Six Days Exploring The Remains of the Communist Regime In Bulgaria
During this 6 days trip you will be able to explore the Bulgarian Socialist industrial landscape, a few places with Socialist collective housing and some of the most important monuments of the Socialist realism in Bulgaria. We will have a special sightseeing tour dedicated to the monumental Stalinist architecture in downtown Sofia. We will visit the nearby industrial towns of Pernik and Radomir. We will travel to the Buzludzha, maybe the most famous abandoned Socialist realism monument in Bulgaria. We will continue to the former mining town of Madzharovo and will continue to the valley of Byala reka and the extraordinary villages of Odrintsi, Mandritsa, Dolno Lukovo, Gorno Lukovo and Meden Buk, where we will have a short walk along the meanders of the river. On our way back to Sofia, we will stop at the abandoned neighbourhoods of the village of Djanka.
Day 1 Sofia
The journey will begin in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria. We will have first a sightseeing tour around the city, with an accent on old, monumental Stalinist architecture in downtown Sofia, with some of the best-preserved examples of the style in the former communist bloc. We will visit the women's market and the area around the train station Lodging in Sofia.
Day 2 Radomir and Pernik
The following day we will travel to the nearby cities of Radomir and Pernik, a region famous for its heavy industry which in recent years has suffered serious decline. Lodging in Sofia.
Day 3 Sofia - Buzludzha - Dimitrovgrad
After the breakfast in the hotel we will head off for Buzludzha, a historical peak in the Central Balkan Mountains. The Monument was opened in 1981. No longer maintained by the Bulgarian government, it has fallen into disuse.
We will go on to the south of the Balkans to Dimitrovgrad, where we will arrive at late afternoon. Lodging in Dimitrovgrad.
Day 4 Dimitrovgrad - Madzharovo - Ivaylovgrad
The first half of the day we will have a stroll in Dimitrovgrad. Dimitrovgrad was built as a kind of architectural textbook, following the norms developed during the time of the Romans, according to specialists. It was held that the principles of Soviet city planning were also applied and whose model was used as the basis for many such undertakings at that time. At noon we will set off for Madzharovo. Madzharovo is a former mining town, where we can see a lot of the typical collective housing constructions.
The rest of the day we will walk and photograph the surrounding landscapes, sandy river beaches and rocky massifs. In the evening, just before dark, we will leave for Ivailovgrad, a cozy little town in the Eastern Rhodopes, not far from Madzharovo, where we will spend the night in a hotel.
Day 5 Ivaylovgrad - the meanders and villages along the Byala River
After the breakfast we will head off for the meanders and villages around the Byala River. We will take a walk and will photograph the villages Odrintsi, Mandritsa, Dolno and Gorno Lukovo, as well as Meden Buk. During the time of the socialist cooperative agrarian movement, these villages were active and included municipal buildings such as hospitals, movie theatres, etc., regardless of their remoteness. Today, existing in an open market, they have been almost completely abandoned. Mandritsa is the sole Albanian village in Bulgaria, and a part of the population still speaks Albanian. In Dolno Lukovo we will see the 200-year-old church "St.St. Constantine and Helena", built in 1806. Gorno Lukovo has two inhabitants only. Lodging in the village of Manadritsa.
Day 6 Manadritsa - Ivaylovgrad - neighbourhoods of Djanka - Sofia
After the breakfast at the hotel, we continue to neighbourhoods of Djanka, where we will stop for a few hours.
Day 7 Departure
Departure from Sofia