We've looked at some abandoned Bulgarian Socialist architecture before, but never like this. This winter, photographer Timothy Allen braved snowstorms and horrific cold to shoot the UFO-like Buzludzha monument in the Bulgarian Balkans. The resulting pictures look like the lost Communist equivalent of Echo Base.

Allen traveled 250 kilometers outside of Sofia to get these incredible photos. The snow picked up during his shoot, and he even took a harrowing -25°C hang-gliding expedition to grab some aerial shots. Explains Allen of the building's history:

Designed by architect Guéorguy Stoilov, more than 6000 workers were involved in its 7 year construction including 20 leading Bulgarian artists who worked for 18 months on the interior decoration. A small, compulsory donation from every citizen in the country formed a large portion of the funds required to build this impressive structure that was finally unveiled in 1981 on what was the 1300th anniversary of the foundation of the Bulgarian state.

After languishing as an urban exploration spot for over a decade, ownership of Buzludzha went to the Bulgarian Socialist party last year. It's unclear what the future holds for this monument to a shucked political system, but it could certainly double as a Tauntaun petting zoo.

You can see many more photos and read more about Buzludzha at Allen's website. [Via Boing Boing]