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Alyosha Monument, Bulgaria

The Alyosha monument is a huge statue of an unknown Russian soldier watching over the ancient city of Plovdiv, commemorating the arrival of the Soviet troops that marked the end of World War 2 two. ‘Alyosha’ is short for Alexei, the Soviet soldier whose photo was used as the model for the statue.

Though the monument has faced destruction attempts and vandalism the Alyosha has survived 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 amazing if you have the energy to make it up there. Climbing the weaving path to the top is no mean feat but if you do manage it, the Roman amphitheatre on an adjacent hill can be seen and the old town’s famous “Kapana” area is also visible, looking like a labyrinth of winding cobblestone paths.