The Bells monument near the ring road of Sofia and close to Mladost 4 neighbourhood was initially built in 1979 to celebrate the World Children initiative by UNESCO. It was originally thought to hold a children’s festival only in 1979, but due to the big success the festival was repeated every 4 years until 1990 when communism in Bulgaria collapsed and funding was not available.
The monument stands today and even though it might not be in its best shape after 35 years of existence, it is a very interesting attraction to all people as it is a very original idea in itself. The actual monument in the middle is a sculpture like tower with circles on the top symbolising the earth and the seven bells in the circles symbolise the seven continents. There is a circle of bells donated from over 90 countries that surround the main monument. You can see bells from countries that no longer exist, such as the USSR, The German Democratic Republic, etc. Some bells were made very original and depict the culture of their country. Probably the most attractive bell is the Japanese – even though it is not fully functional today as it is missing the big wooden hammer to it.
During communism the monument was often used for initiations of pioneers (similar to boy scouts) that were part of the communist culture. I was one of those who got initiated there and it is a kind of experience I would never forget.