In the first part of 2018, Bulgaria will be home to the revolving presidency of the Council of the European Union. Sofia, the capital, will host many of the events of the presidency. This Balkan country is well worth closer scrutiny by discerning travelers, offering much diversity in such a small, largely mountainous rural area. Bulgaria is bordered on the north by Romania, by Serbia and Macedonia to the west, by Greece and Turkey to the south, and is blessed with the Black Sea on the east. From Neolithic times, the population has been made up of Thracians, Greeks, Persians, Celts, Romans, Alans and Huns, weaving it into its own Balkan tapestry and melting pot. Prehistoric settlements have been excavated throughout the country, discovering town walls from antiquity, dating back to before the 7th century BC.
National History Museum Highlights
The National History Museum of Sofia Bulgaria and the Boyana Church (UNESCO) are easily accessible from Sofia and make for an easy day trip from the Bulgarian Capital.
The National History Museum is the largest museum in the Balkans, housing the most impressive collection of national Bulgarian Treasures. Exhibits start from prehistory to the present. Established in 1973, the building itself is significant in that it was the former residence of the communist government in Bulgaria where, in 1989, the last communist leader was removed from power. The architecture is reminiscent of the old Soviet Bloq style.
Perhaps the most important and interesting collections are of the oldest man-made golden treasures like those found at the Varna necropolis from the 6th millennium BC to the 11th millennium BC, or, the golden necklace from Dabene from the beginning of the 11th millennium BC. In 2004, near the village of Dabene in central Bulgaria, archaeologists from the National Historic Museum found a woman wearing an exquisite golden necklace. Her husband found the necklace while plowing in a field with his tractor. Some 15,000 additional pieces were unearthed by archaeologists.
The most interesting gold items in the museum come from the end of the VI century BC until the VI century AD are those belonging to the Thracian Kings. The masterpiece of the Thracian workmanship is the Panagyurishte golden treasure from the end of the IV and beginning of the 111 century BC consisting of a phiale, an amphora and seven rhytons all made of 24-carat solid gold. The decorations have carefully depicted myths, customs and life.
Many of the Museums’ golden treasures have been exhibited at the Louvre and other important museums of the world.
Visit the Boyana Church
Not far from the Natural History Museum is the Boyana Church, built from the 11th century to the 19th century. Bulgaria’s most revered medieval church, it features 90 murals dating from 1259 and some of the best examples of medieval art. They include portrayals of St. John of Rila and Tzar Konstantin of Asen and Queen Irina.
Our custom tours features knowledgeable local guides with deep history knowledge, as well as local savvy on ways to experience Bulgaria in her fullest. Join us!