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Sofia, Bulgaria

The Bells Monument

"Unity, Creativity, Beauty." 

The Bells Monument (or, in Bulgarian, “Камбаните”/”Kambanite”) is situated in a park outside of Sofia’s city center, at the base of the Vitosha mountain. An inscription at the monument’s base reads, “Children of the future accept the eternal, fiery call of immortality - Unity, Creativity, Beauty.” 

The UN declared 1979 the Year of the Child. From that nomination Lyudmila Zhivkova, daughter of the former communist head of state, conceived to construct a monument. With the participation of the UNESCO Banner of Peace children’s movement, the Bells Monument was built in a mere 30 days.

Four 122-foot-tall pylons oriented toward the cardinal directions. Strung at the very top are seven bells to represent each continent. These bells are mostly decorative, but are occasionally rung to accompany concert performances at the monument. Encircling the towering pylons are two semicircular walls containing 95 bells, each from different countries and/or social organizations. These are emblazoned with a message from the children of each distinct nation. 

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