Museums Bulgaria

THE LAST CRUSADER

Hidden among the firs of a park by the busy Władysław Warneńczyk Boulevard in Varna is one of Bulgaria's strangest and most moving museums. There, inside one of two ancient Thracian burial mounds is the stone effigy of a sleeping medieval knight.

This is the symbolic grave of the Polish-Hungarian King Władysław III, who died in 1444 in a battle during what is considered to be the last Crusade in Europe.

Comments: 0

Read more Add new comment

BIRTHPLACE OF BULGARIA'S LAST DICTATOR

You are in an unsightly socialist town where rustic houses are scattered amongst prefabricated housing blocks. Men are repairing Ladas and Moskviches and women are dusting carpets in the patches of green. You head for the town square and discover that it is appropriately covered with the large white slabs to be seen in so many other Bulgarian towns, the result of a 1980s plan by Communist rulers to implement pedestrian zones. But there is something a little out of kilter here. The town is oddly clean and the pavement is not falling apart. There are few stray dogs in the streets.

Comments: 0

Read more Add new comment

MUZEIKO - BUILDING OF THE YEAR

A few months after its opening, Sofia's Muzeiko, the first museum for children in Eastern Europe, is not only full with visitors eager to learn more about nature, history and space. In December, Muzeiko won the Building of the Year 2015 award in the Educational Infrastructure category. The museum was also a nominee in two more categories, Building Incorporating Green Elements and Concrete in Architecture.

Comments: 0

Read more Add new comment

PECULIARITIES OF VRATSA

In Bulgaria, there is only one museum besides the archaeology and national history ones in Sofia where you can see a great Thracian treasure in its (almost) full ancient glory. No, this museum is not in Varna, nor in Plovdiv or Stara Zagora.

Comments: 0

Read more Add new comment

WHAT IS MUZEIKO?

Most museums in Bulgaria are still stuck somewhere in the 1970s in terms of the organisation of exhibits, captions layout, photography policy and the content of gift shops. In recent years this has started to change with places like the Stara Zagora's history museum and the Pliocene museum at Dorkovo village, in the Rhodope.

Comments: 0

Read more Add new comment

DEULTUM: ROMAN TOWN ON THE OUTSKIRTS OF BURGAS

The bay on whose shore the city stands today was deeper and surrounded by malaria infested swamps.

Living conditions were at least inhospitable. A few people had made their home there from prehistoric to medieval times, in settlements and fortresses away from the coast, moving location as the coastline itself changed. The continuity of usage of the mineral springs in today's Vetren and Banevo neighbourhoods of Burgas is amazing. The healing waters were prized by the ancient Thracians and Romans, by Bulgarian kings, Byzantine emperors and Ottoman sultans.

Comments: 0

Read more Add new comment

TAKE THE B TRAIN

Wars are of course bad, but their side effects can sometimes be positive. Take, for example, the Crimean War of 1853-1856. This conflict, which engaged the Western powers in battle on the fringes of the Ottoman Empire, brought many European innovations to the backwater that was the Sultan's realms at that time. In the following years, the Bulgarian towns along the Danube experienced an influx of novelties, from the first theatre to the first newspaper.

Comments: 0

Read more Add new comment

ST ANASTASIA ISLAND

Bulgaria's Black Sea can be calm or full of tourists, pristine or packed with ugly hotels, but one thing it is not: a sea where numerous islands, large and small, are available for exploration.

Only seven islands dot the 354 km of Bulgaria coastline and some of them are so small that they are little more than rocks in the sea. In the summer of 2014, however, one of the islands in the Bulgarian Black Sea became a genuine tourist attraction.

Comments: 0

Read more Add new comment

WŁADYSŁAW WARNEŃCZYK MAUSOLEUM

The busy Władysław Warneńczyk Boulevard is the road you need to take through Varna to reach the Sofia-bound motorway. It is also the road to one of Bulgaria's strangest and most moving museums.

Among the firs of the park – an oasis of calm amidst the urban buzz – two Thracian burial mounds stand. One of them, adorned with a monument, encloses a burial chamber where lies the stone effigy of a medieval knight.

A medieval knight? In Bulgaria?

Comments: 0

Read more Add new comment

PLOVDIV'S SMALL BASILICA

"To the Small Basilica, please," we say to the taxi driver we hail in the centre of a warm, autumnal Plovdiv. Then we realise. The driver is very unlikely to know the whereabouts of Bulgaria's latest archaeological museum, only one day after the official opening.

Comments: 0

Read more Add new comment

VILLA ARMIRA

Vineyards and ghost villages deserted by those who left because of wars, strict border controls and economic hardship, plus a medieval fortress tucked into the easternmost slopes of the Rhodope: there is not that much to see in and around Ivaylovgrad. Greece, which is just across the border, is even less impressive; a patchwork of fields and tiny villages.

Comments: 0

Read more Add new comment

ROMAN PLOVDIV

Roaring crowds of spectators cheer on their favourite runner. A gladiator bites the dust in the arena, and falls in a pool of blood. Two wealthy ladies inspect the fine silks at the shop run by a Jewish merchant. In the forum, slaves are busy erecting a statue of the current emperor, while others outside the city are preoccupied with repairs to the aqueduct. The people around the Eastern Gate make way for a chariot carrying a senator from his rural villa to his city mansion.

Comments: 0

Read more Add new comment

POLSKI TRAMBESH

Hundreds of people pass through Polski Trambesh every day. The little town has a population of less than 5,000 and is situated on the highway connecting Ruse, the Danube and Romania with the interior of Bulgaria. The name Polski Trambesh, however, is known to few except locals.

Comments: 0

Read more Add new comment

ALEKSANDROVO TOMB

The archaeologists who were finishing off the excavation of two small Thracian burial mounds on the spot where the future Trakiya Motorway would bypass the village of Aleksandrovo, near Haskovo, felt that day was different from the very beginning. 17 December 2000 was the last day of the excavations and brought the first bright sun after a long and depressing series of mists so thick that visibility was often less than 10 metres.

Comments: 0

Read more Add new comment

SOFIA'S HIDDEN MUSEUM

It grows but does not age, as the motto of Sofia proudly boasts: judging by the city's history, it is easy to see why. Two Neolithic settlements existed here and, in the 1st Millennium BC, the Thracians created another, which later become the Roman Serdica, the beloved "My true Rome" of Emperor Constantine the Great (306-337). The city then became the Bulgarian stronghold of Sredets, the centre of an Ottoman province and, in 1879, the capital of Bulgaria. For centuries, Sofia was the place where kings and dictators ruled, and artists, composers, writers and architects created.

Comments: 0

Read more Add new comment

CULTURED MINISTER

Despite some failed, and not very persistent, attempts by intellectuals, Bulgaria remains the only former Warsaw Pact country not to have a museum dedicated to its recent past. In fact, it would be safe to say that Bulgaria remains the only former East bloc country where Communism is still debated and any outspoken criticism of it, especially if it involves the Russians, may be looked down upon and discouraged.

Comments: 0

Read more Add new comment

THRACIAN TREASURES

The stories all begin differently. A villager goes out to plough the fields that his father and grandfather had ploughed before him for years, never getting anything besides grain in return. With a backhoe, a construction worker digs a trench for a canal. An archaeologist sinks a shovel into a burial mound. Or an imanyar, or illegal treasure hunter, scouts around with his metal detector and digs where the device squeals the loudest.

Comments: 0

Read more Add new comment