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5 Hauntingly Grim Buildings In Bulgaria That Have Been Abandoned For Decades

There’s something about old abandoned buildings that draws thrill seekers of all ages – be it their presumably ominous past, dystopian posture or simply the idea that they might be inhabited by ghostly apparitions. Ghastly and haunting, such buildings can be found all over Bulgaria and some of them are quite famous, whereas others remain a mystery even to historians.

IPK (publishing house complex) Rodina

Probably the best known abandoned building in the country, the façade that was supposed to be a publishing house complex called Rodina is perched atop one of the main entrances to the capital city Sofia. With a long standing history dating back to 1976, the massive edifice was never completed. Initially it was supposed to be the most cutting edge publishing complex on the Balkan Peninsula – 15 stories, a two-level underground parking lot, a recreational swimming pool and hundreds of offices. Through the years the 50,000 square meters of land that were supposed to make up the entire complex have changed ownership on numerous occasions. The current owner, who is the head of the hospital complex Sofiamed, purchased the grounds for the whopping price of $40 million BGN.

King’s Station Kazichene

What was once a glorious and highly praised train station now looks like a sad excuse of a ruin. Built at the beginning of the 1900s, the centenary construction bears little to no resemblance to its former Viennese exquisiteness. Visited by many local and foreign royals over the years, the station’s railway led to the old residence of the last Bulgarian monarch, King Simeon II. Albeit labeled as a building with crucial historical and cultural significance, the King’s Station lies in misery and still awaits a reconstruction attempt to no avail.

Bankya Residence

The so-called Bankya Residence, a.k.a. the lavish estate of the former communist leader Todor Zhivkov, has a sinister past that was always met by a wave of controversy. In the late 20th century the initially planned as a spa and wellness retreat structure was taken over by Zhivkov and transformed into his own personal abode. In 1989 he was evicted by the Masako Ohya Foundation’s officials – a Japanese company that owned 51% of the shady corporation that the government officiated as Sofia Country and Golf Club. Despite the promises that the joined forces between the Japanese foundation and the Bulgarian government would build the largest spa retreat and golf course on the Balkans, such plans were nothing more than a lie. After Masako Ohya’s eponymous president evicted Zhivkov, she turned the building into an expensive brothel for prostitutes and their high end clientele. The grounds near the residence were supposed to house the private properties of a number of rich families. However, the Masako Ohya Foundation disappeared along with the money and left the entire area to rot in decay, including the Bankya Residence and the unfinished houses scattered around it.

The Asylum In Borovets

As a popular winter resort and skiing destination Borovets is adored by tourists from near and far, even though it keeps a dark secret that few are aware of – an abandoned asylum that looks like it came right out of the set of a freaky horror movie. The worn down building and its interior don’t quite tell the tale of any appalling experiments or thrill-inducing equipment, but the remains of medical records and books on practical medicine from the mid-1900s hint that the unnamed façade was once used either as a hospital or as a madhouse.

The Monument House Of The Bulgarian Communist Party

Speaking of madness, the abandoned Monument House of the Bulgarian Communist Party looks just like a crazy UFO base perched right on top of the famous mountain peak Buzludzha. Constructed in the early 1970s this odd structure costed the present day equivalent of $35 million USD. The architectural symbolism is allegedly supposed to represent a futuristic alter in honor of the communism movement. Albeit completely tarnished by the tests of time, vandalism and natural erosion, it’s often regarded as one of the most beautiful abandoned buildings on the globe.

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Photo: Amos Chapple | RFE/RL

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