Towering above the city of Shumen in Northern Bulgaria stands the monument known as. ‘The Founders of the Bulgarian State’
It’s situated on the plateau of llcov at the highest point of the Danube plains 450 m above sea level.
The construction began in 1979 and took two years to build. It commemorates the 1300th anniversary of the 1st Bulgarian Empire.
At 140 m long and 70 m tall the geometric monument is seen from over 30 Kilometres away.
The monument consists of two gigantic concrete blocks . Each separated by a space. It houses 21 sculptures which depict the first influential Kings of Bulgaria.
Khan Asparuh, With his sword plunged into the ground. Is pointing to where the Bulgarian Kingdom will stretch.
King Boris 1, King Simeon, Tevel Krum and Omurtag are a few of the 18m tall giants who have been instrumental in Bulgaria’s history between the 7th and 10 century
The Lion placed on top of the monument faces the city of Shumen It’s made of solid granite and weighs over a 1000 tonnes.
Adorning the monument surrounding the sculptures is a depiction of three different types of alphabet. The first one is Runic, composed of cuts and lines. A second, is the Glagolitic alphabet created by the brothers Cyril and Methodius and the third is the Cyrillic alphabet.
The writing system of all Slavic peoples used today.
On the concrete panels is laid a mosaic triptych. It’s the largest example of an open air mosaic to found in Europe.
The monument idea was awarded to architects Georgi Gechev and Blagoy Atanasov. Sculptors Krum Damyanov and Ivan Slavov and artists Vladislav Paskalev and Stoyan Velev. The design engineer was P Hadzhov.
The upper part of the monument shows a crucifix of light. This symbolizes the Christian religion which Bulgarians converted to in the 9th century.
How to reach the Shumen Monument
Two kilometres from the town centre in the Shumen Nature park is situated the monument to the Founders of the Bulgarian State
To reach the plateau you could take the 5km road.Or for those fit enough, take the steep 1300 steps near to the museum of history from the city.
Above the town and just a few kilometers from the monument is the ruins of an ancient Thracian fortress. Take a taxi ride to see the remains of the foundations. After that, walk the 4 kms along the wooded path to visit the monument before descending the steps back into the town is an alternative idea.
The monument has a visitors centre and a small fee charged for entry.
Along the top of the ridge there is a cafe and a astro observatory and the surrounding woods offer lots of different paths to explore and enjoy the views.