Royal Station Kazichene - Atlas Obscura

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Royal Station Kazichene

Kazichene, Bulgaria

The Bulgarian royal family exclusively used this ornate, now-abandoned train station. 


Once known by locals as the Royal Station, the now-derelict Kazichene train station in western Bulgaria is probably the only freely accessible relic of the Bulgarian royal family. Today, the station’s advanced state of disrepair acts as a fitting allegory for its former owners.

With the signing of the Treaty of San Stegano in 1878, Russia and the Ottoman Empire laid out plans to establish an autonomous Bulgarian principality. After a few unsuccessful political experiments, the young Bulgarian state chose Ferdinand, the heir of the German noble family Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, as the country’s first tsar.

Ferdinand I of Bulgaria, along with his son Boris and grandson Simeon, ruled over Bulgaria until World War II. In 1944, a Soviet-backed coup d’etat overthrew the family, who subsequently fled to Spain.

During the royal family’s rule, the new tsars built themselves a myriad of palaces, villas, retreats, and other structures, to flaunt their status as rulers and partake in what the rapidly developing country had to offer. 

The Kazichene royal train station was built from 1906 to 1911 as the gateway for the new Vrana palace (literally meaning “crow”), finished a few years later, the closest royal residence outside the capital. On one side special trains brought the royal family and distinguished guests from all over Europe, and, on the other, a small-gauge private railway transported the family and guests to the palace in less than 10 minutes. Legend has it that Tsar Boris even drove the small locomotive himself.

After World War II,  the state seized all royal property. The station was stripped of any insignia and was effectively abandoned, although it wasn’t until the 1990s that it became completely unattended. 

Today, the royal train station has been left to fall further into ruin while the Vrana palace has become a popular tourist destination. Today, the palace is easily accessible, a short drive from the city center, making the convoluted transport scheme an oddity of the past.

Know Before You Go

The royal train station is accessible at all times, either by car (with ample parking spaces around) or by train, as the official Kazichene station is 218 yards east of it. In Bulgaria, nobody minds you walking on the tracks but those in front of the station are part of a busy line so caution is advised. Recently, a new pedestrian overpass was added next to the station.

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February 21, 2024

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