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