Museums at Varna, Bulgaria

Numerous museums in Varna are waiting to dip you in their atmosphere. All they have theirs “stories” to tell and rich historical heritage to show.

The Varna museums are full of treasures from all periods of the city’s history, and will interest both the informed archaeologist and the casual visitor.

The Archaeological museum

The Archaeological Museum in Varna is housed in the magnificent building, which is designed by the Bulgarian architect Petko Momchilov. Today it keeps over 55,000 exhibits. They date from the Paleolithic era (the Old Stone Age) to the late Middle ages. The first exhibits making up the two main departments – Art and Archeology were entered in the depository of the museum in 1888 when a group of teachers lead my Karel Shkorpil laid the beginning of the museum collection.

The visitors can see extremely valuable exhibit linked with the ancient Thracian culture, Slav and Proto-Bulgarian pottery, jewelry from the Middle Ages and others. The museum has a rich collection of tomb stones that any European museum would be proud to possess. The collection of icons include some masterpieces of icon painting from the National revival period in Northeastern Bulgaria the oldest of which date back to the 16th century.

National Maritime Museum

The history of Bulgarian maritime dates back to the year of 1883. Once the creation of the Bulgarian Marine by Russian naval officers was accomplished in 1879, there was made a collection of ancient marine exhibits. It was founded in Varna in 1923 by a group of enthusiasts and initially it was housed in the Naval School. In 1956 it was moved to Villa Diana in the Sea Garden. The museum displays a collection of marine guns, the old white house and the Sea Port of Varna and one of Bulgarian first minesweepers.

The collection is on show 12 halls. It traces the maritime history of the region of the ancient time to the present day. The most valuable exhibit is the Drazki torpedo boat which earned fame for its crew by sinking the Turkish cruiser Hamidie during the First Balkan War in 1912. thing is the only ship of its kind to be preserved till the present day.

Ethnographic museum

The Ethnographic museum was opened in 1974 in a restored house from the National Revival period, built around 1860. Due to the initiative of Maria Nikolova – ethnographer, Assen Stoychev – artist and Kamen Goranov – architect, the creation of the exposition was possible. The museum reflects the rich material and cultural heritage of the local population during the second half of the XIX and the beginning of the XX century – catering, crafts, clothes, jewellery, ritual bread, “survachki” (special colour-folded sticks, decorated with popcorns, candies, ribbons, used by children on the first day of the New Year to tap neighbours on the back, wishing them good health, happiness, success in the new year).

The national customs – Christmas, Kamili(Camels), Petlyovden (Cock’s day), Lazaruvane, wedding are presented in a rather interesting way.

A special corner is preserved for a luxurious city home from the end of the XIX and the beginning of the XX century – a vestibule, drawing room, bedroom, kitchen. The amazing tour ends with a story about the commercial life of old Varna and a panoramic view of the town.

Vladislav Varnenchik Park – Museum

This museum commemorates a historic event, dating back to the XV century. On November 10, 1444 a mixed Christian army, comprising of Hungarians, Polish, Czechs, papal knights, Bosnians, Croatians, Bulgarians, Romaninas and Routeni (Old Russians) fought a heavy battle near Varna against the Turks. Many lives were lost. More than half of the soldiers from the united army, together with the king of Hungary and Poland Vladislav III Yagelo (Varnenchik) perished.

In memory of the people, who sacrificed their lives in the name of freedom, on the place of the heroic battle there was built the park-museum Vladislav Varnenchik. The museum is a memorial complex.