SOFIA: Perched like a vast flying saucer on a central Bulgarian mountainside, Buzludzha is a brutalist concrete monument that was built to glorify communism nearly 40 years ago.
The striking circular building has been left to fall victim to vandalism and decay, as Bulgaria has been eager to forget its communist past, but now western experts want to preserve it as a heritage site.
The 70-metre (230-foot) high structure — made of 70,000 tonnes of concrete, 3,000 tonnes of reinforced steel and 40 tonnes of glass — looks like it is hovering at around 1,400 metres above sea level.
It has a 40-metre-wide ceremonial hall with room for 400 people and was covered from floor to ceiling in mosaics depicting the history of Bulgaria’s communist party.
Inaugurated in 1981, it fell into disrepair following the collapse of the Iron Curtain in 1989 and now lies empty and crumbling.
In recent years, only the most adventurous foreign tourists have visited the isolated spot, prompting local authorities to lock it up to prevent any accidents.
Nevertheless, experts from cultural heritage organisation Europa Nostra visited the site last month and have urged the Bulgarian authorities to rescue what they believe is “a masterpiece of architecture, engineering and art”.
– Endangered site –
Europa Nostra listed it as one of the most endangered heritage sites in Europe this year.
During the Cold War era, the communist party claimed that the red glass stars on top of a tower that is part of the complex could be seen as far as Romania to the north and Greece to the south.
“With its brutalist style, it is a genuine architectural achievement of the 20th century,” said Laurent Levi-Strauss, of Europa Nostra and a former deputy chief of UNESCO’s Cultural Heritage division.
For British architect Graham Bell, Buzludzha is “an unbelievable building, unbelievably impressive and unbelievably sad in the way it is deteriorating.
“This monument is part of European cultural heritage, but most of Europe doesn’t know it exists,” Bell said.
The experts are convinced that what remains of the building could — and should — be saved.
Following their visit, they called for “urgent action” to stop the decay. And they proposed giving the site national protected status, which would allow EU funds to be used for its rescue.
“It is good that Europe cares about it as Bulgaria doesn’t,” Buzludzha’s 89-year-old architect, Georgy Stoilov, told AFP.
Indeed, the cash-strapped local authorities never regarded Buzludzha as much of a priority and saw little point in the upkeep of a site that had such bad connotations.
It was Bulgarian architect, Dora Ivanova, born a year after the fall of the regime, who has been responsible for the revival in interest in Buzludzha.
– ‘Explaining history’ –
She came across the monument on the internet while she was at university in Germany and started a campaign for its conservation four years ago.
“It’s not possible that such an amazing piece of architecture is in such bad condition. It is a part of Bulgarian history whether we like it or not,” Ivanova said.
She said her aim was to conserve the building, rather than restore it, “as restoring it would be to glorify communism”. “I just want to explain history,” she added.
Part of her project would use three-dimensional projection mapping to show what the missing parts of the mosaics might have looked like.
And Ivanova also suggests offering augmented reality self-guided tours.
Europa Nostra’s Levi-Strauss conceded that it would be difficult to restore Buzludzha to its former glory given the controversy surrounding its past.
But that should not prevent the authorities from making use of it for “educational purposes, for conferences and concerts,” he said.
Tourism expert Rumen Draganov suggested that Buzludzha could also help boost tourism to a region already known for its Thracian tombs and famous rose gardens.
Delay in diagnosis can result in long term disability
An awareness seminar to highlight the importance of early diagnosis and treatment of arthritis was conducted at the Governor house Punjab, with joint collaboration of Arthritis Care Foundation and Scotmann Pharmaceuticals here in Lahore on Sunday 21 November.
The seminar was chaired by the honorable Governor of Punjab Chaudry Muhammad Sarwar, with awareness sessions conducted by chairperson Arthritis Care Foundation, Prof. Nighat Mir Ahmed, Co-chairperson Prof. Sumaira Farman Raja, and Co-chairperson and General Secretary, Prof. Muhammad Ahmed Saeed, and Dr. Saira E. A. Khan.
According to research done by the Arthritis Care Foundation with funding by World Health Organization, approximately 1 out of every 4th person is suffering from some kind of inflammatory joint disease. If not diagnosed early, these conditions can result in long-term disability, like Systemic Lupus Erythematosus. State of the art department of Rheumatology with international standards and equipment has been initiated at the Central Park Teaching Hospital, served by highly skilled and qualified specialists and staff. Central Park Teaching Hospital also provides free treatment services for deserving patients with the support of the Arthritis Care Foundation.
The seminar highlighted the role of Vitamin D, diet, and exercise for healthy bones and joints, arthritis in children, young and elderly, and the common causes of back pain.
Peng Salon celebrates Children’s Day, inviting Children Cancer patients for a Spa Day
This Children’s Day, Peng Salon & Spa, one of the leading hair & skin clinics in Karachi came up with a thoughtful initiative for children suffering from cancer. They invited these young cancer warriors from Indus Hospital for a Spa Day at the salon to mark Children’s Day celebrations. The children were treated with professional salon & spa services for a relaxing & refreshing experience.
Kaneez Fiza & Nafisa Dawood, Incharge at the Psychosocial department at Indus Hospital, who accompanied the children stated that the children were happy and it was an amazing experience for the children as well as their team at the Peng Salon. According to Kaneez, it was the first time for the children that they had visited a salon and they loved every bit of it and were overjoyed with the experience.
These children, fighting their battle against Cancer, are dreamers – full of innocence, hope and happiness. These little angels enjoyed the services of their choice at the salon and they were all smiles with the kind of pampering they were provided with. Services such as Haircut, hair styling, manicure, pedicure, makeup etc. were provided that made their day extra special.
After going through months of grueling treatment, giving these brave warriors such a day was a thoughtful initiative by Peng Salon. Arranging a Spa Day on Children’s Day for these young children to give them moments of joy and happiness was a wonderful idea by the team. Their aim to make these children feel valued, loved and special while helping them make cherishing memories.
Children were overwhelmed with the services they were provided and were all smiles as they left for the hospital again. Thumbs up to Peng Salon for initiating such a thoughtful activity to celebrate Children’s Day!
5 motivational thoughts to get you motivated by Canadian-Pakistani CEO, Muneeb Mushtaq
Canadian Pakistani CEO and motivational speaker Muneeb Mushtaq has given us many insightful and empowering thoughts over the years on the basis of his experiences as a young and dynamic businessman. The tech tycoon has been the founder of three tech business ventures and has managed to achieve so much at such a young age. And, he has given back his learning and knowledge by motivating, educating, and mentoring people to be successful in life.
Here are some motivational thoughts by the Forbes awarded entrepreneur Muneeb Mushtaq to get you motivated and beat the Monday blues:
- Get rid of the useless and negative clutter in your life
Muneeb Mushtaq suggests that it is important to subtract some of the unnecessary things from life to realise how insignificant they are. He advises us to get away from the insignificant and negative clutter in order to see an immediate positive impact. Worrying about what others think of us, trying to please everyone are some of the unimportant things we need to remove as soon as possible. According to him “When you remove what’s negative, it’ll add more space for what’s POSITIVE”!
- Don’t wait, just take the first step
The successful entrepreneur recommends us not to wait for other people or for the perfect moment to do what you have always wanted to do. There will never be a perfect time, situation or circumstances that would make you start working on your dreams. He advises us to just take the first step and get started.
- Failure is the opportunity to start over again, more wisely
The dynamic businessman is also of the view that failure provides an invaluable experience that makes it more likely to get success the next time around. He explains: “Till the time you don’t give up, the failures are just learning experiences, helping you to eventually succeed.”
- Respect the competition
Muneeb Mushtaq also shares this motivational thought that competition should be embraced and should be used as a driving force to push you further rather than fearing it. Competition is also a validation that there is a massive market and opportunity in the space to grow further.
- Change is important
Another motivating thought from Muneeb Mushtaq is that if you want change in life, then you should also be willing to change. He says, “If you are not willing to change, don’t expect your life to either”.
Follow Muneeb Mushtaq on Instagram @MuneebMushtaq for regular motivational posts.
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