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National Institute of Archaeology with Museum

View archaeological artifacts, ranging from prehistoric times until the 18th century, and learn about Bulgaria’s culture, history and people.

Walk through the halls of a historic mosque and discover the archaeological history of Bulgaria at the National Institute of Archaeology with Museum. See Stone and Bronze Age tools and weaponry, ancient mosaics, religious icons, pottery and ceramics. Established in 1892, the National Institute of Archaeology with Museum’s goal is to promote the country’s culture and heritage.

The museum’s exhibits spread throughout an elegant 14th century building, which once served as the nine-domed Buyuk Mosque (Grand Mosque). There are four permanent exhibitions. Start in the Prehistory Hall to find artifacts that span the Paleolithic era through the Middle Bronze Age. Look for examples of engraved rocks that date to around 50,000 B.C. and stone tools from Thrace, an ancient region of southeastern Europe.

Go to the Central Hall to see artifacts from the Late Bronze Age to the Late Middle Ages. Highlights include Greek and Roman sculptures and excavations from St. Sofia Church, including the original floor mosaic. In the Vault area, you’ll find some of Bulgaria’s most famous archaeological treasures, including gold and silver ornaments and jewelry.

On the museum’s second floor is the Middle Ages Hall, a display of Medieval armor, masks, paintings, pottery and tools, among other objects. Ask at the reception about temporary exhibitions. Previous topics have included displays of Scythian art from the former Soviet Union, a history of Christianity in Bulgaria and an exposition of pre-Columbian gold.

The National Institute of Archaeology with Museum faces Antanas Burov Square in Sofia’s city center. It’s a short walk from major city attractions such as the Church of St. George, Saint Sofia Monument and the Ivan Vazov National Theatre. The closest metro station is Serdika, about a 5-minute walk away. Metered parking is available at nearby Gradska Gradina (City Garden).

The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday and there is an admission fee. Guided tours are available in English for an extra cost. Consult the museum’s official website for complete opening times and further information about temporary exhibitions.


Guide to Exploring National Archaeological Museum


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