Abandoned Bulgaria: Ministry of Transport Hospital, Sofia


In communist-era Bulgaria, each industry would look after its workers. The Workers’ Union would build amenities for its employees and their families, including hospitals and holiday homes.

This vast shell of a building was due to be a hospital for the Ministry of Transport- but it was never completed.

Today it is a tall, brutal concrete scar in the countryside, with a barbed wire perimeter fence and security living on site. The surrounding roads were quiet, so the 4×4 stood out as we parked in a nearby layby, hoping to nose around the site without attracting the attention of security or the dogs that bright yellow signs warned us of.

We meandered through the undergrowth, dodging behind trees as a car passed slowly. Why would a place that has been untouched for years require round-the-clock security? There are rumours that the site contained more than just an unfinished hospital- perhaps military buildings or even a bunker.

On the opposite side of the complex to the security hut, we saw a cluster of large corrugated military-style hangers and some prefab huts. We snuck along the perimeter fence seeking out a hole.

Suddenly two large dogs came bounding towards us. We froze in shock. But they were friendly and playful strays, not blood-thirsty guard dogs. They followed us, running to and fro as we found a gap in the fence and snuck towards the outer buildings.

We entered the first of the pre-fab buildings, on edge as floorboards creaked and birds fluttered, disapproving of our intrusion. Barely-readable signs on doors showed that some rooms had been used to store ammunition, gas masks (a few still left behind) and other military equipment. There was more to this place than just the concrete structure of an incomplete hospital.

Still shadowed by the dogs, we made our way towards the corrugated hangers, shuffling past to avoid making too much noise, unaware of what could be on the other side of the thin metal structure. We eventually found an entrance and entered one of the large stores.

It had evidently not been used in some time, but was cluttered with pallets and shipping boxes, filing cabinets, old piping and strips of rubber. This jumble of forgotten objects didn’t answer our questions about the previous use of the large hangers- whatever used to be stored here was gone. But perhaps there is still more to discover, hidden and guarded by security.

Last Updated on 18 May 2023 by Michael


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