for receiving a heritage designation status for Buzludzha.

 

Also beginning in 2015 the Buzludzha Project Foundation was assisted by Dr. Richard Morten Fawcus, Associate Member of the Institute for Dark Tourism Research (iDTR), University of Central Lancashire (UCLan). In addition to creating the first international online platform to present the project’s concept and aims – this website – over the following years he would collaborate on campaigning actions such as applications to Europa Nostra, the Getty Foundation, and more.