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The National Museum of History in Sofia

The National Museum of History in Sofia -In Brief:

The National Museum of History in Sofia is the most suitable place where one will be able to touch the unique centuries old history of Bulgaria and all its crucial moments and fateful events.
The National Museum of History in Sofia, founded in 1973, is one of the largest history museums on the Balkan Peninsula. The National History Museum has become the largest depository of Bulgaria’s cultural and historical heritage, a guardian of treasures of great cultural value and world importance. Since its foundation the National museum of History has stored over 600 000 artifacts, true monuments of culture and thus collected rich archaeological and historical archive so as to make one indulge in the authentic atmosphere of the musem.
The museum was opened in 1984 to commemorate 1300 years of Bulgarian history. The museum was moved to a former governmental residence in 2000 and currently stores over 650,000 objects closely connected to archaeology, fine arts, history and ethnography. Bulgaria’s National History Museum offers a truly memorable chronological journey throughat least eight millennia of human civilization on the Balkan peninsula. Therefore, a visit to the National Museum of History in Sofia is worthwhile.
The greatest treasure of the museum is indeed its valuable collections. Thus, the National History Museum covers the whole period from prehistory to the present time.
In 2002, the National Museum of History was granted the special award of the European Museum Forum for its outstanding achievements in the cultural heritage preservation, in the exhibition, scientific and publishing work and communication with the museum public.

Location and building:

The National Museum of History is housed in a former governmental residence, which lies on the northern side of the Sofia’s main ring road near the Knyazhevo quarter. The building of the museum is a fascinating oddity, having served Bulgaria’s communist leaders as an official residence until 1989. The building of the museum was designed by the architect Barov and completed in 1974. After having finished their interesting tour in the museum, the visitors can marvel at the splendid mountain scenery and natural surroundings of the museum.

Halls and Exhibitions:

On the ground floor you will find relics from the earliest period up to the Middle Ages, including gold and silver treasures, such as the Panagyurishte treasure, ceramics and archaeological remains. If you visit the first floor, you will find ecclesiastical art from the 19th century Bulgarian National Revival, including folk costumes, carpets and typically furnished rooms for this period.
Perhaps one of the most fascinating displays is in Thracian room. Unfortunately, many of Bulgaria’s most famous Thracian treasures are touring western museums on a regular basis. However, the inquisitive visitor will not be disappointed even for a minute as there is still plenty of Thracian gold- and silverware, excellently decorated with mythical animals.
The Medieval section is largely based on replicas of items kept elsewhere, or on photos of ruined castles and churches throughout Bulgaria.
Upstairs on the second floor lies an impressive display of brightly-coloured folk costumes and carpets, and a fascinating collection of photos, representing the social history of twentieth-century Bulgaria.
The permanent exhibition extends across 5 halls:

  • Prehistory (7th – 2nd millennium BC)
  • Ancient Thrace (late 6th – 1st century BC – 6th century AD)
  • Bulgarian Middle Ages – First Bulgarian kingdom (681 – 1018) and Second Bulgarian kingdom (12th century – 14th century)
  • Bulgarian lands between 15th and 19th centuries
  • Third Bulgarian Kingdom (1878 – 1946)

The Apolonia, Numismatics and Ethnography thematic exhibitions occupy their own significant place in the museum. Additionally, one may be stunned at aircrafts from the time of Bulgaria’s Warsaw Pact membership (1955-1989) attract the museum guests’ attention.
Hall C: Boyan Radev's collection
The exhibition presents the donations of Boyan Radev, a well-known Bulgarian collector and prominent sportsman, to the National Museum of History in Sofia. For nearly thirty years already, Radev has been collecting works of contemporary artists, icons and church plates from the Middle Ages and the Revival, as well as monuments from Antiquity.


  • Paleolithic, Neolithic, Chalcolithic
  • Bronze age
  • Early Iron Age
  • Late Iron Age
  • Roman Age
  • Late Antiquity
  • Middle Ages 7–9 century
  • Middle Ages 10–12 century
  • Middle Ages 13–14 century
  • Late Middle Ages 15–17 century
  • Numismatics
  • Pectorals and others adornments
  • Jewelry
  • Embroideries
  • Weapons
  • Uniforms and civil clothes and accessories
  • Traditional clothes
  • Every day textiles
  • Church, applied and fine arts
  • Documents from the National Revival
  • Documents from the period 1887 – 1944
  • Documents from the modern history of Bulgaria
  • Photos from the National Revival
  • Photos from the period between 1878 and 1944
  • Tools
  • Every day items
  • Incunabula
  • Periodicals from the period between 1878 and 1944
  • Periodicals from the modern history of Bulgaria
  • Posters
  • Maps
  • Printed materials
  • Manufacture samples
  • Fine and applied arts
  • Furniture
  • Cinema – photo – phono
  • Philately
  • Early printed materials in foreign languages
  • Flags
  • Heraldry, sphragistics

Opening hours: 09:30-17:30
Admission: 10.00 BGN
Combined ticket including Boyana Church: 12.00 BGN
English-language tours cost 20.00 BGN and can be booked in advance

Website of the museum:National History museum

National Museum of History on the map of Sofia

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