Varna Archaeological Museum


Varna is the largest Bulgarian port, resort and the third most populated city. This Black Sea pearl has always attracted with its beauty and mild marine climate. It’s not the first century that Varna offers the opportunity to enjoy its gifts - anyone can find here what is most to his taste.

These are beaches, bars and night clubs, here you can improve your health and admire the sights of the city. This article provides information on what to see in Varna. The list was solid: it is the oldest collection of Thracian gold in the world, and the amazing Varna Dolphinarium, and fantastic natural rock formations in the vicinity of the city.

Museum Creation

The initiator of the museum in Varna was the Varna Archaeological Society. For the museum, an area was allocated in the building of the city library, and from June 3, 1886, it was open for mass visits. Now the archaeological museum is located in a building that was built in 1892-98. The elegant neo-Renaissance style was not chosen by chance for the building by architect Petko Momchilov - the building was originally intended for the Varna women's gymnasium. In June 1906, the Varna Archaeological Museum, together with its enlarged collections, moved to this building.

The first director of the museum, the famous archaeologist Karel Shkorpil held this position for several decades, until his death in 1944. Beginning in 1945, the Varna Archaeological Museum passed into the jurisdiction of the state, which finances and manages the museum.

Museum today

Nowadays, the museum covers an area of ​​more than 2 thousand square meters, which, in addition to the exhibition halls, housed a scientific archive and library, the museum’s depository and storerooms, educational halls, a courtyard, which houses stone and marble exhibits.

The first floor of the museum presents visitors with an exhibition of history and antiquity.

The oldest exhibits in these collections are dated to the Paleolithic (100,000–40,000 BC) and Mesolithic (10,000–8,000 BC). The findings of archaeologists in the Varna chalcolithic necropolis (5,000-3,000 BC), which are the oldest man-made gold, cannot but impress. More than five and a half kilograms of gold jewelry, amulets, scepters and ceramic products allow us to get an idea of ​​the culture and life of the most ancient European civilization, which arose and existed even earlier than the Egyptian and Mesopotamian civilizations.

The existence of the Thracians in the Bronze Age and the Early Iron Age is confirmed by ceramic objects, weapons and jewelry that were produced by this warlike people. At the beginning of the 7th century BC, the small settlement of the Thracians - Odessos (modern Varna), existing on the Black Sea coast, was turned into a Greek ancient colony. In the museum you can see beautiful works of ancient Greek and Roman ceramics, marble reliefs and sculptures, inscriptions and mosaics, bronze ware, jewelry, coins and so on. All these exhibits eloquently speak of the rich life and rich history of this large cultural and commercial center of the ancient world.

But the most famous exhibition held at the Varna Archaeological Museum is the exhibition of nine Thracian treasures. This exhibition is not constantly within the walls of the museum, firstly, because it consists of exhibits owned by five more large museums, and secondly, because this exhibition is often hosted in other countries by world-famous museums. This unique exhibition presents the ancient culture and art of the people who inhabited modern Bulgaria, from the Eneolithic to Roman rule, covering the period from 4400 BC to the third century AD. The main range of items is made of silver and gold, which allows this collection to take its rightful place among the masterpieces of world cultural and historical heritage. Here are just a few of them.

The silver treasure from Borovo in the Rusenskaya region was found in 1974 by a tractor driver plowing a field. The exhibits, dated the first half of the 1st century BC, are a magnificent service consisting of a cup, a jug in the form of a rhyton and three rhytons. The rhytons are quite original and made in the form of a sphinx, a bull and a horse. According to the inscriptions made at the service, the researchers found that it was once the property of the Thracian king, the powerful Cotis I (383-359 BC).

The gold treasure found in the village of Panagyurishte near Plovdiv also belonged to some Thracian ruler. The total weight of gold jewelry is more than six kilograms, this one-of-a-kind ritual service includes: a phial, amphora, three rhytons in the form of animals and three jugs with the heads of ancient Greek goddesses.

It is possible to describe nine unique treasures for a very long time, although it is better, of course, to look at them with your own eyes. Moreover, the exhibition "Nine Thracian treasures" is often a guest in Russian museums ...

On the second floor of the Varna Archaeological Museum is an exposition that acquaints visitors with the history of medieval Varna, from the creation of the Bulgarian Kingdom in 681 to the events of the 18th century. There are tools, weapons, antique dishes, gold and silver jewelry, a collection of Chinese porcelain and Italian majolica, and so on. At the end of the tour, visitors will see an exhibition of Bulgarian icons of the 16-19th centuries, silver church utensils, ritual objects and icon lamps.


The museum was created on June 3, 1886 at the initiative of Varna Archaeological Society and originally occupied part of the city library. The current Neo-Renaissance building, which houses the museum, was built in 1892-1898 by the architect Petko Momchilov for the Varna women's gymnasium. The first exposition was open for visitors on June 11, 1906. Its first director was the outstanding archaeologist Karel Shkorpil who remained in this position until his death (in 1944). Since 1945, the management and financing of the museum has been transferred to the state.

The total area of ​​the museum is 2.150 m². In addition to the exhibition halls themselves, there are a scientific library and archive, a repository, training rooms, a courtyard with stone and marble exhibits located in it.

Exposition edit |