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Alyosha Monument in Plovdiv, Bulgaria

Alyosha standing guard over the ancient city of Plovdiv

This gigantic 36-foot statue of a Russian soldier can be seen across the ancient Bulgarian city of Plovdiv. Erected in  1957, it stands as a monument to the Red Army's "liberation" of the city during World War II.

The towering memorial sits atop one the few hills in Plovdiv overlooking the city. The monument's name, Alyosha, comes from a common nickname for Russian soldiers, and is also the title of Plovdiv's official anthem during Bulgaria's Soviet period.

Though the monument has faced destruction attempts and vandalism—and the city almost allowed it to be turned into a gigantic Coca-Cola bottle—Alyosha still silently stands guard over Plovdiv, and continues to be one of the most prominent reminders of the Soviet period in Bulgaria.

The views from the top of the structure are unbeatable, and you'll likely be the only one visiting. Climbing the weaving path to the top, the Roman amphitheater on an adjacent hill comes into view. Old town's famous "Kapana" (The Trap) area is also visible, and looks like a labyrinth of winding cobblestone alleys from up above.

via Atlas Obscura - Latest Articles and Places