Cover picture credits: ©Klearchos Kapoutsis
Cover picture credits: ©Klearchos Kapoutsis

Socialist architectural masterpieces: Defenders of Stara Zagora Memorial Complex

2 minutes to read

If you are a fan of the clear lines' rhythm, concrete and machine-like objects, I have an amazing place for you to visit. Even if you believe that the socialist architecture is a bit dark and lifeless, give a chance to this series of articles: Socialist architectural masterpieces in Bulgaria. The trend of socialist architecture started in the Soviet Union, and it was gladly accepted by Bulgaria and Yugoslavia… Nowadays, plenty of monuments are part of one communist era. Many of them are abandoned, and all of them are worth seeing- even if they're not standing in their brightest moment. Along with the Buludza monument, the Hotel Rodina in Sofia, the theatre building in Sliven, and the Monument of 1300 Years of Bulgaria in Shumen, I am now presenting to you the Defenders of Stara Zagora Memorial Complex.

Photo credits: ©Klearchos Kapoutsis
Photo credits: ©Klearchos Kapoutsis

A little bit about Stara Zagora

Stara Zagora is the sixth biggest city in Bulgaria. It is located in the central Bulgaria and happened to be placed on the spot of "The original Thracian settlement". It dates back to the 5th-4th century BC, when it used to be called Beroe or Beroia. “Stara” In Slavic means “old”. In this case... very old!

Defenders of Stara Zagora Memorial Complex

This memorial complex is included in the list of the hundred national treasures of Bulgaria. That means that this would be one of the top hundred things to see in Bulgaria in an official range -and  according to me, for sure one of the top ten. It opened in 1977 with a ceremony, in honour of the 100 years since the battle on the hill of Shipka. The monument itself is composed of a 50m tall concrete construction, that brings to mind a waving flag. Under the concrete flag, six groups of concrete figures are formed, presenting the whole battle in details.

Photo credits: ©Klearchos Kapoutsis
Photo credits: ©Klearchos Kapoutsis

The monument is presenting one theatrical and historical game, through skilfully made concrete shapes. The masterpiece was inspired by a group of authors: the sculptors Krum Damjanov and Bozidar Kozarev, and the architects Bogomil Davidkov and Blagovest Vjalkov. The whole idea was turned into reality by the civil engineer Anton Maleev.

When you find yourself here, you will feel like being surrounded by giant chess figures. Seeing a flag made of concrete is something you won't forget for a lifetime.


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The author

Zlata Golaboska

Zlata Golaboska

I am Zlata and I am an architect living in the Balkans. I am passionate about cities, how people influence architecture and vice versa, and how places change our lives.

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