Georgi Dimitrov was a politician, leader of the Bulgarian Communist Party and Prime Minister of Bulgaria from 1946-49. He died on 2 July 1949 in mysterious circumstances at the Barvikha Sanatorium near Moscow.
Following his untimely death, Georgi Dimitrov remained a symbol of communism in Bulgaria and the Soviet Union. The personality cult surrounding his memory has resulted in commemorations, monuments and plaques in his honor in many cities and countries.
When he died, Bulgaria declared a period of mourning that was observed throughout the communist world. A mausoleum was erected in his honor to house his embalmed remains. The elaborate structure was built with temperature control and an armored glass sarcophagus.
There were problems with the design and construction of the mausoleum. Given only a very short time to complete the project, architect Georgi Ovcharov’s first design was not approved by the Politburo, and he was hurried to produce a second. For the official ceremony placing the body at rest, the building was not yet completed. The unfinished columns and the entire top of the mausoleum were covered in black fabric.
On 17 July 1990 the Council of Ministers decided to remove Dimitrov’s remains from the mausoleum and deposited them in the Sofia Central Cemetery. They were cremated and buried there according to the wishes of his family.
The Georgi Dimitrov mausoleum stood as a prominent memorial in Battenberg Square across from the royal palace from 1949 until 1999. Demolition of the mausoleum began on 21 August 1999 and was completed on 27 August, leaving no trace of its prior existence.
Today the area where it once stood is divided into garden plots planted by the diplomatic community in Sofia.
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