Founders of the Bulgarian State Monument

Top choice monument

in Shumen

Visible within a 30km radius, this tremendous Soviet-era monument was opened in 1981 to commemorate the First Bulgarian Empire’s 1300th anniversary. Enormous futurist sculptures depict Bulgaria's medieval rulers, and the complex includes the Balkans' largest outdoor mosaic triptych.

Statues of Bulgarian khans tower 18m high around this angular complex, constructed with 50,000 cu metres of concrete and 2500 tonnes of steel. The inscription beneath Khan Omurtag's mighty statue translates roughly as 'Even if a man lives well, he dies and another comes into existence; let the one who comes later, when he sees this inscription, remember the one who made it'. A granite lion atop the monument weighs an estimated 1000 tonnes.

From central Shumen, a circuitous 5km road leads to the hilltop monument; it's uphill all the way from ul Saedinenie, south of Hotel Rai. A taxi from the city centre costs around 5 lv, and then you can walk back down the steps.

An information centre, about 300m from the monument, has details about the structure and surrounding flora. A 3km path passes the information centre and car park, finishing at Shumen Fortress.