Posted on March 3, 2014
On this date in 1878, the Russian Empire and the Ottoman Empire signed a peace treaty. Why is this event commemorated in Bulgaria?
What Bulgarians celebrate today is their liberation from the Ottoman Empire.
The Ottoman Empire was built by Turkish people who conquered and controlled much of Southeast Europe, Western Asian, the Caucasus, and North Africa. The Ottoman Empire began its rise in 1299 and grew and expanded greatly in the 1400s to the 1600s. Reforms and modernizations occurred during the 1700s and 1800s, but the empire was also slowly declining in size during this time. During the early 1900s, the Ottoman Empire lost war after war, each time losing more and more land. Historians mark the creation of the Republic of Turkey in 1923 to be the end of the Ottoman Empire.
However, although Bulgaria had been “liberated,” it wasn't necessarily a bastion of freedom. After World War II, it became a Communist state. A man named Todor Zhivkov ruled the nation for 35 years—keeping Bulgaria in “complete submission” to Soviet rule. It has only been since 1989 that the nation has become a democracy.
There is an interesting place in Bulgaria that is left over from the Communist era. It is called Buzludzha. From far away, Buzludzha looks pretty imposing although a little bit flying-saucer-ish! But when you get closer, you can see that the place has been abandoned and trashed... a modern-day ruin rather than an ancient ruin.
|The overview of the interior is pretty amazing!|
|Notice that someone has chiseled Todor Zhivkov's |
face off of this mural!
|The interior in winter. Amazing!|
|Some of the windows have been blown out, affording |
visitors great views of Bulgarian landscapes.
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