Exploring an abandoned building.

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Bulgaria has a bit of a reputation for abandoned buildings – it makes sense when so much was built by different regimes and left to rot when the next one took over, or built during a precocious boom and abandoned for the bust, or just left to the elements due to a declining population.

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Our up close encountered was in Stara Zagora – it’s where my mom is from and also the city I’ve spent the most time in and know the best. One of my favorite sites in the city is The Ayazmo – a large hill on the north end of town that’s mostly for recreation and exercise, a retreat to nature. At the top of this park used to be a little shop and a picnic area – it’s probably still there, but we didn’t get all the way there. Instead, we spent our time exploring this old decaying building near-ish to the top. It was apparently a restaurant, and a very fancy one. It wasn’t particularly well run from what our hotel friends told us, and after it went under the owners just.. left it.

IMG_1718 This was our first clue that something interesting might be up here – what’s behind this fence? IMG_2071
Clearly an entrance for the local teenagers.. and us!
IMG_1719 All we knew so far was one, this place was clearly abandoned, and two, it was very round from the outside. IMG_1721
Peeking into the main structure now..
IMG_1724 We were thinking an old hotel? IMG_1742
Just wandering around.
IMG_1743 Piles of bricks? Was this place ever even finished? IMG_1754
IMG_1727 Very creepy dark holes. IMG_1730
This is an area lower than the rest of the building, a round room.
IMG_1734 Looking into one of the holes. IMG_1736
Even deeper.
IMG_1739 Ceiling decay. Probably wasn’t super safe. IMG_1740
IMG_1750 It reads “Ne” – ‘no’. IMG_1757
A bathroom?
IMG_1763 More no’s. We’re heading up the stairs now to the second floor. IMG_1767
The upstairs. Lovely patch of mold growing right in the middle.
IMG_1773 Lots of curves in this building. IMG_1785
I’m not entirely sure those round holes in the walls are natural decay.
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Plenty of sunlight for mold and plants.
IMG_1806 This was part of a dumbwaiter. IMG_1811
A patio outside.
IMG_1839 IMG_1848
This whole place felt like a video game level.
IMG_1865 Up the ladder she went. IMG_1860
To no reward. Not much of interest on the roof.
IMG_1916 And now we go to the basement.
IMG_1930 One of those holes from upstairs. IMG_1933
And the other one too.
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Bathrooms? Or storage rooms maybe?
IMG_1948 The hallway was very dark and very creepy. IMG_1967
Finally, fresh air.
IMG_1970 And lots of beautiful nature. IMG_1979
IMG_1991 Really cool curved architecture. IMG_2005
We were definitely not the first visitors here.
IMG_2011 Peeking into the bathroom from outside. IMG_2020
Round where we entered.
IMG_2026 And the front entrance. IMG_2054
The water’s still running even.
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And a last shot of the building materials.

We never did figure out if this was once completed and now decayed, or never even finished in the first place. The materials lying around and the exposed rebar made it seem like it was never even in business. The hotel staff told us it was just a bad business? Either way it was fun to explore. It’s also a local hangout spot for kids to drink and smoke from the trash we found. At night this place would be downright scary and dangerous to explore, so that’s probably someone’s idea of a good time too.

As a disclaimer – we felt ok poking around in this abandoned building, if you get a chance to explore a similar one trust your gut and stay safe.

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