Arkutino School for Gifted Children

In the 1970s Lyudmila Todorova Zhivkova, daughter of Bulgaria’s socialist leader, was at the forefront of numerous projects aimed at promoting Bulgarian culture worldwide. The most ambitious of these initiatives was an arts education center in Arkutino, which would house gifted children from countries around the world.

Lyudmila died unexpectedly in 1981. Her father, Prime Minister Todor Zhivkov, set out to honor her wish. He began construction on the massive complex in 1985, which was to contain an auditorium, classrooms, and rehearsal spaces. Summer programs where world class musicians would host workshops would draw the most talented students to the seaside resort.

But in 1989, as the Soviet Bloc was crumbling the project was abruptly halted. Despite various attempts to revive the arts center or repurpose it, the Arkutino school remains unfinished and abandoned to this day. The names of construction workers can still be seen on the unfinished cement walls of the complex, along with the date that project was abandoned.

The beach at Arkutino remains popular although the abandoned building looms just beyond the shore. The views from the roof of the buildings provide a beautiful panorama of the water below, and a beachside hotel called the Arkutino Family Resort now neighbors the unfinished school.