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Regional historical museum, Blagoevgrad

100 National Tourist Sites

If you are in Blagoevgrad, you cannot help but be impressed by the original building of the Regional Historical Museum – Blagoevgrad, neatly located in the cozy Varosha district. Built in 1978, according to the project of architect Ivan Bitrakov,
this is one of the few buildings in Bulgaria built specifically for a museum / all the others are simply adapted for this purpose/. On its four levels, the museum displays the cultural and historical heritage of the entire South-West Bulgaria in an extremely rich and diverse exhibition in halls: Prehistory and Antiquity, Middle Ages, Church-enlightenment struggles and revolutionary movement, Ethnography, Art, Skaptopara-Gorna Jumaya-Blagoevgrad-the city and its inhabitants.

Archaeology: Archaeological artifacts are displayed in two halls. In addition to objects from the everyday life of prehistoric people, there are also exhibits related to their spiritual life – from the 6th – 5th millennium BC. Anthropomorphic figurines in the shape of the human body are one of the most characteristic elements of the prehistoric cultures of the Eastern Mediterranean. These are mostly figurines of women / and much less often of men/, which probably symbolize the cult of fertility or the matriarchal structure of society. Other objects related to the cult are also shown: models of houses, chairs – thrones, cult tables, one of the hypotheses connects them to the cult of the house and the home hearth.

In ancient times, Thracians were known as brave warriors and were often mercenaries in elite armies in ancient Greece, Egypt, ancient Rome. Evidence of this is the discovery near the village of Pletena of the full combat equipment of a Thracian warrior from the end of the 4th and the beginning of the 3rd century BC.
In the collection of wine vessels, a krater handle from the 6th – 5th century BC is shown/ this is a vessel in which the ancients mixed wine with water and herbs/. In honor of the god of wine and gaiety Dionysus, in ancient Greece were held festivals twice a year and were in the habit of disguising themselves to resemble the companions of Dionysus – satyrs, bacchanals, maenads, silenes – these images were considered the demons of wild nature and contributed to the ecstasy and intoxication that was a kind of merging with god. In the museum in Blagoevgrad, unique masks of bacchanals and satyrs are displayed, the masks date from the Roman era – II century. They are sought after for exhibitions in Paris, Helsinki, Barcelona, Madrid, Tokyo and many other cities in the world. Archaeological materials from the museum in Blagoevgrad have also participated in the presentation of Bulgarian culture to the European community of Europalia in Brussels. In the museum you can see a unique set of medical instruments from the Roman era, from the 2nd century AD, found in an accidentally discovered grave near Bansko, probably of an ancient doctor. Particularly impressive with their exquisite workmanship are the two bronze vessels – one in the shape of a Roman boot and the other – a rectangular box with three definitions. These containers contained substances /in the boot/ and 20 pills /in the box/. After analysis, it was found that these are drugs used for burns and treatment of wounds, eye diseases, lowering the temperature.
A rich collection of tombstones from the Roman era is presented in the Regional History Museum – Blagoevgrad. Along the valley of the Struma River, they stand out in a very characteristic group, which to a large extent differs from the monuments in the rest of Bulgaria, both in terms of their size and shape, as well as in the images in the relief field.

A unique exhibit in the Blagoevgrad museum is the so-called Cup of Hercules, it is a clay bowl on which 5 of the 12 feats of the mythical hero Hercules are depicted. The bowl was found in an ancient necropolis near the village of Rupite, dating from the end of the 4th – the beginning of the 3rd century BC. Some of the feats depicted are the capture of the Cyrenean hind, a fight with the giant Geryon, and others. During the Second Bulgarian State, the most significant urban center in the Pirin region was Melnik – a center of well-developed pottery and ironwork. The rich collection in the museum shows the sgraffito technique used in Melnik for the decoration of dishes, which in the 13th – 14th centuries entered everyday life en masse and is a mark of the city’s artistic culture. In a medieval necropolis near the village of Tukhovishte, dated from the 9th – 11th centuries, interesting ornaments were found , a mixture of Slavic and Proto-Bulgarian character.

A particularly valuable exhibit is an old printed liturgical book, printed in Moscow – Gospel from 1745, by the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra.

The exposition Church-Enlightenment Struggles and Revolutionary Movement during the Revival shows valuable documents and personal belongings of the figures of the national liberation movement, among the unique artifacts stored in the museum are 24 letters from Gotse Delchev to the head of the VMORO in Dupnitsa, Nikola Maleshevski.

Regional History Museum – Blagoevgrad has a rich ethnographic fund of over 12,000 materials, which was formed during its entire history of more than half a century. It reflects the peculiarities of the lifestyle and culture of the population of Southwestern Bulgarian lands in the period from the middle of the 19th century to the middle of the 20th century. Collections of examples of folk art are particularly valuable and of high exhibition value. Created by the hands of the skilled craftsman or the skillful housewife, they reveal not only the Bulgarian’s understanding of beauty and comfort, but also express social ties and relationships – both on a weekday and on a holiday; within the family, clan, settlement community. An extremely rich collection of traditional women’s and men’s costumes demonstrates the diversity and peculiarities of clothing in the individual ethnographic sub-regions, while at the same time sharing the all-Bulgarian characteristics of the folk costume.

Nature: A significant part of the museum’s exposition is dedicated to the exceptional natural wealth of the Pirin area. The geographical location, the diverse relief and climate determine one of the greatest biodiversity in Bulgaria. About 1,500 insects are exhibited, Bulgarian and local plant endemics are shown, the most richly represented class of vertebrates in the Blagoevgrad region is that of birds, exhibited by biotopes, while mammals find the widest presence in this part of the country – out of a total 92 species, about 75 are found here.
The exhibition “Skaptopara – Gorna Jumaya – Blagoevgrad – the city and its inhabitants” tells the history of the city by giving visitors the opportunity to “walk” through the old streets, “peek” into the “Ardzhansko Ezero” tavern, and “catch” the noise of the sewing machines in the cloakroom, to read the announcements of parties and parties on the ladder.

The collected wealth in the funds of the Regional Historical Museum – Blagoevgrad is also shown in the form of temporary exhibitions. The works of art from the extremely rich art fund of the museum, including works by Zlatyu Boyadzhiev, Vladimir Dimitrov – Master, Keazim Isinov, Emil Stoychev, Stoyan Sotirov and many others, are often shown to the public.

In the summer, the courtyard of the house-museum “Birthplace of Georgi Izmirliev – Makedoncheto” in the Varosha district is turned into an open art gallery for works by local artists.

Due to its numerous events in different formats, the Regional History Museum – Blagoevgrad is sought after by young people in the city as a spiritual and cultural center, where, in addition to exhibitions, folklore festivals, educational programs with schoolchildren and students, workshops on Baba Marta, Easter and Christmas, performances are organized of books, revue with authentic folk costumes, etc. One of the events that attracts a large audience is Night at the Museum in May.

In 2010, the Regional History Museum – Blagoevgrad became one of the first museums in the country to implement an interactive exhibition “Museum Children’s Corner” for interesting and useful activities for children from 3 to 12 years old in archeology and ecology.
The museum also has a multifunctional, modernly equipped conference hall, a Conservation and Restoration Laboratory, a photo laboratory and a library with over 16,000 volumes.

Regional History Museum – Blagoevgrad is accessible to people with musculoskeletal disabilities.

Work time:
Working hours:
Monday – Friday – 09.00 – 18.00
Saturday – Sunday – 09.30 – 18.00

Director: 073 / 88 50 73
Exhibition halls: 073 / 88 60 78

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