In the Bulgarian mythology, well before the appearance of human beings, the earth was inhabited by a race of giant named the Ispolini. It is difficult not to invoke these mysterious figureheads while walking the site of the Founders of the Bulgarian State Monument in north-eastern Bulgaria.
Since 1981, perched on the heights of the town of Shumen, this huge monument commemorates more than 1300 years of Bulgarian history. Visible from as far as 18 miles away, it looms almost 1,500 ft. above sea level, a gloomy overlord hovering over the city of Shumen.
Krum Damyanov and Ivan Slavov built the cubist-style memorial in 1981, commemorating the 1300 anniversary of the Bulgarian Empire. The sculptors of the monument, which is also referred to as The Monument to 1300 Years of Bulgaria, gave kings and heroes the appearance of towering giants of stone, echoes of the past forever frozen in concrete. The menacing figures lurk in high corners of a geometric building with slick, towering walls, the monument reached by climbing a stern concrete staircase.
Unlike the Buzludzha Monument and many other Bulgarian monuments from the communist era, the Shumen memorial has been kept up over the years, beautifully maintained and a favorite spot for weddings and photo shoots.