National History Museum (Bulgaria)

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View of the museum with a Roman statue in the foreground and the Vitosha Mountains in the background

The National Historical Museum ( Bulgarian Национален исторически музей / Nazionalen istoritscheski musej ; literally: National Historical Museum ) in Sofia is one of the largest museums in Bulgaria . It shows a comprehensive overview of Bulgarian history and culture from prehistory through ancient times to the present day.


The museum was founded on May 5, 1973 by decision of the Bulgarian government and its collection houses over 650,000 pieces, about 10% of which are on display.

The first exhibition was opened in 1984 on the occasion of the 1300th anniversary of the founding of Bulgaria. The exhibition was initially located on 10,000 m 2 in the Palace of Justice in Sofia , right in the city center, on Vitosha Boulevard . The daughter of the then communist party and state leader Todor Schiwkow - Lyudmila Schiwkowa - was then Minister of Culture and was responsible for organizing the celebrations for the 1300th anniversary of Bulgaria and the establishment of the museum. Thanks to the backing of her father, she prevailed against the Minister of Justice, so that the Ministry of Justice had to move out of the representative building of the Palace of Justice in Sofia to give way to the newly created museum.

After the end of the communist era in Bulgaria in 1990, the Council of Ministers decided in April 1997 to move the museum to the former presidential residence of Todor Zhivkow in Boyana , on the southern city limits of Sofia, just outside the Sofia Ring Road (Bulgarian Околовръстен път / Okolowrasten pat), at the foot of the Vitosha Mountains . This building with the address “House No. 1” (Bulgarian “Дом номер 1”) became the best-guarded museum in Bulgaria. The new exhibition was officially opened on July 29, 2000 by Prime Minister Ivan Kostov . The massive museum building in Bojana, the former government residence built in 1974 in the middle of a park, has an exhibition area of ​​6,000 m 2 .

A wide staircase leads from the foyer to the two exhibition floors. The first floor of the exhibition has a very high ceiling height, as it was designed as a representative room for state receptions in the government building.

The main exhibition extends over five halls:

Other rooms are dedicated to the excavations in Apollonia , numismatics and especially folklore .

The museum organizes exhibitions abroad on the ancient Thracian and Bulgarian cultures. A scientific anthology is also published annually, as well as catalogs of the museum's collection.

The museum is listed as number 58 among the 100 national tourist objects of Bulgaria created by the Bulgarian Tourism Association .


The Thracian gold treasure of Panagyurishte

The collection of archaeological finds from the Paleolithic to the Middle Ages is very valuable . One of the highlights of the collection is Panagyurishte's gold treasure from the 4th / 3rd centuries. Century BC BC, which, however, belongs to the museum in Plovdiv and is only exhibited here temporarily.

The museum has archeology, history and ethnography departments. The collections are divided into the following subject areas and epochs:

Administrative structures

The museum has the following departments:

  • public relation
  • Bulgarian territories and antiquity
  • History (Bulgarian Revival 18th to 19th centuries; modern Bulgarian history 19th to 20th centuries)
  • Archeology: ( prehistory , ancient Thrace , classical and Roman archeology, archeology of the Middle Ages, numismatics)
  • Art history, ethnography and interdisciplinary research
  • Museum collection (documents, archives, collections)
  • Image collection (negatives and digital images of the exhibits)
  • Central laboratory for conservation and restoration
  • Spatial artistic design and technical systems (audio-video presentation, studio for exhibition design, technical maintenance)
  • Administration and Finance
  • Guarding and security



  • Straschimir Dimitrov (June 1974 to December 31, 1975)
  • Emil Zanow (January 1 to August 31, 1976)
  • Wassil Gjuselew (September 1, 1976 to December 31, 1977)
  • Antscho Antschew (January 1978 to August 1983)
  • Simeon Damjanow (August 1983 to October 1985)
  • Rumen Katintscharow (November 1985 to December 1994)
  • Boschidar Dimitrov (December 1994 to August 1, 1998)
  • Ilya Prokopov (August 4, 1998 to February 6, 2001)
  • Teofana Matakiewa-Lilkowa (February 2001 to December 2001)
  • Boschidar Dimitrov (December 2001 to August 2009)
  • Zwetana Kjosewa (August 2009 to 2011)
  • Boschidar Dimitrov (since 2011)


  • Wassilka Shishkova: National History Museum. Guide. Bulgarian Bestseller, Sofia 2004, ISBN 954-9308-30-8 .

Web links

Commons : National History Museum, Bulgaria  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Coordinates: 42 ° 39 ′ 17.9 ″  N , 23 ° 16 ′ 14.9 ″  E