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Ethnographic Sofia Museum

The National Ethnographic Museum in Sofia harbours one of the richest collections on the Balkan Peninsula. The museum is also a popular cultural and educational center. The museum was opened as one section of the National Museum in 1892. However, it became independent in 1906. The museum is located at the Battenberg Square in Sofia and it is one of the famous museums amongst the three big museums in Bulgaria’s capital city. Opposite to the Ethnographic Sofia Museum in diagonal rises the imposing building of the Bulgarian National Bank. Immediately next to it, a former Turkish mosque built on top of the ruins of a Christian Church destroyed by the Ottomans, houses today’s Archaeological Museum. Sofia Ethnographic Museum was qualified as one of the richest on the Balkan Peninsula in the first decades of the 20th century.


The National Ethnographic Museum exhibits astounding collections of authentic national costumes, handmade and art works from Bulgarian people’s daily life, wood cuttings, tools dating from three or four centuries ago, jewellery, tissues, embroidery, musical instruments and other articles of typical national folk art. . There are preserved more than 50 000 artifacts in the museum from 17th -20th century. In other words, the Ethnographic museum represents the traditions, arts, crafts and lifestyle of the Bulgarian people from the 17th to the 20th century.The exhibits include scale models of Bulgarian houses and life amenities in them, masks and costumes of the festive Bulgarian calendar rites from different ethnographic regions of the country. Being the National Ethnographic Museum, the artifacts and artistic items in the museum exhibit the cultural heritage of Bulgaria. Other exhibitions are often displayed in the building of the former royal palace, to fill in the vacant spaces of the impressive place.
Additionally, one will find in the museum a small craft shop, which sells lots of craft works, costumes and musical instruments from all over Bulgaria so that when the visitor goes back home, they will bring with them a small piece of Bulgaria and its cultural value.

History of the museum in brief:

The National ethnographic museum was found in 1892 as a part of the National museum. In 1906 the museum became independent museum with a collection from the Bulgarian traditional crafts, suits, woven, decorations, musician instruments.
Since 1949 the Ethnographic museum is affiliated to the BAS (Bulgarian Academy of Sciences) system. In 1969 the National Ethnographic Museum was settled in the building of the former Royal palace, a cultural monument from 19th century.
At the end of the 1892 the ethnographic section of the museum was enriched with priceless and original collection from different Bulgarian regions.
Bulgaria reveals its traditional and cultural possessions to the whole world through the priceless collections of National Ethnographic Museum.

Bulgarian Folk Costumes-the brightest exhibition in the National Ethnographic Museum

The fund “Bulgarian Folk Costumes” is one of the richest museum repositories in the country.
The preserved Bulgaria’s treasure /typical houses, costumes, craftwork, tools/ is the biggest source which reveals in full the opulent Bulgarian culture.
The fund in question represents and the geographical characteristics of the traditional Bulgarian folk wear (the male, the female and the child wear). It represents in details its structure and composition, and describes the attitude and its function in the public life of the Bulgarians, whether it is for festive events or work. The majority of museum models dates from the period 19th-20th century, but there are also some folk costumes from the Medieval period.
It is interesting to know that Bulgarian traditional folk costumes are mainly hand and homemade. However, the composition and structure of the Bulgarian folk wearing is complicated.

Ethnographic Museum on the map of Sofia

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