30 years after the collapse of communism, monumental majestic monuments and buildings continue to recall this controversial period of our past. Every lesson of history is a good lesson, especially when we have to remember where human stupidity can go in trying to force its foolish ideas forcibly.
Most of the Balkan countries have been ruled for many years by Communist parties trying to build the perfect socialist societies. Today, looking at the distance of the time, a picture of ruins and sometimes a monument, reminding us of the formal ideologies .
Although common communist ideas united us into a political, economic and military bloc, each country had its peculiarities in development, especially in the development of monumental arts.
Monumental art in Bulgaria
The main theme everywhere was the exaltation of partisan fighters and their fight against fascist occupation. Another favorite theme was Party Leaders. In Bulgaria, as the country closest to the Soviet Union, statues of Soviet leaders were of special tribute. The portraits of Comrade Lenin were in every classroom, his spectacular statue was in the very heart of our capital. The majestic monument of the Red Army “Liberator” is still part of the Sofia landscape. After the fragile resilience in the 60s of the 20th century, the Bulgarian Communist Party undertook a new course, and more stories related to our national history began to emerge in art. Particularly active was our party in the early 1980s. The 1981 year was the most special one, because we celebrated two special anniversaries – 90 years of the establishment of the Bulgarian Communist Party and 1300 years of the establishment of Bulgaria. This is the reason why in many places in Bulgaria were built unprecedented and costly monuments. The „Home memorial of the Bulgarian Communist Party“ monument has so far been proud of Buzludzha Peak to recount the history of the party and the struggle of the working class. More about this monument, which in recent years has been at the forefront of the top 10 of the world’s most beautiful abandoned places, you can read on our blog.
Those, dedicated to 1300 years of Bulgaria’s creation, was erected in the city of Shumen, on a high plateau above the city, large enough to be spotted by miles. The monument is unique in its style and today young people compare it to the Transformers of the Hollywood film with the same name. More about the monument “Creators of the Bulgarian State”, as well as other interesting monuments, you can learn on our blog.
Monumental art in Formal Yugoslavia
The former Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia had a much different socialism than that in Bulgaria, Romania, and other states that are faithful to the Soviet Union. Their leader, Josip Broz Tito, was determined and strong enough to have the courage to stand up to Stalin and lead his country on another way. Socialism in Yugoslavia was much more open to the West, which automatically made the country banned for us, the satellites of Moscow.
In terms of monumental art, the monuments in Yugoslavia did not differ in terms of originality but, on the other hand, still shine with their non-traditional vision. The whole territory of the former federation is dotted with these unique memorial parks, most of them dedicated to the struggle against fascist occupation. Each of them is still stealthily maintained, and thousands of victims are honored with great respect.
Your local guide is one of the few companies that organize tours throughout Yugoslavia in order to see the most significant of these memorials.
The remains of communism in Albania
Albania is so incredibly different in every respect that it would have been strange if it was not different in its communism.
Enver Hoxha’s authoritarian rule and the gradual self-isolation of Albania from all other Communist nations led the country to the edge of survival. Paranoidly tuned to all nearby and distant neighboring countries, Hoxha began a project to build bunkers that the population and the army would use under threat. Hundreds of thousands of bunkers have been built everywhere in Albania and are now one of the main tourist attractions.
Besides the typical grand government buildings and the square in the center of Tirana, another Bunker attracts hundreds of tourists every day. This is the Bunker built personally for Enver Hoxha, his prime minister, as well as the army’s central command. Today „BunkArt“ is organized as a museum of the Communist period, showing the fully preserved atmosphere as it was created in the 1970s.
Romania and its communist history
Romania is a big and rich country, but the leadership of the communist leader Nicolae Ceausescu almost led it to the begging club. At the end of 1989 people’s anger broke out and led to a bloody revolution, and Ceausescu and his wife were shamefully shot down on the street. But why did this happen?
For years, the self-confident leader has repressed all of them, and has accumulated treasure riches for himself and debts to the state. As the monument to the endless human vanity and greed, the second largest administrative building in the world, that of the Romanian Parliament, is in the capital of Romania. Built to be a fortress of the Communist regime and a luxury palace for the leader’s family, impossible expensive and over-ambitious construction, the reason of country’s bankruptcy, and on the end, Ceausescu does not even live to see it finished.
You can read more about the Parliament’s Palace in Bucharest on our blog.