As part of his series dealing with forgotten monuments from the communist era in Bulgaria, Nikola Mihov has shared with us his story and photos of the many iconic communist era monuments in Bulgaria that were dismantled after the fall of the totalitarian regime in 1989. Nevertheless, more than one hundred important monuments built between 1945 and 1989 remain standing. The majority of these sites are not recognized by the state and they remain owner less. Their exact number is unknown and it is difficult to find information about their authors and their history. More images and his story after the break.
The graffiti “Forget Your Past” above the entrance of the Bulgarian Communist Party memorial buzludzha demonstrates their faith. Situated in towns across the country, and once a symbol of pride, today most of communist era monuments are neglected and ransacked.
Regardless of whether they were built to commemorate the Soviet Army or the struggle against Ottoman rule, they all share one and the same fate: to be a silent symbol of the forgotten past. Nikola Mihov’s photographic series “Forget Your Past” reveals 14 of the most significant communist era monuments in Bulgaria.
This project is realized within the support of Trace, a platform that brings together artists and architects to consider the integration of the communist monuments into the present day urban environment.
Eventually, in 1993, according to an agreement between Bulgaria and Russia, concerning the Russian monuments in Bulgaria, the monument was put under protection and its future secured. Today it is one of the few well maintained monuments from the communist period, although swastikas are often scrawled on it.
Architects: Boris Markov, Petar Tzvetkov, Nikolay Marangozov Sculptors: Vasil Radoslavov, Lubomir Dalchev, Georgi Kocev, Todor Bosilkov, Alexander Zankov Height: 17 m The Monument to the Soviet army was built on ‘’The Hill of the Liberators’’ in Plovdiv . It epitomizes a battle scene from World War II and the welcoming of the Red Army troops in Bulgaria. A 11 meter-high granite statue of a Soviet soldioer, named Alyosha, dominates the city skyline. An the bottom of the statue an inscription reads “Glory to the Invincible Soviet Army – liberator”.
The sculpture is made after a photograph of Alexey Skurlatov, a Soviet Army signalman who worked on the re-establishment of the telephone conetion between Plovdiv and Sofia in September 1944. His face can also be seen on some other monuments from the same period. In 1966 the soviet composer Edward Kolmanovski dedicated a song to the Alyosha’s monument. This song became the official city anthem and Alexey Skurlatov was made an honorary citizen of Plovdiv. After the political changes the monument has survived two decrees ordering its demolition as a symbol of “Soviet occupation”.
In 1996 Russian veterans, living in Bulgaria, threatened to set them on fire, if the monument was to be removed. However in 2007 official selebrations and fireworks marked the monument’s 50th anniversary, a jubilee postage stamp was issued and Alexey Skurlatov was officaily invited to visit Bulgaria.
Read more about other long forgotten Monuments to the communist era in Bulgaria here