A Place in Europe: Bulgaria and its Museums in 'New' Europe 9781407304113, 9781407334424

This book explores the origins and development of museums and heritage sites in Bulgaria (1856-2006) in relation to soci

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A Place in Europe: Bulgaria and its Museums in 'New' Europe
 9781407304113, 9781407334424

Table of contents :
Front Cover
Title Page
Table of Contents
List of figures
List of tables
List of abbreviations
Monasteries and museum collections
Private collections and museum building
Early Museums
How to create a European scale museum
Communism and museums
Contemporary Museums
Emerging themes in the history of museums

Citation preview

BAR S1929 2009

A Place in Europe: Bulgaria and its Museums in ‘New’ Europe


Gabriela Petkova-Campbell


BAR International Series 1929 2009 B A R

A Place in Europe: Bulgaria and its Museums in ‘New’ Europe Gabriela Petkova-Campbell

BAR International Series 1929 2009

ISBN 9781407304113 paperback ISBN 9781407334424 e-format DOI https://doi.org/10.30861/9781407304113 A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library



Contents Acknowledgements Abstract 1

vi vii




Monasteries and Museum Collections



Private collections and museum building



Early Museums



How to create a European scale museum



Communism and museums



Contemporary Museums



Emerging themes in the history of Museums


Appendix 1

Turkey and the East (BIA, 1873-1876)


Appendix 2

Report by Vasil Stoyanov, Director NLM to the Minister of Education, 30 March 1894 (RIM Vratza, f. 1, a.e. 21, l. 30-35) 98

Appendix 3

List of Manuscripts Donated by Bishop Miletia (BIA, f. 35, a.e. 1188, l. 1670-1682


Appendix 4

Main Bulgarian Periodicals, Published before the Liberation (1878)


Appendix 5

Letter from Todoraki Dimitrakiev to the Director NLM, 17 September 1894 (RIM Vratza, f. 1, a.e. 20, l. 6) 105

Appendix 6

Bulgarian Memorial Magazine Project - N. Pavlovich, 11 May 1871 (NBIV, f. 1, a.e. 252, l. 1-4)


Appendix 7

Letter from V. Stoyanov, Director NLM to the Minister of Education, 31 May 1886 (BIA, f. 35, а.е. 1187, l. 344-345) 109

Appendix 8

Exploration of Antiques, Science & Education Ventures Subsidy Act, 1890 111

Appendix 9

Letter from V. Stoyanov Director NLM, to the Minister of National Education, 17 November 1890 (BIA, f. 35, a.e. 306, l. 25-26) 115

Appendix 10

Antiques Act, 1911


Appendix 11

The Balkan Peninsula (Map courtesy Graphic maps, USA and Italy)



Appendix 12

His Majesty’s Natural History collections (Source Filov 1928: 147)


Appendix 13

Cultural Masterpieces & Museums Act, 1969


Appendix 14

Questionnaire for Museum and Gallery Directors (FAKT Agency, August 2005) 129

Appendix 15

Regulation No 5, 1969


References I


References II


Index of People



List of figures (All photographs used in the book for illustration are the author’s unless otherwise specified) Fig. 2.1 The Ottoman Sultanate - 16th-17th c. (Map courtesy J. Vara de Rey) Fig. 2.2 Nessebar - the Church of Christ Pantocrator (13th-14th c.) Fig. 2.3 Nessebar - the Church of the Archangels Michael and Gabriel (14th c.) Fig. 2.4 Rojen Monastery, Southwest Bulgaria Fig. 2.5 Drianovo monastery, Central Bulgaria Fig. 2.6 Preobrajenie Monastery, Central Bulgaria Fig. 2.7 Rila Monastery, Southwest Bulgaria Fig. 2.8 Hrelyo tower (14th century) Fig. 2.9 Rila Monastery Church The Nativity of the Virgin (1835) Fig. 2.10 Mural – central calotte over the main entrance of the church The Nativity of the Virgin (1847), painter Dimitar Zograf Fig. 2.11 Rila Monastery museum Fig. 3.1 The house of the Hadjitochevi family Fig. 3.2 Todoraki Hadjiiski (1818-1902) - source: Sharova, K. and Mircheva, K. (eds.) (2002) Fig. 3.3 Stefan Penev Ahtar - source: Majdrakova-Chavdarova (1985) Fig. 4.1 The house where the decision for the opening of the Svishtov chitalishte was taken Fig. 4.2 Nikolai Pavlovich in 1859 – self portrait, source: Pavlovich (1955) Fig. 5.1 National/archaeological museum - acquisitions for the period 1892-1909, source Filov (1928) Fig. 5.2 National/archaeological museum – acquisitions for the period 1910-1927, source Filov (1928) Fig. 6.1 School group in the Museum of Georgi Dimitrov in Sofia (personal archive) Fig. 6.2 Etara open-air museum Fig. 6.3 Etara – water mill Fig. 6.4 Etara – crafts shops Fig. 7.1 Nikola Vaptzarovs’ house – museum, Bansko Fig. 7.2 Representation - Vaptzarov in prison with the bullets that killed him on display Fig. 7.3 The main entrance of the National Museum of Polytechnic Fig. 7.4 The National Museum of Polytechnic – the entrance to the exhibitions Fig. 7.5 A three-wheel ‘Messerschmitt KP 200’ – 1952 Fig. 7.6 Earth and Man National Museum – correlation – museum visitors: events visitors Fig. 7.7 Correlation children: adults in the Earth and Man National museum Fig. 7.8 Bojentsi – the sweet shop and café Fig. 7.9 Bojentsi- the central place Fig. 7.10 Bojentsi- a tavern Fig. 8.1 Bulgarian museums and visitor numbers according to the Statistical Yearbook of the National Statistical Institute


List of tables Table 6.1 State funded museums and art galleries (source Kissiov 2004: 21) Table 7.1 National Museum of Polytechnic - visitor numbers


List of abbreviations Abbreviation a.e. BAN BIA CDA DAVT DI f. GMSB

In Bulgarian Arhivna edinica Balgarska Academia na Naukite Balgarski Istoricheski Arhiv Centralen Darjaven Arhiv Darjaven Arhiv Veliko Tarnovo Darjavno Izdatelstvo Fond Godishnik na Muzeite v Severozapadna Balgaria


Godishnik na Narodnia Muzei


Godishnik na Sofiiskia Universitet Izvestia na Muzeite v Severozapadna Balgaria


List Muzei i Pametnici na Culturata


Narodna Biblioteka Ivan Vazov (Plovdiv)


Narodna Biblioteka ‘Kiril i Metodii’ (Sofia)


Otechestven front Regionalen Istoricheski Muzei Vratza Sbornik za Narodni Umotvorenia, Nauka i Knijnina Universitetsko Izdatelstvo


In English Archival unit Bulgarian Academy of Science Bulgarian Historical Archive Central State Archive State Archive Veliko Tarnovo State publishing house Book-stock Annual review of museums in North-West Bulgaria magazine National museum year book Sofia University year book News about Museums in North- West Bulgaria magazine Sheet Museums and Cultural Monuments magazine National Library Ivan Vazov (Plovdiv) National Library ‘Cyril and Methodius’ (Sofia) National Library and Museum Fatherland Front Regional History Museum Vratza Popular Sayings, Science and Literature magazine University Publishing House

Acknowledgments I would like to thank the staff members of the many Bulgarian museums, heritage sites, libraries and archives for their help in the research process for this book. Their cooperation and advice helped me understand aspects of the development of museums and the heritage environment in Bulgaria. My special thanks go to Professor Peter Davis, Newcastle University for the time he spent discussing important aspects of my study. Finally this work would not have been possible without the unconditional love, patience, support, financial and moral help of my family in Bulgaria and my husband to whom this book is dedicated.


Abstract This book explores the origins and development of museums and heritage sites in Bulgaria (1856-2006) in relation to societal change and major historic events. It seeks to determine the key factors that promoted museum building, and pinpoint the key individuals who were involved. Original and archival sources, interviews, observations and field visits have provided a rich dataset which has been analysed to reveal how systems of power, politics and social control affected how museums were created and subsequently managed. Furthermore the Bulgarian case is situated within a broader European context and comparisons are made with the museum institutions in different countries in order to determine any specifics and particularities of Bulgarian museum building and operation. Bulgaria’s history of oppression, first under Ottoman and then Communist rule, has played a major role in shaping the pattern of museum development, particularly in relation to establishing, maintaining and promoting several versions of the history of the Bulgarian nation. The book demonstrates how different administrations have used museums to promote their own political views of the nation’s cultural identity, and in particular how the strategies employed by the Communist regime continue to influence the museum sector today. The major contribution of this book lies in its use of archival documents. This has resulted in a different account of the formation of Bulgarian museums, on some occasions contradicting accepted histories. It also introduces the little known Bulgarian museology to a wider audience, which is seen to be important at a point in time when Bulgarian has become part of the European Union.


The review concentrates on the precursors of the first Bulgarian museums in the form of monastic collections in chapter two, which offers a brief description of the historical development of Bulgarian monasteries, with the example of Rila monastery being used to illustrate theoretical aspects. The emphasis in this chapter is on the collections formed in some of the monasteries, the impact that these collections had on the first private collections in Bulgaria and the early museum collections. Chapter three continues the exploration of the development of collections in Bulgaria at the time before and shortly after the Liberation (1878) from Ottoman occupation but concentrates on the private ones. It clarifies the reasons for their formation, asks why people started collecting before the Liberation and explores how the reasons for collecting changed at a later date. A comparison with the way private collections appeared in other European countries is made. The connection between this chapter and chapter four is ensured by a review of the period of the Bulgarian Revival as a turning point in the development of the State and the time when the first museums emerged in Bulgaria. Chapter four further clarifies events and activities that affected the origin and development of Bulgarian museums before the Liberation as part of the chitalishte institution and how patriotically – minded individuals such as Nikolai Pavlovich contributed to this process.

Introduction Overview Museums we see around us in Europe, and throughout the world, did not spring up ready-made, but have a long and complex history behind them which has shaped what they are today, argues Susan Pearce. ‘…Museums and their collections have always been public institutions… in the sense that they embody and shape public perceptions of what is valuable and important in each period of their existence’ (Pearce 1992: 89). This arguing is further detailed by Hudson (1987) who lists three necessary elements which make possible the birth of a museum. First, there must be people of exceptional vision and originality of mind to develop the new ideas. Second, the time and the social climate must be right and, third, there must be the means of transmitting the new thinking. If all three factors are not present, any new, let alone revolutionary, proposal is almost certain to fail to meet acceptance, no matter how brilliant or sensible it may be. The history of Bulgarian museums demonstrates the validity of these statements. First Bulgarian museums emerged in the middle of the 19th century as a means of raising national pride, self-consciousness and patriotism. Following Hudson’s reasoning it appears that a combination of particular social conditions gave birth to revolutionary ideas that inspired people who were ready to apply them to establish Bulgaria’s museums. Similar features are shown in other European countries, related to museums origins. At the same time Bulgarian museums had their own distinctive features and were organised in particular ways that influenced their development. So what are the differences between Bulgarian and Western European museums? In order to shed light on their development this book is going to follow closely the historical and cultural events which led to the desire to find and display Bulgarian historical rarities, relics and artefacts and how these changed according to the needs of each epoch. Primary sources and personal observations help clarify the reasons behind these events, the forgotten work of some of the individuals who contributed to the museum building in Bulgaria and how all this relates to the way Western European museums evolved and developed.

The second part of the book starts with chapter five which covers the period until 1944 when a communist regime was imposed in the country. It concentrates on the attempts of Bulgarian intellectuals to achieve in a short period what other nations had achieved in centuries. Evidence of the significance of historical events and the importance of individual involvement for the prosperity of museums will be discussed, as will the forgotten and neglected work of one of the, arguably, most successful museum directors of the National Library and Museum in Sofia – Vassil Stoyanov. The review of the historical development of Bulgarian museums continues in chapter six with the period 1944-1989 when Bulgaria was ruled by the communist party. An examination of the functioning of these museums in an ambiance of strict party directives and censorship provides the basis for issues discussed in the following chapters. The third part of the book discusses contemporary aspects of the operation of Bulgarian museums. In chapter seven the examples of the National Museum of Polytechnic, the Earth and Man National Museum and Bojentsi townmuseum have been chosen to demonstrate the particularities, the problems and the opportunities in the work of Bulgarian museums. The information provided in this chapter serves as the basis for the following discussion chapter eight which aims to reveal the influence of the past on the functioning of Bulgarian museums in the 21st century. It also attempts to explain the reasons behind successes and failures in the work of contemporary Bulgarian museums while reasoning on the possibilities for Bulgarian museums to reach contemporary museological standards.

The book is structures around three generic temporal but overlapping themes: the origins of Bulgarian private collections in the 19th century and their influence on museum building; operation of Bulgarian museums in early 20th century under royal regimes and later during the governance of the communist party; and current issues in Bulgarian museum environment with regards the place of Bulgarian museology in contemporary Europe. Chapters two, three and four discuss the origins and development of Bulgarian museums in the 19th century. 1

BULGARIA AND ITS MUSEUMS IN ‘NEW’ EUROPE The origins and development of Bulgarian museums embrace a significant time period from the 18th to the 21st century. Consequently the Bulgarian case is situated within a European context and comparisons are made with museums in other European countries. It was not considered appropriate to go beyond the geographical borders of Europe also for social, political, ethnographic and cultural reasons.

Wars, the First and the Second World Wars delayed their development. After the Second World War the isolation became even greater as these countries were then governed by communist regimes. In other words the present situation of isolation, especially in the Bulgarian case, is much influenced by past events.2 Like all other post-communist countries after the fall of the communist regime (1989) Bulgaria had to implement political and economic reforms. Unlike the countries of Central Europe however, Bulgaria has been characterised by political instability and slow economic reforms. ‘…Being also a Balkan country Bulgaria is affected by the regional environment, which is not promoting democracy, as the political scene of the region is still dominated by nationalistic fundamentalism, a paternalistic mentality and endemic corruption’ (Giatzidis ibid: 2). All this results in the country being frequently confronted with ‘misunderstanding and prejudice among Western scholars and political figures’ (Giatzidis ibid: 2). Consequently Bulgaria is still unpopular as a place for academic study and relatively unknown. Seemingly, one reason for the lack of published works on museum histories in particular is the lack of information and the difficulties involved in gaining access to information.

Museum historiographies The study of the historical development of different museums has seen significant expansion in recent years. If the museum institution itself has experienced different stages in its historical development through periods of ‘...zenith in the 19th century, gradual decline in the first part of the 20th century and renewal today’ (Ballé in Crane et al 2002:132) the study of its progression has also been through a process of change and search for new modes of critique, discussion and presentation. Recent publications on the development of specific museum and art institutions such as the Louvre (McClellan 1999 and Poulot 2005), the National Gallery in London (Duncan in Wright 1996, Barlow and Trodd (eds) 2000, Whitehead 2005), particular kinds of Western European museums (Lorente 1998, Sheehan 2000, Hill 2005) or contemporary museums operation and the influence of history on them (Ballé, Poulot and Mazoyer 2004) subject them to a process of fine scrutiny and new interpretations. There has been increased interest in the study of specific collections, their birth and development (Pomian 1990, Skeates 2000), and on the meaning of the act of collecting (Pearce 1992, Thomson et all (eds) 2002). However although the influence of the major Western European museums on the origins and development of museums in other parts of the world including the ones on the Balkan peninsula - is indisputable, few museum histories deal with the birth and development of museums there and none to my knowledge describe the origins of Bulgarian museums. As Shaw (2003: 1) indicates: ‘While numerous authors have of late considered the development and functioning of the museum in the Euro-American sphere, relatively few have expanded their investigations to ask in depth how these institutions emerged in the rest of the world’.

The literature in English concerning Eastern European museums is largely dominated by museum guides and color catalogues (e.g. Kontou 1993, Korek 1969, Fodor 1992) meant to serve the foreign tourist and therefore of little use to researchers. In Knells’ (1994, 11 ed.) Bibliography of Museum Studies museums and collections historiographies are classified into five groups: museum history – general, Britain, Europe, America and Asia and Australia. Not one reference in the ‘general’ section or the European ones provide a detailed overview of museums on the Balkan peninsula. Lewis (in Thompson et al (eds) 1992) mentions briefly the birth of museums in Hungary and the Czech Republic and this seems to be the only reference to the museum institution in East Europe, the whole interest reaching only as far as Poland (Lorentz 1956) and Russia (or more precisely the Hermitage) (Descargues 1961). Further investigation of the materials which make part of the more recent Bibliography for Museums Studies by Teather (2000) reveals once again the seemingly accidental attention allocated for Eastern European museums, preference being largely given to Canadian or American museum related issues. Only two short articles by Cedai (1999) and Buzinkay (1995), dealing respectively with Hungarian museums in the transition period and the Budapest History Museum, are included, thereby demonstrating limited interest in this part of Europe and its museological matters.

So why do museum institutions on the Balkan Peninsula remain obscure? Are they unknown, forgotten or perhaps irrelevant? Much of the explanation can be found in the historical development of that part of Europe. The Balkan Peninsula was occupied for 500 years by the Ottomans and was often described as a poor province at the European border.1 There were few visitors to that part of Europe at the time and consequently not much was known about it. At the end of the Ottoman occupation (in the late 1870s) countries such as Bulgaria, Romania and Albania tried to throw off the inheritance from the past and follow contemporary European trends but the Balkan 1

Regrettably very few are the Balkan authors who have worked on museum historiographies either. Han (1954 and 1958), Milkovich (1982) and Vujic (2003) carried out 2

See Stavrianos 2000


See Giatzidis 2000

INTRODUCTION research on early private collections in Macedonia,3 Serbia (19th century) and Croatia (16th century) respectively. No books to my knowledge, published in English or French, apart from short museum catalogues, have described the overall development of Greek museums with the exception of a brief article by Avgouli (in Kaplan 1994) which gives an indication of the origins of Greek museums with reference to national identity and heritage protection.

(1992) and Bennett (1995) all seem to regard Foucault’s idea of the museum as an institution representing ‘…the worst sort of Enlightenment tendencies to totalize, categorize and control the world’ (Lord 2006: 12) and therefore a need was identified to criticise it. Critics are inevitably always subject to the most fierce criticism. In Foucault’s case the most common criticism was that he completely lacked knowledge about historical material, specifically with regards to rejecting the values of the Enlightenment, while in fact relying on them.5 This criticism is naturally not widely accepted, especially if one has in mind that Foucault’s ideas were developing during his lifetime and he himself described his philosophy as a fundamentally optimistic one.6 The point is that not one of his isolated ideas could be automatically accepted and conclusions generalised. Nevertheless the opinions of some authors, possibly influenced by reading or indeed understanding Foucault as devaluing the whole notion of the 18th and 19th century museum certainly prompted productivity and provoked a major impact in the fashion of writing and looking at museum historiographies since the 1980s. These critiques did not challenge the very existence of the institution but addressed the ways this existence is now approached. Theorising museums has now become an inseparable and crucial part of museology and older writings are regarded as ‘…too monodimensional and insufficiently nuanced to account for the specificity or the complexity of the museum’ (Macdonald in Macdonald and Fyfe 1996: 4).

Some approaches in museum historiography Theorizing museums The West European and American museums’ academic world saw a new trend develop in various publications since the 1980s, namely an increased interest in museum theory and criticism. The traditional approach, valid until the 1980s and described by Starn (2005 online: 3) as ‘telling a story of progress’ seemed not to reflect the new dimensions taken by European and American museology. Authors such as Hooper-Greenhill (1992), Sherman and Rogoff (1994), Bennett (1995) and Macdonald and Fyfe (1996), all produced works aimed at a deeper or rather more diverse approach to the history of museum practices. This new tendency however seemingly starts with Michel Foucault’s reasoning on, or more precisely his denial (arguably), as to the value of the Enlightenment museum institution itself. Known mainly for his critical studies on psychiatry, medicine and the prison system, Foucault gave a lecture in 1967, which in 1984 was published in the French journal Architecture Continuité (10/1984) under the title Des espace autres (translated into English as Different spaces but also Of other spaces). The lecture, in which Foucault presented the six principles of heterotopia,4 was just one of many which provoked fierce debates and activated Foucault’s critics. On first reading it appears that the author rejects the values and philosophy of the Enlightenment museum, describing it as a notion contradicting itself in its very own substance as ‘a kind of perpetual and indefinite accumulation of time in a place that will not move’ (Foucault 1998: 182, quoted in Lord 2006). Foucault however did not go into details in that particular article, citing museums and libraries merely as examples to define the notion of heterotopia or more precisely its fourth principle, according to which heterotopias are linked to slices in time. The meaning of the paragraph seems to have been taken literally and stretched to reach different levels in the works of different authors, debating museum historiographies or rather vacillating towards criticising traditional approaches. Hooper-Greenhill (1992), Pearce

This ‘climate of increasing reflexivity within the profession’ (Ross 2004: 84) is most often associated with the works of Hooper-Greenhill (1992), Pearce (1992), Bennett (1995) or Macdonald and Fyfe (1996). These were scrutinized or analysed by most of the authors who worked on museum historiographies or indeed on any museum - related subject in later years.7 According to Trodd (2003: 21) these publications are trying to introduce in the museum discipline a ‘theoryology model’. Hooper-Greenhill (1992: 189) for instance described the modern public museum as a ‘disciplinary institution’, a controlled and surveyed public space where ‘knowledge is offered for passive consumption’, therefore there is a need ‘to look for differences, for change and for rupture’ (ibid: 9). Bennett (1995) also debates the ‘disciplinary’ exhibition model developed in the modern public museum. The ideas expressed by this ‘complaining chorus’ (Starn 2005: 4) are regarded by Trodd (ibid: 2021) as having ‘fundamental critical problems’ because they lack any real critical understanding with regards ‘the complexity of the process in which … museums are fashioned, articulated and reproduced’. While it is important to acknowledge that museums ‘have been involved in the production, distribution and circulation of


Republic of Macedonia, also known as the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM). It will be referred to hereinafter as ‘Macedonia’. 4 In Foucault’s understanding a heterotopia is a real space in contrast to utopia which is an unreal space. All cultures are heterotopias and Foucault provides two categories and six principles to explain the concept.


Between his most fierce critics were Pierre Bourdieu (19302002), a French sociologist and Jacques Derrida (1930-2004), a French philosopher 6 See Rabinow and Rose (eds) 2003) 7 Trodd 2003, Hill 2005, Starn 2005 or Lord 2006


BULGARIA AND ITS MUSEUMS IN ‘NEW’ EUROPE the historian, i.e. to uncover or describe the past (see Tosh 2002). More recent works however went far beyond the frames of a mere description, attempting to find an answer to what Silverman (2001) calls the ‘why question’ (Wright 1996, Lorente 1998, Sheehan 2000, Shaw 2003, Ballé, Poulot and Mazoyer 2004, Poulot 2005, Whitehead 2005, Hill 2005).

their own meanings about culture and its practices’ (Trodd ibid: 21). The debates in which the critics are themselves criticised is followed by Lord (2006). Questioning the very understanding of the above authors of Foucault’s ideas and based on the concept that these ideas were far too rich to be taken simply one-sidedly she argues that ‘…an analysis of Foucault’s work leads to a view of the museum that is positive and progressive…’ (Lord ibid: 11) unlike previous interpretations promoting a negative view. Foucault’s definition of the museum, continues Lord, can be understood as a space of differences and a space of representation. On the basis of that definition then the museum implies Foucault’s genealogy and therefore contributes to progress as genealogy in Foucault is a conception of history, which involves rediscovery of knowledge. In this way, concludes Lord (ibid: 12) ‘…the definition of the museum as heterotopia explains how the museum can be progressive without subscribing to politically problematic notions…..(and therefore they) are best placed to critique, contest and transgress those problematic notions, precisely on the basis of their Enlightenment lineage.’

Nationalism and museums The notion of nationalism, which will be addressed in more detail in chapters two, three and eight of this book, is an issue of particular interest for many of the authors of Western European museums histories, while its correlation with the birth of museums is particularly scrutinized. As a concept nationalism has always been of interest to historians not only in its 19th century representation but possibly even more now as appearing under different forms throughout the world.8 In Europe the ‘museum age’ can be related to the appearance of nationalism after 1820.9 The newly formed nations in most European countries had as a priority the formation of a national museum. The French experience of displaying mainly works by French artists became the example and prototype for many nations of how a national museum can promote the ideology of nationalism. However not all newly formed nations had a royal art collection to serve as a basis for the foundation of a public museum. Subsequently each nation differs in that process in terms of particular historical and social circumstances that influenced the origins of a particular museum institution to foster nationhood.

Whether it was the case of criticizing the above publications, agreeing or arguing with them, it cannot be denied they provoked enough attention and extramural debates to fill hundreds of pages. How and if all this was/is reflected in the development of the museum institution itself is arguable. If we assume however that criticism is the nostrum of progress we can expect that the museum institution will undergo a major transformation having in mind the amount of publications on museum theory, practice or politics. Nevertheless it seems that what was previously described by Vergo (1985) as dissatisfaction with the old museology or by Hooper – Greenhill (1992) as a lack of critical analysis with regards the museum institution might have gone to the other extreme of too much examination and debate of (often) insignificant or largely exaggerated problems. Sola (1992: 106) has suggested that as a result of these debates ‘…we do not know any more what a museum institution is’. In this sense Starn (2005) offers a useful and comprehensive ‘brief guide’ to ‘sort out and frame…the main issues and directions in this literature’. A historian by profession, Starn accentuates that in the new museum studies ‘the line between old and new practices and purposes is far from being sharp and fixed’ and insists that we can learn from exploring the progression of historical transformations, which is the main line to be followed in this book.

The predecessor of the first Bulgarian public museum (in the form of a public exhibition of archaeological remains in the Svishtov chitalishte10) was founded in 1856 when the country was still under Ottoman rule; a time when the country and its people were attempting to gain independence after some five centuries of oppression. At this time public museums in countries such as England, Germany, France and Russia were expanding quickly based on much earlier foundations. For example, in England, John Tradescant (ca 1730-1638) and his son (also John) (1608-1662) had formed an extensive biological and artefact collection which had been open to the public as early as 1625 in London. This collection became the basis for the foundation of the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford in 1683. In 1753 an Act of Parliament established the British Museum with free admission. In France the Royal collections had been made accessible to the public by the Revolution (1793) and in Russia the Hermitage was opened as a public museum in 1852, based on the private collections of Peter the Great (16721725) and the Empress Catherine II the Great (17291796), and became one of the world’s largest museums. In Spain the Royal Collections at the Escorial Palace had

Key themes A common approach that characterises museum histories embraces the study of institutions, objects and collections over time (Murray 1904, Wittlin 1949 and Alexander 1979). Although Murray, for example, briefly debates issues such as the use of museums, these kinds of histories can be assigned to the first part of the work of


Sugar 1999 See McClellan in Wright 1996 10 Public house of culture. The term will be discussed in chapter four 9


INTRODUCTION been available to visitors on request since the 17th century, and by 1785 the King directed the erection of a museum building to house the Museum of Natural Science.11

contained advice for amateur archaeologists and historians, such as how to identify possible archaeological sites, the steps to follow during excavations, the importance of documentation, how to collect artefacts from churches and monasteries and what information should be collected when visiting heritage sites in order to make materials collected useful to the population.15

Such examples illustrate that at a time when other nations were not only creating new museums, expanding and changing existing ones and opening them up to the general public, in Bulgaria the idea of opening a museum was only just beginning to be contemplated. The first more detailed historical descriptions of the origin and early development of the museum institution in Bulgaria use some of the documents from the archive of the National Library in Sofia. Limited either to the period after the Liberation (1878-1930) (Iordanov 1933) or the one before (1856-1878) (Djonev 1957) these represent a narrative description based on archival documents. The descriptions given by Iordanov and Djonev however are not complete, as the authors apparently did not have access to all relevant documentation. These two articles however are generic as they were used as the basis for all publications concerning the origins of Bulgarian museums which appeared in later years (Domuschiev 1966, Radonov 1968, 1971 and 1985, Silianovska 1972, Nedkov 1998 and 2006).

The appeals to the population to collect archaeological artefacts apparently spread rapidly and resulted in a considerable increase in the number of people offering artefacts to museums. Although most authors addressing this issue16 treat it as an act determined by nationalistic ideals, here I am suggesting that on some occasions it was simply the result of museums offering to pay for artefacts which triggered a process of - from a contemporary point of view - looting of heritage sites, in the hope that findings can be exchanged for money. It must be stated however that although this was a common activity there were people who, after forming archaeological collections, donated them to the museums. These were intellectuals or traders who had had the possibility to study abroad and, consequently, acquire knowledge of what a museum or a collection are and attempted to transfer it to the Bulgarian situation.

In Bulgaria collections displayed and opened to the general public were formed by local teachers with the financial help of wealthy traders. The role of the chitalishte institution constituted in serving as a focal point ‘for enlightenment’ (Chilingirov 1934). Meetings organised there by teachers and intellectuals on which books and newspapers were read to the illiterate population marked the beginning of a slow process, initiated by Bulgarian nationalists, a process of demonstrating where in its development Bulgaria stands compared to Europe. The question was how Bulgaria might be made comparable to other European countries. What made Bulgarian nationalists believe Bulgarians were similar to other nations and thereby claim a place in European cultural development? The answer was to be found in the past, which is a characteristic feature of 19th century nationalism.12 After five centuries of oppression, Bulgarians turned to periods preceding the Ottoman one,13 in particular the time of Tsar Simeon (893-927), known in Bulgarian history as the Golden Age of Bulgarian Culture. The period of the Ottoman domination, associated with national humiliation and ignominy, was simply ignored. Once attention turned towards the Golden Age period proof had to be found to materialise this past glory in the form of archaeological artefacts. Consequently the process of ‘educating’ the population resulted in publications aimed at explaining how important it was for the whole nation to collect artefacts and put them on display so that they could be seen by as many people as possible in order to provoke pride in the national heritage.14 These articles often

To engender ‘nationhood’ museums needed to be accessible. But just how ‘public’ were the Western European public museums? Apparently the 19th century museums obligations to the public were at first unclear. Enumerable restrictions and rules which appeared with the opening of these museums17 seem to be in contrast with the principle of public/open access. This line of thought is followed by Hill (2005: 4) who, analysing the structure and operations of English municipal museums, argues that museums were ‘…used by bourgeois elite to create distinction and legitimacy for themselves’.18 And while Victorian critics saw such cultural institutions as an embodiment of ‘…the confusion between truly public and elite values’ (Barlow and Trodd 2000) Hill debates on the opportunities the ‘public’ museum offered for challenge of elitist notions. Gradually however ‘… art was transformed from an ornament of the courtly world into a source of public education’ (Sheehan 2000: 21). In this process some institutions such as the National Gallery in London, were much more open than others (in Paris or Berlin) by ‘…actively encouraging visits by the labour class’ (McClellan 2003: 8). A number of social projects were undertaken in the 19th century (especially in England) in the form of cultural initiatives targeting disadvantaged members of society ‘aimed to introduce culture, science and technology to a wider public’ (Ballé in Crane at al ibid: 135). The exhibition of contemporary paintings from 1881 onward in Whitechapel in the parish





‘Public’ museums?

See Thompson et al (eds) 1992 Sugar 1999 13 Stavrianos 2000 14 Slaveikov 1858, 1864 and 1866 (see Slaveikova 1957)

Irechek 1883 Domuschiev 1966, Radonov 1968 and Silianovska 1972 17 See Ballé in Crane et al 2002 18 A point also made by Bourdieu, Darbel and Schnapper 1991


BULGARIA AND ITS MUSEUMS IN ‘NEW’ EUROPE school of St. Jude in London’s East End was one such example.19 As a result, argues Ballé (ibid), in the second half of the 19th century governments started to accept the social role and usefulness of the museum.

that can be interpreted relating to the ways artefacts and works of art were displayed have been explored by several authors. Whitehead (2005: XIV) concentrates on the operations of the National Gallery in London and ‘the theories of art expressed by the displays’ while Sheehan (2000) explores similar ideas in a brief review of the architecture and exhibitions of some German museums. Ballé, Poulot and Mazoyer (2004) discuss these notions in relation to other European museums as part of their historical transformation while McClellan (1999: I) insists that Paris was the place where issues on museum practices such as ‘classification and display of objects, lighting and the aim of conservation’ were discussed for the first time ‘.… in a new building type, the public art museums’.

There is no precise data on whether the first Bulgarian museums were entirely open to the public. They possibly worked with some basic restrictions but it can be argued that they were relatively easily and freely accessible, especially the ones within the chitalishte institution in the small towns and there are no indications that these were related to some governing class, the notion of class structure in Bulgaria in early 20th century being unclear. This statement is supported by information found in reports by some of the Directors of the National Museums in Sofia (Irechek, Stoyanov (BIA, f. 35) and articles written in the pre-communist period (Diakovich 1900). Their views suggest that although the museum institution in Bulgaria could not be compared to some Western European models in terms of maturity and adequate ways of exhibiting contemporary ideas, the social role of the museum was understood. Diakovich published a study in Misal magazine (1900, 6: 439-48 and 7: 553-62), representing his ideas about what a wellstructured museum institution should be. The author makes an analysis of the organisation of the National Museum of Bulgaria at the time and gives some practical advice on how to improve the present situation based on comparisons with other European museums. Topics considered as necessary for improving the situation concerned the necessity for adequate legislation to protect national heritage. The importance of management and the use of foreign knowledge and expertise are recognised as important elements for the success of any museum. The author details the obligatory components for a good museum building, the meaning of collection care and the importance of museum documentation. The article also reveals the understanding of the author of museum institutions as a whole – ‘museums are institutions, which are created for the people …and they must be a place where everybody can go and learn’ (ibid: 561). This is a surprisingly insightful publication. Diakovich was not a museum professional and he had never been trained in museum basics. His conclusions however, based on a deep analysis of the work of the museum, are convincing and realistic. Unfortunately his study has been completely forgotten and it would appear that his proposals were largely ignored.

The exploration and analysis of museum architecture in Bulgaria is not well developed. Although archival documents reveal that many museum directors (Irechek, Stoyanov (BIA, f.35)) raised the issue with various Ministers of Education expressing the urgent need for suitable museum buildings, no Bulgarian authors (to my knowledge) addressed it adequately and consequently it is a potential area for future research.

Transfer of knowledge Several authors share the opinion that the Louvre was the example for all public museums in Europe. McClellan (in Wright 1996: 30-1) insists that the museum movement in early modern France ‘…promoted an ideology of nationalism and in so doing became a model for subsequent state museums the world over’. It is the Louvre, argues Duncan (in Wright ibid: 101), that ‘…holds title as the prototype of the public art museum, the example that gives meaning to similar institutions everywhere’. By the early 19th century the idea of a ‘national’ museum had already spread throughout Europe and started to develop in the German – speaking world as well.20 In 1802 the National Museum in Budapest was founded, the Joanneum opened in Graz in 1811 and the Vaterlandisches Museum - in Prague in 1818. While Sheehan (2000:5) recognises the influence of France and England over other parts of Europe he insists on the more elaborate formulation of the study of aesthetic and its interpretation within museums in Germany where art is regarded as a ‘…special kind of truth , with deep roots in our cognitive faculties’. Considering the proximity these countries had to each other and the social conditions within ‘princely spaces’ (Sheehan ibid) the exchange of knowledge on museum matters appears to have been relatively easy. It could be argued that the manner and similar approximate time of origin of these museums are an indication for a strong mutual influence although not in all cases it is clear what influenced what and in what sequence.

Museum buildings In Western European countries the growing ‘penetration of the public …into the life of the court began to affect the design of galleries ….and similar buildings’ (Sheehan 2000: 33). Greater attention was given to architectural and structural concepts. In Germany for example Princes wanted some space reserved for private use, away from the areas open to the general public (Sheehan ibid). The design and architectural styles together with the meanings 19

This somewhat unsophisticated argument does however have resonance to the Bulgarian situation. It is difficult to 20

See Koven in Sherman and Rogoff 1994


See Bjurstrom in Wright ibid

INTRODUCTION argue that the openings and early operations of Bulgarian museums were influenced by the French or English examples, simply because the idea of a great number of Bulgarians travelling to Paris or London during the early 19th century was unrealistic, considering the political and social situation in the country and the level of literacy of the population. One point of view might be that much greater was the role and influence of museums in countries closer geographically to Bulgaria; also interesting is the possible link between the opportunity that some intellectuals or traders (Stoyanov (1839-1910), Pavlovich (1852-1894), Hadjitochev (1749-1836)) had to be educated abroad (mainly Russia and the German speaking countries at the time) and consequently acquire knowledge on European museums and the implementation of this knowledge in Bulgaria. Having in mind the specifics of the Bulgarian political and social environment however it appears that the transfer and implementation of European expertise in Bulgarian museums was a much later event compared not only to Western European countries but also to central European ones such as Hungary and the Czech Republic. And it was not an easy task. I will argue that since the liberation from Ottoman occupation in 1878 until today cultural affairs were never a priority of Bulgarian governments. Although they were seemingly aware of the positive aspects concerning the social role of the museums in the process of education, more important tasks were facing them, such as the creation of a new state in the 19th century for example. While this process developed, demonstrating positive trends in the functioning of the state at the beginning of the 20th century, the Balkan, the First and the Second World Wars threw the country and its fragile structure and organisation into disarray, with considerable impact on museums.

being the creator of the piece of art, is the one to decide ‘…which art is representative and …worth preserving’ (Groys (ibid: 160). ‘This demand’ – continue Groys – ‘signifies a refusal to regard present art in the context of the art of the past, whose agent is that very museum curator. On the contrary, under such a system the museum wholly subordinates itself to the demands and tastes of the present’ (ibid: 160). In Bulgaria publications concerning the development of Bulgarian museums written during the communist period do not rely on original documents but simply comply with the political rules of communist censorship and emphasise the contribution of Russian scholars in the creation and development of the museum institution in Bulgaria (Domuschiev 1966 and Radonov 1968 and 1971). The works by Pecheva and Raichev (1955), Silianovska (1972) and Kissiov (2004) glorify the achievements of Bulgarian museums under the guidance of the communist party. These kinds of histories are regarded by Jenkins (1997: 14) as ‘stuff of political correctness (and) as such it cannot be seriously considered or tolerated’. Bringing the issue of the use of history Tosh (2002: 27) argues that in such a situation history is used in support of the view that ‘nothing can be learned (from it)…, it offers no guidance’ and can be completely rejected. In support of this theory comes the following quotation from a communist viewpoint: The monarchical regimes and later the bourgeois republican governments completely neglected museums. Their organisation remained for a long time static, frozen, not clear, far from the contemporary life and the public itself often considered them as useless institutions of minor importance and as some old-fashioned cultural heritage element. ….Their scientific and political meaning and their educational activities are often deliberately misrepresented with incorrect explanations about the artefacts with no relation to present life. The collection of artefacts is nonsystematic and chaotic. The collections organisation and the exhibitions often have serious defects and ideological obscurity (Silianovska 1972: 3)

Museums, power and political agendas After the Second World War Bulgaria fell under the sphere of influence of Russia and a communist regime was imposed as the political structure. The principal question here concerns the influence of the Soviet communist ideas on the development of Bulgarian museums. Groys (in Sherman and Rogoff 1994:145) argues that after the Revolution in Russia ‘…the entire hierarchy of the past was destroyed since the new regime undertook a complete restructuring of both the social and the cultural life of the country’. The notion of the museum itself was associated with the way of life of the bourgeois class and this was the basis for Soviet criticism. If early proletariat ideas completely denied the need for the very existence of the museum the Stalin era imposed the philosophy of socialist realism. Within this philosophy art was obliged to reflect reality but comply with the requirements of obedience to the party. It was to be for and about the people and associated with the positive hero.21 When transferred to museums these strict rules resulted in the role of the museum curator being reduced to one of a mere administrator, as the artist, 21

This quotation says much about the approach of the author. During the years of communism no work could be published unless it followed communist rules, i.e. everything in the communist world was good; everything on the other side of the iron curtain was bad. Curators were expected ‘to create museums of a socialist type representing ideas based on the principles of the MarxLenin visions for a museum exhibition’ (Pecheva and Raichev 1955: 6). Such ideas were the reason for the creation of a centralised, unified museum system which persisted until 1989, the year of the fall of the communist regime in Bulgaria. Silianovska’s work followed the ideas of this publication while making an attempt at a historical overview of the development of Bulgarian museums with comparisons with the ways of expansion of museums in other socialist countries. Despite the

See Fowkes 2002


BULGARIA AND ITS MUSEUMS IN ‘NEW’ EUROPE strong line of arguments followed in these publications, typical for all politically programmed works it will be argued here that the communist regime imposed in Bulgaria after the Second World War cannot be characterised as a success in cultural and specifically in museum building terms. While the communist state apparatus was preoccupied by the rules of the cold war the efforts in the museum area were on building up a museum system to glorify and serve as a propagator of communist ideals.

(Ballé in Crane et al 2002: 137). These complex changes redefined the museum system and implied new conceptions of modernization and influenced cultural practices. The process however is not without contradiction. It gave rise to many controversies on the role of the museums, on their organization and methods especially in the context of the European Union and the attempts for ‘a’ cultural space within the union having in mind the differences of the institutions ‘inherited’ by differing historical development.24

Representations and identity

The contemporary museum environment in Bulgaria is coloured by two major, apparently contradictory ideas. Trying to overcome the negative aspects of past events, especially the communist governance in the museum sphere, appears to be a difficult task. Bulgarian culture and museums in general are trying to quickly adapt to the requirements of the European Union. Seemingly however the legacy of the past is still too strong. Tosh (2002) argues that history embraces three features of social memory: tradition, nostalgia and progress. Tradition and nostalgia are both backward looking but while the first one ‘…implies an assumption that what was done in the past is an authoritative guide to what should be done in the present’, the second presents ‘the past as an alternative to the present. …Progress on the other hand is evaluative and partial since it is premised on the superiority of the present over the past’ (Tosh ibid: 1320). It appears that in the present situation Bulgarian museums vacillate between tradition and nostalgia, while the notion of progress is regarded as a theoretical one.

With the above in mind the representation of the past in communist museums but also in 19th century and contemporary museums requires consideration. Evans (in Boswell and Evans 1999: 5) mentions that in recent years there has been a tremendous interest in ‘representing the past’. This however is seemingly not a one sided matter in museum aspect and when approached the subject proves to be controversial. If the 19th century witnessed the re-evaluation of some historical events in museums to better serve contemporary needs, what was the case of representing history in museums, which in 20th century Bulgaria were designed to serve party directives? One issue was the representation of the Ottoman period in museums and party activists saw a great potential there as a tool to implement party agendas. The precise role of museums in building hatred towards the Turkish population which culminated in the 1980s ‘revival’ process of mass deportation of Muslims refusing to change their names to Bulgarian ones would be possibly better addressed by social sciences. However some museological publications suggest that museum representations is an area which requires further attention as museums and heritage might have ‘… promoted an uncritical patriotism which numbs our ability to understand and communicate with other nations’ (Walsh 1992: 1). In this sense Macdonalds’ argument (in Macdonald and Fyfe 1996: 14) that any museum or exhibition can be regarded as ‘…a suggested way of seeing the world … [as] it speaks to some matters and ignores others’ requires further consideration.

The use of museological literature In this book the works by west European authors, although not discussing Balkan museums, provided the opportunity for comparative studies of certain aspects of museums origins in Europe and how these can be linked to and compared with the Bulgarian case. For instance the present work explores the relationship between nationalism and museums’ origins and how nationalistic ideas influenced the creation and early operations of Bulgarian museums. Of equal interest was the influence of history on contemporary museum operations. This book also seeks to establish relations or prove differences with other European countries on this and other topics. Consequently works25 discussing the origins and development of west European museums provided necessary data for further investigations, comparative studies and generalisation of conclusions.

Contemporary museums During the 20th century the process of growth and expansion of museums in Western Europe was marked by a decline in the post-war years when museums were considered archaic and conservative and some authors22 even envisaged their forthcoming death. The 1980s however witnessed a change in this situation due to ideas of cultural development being regarded as a social project. The increase in national budgets for the arts in Europe demonstrates that culture had become a national concern.23 Towns and cities in Europe became aware of their responsibilities towards their heritage and this heritage was regarded ‘as an asset for local development’

The publications by Bulgarian authors that appeared before the communist era are especially valuable as written by authors who witnessed the creation and early operation of Bulgarian museums.26 The works published during the communist period27 are approached cautiously 24

See Poulot 2003 Eg. Wright (ed) 1996, Shaw 2003, Groys 1992 26 Eg. Diakovich 1900, Iordanov 1933 27 Eg. Pecheva and Raichev 1955, Silianovska 1972, Dolapchieva (ed) 1985 25

22 23

Dubuffet 1968, quoted in Ballé 2002 Ballé, Poulot and Mazoyer 2004


INTRODUCTION considering the censorship at the time but they are a good demonstration of how communist ideas had to be incorporated into the work of museums. Contemporary publications, namely Nedkov (1998 and 2006) and Krasteva (2003), attempt to combine in one work the history of museums (on a world level), theory of museums, museums management and museum practice. Such ambitious projects however rarely go into exploration of minute details. Nevertheless the parts concerning Bulgarian museum building in general provide background information which makes it possible for the reader to follow the chronological development of events.

The author’s approach The above brief review of the themes and publications which will be discussed here might suggest that the present book is going to approach a variety of topics in a way which might be unpopular amongst other authors of museum historiographies in Bulgaria. It has to be underlined however that this was not predetermined by a mere effort to contradict and challenge other authors although arguably this is the idea of all new research. In the present work an attempt has been made to reveal historical events affecting the development of Bulgarian museums as part of the political, social, economic and environmental situation in the country from the distance of time and explicitly using original archival documents. The lack of political restrictions in the interpretation of these documents on some occasions resulted in one or another event being explored under a new light, different from that commonly accepted. The communist period in Bulgarian museums is regarded more from the point of view of the visitor based on personal experience. The state of contemporary Bulgarian museums is approached from the point of view of someone who has undertaken an MA and a PhD in Museum Studies (Newcastle University) and had the opportunity to examine other European museums and is therefore in a position to make comparisons from an informed viewpoint. My attempt to step back and observe, excluding urges of an epoch and political restrictions perhaps has resulted in a piece of work which presents a more realistic overview of the development of Bulgarian museums.


that were often requested by sovereigns to assist in financing wars and other state expenses.

PART I – THE ORIGINS Monasteries and museum collections

An exception to this seemingly accidental attention reserved for monastic collections is Pomian’s (1990) work which concerns collections and collectors in Venice and Paris for the period 16th-19th centuries. Collections of relics were contained in reliquaries, shown to the faithful during religious ceremonies and carried in processions. Pomian considers churches and other religious buildings collections to be precursors of the first public museums.

Introduction The role played by Bulgarian monasteries in the spiritual development of the Bulgarian people and in its political life from the 9th century to the end of the Ottoman presence in the 19th century as being of immense significance had been recognised by many Bulgarian authors or those who had the chance to visit that part of Europe in the early 19th century. Travellers such as Irechek (1883), for example, who described his trips to Bulgarian lands, featured the monasteries and their valuable objects. At the beginning of the 20th century, when the systematic research and description of old Bulgarian written monuments began, mention was often made of the places (monasteries and churches) where they were found.1 Even though Bulgarian monasteries were destroyed and ravaged many times during the centuries either by the Ottoman Turks or by foreign clergies, and many of the written historical accounts were lost, a considerable amount of material still survive, not only in Bulgarian archives but also in some foreign libraries: the archives in Istanbul or the Slavonic collections of the Russian libraries. Research on specific monasteries in Bulgaria continues2 and new and interesting facts are still being discovered as is the historical background of museum artefacts with sacred origin. Such example is Kiel’s (1985) Art and Society of Bulgaria in the Turkish period: A new. Having the opportunity to check written evidence about Bulgarian art within the monastic communities during the Ottoman period in different libraries, this author re-examines opinions concerning the time of Ottoman domination and challenges the traditional Bulgarian scholarly views.

The churches and official buildings were therefore the guardians of collections, that is, group of natural or artificial objects kept temporarily or permanently out of the circuit of economic activities, afforded special protection in an enclosed place adapted specifically for that purpose and put on display (Pomian ibid: 65) Therefore, argues Pomian, these collections were public, since they belonged not to an individual but to an institution and most importantly of all were open either to everyone or to selected visitors, depending on the circumstances (ibid: 66). Pomian’s work appears unique as it refers to church and monastic collections in museological terms, discussing ‘collections’ and ‘permanent exhibitions’ kept within and reveals church and monastic collections to be precursors of museums and important element in the museum building process. It would seem that this area could have considerable potential as a subject for further research in Bulgaria and elsewhere. The present study indicates that the almost incidental or peripheral role of monasteries in museum building suggested by the above authors (with the exception of Pomian) does not hold true in Bulgaria, where monasteries appear to have had a very significant role in the development of museums. The first reason for the major attention reserved for Bulgarian monasteries is their importance in the historical and cultural development of the country. Bulgarian nationalism in its early form (1850s) played a significant role as the basis for national self-esteem after 500 years of foreign domination. However, originally the nationalistic idea relied on religion and gradually monasteries metamorphosed from purely sacred sites into places for social contacts and the exchange of ideas. The nationalism of this period was ‘cultural’ and its main propagators were historians and poets, but also very often clergymen.3 Perhaps then it is not surprising that the monk Paisii Hilendarski, author of Istoria Slavianobolgarskaia (1762), is considered as the promoter and precursor of ideas that are inherent in Bulgarian Revival (1762-1878), the period which saw the birth of the first public museums in Bulgaria.

This interest seems an unusual and distinctive feature when related to museum collections as conversely the ‘monastic’ subject is not well developed in Western European museum historiographies. Wittlin (1949) refers to ‘magic collections’ in Christian churches and monasteries as a ‘manifestation expressing the human desire for contact with superhuman powers’ (ibid: 34). The author reveals the character of the exhibits, mainly relics, the bones of Saints, and icons, which are meant to serve as ‘propitiation to the gods’ (ibid: 34). Murray (1904) mentions monastic collections of curiosities in the middle ages, most of them obtained as gifts from travelers such as ‘two eggs of ostriches and other things of the like kind, which cause admiration and which are rarely seen’ as it was hoped that ‘by their means people may be drawn to church and have their minds the more affected’ (ibid: 8). Lewis (in Thompson et al (eds) 1992) briefly talks about sacred habitats which assumed great power in Medieval Europe, and their religious collections

Monasteries in Bulgaria, as probably in other countries, treasured sacred objects, books and other artefacts. In 1 2

eg. Tzonev 1910 and 1937 Chavrakov 1987 and 2000, Koeva 2003, Neshev 2006



See Sugar 1999


Fig. 2.1 The Ottoman Sultanate 16th-17th centuries (Map courtesy J. Vara de Rey)

… monasteries in Bulgaria were more than just ecclesiastical formations for religious celebration. They were centres of enlightenment in the frontline of political conflicts - an important part of the national culture.

Bulgaria however they were also ‘secret’ places where objects, information and ideas could be hidden and stored, safe from persecution during the years of Ottoman domination, and later, Greek religious propaganda. At the time of the formation of the first Bulgarian private collections many of the artefacts came exactly from these hidden sources and some of them later became part of the collections of the first Bulgarian museums. For these reasons monasteries have formed a significant component of the present book. They are of especial importance for Bulgarian historical, social and cultural development, but they were also contributors to the first Bulgarian museum collections due to their particular nature and way of development.

To better understand the role of Bulgarian monasteries in the historical development of Bulgarian people it is necessary to examine the processes within the Ottoman Empire from a Bulgarian perspective. Such a review will facilitate the exploration of the importance of Bulgarian monasteries in the historical development of Bulgarian people and most essentially in the foundation of Bulgarian museums and museology and will allow a smooth transition to the Bulgarian Revival period when the first Bulgarian museums were created.

Historical overview

Bulgarian people under Ottoman domination

The fate of the monastic communities in Bulgaria is closely related to the historical development of the country. Some authors even argue that the extent of the influence of social factors on religious activities and conversely is such that it is difficult to understand one without examining the other. Or as Neshev (1972: 457) notes

Founded in the early fourteenth century by Osman I (1258-1326), the Ottoman empire (Fig. 2.1) spread between present-day European Turkey and the Balkans. The territories conquered were used as bases for expansion to the West during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Bulgaria was conquered in 1396 and remained


BULGARIA AND ITS MUSEUMS IN ‘NEW’ EUROPE be controlled by the Sultan. They formed their own armies, which were composed of former soldiers, thieves, brigands and the like – the so called kardjalii troops whose main aim was personal enrichment. Such profit could be gained through ravaging lands and the homes of the local population. The Sultan’s administration was unable to stop them. ‘Almost two thirds of the territory of the empire was in the hands of these pashas; a complete anarchy’ (Mishev 1916: 241). The situation of the people was so dreadful that even foreign countries tried to take action to support it. In newspapers sold in many European capitals, such as Vienna, Paris and London, articles appeared describing the situation of the Bulgarians and appealing for help.8

an Ottoman province for five centuries. In relation to that Dimitrov (1998: online) underlines: To the Bulgarians this was not just a temporary loss of their state independence…. In the course of centuries the Bulgarians were forced to live under a state and political system that was substantially different from and distinctly alien to the European civilization which had evolved on the basis of Christianity and the Christian economic, social and cultural patterns. … Bulgaria was separated from the progressive trends of the Renaissance and the Enlightenment as well as from the nascent modern bourgeois world. The Bulgarians were pushed into a direction of development which had nothing in common with their seven-centuries history until then, history deeply connected with the natural course of the European political, economic and cultural development.

Deprived of their political organisation, cultural and spiritual institutions, the Bulgarian people were turned into a decreasing group of enslaved people with no rights. Bulgarians were …removed from European civilisation and remained centuries behind the achievements of the modern bourgeois world (Dimitrov 1998: online)

Bulgarian aristocracy and administration were eliminated. The Sultans deprived the Bulgarian church of its autonomy and made it subject to the Greek Constantinople Patriarchate, which appointed mainly Greeks to Bulgarian bishoprics. The cultural structure of Bulgarian society was liquidated.4

Some opinions about the Ottoman period The opinions and history outlined above is the traditional viewpoint of the majority of historians in Bulgaria who have written about the period of Ottoman domination. However, recently other opinions have come to light. Contemporary Bulgarian and foreign specialists have discovered information that suggests there were some brighter moments for Bulgarian people during Ottoman domination. Seemingly the period of European history embracing the rise and fall of the Ottoman empire and the difference in the opinions of authors who addressed the issue could be another potential area for research.

The Ottomans did not apply a consistent policy for all conquered nations. The attitude of the Turkish authorities to the Bulgarian population was arguably the cruellest compared with their attitude to all the other Balkan nations.5 The main reason for this was the geographical position of the country, in much closer proximity to Constantinople. As the main routes to the Danube River were via Bulgarian territories and troops were constantly on the move, lands and villages were continually ravaged. Thus the control executed over the Bulgarian population was much greater than in any other neighbouring country.6 While western cities near to main trade routes in the 15th -18th centuries were flourishing places, yet in Bulgaria, settlements near the main routes were completely devastated and the population annihilated by Turkish soldiers. At the time of the Ottoman invasion, at the end of the 14th century, the Bulgarian population amounted to 1.2 million people. As a result of the invasion and extermination, epidemics, mass deportation and forcible Islamisation, the population decreased by 40% and in the 15th century it was about 860 000.7 Thousands of Bulgarians emigrated to Serbia, Hungary, Moldova and Russia whilst others were forcibly deported to Asia Minor.

Crampton (2005: 29) underlines that [i]t would be unwise to imagine the Ottoman empire as some form of lost, multi-cultural paradise, but on the other hand it would also be wrong to deny that at some periods in its history the empire assured for all its subjects, irrespective of religion, stability …and a reasonable degree of prosperity. What are then the reasons for the strong anti-Ottoman and consequently anti-Turkish line followed by the majority of Bulgarian authors? “There is a vehemently antiTurkish current in Bulgarian historiography” (Kiel 1985: XIX) which may be the result of the ill-treatment of Bulgarian people during the last century of domination, the direction taken by the country after Liberation (1878) and the politics of total religious intolerance against the Muslim population in Bulgaria during the communist period. Writers during the Revival period such as Irechek (1878: 246), who described the Ottoman period ‘as the most painful for the South Slavs’, worked at a time of political, social and economical disorder when the Sultan

‘The Bulgarian people were subjected to national and religious discrimination unheard of in the annals of all European history’ (Dimitrov 1998: online). The 18th and the best part of the 19th centuries were particularly painful for the Bulgarian population. Some local Ottoman governors, (pashas), declared independence, refusing to 4

See Dimitrov 1998 See Mishev 1916 6 See Stavrianos 2000 7 See Kossev 2001 5



Appendix 1

MONASTERIES AND MUSEUM COLLECTIONS were ravaged and destroyed on several occasions during the period of Ottoman occupation.

Government was unable to control violence. Consequently he and other authors associated the whole period of Ottoman domination with this last half a century; the period which they experienced. Seemingly after the Liberation (1878) no one was interested in researching the past as there were much more important tasks to accomplish during the re-construction of the state. Written works9 from the years after 1878 simply denied everything that had happened during the previous five centuries. This process continued until 1944 when the communist period began. The strong anti-Turkish line of the communist party reached its peak in the 1980s when the whole Muslim population of Bulgaria was forced to change their Muslim names to Bulgarian ones. Those who refused were banished from the country. These factors appear to be the main reasons for the focus and conclusions of the published studies concerning the Ottoman period in Bulgaria. The Ottoman period was denied to such an extent that no History of the Ottoman empire was published in Bulgaria until 1999, when a translation of Mantran’s detailed work10 was made available in limited copies.

The monasteries and their role in the historical development of the Bulgarian people After Christianity was adopted in the second half of the 9th century during the reign of Tzar Boris I (852-889) the monasteries built near Pliska11 and Preslav12 turned into centres with extensive cultural, educational and economic activities. Art studios were set up in some of the monasteries for painting of glazed ceramic icons and decorative canvases, the scriptoria translated liturgical books into Slavonic and new literary works were created. All these activities contributed to the establishment of the new religion, meant to unify Bulgarians and Slavs. In the monasteries near Preslav men of letters including Konstantin Preslavski (?-?), author of Uchitelsko evangelie (c. 893) and Istorikii (c. 894), Chernorizets Hrabr (?-?), author of Za bukvite and Ioan Exarch (?-?),13 author of Nebesa and Shestodnev, created works of cultural and historical value, all this marking the period14 as the Golden Age of Bulgarian culture.

Georgieva (in Mantran 1999: 9) states in the preface of this work that ‘[i]n the Hungarian, Serbian, Greek, Romanian scholarly literature appeared several histories of the empire; they inform society and give a possibility to people to better understand their own history.’ It is only in the last few years that some publications have offered different ideas about events and activities in Bulgaria in the 14th - 19th centuries. The authors of these publications had the opportunity to carry out more indepth research on archival documents in foreign libraries and concluded that the anti-Ottoman feeling was speculative. Mutafchieva (1993) and Stainova (1995) demonstrate a different point of view which, if not changing the overall opinions yet, can at least serve as a basis for further research. Unfortunately as Georgieva (ibid: 9) insists

Large-scale construction was also carried out with impressive architecture characterised by colourful facades with rich ornamentation.15 Illustrations for this statement are found at the churches in the towns of Nessebar (Fig. 2.2 and 2.3) or Veliko Tarnovo. The monasteries near the royal city of Veliko Tarnovo were of major importance. Two Schools which played a historical role in the development of Bulgarian literature and culture were set up there: the Kilifarevo School16 and the Tarnovo School.17 The first one, situated in Kilifarevo monastery,18 became a genuine university for men of letters and translators. By 1360 there were 460 students there.19 The school was founded between 1348 and 1350 upon the order of Tzar Ivan Alexander (1331-1371) and soon it gathered writers, translators, philologists, calligraphers, clergymen, theologians and philosophers. Liturgical books and Byzantine chronicles were translated, volumes were compiled of the lives of Bulgarian, Serbian and Greek Saints and sermons were

…the authors who completely denied the Ottoman period, trying to preserve their own scientific prestige, called this additional information about the Ottoman empire a ‘national betrayal’. The situation was more than strange and it is to the future historians to find what the reasons for it are. There are however two stages within the Ottoman period about which even the new accounts admit were extremely hard for the Bulgarian people: the initial conquest and the last hundred years before the Liberation of 1878. ‘The last century of the Turkish period was particularly painful for the Balkan nations and perhaps a bit more for the Bulgarians than for the others’ (Kiel 1985:44). And not one of the above mentioned written accounts deny that the majority of the Bulgarian churches and monasteries

11 Pliska was the first capital of the Bulgarian kingdom – VII-IX centuries 12 Veliki Preslav – the second Bulgarian capital – IX – X centuries 13 Renowned representatives of Preslav literary school 14 The period of the reign of Tzar Simeon (893-927) 15 See Marshall Lang 1976 16 Founded by Theodosius of Tarnovo (ca. 1300-1363) 17 Founded by Euthymius of Tarnovo, later Bulgarian Patriarch (ca. 1325-1401) 18 The monastery was destroyed after the Ottoman invasion and re-built in 1442. Soon after that it was destroyed again and rebuilt in 1586 in a different place. In 1686 the monastery was destroyed again by the Ottomans and rebuilt in 1718 in its present day location near Belica River, central Bulgaria 19 See Chavrakov 1987


Mishev 1916 or Stanev 1947 Mantran, R. (ed.) 1999 Istoria na osmanskata imperia, Riva, Sofia 10



Fig. 2.2 Nessebar - the church of Christ Pantocrator (13th-14th c.)

Fig. 2.3 Nessebar - the church of the Archangels Michael and Gabriel (14th c.)

written against numerous heresies. The Tomichev Psalter (1360/1362), one of the most precious art examples of the Bulgarian Middle ages, was written there, illustrated by painters – miniaturists. It is now in Moscow’s Museum of History.

ravaged and all the schools disappeared. The Orthodox Church and the surviving monasteries continued their activities but in very difficult conditions, complicated by the Greek Patriarchy. Mohamed II ‘The Conqueror’ (1432-1481) conquered Constantinople in 1453 and proclaimed the Geek Patriarchy the only official church to serve all Christians within the empire. Greek priests tried to eliminate all local religious activities and introduce the Greek language for church services. The economic interests of the empire however required the normalisation of agricultural activities, thus promoting some religious tolerance. From the second half of the 15th century permission was granted to build new churches especially in areas ‘far from the main routes used by the Ottoman armies’ (Crampton 2005: 39). Churches however had to be small, half buried in the ground with dull architecture and surrounded by high walls so that the Muslim population could not see them. Gradually monasteries started to appear - new or restored throughout the country, predominantly in secluded, rather difficult to reach places, often in the mountains away from main roads.

The Tarnovo School carried out a reform of the Old Bulgarian language creating a system where spelling was regulated in a uniform and orderly system. Unrivalled works of calligraphy and pictorial art were created, like the transcript of the Manasses’ Chronicle (1345), illustrated with 69 miniatures, now at the Vatican library and Ivan Alexander’s Gospel or Tetraevangelia (1355), in which the text is illustrated with 366 miniatures, and which is now in the British Museum. In the scriptural and art studios of the School books were ornamented and murals and icons were painted. The richly decorated remains of the monastery churches of the Forty Holy Martyrs, St. Demetrius and the Preobrazhenie monastery, in the churches of Tsarevets and Trapezitsa, ‘the merits of the famous Tarnovo school of painting are demonstrated…. In this way the monasteries played the role of the most important cultural centres in Bulgaria in the 13th – 14th centuries, which contributed to the development and preservation of Bulgarian literature, culture and language’ (Chavrakov 2000: 84).

By the 18th century the Ottoman Empire could no longer ensure revenue from its wars of conquest and was forced to seek new ways and eventually turn to Europe for a solution. Three reforms of the Ottoman government in 18th-19th centuries determined the way of life in

At the beginning of the Ottoman invasion however most Bulgarian churches and monasteries were destroyed and



Fig. 2.4 Rojen Monastery, Southwest Bulgaria

Fig. 2.5 Drianovo monastery, Central Bulgaria

Bulgaria.20 These were the Firman of Sultan Mustafa III (1757-1774) from 1773, the Gulhan Hatti - Sheriff of 20

Sultan Medjid (1839-1861) from 1839, with its amendment – the Tanzimat from 1845 and the Hatti – Humayun (1856) act by the same governor. The first gave

See Chilingirov 1934



Fig. 2.6 Preobrajenie Monastery, Central Bulgaria

autonomy of the esnaph guilds,21 thus putting oppressors and oppressed on an equal level in terms of trading activities, the second declares that all subjects of the empire can be proprietors of land, while the Tanzimat concludes the necessity of education for the population and the opening of schools. The third act gave to the different people in the empire possibilities for national authentication and rights to celebrate their own culture, including greater religious tolerance.

Rila monastery Origins The example of Rila monastery serves as illustration to the above review. It reveals two key characteristics of Bulgarian monastic communities: a) depositories of Bulgarian artefacts – the ones that later formed the core of the first private collections and first museums and b) places for social discussions.

During the 19th century architecture, woodcarving, church and decorative painting, artistic iron work and stone cutting reached a new peak in their development during the period known as National Revival (1762 – 1878) when the Bulgarian nation entered a new stage in its spiritual progress. Monasteries such as Rila, Rojen (Fig. 2.4), Drianovo (Fig. 2.5), Troyan or Preobrajenie (Fig. 2.6), gradually turned into major centres of culture and learning.

The Rila Monastery (Fig. 2.7) is the most important Bulgarian monastery and a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site, designated as such in 1983. It is the largest Bulgarian Revival building, a spiritual and cultural centre with a 16 000 volume library including manuscripts from the 15th to 19th century, numerous incunabula and documents, exclusive mural paintings, woodcarving and icons, gold weave materials and embroidery and a multitude of gold and silver church plates, collections of coins, weapons and jewellery.

Monastery schools were set up in many places which, like the one of the Rila monastery, developed into important study circles. There people were educated and many later became teachers, clergymen or enlighteners. The monasteries ‘…turned into major cultural and spiritual centres during the time of Ottoman domination’ (Chavrakov 1987: 143) and played a key role as socio – political centres of the rising Bulgarian nation.

The monastery was founded by Ivan Rilski in the 10th century as a colony for hermits. Its present day location, is the one in which it has stood since the 14th century, when Dragovol Hrelyo, a feudal lord, settled in the monastery as an independent ruler. In 1335 he built the five-storey defence tower (Fig. 2.8), topped by a Transfiguration Chapel, fragments of whose murals can still be seen today. Throughout the centuries the Rila Monastery turned into a powerful feudal entity with many villages, lands and properties. Although it was partially destroyed around the mid-15th century the monastery was rebuilt after the relics of Ivan Rilski were brought there from Veliko Turnovo in

21 During the Ottoman period the craftsmen were organized into esnaphs guilds. All those who practised a particular craft or group of closely allied crafts were members of the same guild. Each one had its own board.



Fig. 2.7 Rila Monastery, Southwest Bulgaria

Fig. 2.8 Hrelyo tower (14th century)

Fig. 2.9 Rila Monastery Church, The Nativity of the Virgin (1835)


BULGARIA AND ITS MUSEUMS IN ‘NEW’ EUROPE representatives of the Samokov Art School,23 Dimiter Mollerov (?-1868) and his grandson Simeon Mollerov (1816-1903) from Bansko, representatives of the Bansko Art School.24 The main iconostasis, ‘unrivalled in the Balkans’ (Koeva ibid: 54), embodies thirty-six figural scenes, the figures of the Old Testament Kings, apostles and martyrs, an exceptionally rich ornamentation of flowers, birds and stylised figures ‘fashioned by four masters over a period of three years’ (Koeva ibid: 54).

The Rila Monastery Museum The monastic history museum (Fig. 2.11) is situated in the southwest wing. It posses a rich collection of artefacts – historical and ecclesiastical collection, gold and silver church plates, collections of coins, weapons, jewellery, gold weave materials and embroidery. Exhibitions are thematically grouped and trace the evolution of the monastery and its cultural, religious and national role. A unique masterpiece is the carved cross of the resident Monk Raphael (?-?) worked over a period of 12 years, an example of the Bulgarian Revival miniature woodcarving. Donations received from all parts of the country represent a very rich ethnographic collection – works of arts and crafts, containing jewels, garments, weapons and everyday objects. The prints and the graphic impressions upon copper plates or wood have an important role in the exhibitions. They were of special significance for the popularisation of the monastery and the history of its founder. There were two types: St. Ivan Rilski with miniature scenes from his life and the monastery itself. These prints were available even to the poorer pilgrims and this helped popularise the monastery across the Balkans. However, as demand for such prints grew a monk named Kalistrat was sent in the 19th century to Belgrade to learn the craft of print-making and in 1856 the monastery acquired a large iron press, which can be seen today in the museum, and opened its own workshop for the production of prints. Evidence for literary and educational activities of the ecclesiastics who constituted the core of the Bulgarian intelligentsia during the Revival period reveal a characteristic feature of the cultural process and the emergence of new Bulgarian culture in the 19th century.25

Fig. 2.10 Mural – central calotte over the main entrance of the church The Nativity of the Virgin (1847), painter Dimitar Zograph

1469, ‘passing through the whole of Bulgaria as a nationwide patriotic procession’22 (Kamburova-Radkova 1972: 16). At the end of the 18th century during the breakdown and the decline of the Ottoman empire - feudal troubles and kardjalii raids, the monastery was once again partially destroyed and ravaged. In 1833 a fire badly damaged the main building. However, its economic situation remained good, making possible grandiose building activities. The re-building started but only after permission from the Ottoman authorities. By 1834 the main building had been renovated and adorned with the efforts of the best builders, painters, wood carvers and enumerable nameless enthusiasts. describes The church’s - The Nativity of the Virgin – Fig. 2.9 - interior is often described as extremely impressive and the building ‘as unique on the Balkans’ (Koeva 2003: 53).

Significance of Rila Monastery The significance of this monastery appears to be related to its survival during the Ottoman period. At the

The murals (Fig. 2.10) of the church were painted between 1840 and 1848 by some of the finest artists of the time including Zahari Zograph (1810-1853) and his brother Dimiter Zograph (1796-1860), from Samokov,


Art School in Samokov, near Sofia, end of the 18th to the end of the 19th c., specializing in painting, printmaking and woodcarving, based on medieval traditions and on Creto-Athonite painting. 24 Bansko Art School, South-east Bulgaria – late 18th – end of th 19 c. Artists worked on the decorative painting of houses and churches. The founder was Toma Vishanov Molera (1750-?) who studied painting in Vienna in the second half of the 18th c. 25 See Koeva (ibid)

22 The relics were first moved to the capital Sredetz (Sofia) (980), then to Hungary (1183), then back to Sredetz (1186) and then to Veliko Tarnovo (1195) before they were returned to the Rila monastery in 1469



Fig. 2.11 Rila Monastery museum

consciousness of being Bulgarian.27 The monastery had turned into a centre which sparked the idea of The Bulgarian. The high concentration of men of letters in the monastery could only help these ideas spread amongst the people with the help of the school formed there and the sermons. Or as Kamburova-Radkova (1972: 218) notes ‘….(The Bulgarians) feel there, more strongly than anywhere else that they belong to the …Bulgarian nation’.

beginning of the Ottoman conquest the monastery was not destroyed due to its location in the high mountains of West Bulgaria although it survived several raids throughout the centuries. Mohamed II (1451-1481) gave some religious freedom to the suppressed people in the empire, granting the Rila monastery with a permission to carry on with educational and religious activities. Each following sultan confirmed the rights of Rila monastery with a purposely prepared written permission.26 The monastery’s significance, importance and meaning for the Bulgarian people increased even more after the transfer of the relics of St. Ivan Rilski from Tarnovo. People from all parts of the country visited the place and made donations as one phrase spread: ‘As long as Rila monastery is alive, so will be Bulgaria!’ (Dufev 1999: 117). Thousands of Bulgarians from all parts of the country visited the monastery in the 19th century to accomplish a sacred pilgrimage, an activity which was a very important part of peoples’ life and existence. ‘The Rila monastery was a generally recognised holy place and as such was a centre where several of the main pilgrim routes converged’ (Koeva 2003: 25). It attracted more and more men of letters who came to live and work there. The constant renovation, the building of new edifices, the need for them to be decorated according to the Christian traditions attracted the best builders and craftsmen at the time. The pilgrims who could be seen there at all times came from different social levels. Gradually the place became more than just a monastery; it turned into a major centre for enlightenment to inspire pride and increase national self-belief. It helped the building of a new sense of nation, a new spirit strengthened the self –

Monastic collections and artefacts and their role in Bulgarian museum building The historical account and the description of the Rila Monastery indicate the meaning of the term Bulgarian monastery for the Bulgarians in the years of Ottoman domination. Several other examples could be mentioned to illustrate the role and activities of the churches and monastic communities as places preserving Bulgarian material culture and ways of life. They were places to inspire and provoke pride during the centuries of foreign presence in Bulgarian territory. As previously mentioned at the beginning of the Ottoman conquest several Christian churches and monasteries were destroyed. However some of the small ones, situated in high mountains, survived. Hidden in the vaults of these small religious communities, in walls or buried in the ground, valuable manuscripts, sacral objects and icons were preserved. Monks very often travelled to different old destroyed churches and monasteries with the hope to find there some remaining manuscripts, incunabula or other objects. ‘These were valuable


As previously mentioned the Ottoman authorities realised that they have to give some religious freedom to the people in the empire to ensure its economic progress



See Ivanov 1917

BULGARIA AND ITS MUSEUMS IN ‘NEW’ EUROPE At the end of the 18th - beginning of 19th century in the area of Vratza there were several monasteries, some of which had been financially helped by Hadji Tosho Tzenov, a rich cattle merchant. Such places of cultural significance included the monasteries ‘Sv.Bogorodica’ (Cherepish), ‘Sv.Ilia’ (Strupec), ‘Sv. Kiril i Metodi’ (Klisura), ‘Sv. Ivan Kassinec’ (Bistrica).

testimonies for the cultural past of the Bulgarian people. These monks started then copying the manuscripts found and distributing them secretly ‘…to maintain Bulgarian self-consciousness alive’ (Chavrakov 2000: 139). Later, during the Bulgarian Revival period, associated with the beginning and development of collecting activities in Bulgaria, these were the places to which Bulgarian intelligentsia turned to as depositories of relics testifying Bulgarian cultural and spiritual grandeur.

As previously mentioned, the monasteries during this period were flourishing with the help of well-to-do Bulgarians. The development of art crafts and the production of gold and silver jewellery and accessories were very extensive. These were crafts known from the time of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom (1185-1396) especially in the area of Vratza as the surrounding mountains are rich in non-ferrous metals. The Vratza jewellers were among the most famous in Bulgaria, making accessories and ornamentation for houses and for monasteries, including icons, hand painted sets, objects and pots. In some of the monasteries there were also craft shops where the monks created crosses, icons and other objects they could sell to pilgrims. Some of the objects in the collection of Hadji Tosho Tzenov came from these monasteries but he also used to buy old written documents which he found during his extensive trips in Bulgaria and surrounding countries.30 Hadji Tosho Tzenov’s business required extensive trips abroad, i.e. Athens, Alexandria, Cairo, Jerusalem and Italy, and he had the chance to visit museums which ‘gave him the idea to improve the cultural level of his people’ (Buchinski 1969: 155).

The public necessity of realising the meaning of national individuality and past imply similar activities amongst all peoples of the European Southeast. In similar forms although in different time in each people it is noticeable a purposeful turn of the intelligentsia towards the sources of the national – history, folklore, artefacts (Majdrakova-Chavdarova 1994: 213). The situation in Bulgaria did not differ from the trends exhibited in surrounding countries. The intelligentsia in the beginning of 19th century, formed by people often educated abroad, was a key factor, contributing to the awakening of interest in the past as a source of material that could provoke the apparition of the idea of the national. Using the examples seen abroad but adapted to the Bulgarian situation, the intelligentsia started actively working on initiating a nationwide movement aimed at collecting and later displaying artefacts, proving that although oppressed, Bulgarians still had something to be proud of. This may sound unsophisticated from a contemporary viewpoint but it was arguably the ideal solution for the situation. At this stage the simplest way to proceed was to start collecting everything Bulgarian to show to people that they had a glorious history. After extensive appeals of the intellectuals to the nation in newspapers, open letters and on meetings in the chitalishta, Bulgarian private collectors, proto-museums and libraries turned to the churches and the monasteries – the depositories and now sources of Bulgarian relics. The following examples illustrate how this process came about, focussing on three individual collectors and the formation of the National Library and Museum in the capital, Sofia.

It is not known exactly how many artefacts Tzenov left at the time of his death in 1836. The collection however passed to his son Dimitraki Hadjitochev (1780-1827) and thereafter to his grandson Todoraki Hadjitochev (18181902). The Director of the National Library and Museum (NLM), Sofia, managed to persuade Todoraki in 1893 to donate part of the collection and a general description of approximately 200 artefacts he chose for the NLM, including written documents still exists.31 Between the artefacts are more than 20 manuscripts and incunabula but the most valuable one is the Vratza Evangel,32 from the 13th century, described as ‘incredibly precious because that kind of Evangels are extremely rare in Slavonic libraries’ (Tzonev 1914:1). Todoraki Hadjitochev told the Director where most of the artefacts came from33 but unfortunately this information was not given in the official report and is lost. Nevertheless, it is still well documented that his collection contained several objects which came from sacred sites, objects which he donated to the National Library and Museum with the

The collection of Hadji Tosho Tzenov The first documented private collection in Bulgaria, formed before the creation of the first public museums, is that of Hadji28 Tosho Tzenov (1749-1836) from Vratza, Northwest Bulgaria. It contained several objects and books originating from religious sites. At the time of his death in 1836 he left a “whole room” full of artefacts, according to a document, preseved in the archives of the Regional History Museum in Vratza.29 28 29


As during the Middle ages the territory of Bulgaria was much greater, many of the old Bulgarian lands were at that time territories of other countries, but one could still find old Bulgarian relics and artefacts there. 31 Appendix II 32 Extremely rare type of evangel, known as ‘evangelistar’, only a few are known to exist in Slavonic libraries. 33 RIM Vratza, f.1, a.e. 21, l. 30-5

Title given to people who achieved a pilgrimage to Jerusalem RIM Vratza, f.1, a.e. 3, l.14


MONASTERIES AND MUSEUM COLLECTIONS ‘belief that with this act he will contribute to the prosperity of his country’ (RIM Vratza, f.1, .a.e. 20, l.6).

The collection of Stefan Zahariev The documented evidence of old books, written monuments and other artefacts from monasteries or churches which was saved by Bulgarians and which later appeared in some of the first private collections and mainly in the first Bulgarian museums requires further discussion. The example below has not been discussed before in this context. Stefan Zahariev, one of the preliberation period collectors, wrote a book39 providing a detailed geographical, historical and statistical description of a defined area in Bulgaria. It was, for its time, an important work on the matter and gives information about ruins of castles and sacred sites40 in the region of TatarPazardjik41 destroyed by the Turks. Some of them were restored later, although on a much smaller scale. The description of all the villages in the area is very detailed, but for the purpose of this chapter the most intriguing information concerns the ruins of churches and monasteries and the artefacts that remained there.

The collection of Stefan Penev Ahtar Another patriot who worked hard in the name of Bulgaria was Stefan Penev Ahtar (1806-1860) from Veliko Tarnovo, central Bulgaria. A typical representative of the patriotically minded Bulgarians and a bearer of the revival traditions, Stefan Ahtar was an active participant not only in the movement for religious and political freedom but also in the struggles for the cultural and educational enrichment of the people. As an activist of the movements for religious liberation he was particularly interested in artefacts from sacred sites and in archaeological findings that could prove to the Bulgarians they had much to be proud of. Influenced by the works of Venelin (1802-1839), Aprilov (1789-1847), Rakovski (1821-1867), Fotinov (c.1790-1858) and other activists of the cultural revival he started collecting about 1839. As early as 1842 Ahtar organised a small private museum in his home. The few but extremely valuable objects he possessed34 could be seen by everybody who wished to view them. His complete devotion to the patriotic Bulgarian cause is demonstrated by his collecting activities. The valuable manuscripts Sinodik of Tzar Boril35 and Filatka,36 written in the Tarnovo monasteries,37 were in his possession but he offered them to different scholars to publish them, often abroad. Ahtar believed that there were much greater possibilities abroad for publications of the findings concerning Bulgarian artefacts and he sent the largest part of his collection to different, mainly Russian writers. His altruistic activities in the name of the prosperity of Bulgarian culture make many of the contemporary museologists call him the first collector in Bulgaria38 although strictly chronologically this is untrue.

Zahariev describes how, in some of these places, old books could still be found, sometimes even other sacred objects as well. In most of the villages one could see the remains of a church or monastery complex, e.g. Chanakchi42 village with its church complex, Bracigovo village that had several churches and Elshitza village which also possesses several churches. In Momina klisura there was a church, destroyed and rebuilt several times, where one could still see old inscriptions and murals, and there was a destroyed monastery complex in the village of Goliamo Beluvo. Legends said that at the time of the Ottoman conquest, when the local population heard about the approach of Gazi Dauth Pasha,43 they hid in the local church Jesus Transfiguration and tried to fight. At the end they surrendered and had to completely destroy the church themselves under Gazi Dauth Pasha’s order. After that his solders continued to the nearby Spasovski Monastery, murdered the 30 monks (whose main task had been to re-copy Bulgarian books) and destroyed the monastery. Despite this a few artefacts remained there at the time Zahariev described the area (1858), such as part of the altar with inscriptions and the remains of a Bulgarian incunabula, proving that many of the Bulgarian rulers from the past visited the monastery. In the Ellidere village there was a destroyed church from which the local teacher took some stones with old Bulgarian inscriptions and hid them in the school. In the Sv. Petar and Pavel monastery near the village of Batkun, destroyed in 1774 by the kurdjalii and rebuild in much smaller scale, the author found a few statuettes. In the village of Peshtera there were several old Bulgarian books in the destroyed and rebuilt church Sv. Petka but a


Between them several valuable coins which were the first ones of their kind to be found such as copper and silver coins from the time of Tzar Boril (1207-1218), Tzar Ivan-Asen II (1218-1241), Tzar Kaloman (1241-1246). According to Majdrakova-Chavdarova (1985:100) it is impossible for a full list of the coins he possessed to be prepared due to lack of information 35 13th century, exact date unknown. Tzar Boril reigned for the period 1207-1218. The manuscript was created to celebrate a major church and political event in 1211. It was sent to A. Kipilovski (1802-1870) in Bucharest to be published there and was lost during a fire. Consequent Russian and Serbian Sinodiks were created after the model of the Sinodik of Tzar Boril (Chavrakov 2000). 36 Ahtar sent it to K. Fotinov (c.1790-1858) who was the editor and publisher of the first Bulgarian magazine Luboslovie (1844) in Smirna for publication. It probably contained information about the historical development of the Bulgarian church. Ahtar had the intention to publish it not only abroad but in Bulgaria as well using his own funds so that more Bulgarians could acquire knowledge about it. The manuscript is lost. 37 See Chavrakov 2000 38 See Draganova 1983


Zahariev, S. 1870 Geografico-istoriko I statistichesko opisanie na Tatar-Pazardjichkata kaaza, Vienna 40 What was found there will be discussed in the chapter concerning early Bulgarian private collections 41 Central Bulgaria 42 The names of all villages mentioned by S. Zahariev are the old ones, valid by 1870. 43 Turkish military leader, charged to take over the area


BULGARIA AND ITS MUSEUMS IN ‘NEW’ EUROPE Bulgarian written monuments found everywhere in the country, thus leading to the enrichment of the collection in the library. Seemingly the pre-Liberation appeals for collecting everything that was typically Bulgarian were still very strong and influenced the acquisition policies of the Library. The aim of the collecting appeals however was different: creating a Library and Museum institution on a European scale to show to the outside world that, although a small nation, Bulgaria has made a contribution to world cultural heritage. The National Library and Museum remained one and the same institution until 1893 and everything old or antique was associated more with the museum rather than with the library. Only when the National Library parted from the Museum and the Archaeological Museum was created were all manuscripts and incunabula sent to the National Library or to the Synod Library. Many however were still sent to different museums and had to be forwarded to the libraries.44

Greek priest, named Hristodul had burned them, some 12 years previously. When the locals started restoring the church they found manuscripts hidden under the canopy. Zahariev’s collection contained several artefacts from sacred sites. For example the collection contained more than 60 Bulgarian manuscripts and incunabula he found during his extensive trips in the country and several archaeological and numismatic artefacts. Unfortunately according to Zahariev (1900: 663) - Stefan Zahariev’ son - his collection is now lost as the Russian palaeographer Polihronii Sirku from Petersburg University took 22 of the manuscripts to Russia under the pretext of studying them and they were never returned. The archaeological artefacts ended up in the hands of people who later refused to give them back to Zahariev’s son Hristo. The only remaining ‘treasure’ is the information Zahariev offers us in his book. This information is incredibly valuable as for the first time in Bulgarian literature we have an account of the role of Bulgarian sacred sites in the preservation of the Bulgarian spirit through Bulgarian relics, with a systematic description from a designated area. This information is a proof of exactly how Stefan Zahariev formed his collection. Little is known about the few other pre-Liberation private collections and how they were formed, yet we know how, when and where Zahariev acquired his artefacts.

The core of the Slavonic manuscript and incunabula collection of the National Library was formed by the donation of the Sofia Bishop Miletia (bishop for the period 1872-1891) in 1882. In his Description of the manuscripts and incunabula in the National Library in Sofia Tzonev (1910) mentioned this donation but he did not manage to find any documentary evidences about the acquisition. Almost a century later I was lucky enough to find (in a place where it should not have been) the list of the 48 manuscripts and incunabula with descriptions, which Bishop Miletia had donated to the National Library.45 In most cases there is no information about where exactly he found them but in some he provides details such as: number 7 – an Evangel from the Kurilo Monastery, number 8 – Evangel taken from the church of the village of Mramor, number 9 - Minei46 (15th century) from the church of the village of Stolnik, number 31 – Liturgy with Evangel (18th century) belonging to the Priest Vucho from Vakarel in 1738.

The information in Zahariev’s work proves that churches and monasteries were used to preserve Bulgarian artefacts, often hidden in the walls, under the roofs or in some other places, marked by a sign and later forgotten. The first Bulgarian museums appeared with the help of private donations after constant appeals to collect the ‘typically Bulgarian’ with the purpose of inspiring and rebuilding national self-consciousness. There were individuals who, possessing such artefacts and educated enough to understand their significance and importance, contemplated them as the apotheosis of ‘the Bulgarian’ that deserved to form part of a museum collection. This explains why at the initial stage of the formation of the museum institution in Bulgaria (mid 19th century) sacred objects formed a significant part of the acquisitions of the small local museums in the chitalishta institutions. Old Bulgarian books, considered as Bulgarian relics, were associated with all other artefacts and formed part of all collections – private or museum ones.

Although this donation formed the core of the collection it was far from enough when the management of the library aimed at building a European scale institution. With a public invitation from 10th of April 1894 the Director of the National Library invited all Bulgarians to collect and send old manuscripts, books and icons from different sacred sites. The Director of the Library together with the Minister of Education were even prepared to pay double price for all books, manuscripts and icons dated before 1860. The names of people that agreed to donate what they possessed would be included ‘in a special catalogue to be remembered forever’.47 As a result several written items and other monuments from monasteries and churches appeared in the Library in a short period, donated or sold by different individuals. The number of people who were in possession of such written or other artefacts was very impressive. The

The archives of the National Library – Sofia After the Liberation (1878) the National Library and Museum in Sofia was created (1879) and the collecting appeals continued. On many occasions the collection of the NLM was enriched by old manuscripts and incunabula coming from monastic sites or churches. The information on acquisitions of Bulgarian manuscripts, old books and incunabula is significant in the archives of the National Library in Sofia although not systematized. For example the file number 35, archive unit 1188 contains 1794 pages for the period 1879-1936 representing correspondence, protocols, copies of appeals to collect


BIA, f. 35, a.e. 1188, l. 1623 BIA, f. 35, a.e. 1188, l. 1670-1681, Appendix 3 46 Collection of liturgies 47 BIA, f. 35, a.e. 1188, l. 1670-1681 45


MONASTERIES AND MUSEUM COLLECTIONS collections and in the first Bulgarian museums rather than in libraries. Which explains the look of these collections – they were not only numismatic or archaeological or palaeographic but contained a bit of everything. Formed with the primary aim to inspire national selfconsciousness, national pride and self-belief these collections were the emanation of ‘the Bulgarian’.

information gained from the above mentioned archival materials shows a wave of (mostly) sales and some donations. And despite incredible difficulties such as insufficient finances to ensure the purchase of artefacts coming from sacred sites, the fact that Russian and other foreign palaeographers took away several valuable documents, the overall social and economical instability of the country which did not allow concentration on cultural activities, the National Library and Museum managed to collect several old Bulgarian or Slavonic incunabula, manuscripts, parchments and objects for sacred use, and enriched its collection during the years following its creation. There is no information however exactly how many artefacts were acquired due to poor cataloguing and organizational issues. Nevertheless when the Church Historical Archival Institute at the Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Patriarchate (1974) and the Museum of icons in the St. Alexander Nevski Cathedral crypt (1965) were created these objects (in most cases) were transferred there from the NLM to form the core of their collections.

The formation of the private collections in Bulgaria and the influence of social and environmental factors on cultural activities are examined in more details in the next chapter three.

Summary With the adoption of Christianity in 865 during the reign of Tzar Boris I (852-889) and later during the reign of Tzar Simeon (893-927) monasteries turned into animated centres for education and development of Bulgarian literature and culture and started appearing extensively throughout the country. Many of them were however destroyed and ravaged when the Ottoman Turks arrived in the 14th century, the relics preserved there disappearing forever. But with the expansion of the Ottoman Empire the Ottomans realised that they must allow its different nations to keep their religious beliefs. Religion was an important part of people’s life and the economic needs of the Empire depended on the work of these people. They gave to the Christians some rights for preserving their sacred places and building new ones. That is how during the Ottoman period monasteries became places where Bulgarian artefacts could be preserved. Sacral objects, books, icons, murals and inscriptions, representing some of the Bulgarian noblemen in the past, fine art objects, created by skilled craftsmen were the representation of the Bulgarian spirit and the achievements of the nation. In the 18th century changes in the political and economic situation within the Empire provoked changes in social life as well and by the 19th century conditions were created for national liberation. The leaders of these movements concentrated on increasing national selfconsciousness, self-belief and self – motivation. For that purpose they tried to find ways of reminding the nation of its glorious past. Naturally they turned to the treasures of sacred places as these were where Bulgarian relics could be found. The appeals to start collecting everything of Bulgarian origin, including old books, explains why at the time everything old that could be found in these places and linked to the past glory of the Bulgarian kingdom was considered as a museum artefact. Incunabula and manuscripts ended up in the first private 23

Private collections and museum building

Trade routes


The possibility to travel and the discovery of new worlds is the main factor related to the appearance of the first private collections in Bulgaria. Being able to see different countries and the way of life there had an immense significance for the development of the intellectual life of Bulgarians:

My research on early private collections, i.e. before the Liberation (1878) and shortly after it, some of which helped to build the first public museums in Bulgaria, indicates that this field is probably the least explored. Domuschiev (1966), Draganova (1983), Harizanov (1972 and 1975) and Nedkov (1998 and 2006) published brief accounts on the first documented private collections in Bulgaria but did not go beyond description. There was little analysis or examination of the reasons for collecting, nor any serious work that explored possible similarities and differences between these private collections. Therefore I identified a need to try to find as many original archival documents as possible in libraries and private archives, and to go back to the roots of the first collections - to look at how and why they were made, and to discover how they developed and what their fate was. This also required a review of the socio-economic and cultural environment in which the first collections were built.

…The travellers for the first time broadened their understanding about the world, they could see new cities, different people and customs; thus not only enriching and influencing their minds with new feelings and ideas, but also affecting their spirit and self-confidence through new impressions (Hadjiiski 2002: 410). The first event which opened the possibility for Bulgarians to travel were the socio-economic changes in the Ottoma Empire which started at the end of 18th century. Furthermore the development of industry formed a new and extremely dynamic factor – the European capitalist market and this created a new socio-political environment in Europe and in the Balkans. The accelerated development of manufacture and factories in Europe, which needed enormous quantities of raw materials, led to an increased interest in the Bulgarian lands as a major producer of cotton, silk, tobacco and timber within the Ottoma Empire. This made it possible for Bulgarian merchants to enter into the system of trade exchange either alone or in co-operation with Greek traders, to open offices in Bucharest, Brashov, Vienna, Moscow, and other European cities and to travel abroad. Trade relations with Europe during 18th-19th centuries increased dramatically in quantity and trade activities became intensive.

Changes in the life of the Bulgarian population within the Ottoman Empire in the 18th-19th centuries The previous chapter described the circumstances in Bulgaria and the position of the Bulgarian population during Ottoman rule. The retrograde, static existence of the nation within the borders of a middle-eastern empire subjected the Bulgarian State to oppression, so much so that many Bulgarian authors1 suggest that this 500-year long period was characterised by a loss of national identity and a decline in national pride. The main purpose of ordinary people, especially in the first centuries of the domination, was simply to survive. In such conditions it is perhaps predictable that Bulgarian culture would almost die out, and that only a few elements from it would be preserved.2

These changes created new relations between Bulgarians and Turks. To a certain extent the situation of the Bulgarian traders improved. With the decline of the Ottoma Empire Bulgarian production gained in importance. The relations between the two ethnic communities were not based any longer only on the political priority of the Turks but also on economic factors. Once Bulgarians started trading with foreign countries they gained some economic independence. This was reflected in their self-confidence. Bulgarian people started migrating from the villages to the towns and, especially, to the big military centres like Vidin, Shoumen and Sofia where the representatives of the government and consulates of other countries were based.

…the intelligentsia as an element of the social structure is extremely dependent on the social and economical circumstances in concrete historical conditions (Radkova 1986:19). Therefore socio-economic changes were needed to cause a spiritual and intellectual transformation. These came about by the time of decline of the Ottoma Empire (18th century), which could no longer ensure revenue from wars of conquest and consequently was forced to open its borders to Europe.3

Bulgarians were impressed by the way of life of Turk governors, the Greek bourgeoisie and rich Jews and Armenians. The new self-confidence of Bulgarians who enjoyed financial stability acquired other dimensions, including an increasing tendency to possess objects of artistic and aesthetic value. The way of life in the towns formed during the Revival period, from an esthetical point of view,


Mishev 1916, Dimitrov 1998, Chavrakov 2000 See Dimitrov 1998: online 3 See chapter 2 2


PRIVATE COLLECTIONS AND MUSEUM BUILDING Bulgarian intelligentsia to publish an academic History of Bulgaria; the formation of collection of archaeological, ethnographic and folklore materials and social understanding for the need of scientific usage and popularisation of the newly re-discovered monuments. This interest for the past is often associated with early notions of nationalism especially in cases of a suppressed people and is often called ‘cultural nationalism’.9 Nineteenth century Bulgarian nationalism had all the necessary features attributed to this type of nationalism. The same century saw increased revolutionary activities amongst a population anticipating liberation. One way to build up national self-consciousness in the population was to use Bulgaria’s rich archaeological resources to create collections that would demonstrate links to the past and more prestigious times.

contains together with the art of traditional production people’s new tendencies of admiration for knowledge and the richness and joys of the life, which is part of the new perception of life during the Bulgarian Renaissance (Radkova 1986: 33).

The intelligentsia The changes in the social and spiritual circumstances in Bulgaria correspond to the period in Bulgarian history known as the Bulgarian Revival (1762 – 1878).4 This was a turning point in the development of the state but also a time when the first museums emerged. The Bulgarian Revival was a difficult and multilateral process of spiritual development, preparation and self-realization. ‘It is a process of moral changes in Bulgarian society and spiritual liberation from the earlier way of thinking, characteristic of the Middle ages’ (Radkova ibid: 5).

In this process the Istoria Slavianobolgarskaia [Slav – Bulgarian history], written by the monk Paisii Hilendarski in 1762, ‘became the manifesto of the Bulgarian National Revival’ (Fol 1999: 118). Hilendarski wrote the book inspired by the desire to tell the story of the Bulgarian past and restore to the people the lost link with their history. The romance of the old times which he described was meant to awaken the sense of nationalism in the Bulgarian people and to provoke respect for their language and culture. This became the basis for the strategic aims of the epoch – ‘…restoration of the spiritual and political independence of Bulgarians’ (Genchev 1988: 185).

The formation of the new Revival ideas started with the recognition of the intelligentsia of the need for enrichment of the moral and spiritual consciousness of the people. The primary way for realization of these needs was the transformation of monastery schools into public ones at the beginning of the 19th century when the necessary conditions were created for the formation of a public school, new in meaning, content and programming. People like Petar Beron (1800-1871),5 Vassil Aprilov (1789-1847)6 and Neofit Rilski (17931883),7 possessed the necessary qualities to build the basis of the new Bulgarian school system. The emergence of schools throughout the country required well educated teachers. With the help of well–to–do Bulgarians, mainly the ones involved in trading activities, many Bulgarian youths were sent to schools or universities in Bucharest, Vienna, Prague, Brachov, Paris, London, Munich, Leipzig, Berlin, Geneva, Athens, Belgrade or Zagreb. ‘As a result a Bulgarian intellectual elite was created, the teachers being its main body – people who were able to introduce the ‘seen abroad’ into Bulgarian reality’ (Kossev 2001: 74).

The person who is frequently linked to the subject of initial interest for the past in Bulgaria, the one to serve nationalistic ideas, is the Russian historian and author of publications on Bulgarian history and ethnography Urii I. Venelin (1802-1839).10 In 1829 Venelin published a book11 in which he reminded Bulgarians of their Slav origin and underlined the need of their past to be remembered. He was in active correspondence with many Bulgarian intellectuals and in a letter (27.09.1837) to one of the most renowned Bulgarian intellectuals and creator of the first public school in Bulgaria, Vassil Aprilov (1789-1847), he detailed a program of how to collect archaeological artefacts, historical and ethnographical materials. This letter circulated amongst educated Bulgarians and stimulated them to start collecting and classifying archaeological finds, manuscripts, coins and other materials relating to Bulgarian history. Amongst the Bulgarian intellectuals and activists, whose activities are related directly with the appeals to collect artefacts, Atanas Kipilovski (1802-1870)12 and Marin Drinov (1838-1906)13 deserve mention.

By the early 19th century the interest in the past had increased going through four stages:8 the process of distributing Hilendarski’s book Istoria Slavianobolgarskaia (1762); the organised efforts of the 4

It is difficult to insist on precise dates, concerning the beginning and the end of the Revival period as it is a process rather that an event. For technical reasons the dates used are the year in which the monk Paisii Hilendrski wrote his Istoria Slavianobolgarskaia and the year when Bulgaria was liberated from Ottoman domination. 5 Revival intellectual, philosopher, astronomer and naturalist born in the town of Kotel, educated in Heidelberg and Munich, author of Riben Bukvar (1824) [Fish primer]. (The so-called Fish primer had a fish illustration on its cover) 6 One of the first writers who realized the need for unified rules of Bulgarian language, founder of the first Bulgarian public school in the town of Gabrovo 7 Revival literary activist, one of the first teachers in Gabrovo school and author of Bulgarian language grammar 8 See Majdrakova-Chavdarova 1994


See Sugar 1999 See Domuschiev 1966, Radonov 1972 and MajdrakovaChavdarova 1994 11 Venelin, U. 1829 Drevnie I ninechnie bolgare v politicheskom, narodnostnom, istoricheskom I religioznom ih otnochenia k Rosianam, Moskva 12 Revival intellectual and translator 13 Historian, philologist and political figure 10


BULGARIA AND ITS MUSEUMS IN ‘NEW’ EUROPE ‘this is probably the oldest surviving purpose built museum’ (Lewis in Thompson et al. (eds.) 1992: 8). Collecting continued to develop in Europe throughout the 16th and 17th centuries. These were primarily princely collections, belonging to wealthy, powerful Royal families. And all of these royal and princely collections ‘….manifested the wealth and taste of their owners’ (McClellan 1999: 2).

Kipilovski had an idea of publishing a Bulgarian history and his efforts and appeals lasted two decades starting in 1827. This idea ‘…was one of the starting points for the organised collection of historical, archaeological and ethnographical materials’ (Majdrakova-Chavdarova 1994: 216). In the process of popularisation of such ideas the first Bulgarian magazine and newspaper – Luboslovie (1844-1846) and Balgarski orel (1846-1847)14 were important as these offered their pages for publication of historical documents, numismatic findings, historicalgeographical descriptions and for discussions on the future of Bulgaria.

In the case of Bulgarian private collections however of greater interest are the countries in proximity to the Ottoma Empire, as they were the ones Bulgarian traders visited most frequently. ‘It was at the beginning of the nineteenth century that the first realization of the role of the museum in contributing to national consciousness arose in Europe’ (Lewis ibid: 12). The National Museum of Hungary was created in 1802 by the Hungarian aristocrat Count Ferenc Szechenyi (1754-1820) who was inspired by the desire to found a museum for the nation. In March 1802 he requested Emperor Franz I (18481916) to permit him to donate his collection of various Hungarian-related finds and documents to the nation. In Prague a revival in nationalism led to the foundation of a museum in 1818 specifically to foster cultural identity and the study of Czech and Slovak peoples. Where in this sequence was museum-building in the Ottoma Empire and Bulgaria as part of it?

In this process of significant importance was a letter from the historian Prof. Marin Drinov addressed to the Bulgarian chitalishta (August 7th, 1869). The letter is in fact an ‘appeal-program’ and provides rules for collecting ethnographic materials, old manuscripts and other artefacts. In the letter he expressed his understanding that Bulgarian chitalishta were ‘the places where the most cultured Bulgarians gathered’. He underlined that ‘in other countries there are special societies whose purpose is to create museums and preserve artefacts’ but in Bulgaria it is the chitalishta that should do what in other countries is done by societies and academies. Drinov also gave certain ‘Rules for collection of popular songs and fairy-tales’ and ‘Rules for description of old Bulgarian manuscripts’ and underlines that the necessary condition for an object to obtain a museum importance is its historical, scientific and aesthetic value. The letterappeal, the program and the rules were ‘…very useful since they made patriotically minded people start collecting artefacts and encouraged display of them in the chitalishta throughout the country’ (Radonov 1972:73).

Arts, museums and collections within the borders of the Ottoma Empire in the 18th – 19th centuries In the 18th century serious changes are seen in the culture of Ottoman society, the so called ‘Europeanization’, which was the result of the expansion of the Great European powers to the near East and the establishment of trade relations of the Ottoma Empire with the main European cities.15 ‘This [was] a century characterised by contradicting tendencies, where the new tried to fight the old and changes attempted to make their way in Ottoman society’ (Stainova ibid: 17). ‘Interest in military, technical and later also scientific achievements in Europe reflected a desire to achieve parity (with the great European powers)’ (Faroqhi 2000: 240). High level members of the Ottoman elite were learning about life in contemporary Europe through ambassadors’ reports. Gradually European theatre, opera and ballet made their way into the cultural life of the Ottomans. ‘At the same time members of the Ottoman elite, along with some artists and skilled craftsmen, were attempting to introduce new genres of literary and visual arts ….in the Ottoman cultural domain’ (Faroqhi ibid: 247).

Collections and museums in Western and Central Europe Understanding the formation of 19th century Bulgarian collections requires an examination of not only internal factors but also external ones. A brief review of the development of collections in Western and Central Europe will facilitate an understanding of how the formation of Bulgarian private collection might have been influenced by activities in other countries. The European Renaissance gave birth to several collections and cabinets of curiosities. In Italy Cosimo de Medici (1389-1464) followed by his son Piero (1471-1503) and his grandson Lorenzo the Magnificent (1449-1492) gathered a collection which on Lorenzo's death in 1492 was evaluated and found priceless as it comprised thousands of objects. In France François I (1494-1547) of the House of Valois was one of the first European collectors in the modern sense, whose paintings, many by Clouet (c.1485-1541), would form one of the core holdings of the Louvre. This tendency spread throughout Europe and many rich, influential individuals began to form collections. Albrecht V, Duke of Bavaria, erected a gallery to hold his collection between 1563 and 1567 and 14

One little known (or altogether ignored) fact from the history of the Ottoma Empire is a movement named Lale devri (Period of the tulips).

15 On cultural activities within the Ottoma Empire see Stainova 1977 and 1980 and Faroqui 2000

Appendix 4


PRIVATE COLLECTIONS AND MUSEUM BUILDING and especially large and beautifully framed old calligraphies (levha). The religious connotation cannot be separated from the artistic and aesthetic feelings.’

…this period is important as it is rich in events and processes that have serious impact on the material and spiritual culture of the peoples in the Ottoma Empire: this is the first attempt of the Ottoman rulers to join the European culture (Stainova 1977:72).

In palaces of Sultans items such as textiles, clothing, carpets, jewelry and metal weapons became part of the imperial treasure. Although the three palaces (Topkapi, Dolmabahce and Yildiz) of the Ottoman Court, possessed valuable collections of decorative and functional objects, these cannot be compared with the collections of European leaders held in residences in France, Germany or Austria for example, which eventually became museums. The reasons for the difference are the late start in systematic collecting and the type of objects collected within the Ottoma Empire. The Islamic rule of not having images of people and animals reproduced delayed the collecting of works of art until the 19th century.17 However here we can mention the mecma-i asar-i atika (antique collection, starting with Sultan Abdulmecid in 1845); the elbise-i atika (old costume collection, first exhibited in 1852); and the elvah-i naksiye (painting collection, starting with Osman Hamdi's efforts in 1900's) as the main attempts known to group objects, while valuable Ottoman works of art were kept in the Enderun (the private apartments of Sultans) and Religious Relics were housed in the Hirka-i Serif - Sacred Vestments Room.

The Lale devri covers the first half of 18th century during the government of Ahmed III (1703-1730), when a cult for tulips was established due to the influence of France. In certain places gardens were created, covered with tulips and roses, alongside which were organised impressive Festivities of the lights with musicians, dancers and poets. The Lale devri is a direct consequence of the diplomatic contacts between the empire and France, the changes in the internal and external political situation, and the increased involvement of the non -Turk population in the economical, socio-political and cultural life of the empire. As a result French colleges and schools appeared; the building of palaces began, following the French model with the assistance of French architects, decorators and painters who imposed different styles of the Renaissance, Classicism, Baroque, leading to changes in the tastes of the population. These influences caused other changes including the conversion of Tzarigrad library into a place to bring together scientists – men of letters, historians and philosophers to establish the so-called ‘Literary society’, which provoked collecting of rare manuscripts from the whole empire and a prohibition of their export; adaptation of famous West European geographical, historical, military, technical, grammatical tracts; the setting up of the first Turkish printing office and the printing of literature of mundane character; and translation of famous European books for the library. These new events in the cultural and spiritual life of the Turks were the basis of further cultural activities in the Ottoma Empire.

In this cultural environment the concept of protection of cultural property in museums is related to the government of Sultan Abdulmecid (1839-1961). In 1846 the Ottoman government remodelled the former church of Hagia Irene,18 in use as an artillery warehouse, and included a display of valuables in the renovated structure. The collection could be seen only with permission until 1869 when Prime Minister Mehmed Ali Pasha19 declared it the Imperial Museum. This was the beginning of museum activities in the empire ‘because the word ‘collection’ was replaced by ‘museum’ (Shaw 2003: 31), suggesting a greater interest in public display and education’ and was only then opened to the general public.

This was the first time when the new Turkish culture tried to fight old ideology and old traditions but the changes affected more the nonMuslim population rather that the Muslim one. Lale devri was the period when for the first time the west European influences spread in the Ottoma Empire on a larger scale – from fashionable clothes and decoration, jewellery, building and arts to the ideological tendencies of the post Renaissance Europe. All this … facilitated the formation of the national self-consciousness and culture of the dominated non-Turkish peoples in the empire (Stainova ibid: 94).

The situation concerning private collections in Serbia and Macedonia, countries in immediate proximity to Bulgaria within the Ottoma Empire in the 18th - 19th centuries, is as poorly researched as the Bulgarian one – a point indicated by Milkovich (1982).20 Limited information is available on the collection of the wealthy family of Iacharpachin Tzinich, who lived in the town of Prishtina, and had their own collection on display in a museum in the beginning of the 19th century. The collection contained armaments, archaeological artefacts, documents and parchments and survived until 1912 when it was destroyed in the Balkan

In this situation were there any Ottoman private collections? There is little evidence although Kiel (2004)16 notes that wealthy Turks collected mainly ‘…old ceramics, old textiles, weavings, embroideries and carpets


See Atagok no date: online and Faroqhi 2000 Byzantine church in the outer courtyard of Topkapi Palace in Istanbul 19 Grand Vezir (Chief Minister) of the Ottoma Empire 1855-56, 1858-59, and 1867-71, noted for his attempts to Westernize the Ottoma Empire 20 On Serbian and Macedonian collections see Filipovich (1953) and Han (1958) 18


Private correspondence: Kiel, M. ([email protected]) (2004 January 13) Ottoman Museums and collections [online] E-mail to G. Petkova ([email protected])


BULGARIA AND ITS MUSEUMS IN ‘NEW’ EUROPE an inventory from the end of the 1830s, which is held in Vratza Regional Historical Museum, historical materials he bequeathed to his heirs demonstrates the great variety of objects he interested in:

wars. The existence of a mineralogy collection in Kraguevatz in 1837, which was the basis of the formation of the National Museum of Belgrade is also known. Other brief accounts include the private collections of the Slovenian historian I. Valvazor (1614-1693), which contained archaeological and natural history artefacts, medical instruments and historical documents - ‘a real museum’ (Han 1958: 316), the archaeological collection of Bizza, founded in 1750 in Split, Macedonia, and the collections of Ive Aletic (1688-1743) and his son Altun (1716-1774) formed in Dubrovnik who also opened a small museum. What needs to be emphasised here is that all these collections - European and Balkans ones - were formed by wealthy people. Bulgarians, who had the possibility to travel and see them, may have associated the ownership of expensive objects with financial stability. Perhaps this is why, gradually, financial stability in Bulgaria gave birth to the desire to possess art objects and to demonstrate some sort of prosperity.

now lists and was

…a whole room with old: books, certificates, etc.; cloths, scarves, … etc.; bracelets, earrings, flowers, belts, etc.; stone hammers, etc.; coins of different kinds; guns, gunpowder vessels, etc.; icons, icon-lamps, candelabras; pipes and tobacco-pouches, etc.; pikes, arrows, maces; sickles and other agricultural tools; baking dishes, basins, silver saucers, inkstands;… (RIM Vratza, f. 1, a.e. 12, l. 1) What are the possible reasons for this variety? People collect objects for a multitude of reasons: to have, to preserve, to teach, to give away.23 What were the reasons or the combination of circumstances that led to Tosho Tzenov’s private collection?

The first documented private collection in Bulgaria – Hadji Tosho Tzenov and his family

The town of Vratza differed from other Bulgarian towns in the 18th and 19th century. The Turkish population there was small and there was a broader tolerance between them and the local people.24 This made Vratza and the area around it rich in monasteries and explains the part of the collection related to incunabula and manuscripts.

The logical conclusion from all the above is that the first Bulgarian private collection should appear due to the zeal of a wealthy trader or intellectual, and the founder of the first documented private collection, Hadji Tosho Tzenov (1749-1836) from Vratza had both these attributes. One of the first participants in the liberation movement, he highly valued the enlightenment and the preservation of cultural traditions. As a member of the rising Bulgarian bourgeoisie he fought for independent development of the Bulgarian nation. Under the influence of Sofronii Vrachanski (1739-1813)21 he joined the liberation movement at the beginning of 19th century. An ardent connoisseur of Bulgarian history, he started collecting evidence relating to this. His collection is well-known in Bulgarian museology and is the first and largest one made in the early period (end of 18th – 19th centuries) of Bulgarian collecting activities.

A clever tradesman, Hadji Tosho Tzenov, managed to earn a significant amount of money for the time (Fig. 3.1).25 The next thing he yearned for was to be held in esteem by the Ottoman authorities. The trip to Jerusalem and the consequent title of Hadji made him a very respected and influential person. He brought back from his travels many objects for himself and for his relatives, friend and neighbours such as chaplets of wood, nacre and amber; crosses of metal, bones, amber and nacre; nacreous icons; earrings; scarves; bracelets and pipes. He retained many of these objects for his collection. There are also indications that he had also the possibility to visit European and other museums when travelling abroad, especially the ones in Athens, Alexandria and Cairo. 26

Hadji Tosho Tzenov was a cattle merchant and often went abroad for the purpose of business. Visiting cities such as Budapest, Bucharest, Venice, Vienna, Kraiova, Temichoar, Trieste and Jerusalem gave Tzenov the possibility to enrich his knowledge and understanding of the world. An erudite person, educated, speaking at least four foreign languages in addition to Bulgarian (Turkish, Greek, Serbian and Romanian) he took part in different spheres of public life, while his travels led to a particular combination of curiosity and eagerness to learn.22 Tosho Tzenov started collecting books, ethnographical and numismatic materials with particular enthusiasm. The exact date of the start of these activities is not known but


See Thompson in Thompson et al (eds) 2002 Dinekov 1947 25 Exact numbers cannot be provided due to lack of information. However the amount was more than enough to let him expand the business throughout the whole Balkan peninsula, reaching as far as Italy and Egypt (Harizanov ibid). 26 See Buchinski 1969 24


Eminent man of Letters during the Revival period, author of the first book printed in Bulgarian. 22 See Iotzov 1937



Fig. 3.1 The house of the Hadjitochevi family was one of the most luxurious in Vratza in the 19th century. Today it is a museum, demonstrating the way of life of a wealthy trader from the period

Science. However, up until now, no information has been published relating to other private collections during this particular period (the end of the 18th century) which could help elucidate early collecting in Bulgaria and generate conclusions. When Hadji Tosho Tzenov’s son and grandson continued to build the collection the time and the reasons for collecting were quite different and collecting was by then more established. A study of the reasons why members of the family continued to collect could prove to be rather interesting and become subject matter of another study.

It would appear that the combination of circumstances which led to Hadji Tosho Tzenovs’ formation as personality and his desire to collect was, on first instance, a simple matter of geography. He was fortunate to be born in the town of Vratza, which even during the height of Ottoman rule was in a reasonable situation due to the small Turkish population. A very important factor was also the proximity of Vratza to Serbia and therefore to the routes leading to Western Europe. As a representative of the arising Bulgarian bourgeoisie, educated, having the possibility to travel abroad, Tzenov embodied the characteristics of a rich person with revolutionary and patriotic ideas. But why did he collect? Was it the love for beautiful objects, well known as a characteristic of other European private collectors or just the belief that these are valuable objects and were a financial investment? The latter might have been the reason for collecting contemporary objects made of precious materials but what about the archaeological finds or social history artefacts in his collection? At the time they did not have any material value. Therefore one can argue that Tosho Tzenov showed a desire, which was only just beginning to be demonstrated by educated Bulgarians, to reveal the Bulgarian past through its archaeological and ethnographical remains.

Dimitraki Hadjitochev (1780-1827), Hadji Tosho’ s son, enriched the collection for the aesthetic pleasure it offered, e.g. ethnographical objects of amber, filigree, gold and rubies. Hadji Tosho Tzenov seems to have transmitted his patriotism and attitudes for the historical past to his sons Dimitraki, Ivancho and Kostaki.27 The most ardent however, was Dimitraki. He was his father's successor in the business and about 1803 he already had a key role in the socio-political and cultural activities in the town of Vratza. He was a donor to several monasteries in the area and a leading figure in the fight for an independent Bulgarian church. Dimitraki took an active part in the liberation movement against Ottoman oppression particularly during the Russo-Turkish war of 1806-1812. But he was also interested in the educational and cultural heritage of the

The history and development of Hadji Tosho Tzenov’s private collection are well-known, based upon his archives, preserved in Vratza Regional Historical Museum, the Historical Archive of the National Library in Sofia and the archive of the Bulgarian Academy of



See Harizanov 1975

BULGARIA AND ITS MUSEUMS IN ‘NEW’ EUROPE development.’ In case Todoraki did not agree to donate them he was kindly asked to mention a price for which he would be prepared to sell the collection. In a letter dated 2nd December 188030 he replied that he would be more than happy to donate his collection and in a few days he and his son would bring it personally to the museum as ‘he collected artefacts, inspired by patriotic ideas.’ He donated part of his collection to the Bulgarian National Library and Museum and later they went to the Archaeological and the Ethnographic Museums in Sofia.

Bulgarians and in 1812 he opened a school and employed a special teacher. Dimitraki was executed at the age of 47 near Vratza by order of sultan Mahmud II (1808-1839) after a slander, sent to the Turkish authorities. Todoraki Dimitrakiev Hadjiiski (1818-1902)28 – Hadji Tosho’s grandson (Fig. 3.2) – remained in his native town Vratza and continued working on the collection. However at this stage (the end of the 19th century, when the Bulgarian public museums were increasing their social activities) he collected mainly historical and archaeological artefacts. Todoraki was:

The stage of this collection at the time of Todoraki Dimitrakiev is the one where the owner was totally devoted to the enrichment and development of the collection. An ardent connoisseur, he set himself collecting goals. Nevertheless he was happy to donate part of the collection and contribute to the development of the National Museum and in 1894 he donated another part of the collection.31 The Ministry of Education sent V.D. Stoyanov (Director of the National Library and Museum) and D.E. Takela (the keeper of the numismatic collection) to Vratza to choose artefacts and make an inventory. The objects they chose for the National Museum and Library were classified into five groups.32

… a clever man with a very good memory – a living annal. Todoraki has a whole museum. If he hears about some findings he goes there at night time to see them and bids until he gets the object. Now he possesses hundreds of Roman, Bulgarian, Serbian, Byzantainium and other objects; stone knives, arrows, statues, ….leather books, etc. It would be good if somebody could write down his memoirs, as he knows many things, which will disappear with him. (BIA, f. 129, a. e. 1, l. 79)

The surviving report and inventory not only describe the nature of the collection but also demonstrate the incredible competence of Todoraki Hadjitochev when it came to the matter of collecting. He organised a guided tour for the two visitors and showed them all the archaeological and historical sites of interest in the region. After his death his son Nikola T. Dimitrov inherited the artefacts. In a letter dated 20th of January 190433 he offered to sell to the National Library some of the archival documents he was in possession of ‘to be used as a basis for research, otherwise they would be useless to the nation’. He also mentioned that some 'other people' were interested in them.34 This change in the perception and understanding of collecting activities, where an artefact was offered to the National Library only in exchange for money will be discussed in chapter five. The archives and most of the remaining part of the collection went to the local chitalishte and today they are in Vratza Regional Museum of History. It has to be underlined that what we know about this collection, i.e. the nature of the artefacts, the estimate of total number of objects, or their fate, is based on two documents only: 1) the list Hadji Tosho Tzenov made prior to his death which is just an enumeration of some of the objects and gives an overall impression of the great variety of objects and size of the collection and 2) the report prepared by Stoyanov and Takela which indicates the development to an extent of the collection since the time it had been formed by Hadji Tosho. Unfortunately due to the imprecise nature of the first list it is difficult to

Fig. 3.2 Todoraki Hadjiiski (1818-1902), source Sharova, K. and Mircheva, K. (eds.) 2002

Todoraki continued collecting artefacts after the Liberation. In a letter dated the 14th November 1880,29 the Director of the National Library and Museum, which was officially opened in 1879, ‘…kindly asks him to donate his archaeological collections for the newly opened museum’ and assured him that ‘…with this donation he will set an example for other patriotically-minded men and will help the museum to follow its planned


BIA, f. 35, a.e. 1187, l. 44 Appendix 5 32 RIM Vratza, f. 1, a.e. 12, l. 8-12, Appendix 7 33 BIA, f. 35, a.e. 1187, l. 72-73 34 BIA, f. 35, a.e. 1190, l. 72-73 31


His surname appears as Hadjiiski or Hadjitochev in archival documents. 29

BIA, f. 35, a.e. 1187, l. 42


PRIVATE COLLECTIONS AND MUSEUM BUILDING Stefan Penev Ahtar was born in Veliko Tarnovo, (the old Bulgarian capital and Tzars’ residence) in a family devoted to books. Ahtar’s father was in possession of ‘many old books’, given to Stefan by his mother after his father’s death. There is no reference to Ahtar’s life up until 1838 when his name appears in connection with the ahtardjiinitsa shop (a pharmacy) he opened in Veliko Tarnovo. Ahtars’ name is also associated with activities against the Greek church and the Turkish administration for which he was imprisoned in 1851.

make sensible judgments about the development of the collection. All conclusions in this direction would be an inaccurate extrapolation. However the fact remains that it was a large collection.35 Even today there are seemingly still objects from the collection in possession of different members of the family. So for example in 1975 one of the great – grand - daughters of Todoraki Hadjitochev donated 150 ethnographical and archaeological objects to Vratza Regional Historical museum.36 This is the long and fascinating story of the first documented private collection in Bulgaria. It represents a demonstration of a new beginning for Bulgaria, a developed understanding of the world. It grew into the largest private collection in Bulgaria, gathered over more than a century, and finally ended up in different museums to serve the nation and its cultural progress.

The activists of the Bulgarian Revival, including Ahtar, were convinced of the role historical knowledge had for the awakening of national self-belief. In this sense Hilendarski’s Istoria Slavianobolgarskaia had an enormous impact of Ahtar’s activities.38 Proof of Ahtar’s admiration for the work of this author is the fact that he aided the production and distribution of new manuscript copies of this history of the Bulgarian people. Ahtar was also one of the people who initiated the idea of a new, more complete History of Bulgaria, which he discussed with Slaveikov (1827-1895), Kipilovski (1802-1870) and Fotinov (c.1790-1858), major personalities in history and literature at the time. By 1842 Ahtar’s collection containing valuable manuscripts and coin collections were well known, which led the people mentioned above to seek his help when trying to collect additional information concerning Bulgarian history.

The collection of Stefan Penev Ahtar The socio-political, economical and cultural changes in Bulgaria in the 18th and the first half of the 19th centuries mentioned earlier revealed that the second option for collection building lay with the intelligentsia. Stefan Penev Ahtar (1806-1860) – Fig. 3.3 - together with Stefan Zahariev (1810-1871) and Simeon Ianchev (?-?) were all representatives of this group. They formed their collections in the 19th century and were contemporaries of the events surrounding collecting appeals, the formation of collections and the developing of the antiquities trade.

Stefan Ahtar’s approach to his collection was very different to that of Tosho Tzenov. Not only was he in possession of some valuable objects but he put them on display in his home in Veliko Tarnovo and organised a small museum which he invited people to view. His home became an animated social club where discussion of politics and collecting collided. Ahtar collected explicitly artefacts of Bulgarian origin;39 all coins were from the times of different Bulgarian rulers as were the manuscripts and other objects. Unfortunately there is no information about the sources Ahtar used to collect. However his collecting activities were far from being aimless. He informed scientists and men of letters about his findings; in 1843 he sent three of his most valuable artefacts, namely one golden (Ivan Assen II (1218-1241)) and two silver (Ivan Alexander (1331-1371)) medieval royal seals, to Konstantin Fotinov, editor and publisher of the first Bulgarian magazine Luboslovie in Smirna. It was his ‘…belief that in the hands of this much renowned publisher and man of letters, they will better serve the Bulgarian nation. His only wish was these to be lithographed and published for the pleasure and education of the Bulgarian population’ (Majdrakova-Chavdarova ibid: 98).

Fig. 3.3 Stefan Penev Ahtar (1806-1869), source MajdrakovaChavdarova (1985)

Many of the coins found by Ahtar were unknown to archaeological science and he tried to inform as many people as possible about his findings through publication. So, for example, in 1841 he sent to Vassil Aprilov three coins (Tzar Svetoslav (1300-1321) and Tzar Ivan

Ahtar’s collection, referred to briefly in chapter two, is also known to Bulgarian museology and has been linked to the collector’s patriotism and efforts for the prosperity of his country. 37 35

The three documented donations include about 500 objects See Harizanov 1972 37 See Draganova 1985 36

38 39


See Majdrakova-Chavdarova 1985 See Stoyanchov 1928

BULGARIA AND ITS MUSEUMS IN ‘NEW’ EUROPE continued his self-education. As chief executive of all cultural events in the area including the opening of a school, he took an active part in the struggle against the Greek Church and its adherents.

Sracimir (1371-1396), which Aprilov lists and illustrates in his book Dennica (1841). In 1847 Dr. Ianko Shafarik, who later became director of the Belgrade National Museum, published illustrations of ten Bulgarian coins (Tzar Ivan Assen II (1218-1241)) he received from Ahtar. This article was also published in 1859 in Bulgaria in Balgarski knijitci magazine.39

In the introduction to his book one can find reference to his personal philosophy: '…every man must know first the place where he was born and lives…' (Zahariev 1870: 1). During his research he had been impressed by the abundance of artefacts in Bulgarian lands and started collecting. Sadly the collection has been lost to Bulgarian museology. According to his son it contained more than 60 volumes of incunabula and manuscripts, which were destroyed by Russian soldiers in the Russo-Turkish war (1877-1878). Twenty-two of them survived, but the Russian philologist Polihronii Sirku from St. Petersburg University took them (under the pretext to study them) and they were never returned. They are now in the manuscript department of the St. Petersburg Library.43 The other part of the collection, containing coins and archaeological artefacts, has also been lost. A few objects, again taken by P. Sirku, are in the Hermitage.44 Apparently Zahariev’s collection was very rich as he realised that if he wanted to work scientifically he needed to collect historical evidence. Information about Zahariev’s collection can only be found by scrutinizing his book and private correspondence with Stefan Verkovich.

Unfortunately all these artefacts are now lost to Bulgarian science and museology not only because he sent many of them abroad for analysis and publication but also because the Turkish authorities conducted a search of his house (1851) and took away most of the artefacts.40 Nevertheless, it is thought that the altruistic activities of Stefan Penev Ahtar in the name of the prosperity of Bulgarian culture contributed to the increased spirituality of the Bulgarian population. He was not the first known collector in the country but he was the first to put his collection on display and to try to popularise his findings.

The collection of Stefan Zahariev41 A pre-liberation intellectual and a contemporary to Stefan Penev Ahtar, Stefan Zahariev (1810-1871) was ‘one of the most educated citizens of Pazardjik in the 19th century’ (Batakliev 1973: IX). We have little information relating to him or his collecting activities as the main sources are a short biography written by his son Hristo and published in 1900 in Uchilichten pregled magazine (7:659-68) and the preface of the second phototype edition of his book by Batakliev (1973) which describes Zahariev’s educational activities during the Revival period. Information can also be found in the private letters of Zahariev to Stefan Verkovich (1821-1891), preserved in good condition in the Bulgarian Academy of Science and in the Historical Archive of the National Library.

Zahariev’s book, a description of the area of Tatar Pazardjik, contains information not only about monasteries and churches but also detailed descriptions of ruins of castles and fortresses, local legends about caves and other places full of hidden treasures that only magic can reveal. For example, mention is made about the ruins of a castle near the village of Kozarsko where old armament could be found, together with silver coins from the time of Tzar Simeon (893-927). He also records that in the village of Cerovo a local man found a chariot, a golden pot and a few coins from the time of Tzar Assen I (1190-1196) when digging to make a basement for his house. Zahariev took one of these coins and a marble statuette, representing Philip of Macedonia on horse, he found in the ruined church of the same village. In the village of Bochulia he found copper coins with the image of Christ on one side and of St. Ivan Tarnovski on the other, without inscriptions. People from the village of Pachelencha found two statuettes when digging for earth they needed for building purposes. Zahariev took these two statuettes, one of them representing Zeus, the other Philip of Macedonia (ibid: 60). In the village of Batak there were castle ruins from where people dug out a golden globe, copper birds, armament and copper coins which Zahariev also obtained (ibid: 70). In the village of Despotovo the author found a golden coin with the images of Christ, Ivan Despot (14th century) and his wife. The final piece of information in the book concerning artefacts in Zahariev’s collection relates to

According to Hristo Zahariev (1900), Stefan Zahariev studied in Plovdiv (central Bulgaria) since there was no Bulgarian school in his native Tatar Pazardjik. There he learned Greek (old and new) and Turkish. After he returned to Pazardjik his father started to prepare him for business, trading with foreign countries. Stefan was very young when he began travelling abroad and learned about other countries and cultural traditions. Not being very good at business, he started working as the deputy to the Plovdiv bishop. He travelled from place to place and started collecting material for a book describing the statistical, geographical and historical features of his home region - Tatar Pazardjik. By 1856 he was an active participant in the revival process in Pazardjik and an editor and correspondent of many local newspapers such as Balgarski knijitsi and Savetnik.42 He started translating from Serbian, Russian, Polish and Czech sources and 39

Appendix 4 See Stoyanchov 1928 41 The information contained within this section is based on archival documents and the subject matter has not been researched previously 42 Appendix 4 40

43 44


See Batakliev 1973 See Batakliev ibid

PRIVATE COLLECTIONS AND MUSEUM BUILDING Most of the artefacts Zahariev obtained for Verkovich were coins. From the correspondence it is noticeable that at the time (mid 19th century) the trade in coins and other artefacts in Bulgaria was uncontrolled and sparked mass treasure-hunting activities.47 Different consuls, travellers and collectors who came explicitly to Bulgaria to buy archaeological artefacts were apparently the main reason for the appearance of the first regulations in the Ottoma Empire concerning preservation of artefacts – the Antiquities Regulation (March 1869).48 There was no definition of the term ‘antiquity’ in this regulation. It concerned more the excavations – who could make an excavation, in what conditions, what the export terms were, etc. The export of artefacts was prohibited unless permission was obtained yet old coins, strangely, were exempt. However, selling artefacts within the borders of the empire was permitted.

copper Bulgarian and Byzantine coins found in the village of Barutun. The other source of information about Stefan Zahariev’s collection is the private archive of Stefan Verkovich. Verkovich (1821-1891), of Bosnian origin, was a person who worked actively for the development of the Bulgarian revival in Southwest Bulgarian lands (see Hristov 1969). After completing the courses of the Franciscan catholic school, the Sutinski monastery and the Episcopal lyceum in Zagreb, Verkovich went to Belgrade and became a member of a secret national propaganda organization for the liberation of the Southern Slavs from Ottoman oppression in 1849. The members of this organization had to travel in Bosnia, Herzegovina, Serbia and in the Southwest Bulgarian lands and spread its ideas. Stefan Verkovich became the agent for Macedonia. However for this study most important is his ‘incredible wish to study the culture and customs of the people inhabiting the Balkan peninsula’ (Hristov 1969: 6-7).

Two positive points come from this document, the prohibition of excavation without special permission and the prohibition of export. However in practice it never actually stopped the illegal excavation and export of artefacts. Foreign counsels largely exploited the loopholes in the legislation. For example, in a letter dated 10th of February 1864,49 Zahariev mentions the German Consul, Mr. Berti, who came to Plovdiv for business purposes, and bought all the available coins and antiques for an un-named museum abroad. In a letter dated 25th of September 186450 Zahariev mentions that the Austrian Consul also wanted to buy particular coins.

His extensive trips, which lasted ten years, favoured these activities. He published four ethnographical books, reflecting the customs of the Bulgarian population and with this he ‘helped the revival process in Bulgaria’ (Hristov ibid: 1). During his trips Verkovich also collected archaeological artefacts for different Serbian cultural institutions and paid several Bulgarians to collect material for him. He possessed archaeological and ethnographic collections, which according to Verkovich’s will passed to Dr. I. Shafarik, the Director of the Belgrade Museum.45

From the correspondence one thing is particularly noticeable, namely Zahariev’s desire not only to collect artefacts but to create a Bulgarian museum and exhibit Bulgarian artefacts to be seen by ‘the whole population’ (Zahariev BAN, f. 14k. a.e. 345, l. 2-5). During the period Zahariev worked in the Pazardjik chitalishte he ensured the start of the museum activities by putting on display the artefacts he had personally collected. His wish was to donate his whole collection to such a museum, something well-documented in a letter Zahariev sent to the Pravo newspaper.51 The correspondence also demonstrates that Zahariev received several offers from foreigners who wished to purchase his collection but he never agreed. In a letter from Hristo Zahariev to Stefan Verkovich52 informing him about the death of his father Stefan, Hristo mentions that the offers from foreigners to buy the collection were particularly persistent. German engineers, who were in Bulgaria to build railways made several offers, but both Stefan and Hristo refused as these ‘were people who cannot understand the real value of an antique’. It would appear there was a real desire by pre-

His archive shows extensive correspondence with different representatives of the Bulgarian intelligentsia asking them to collect archaeological, ethnographic and palaeographic materials for him. In the case of the present book this archive is the main source of information pertaining to Stefan Zahariev’s collecting activities. The surviving personal correspondence between them started in 1863 with a letter from Zahariev to Verkovich,46 the former introducing himself to the latter. At that time Zahariev already had a collection, formed during his trips in the country while collecting material for his book. The letter not only informs Verkovich about what kind of old documents were held in the collection, such as twenty incunabula, for which he asked ‘the Tzarigrad municipality to publish them together with all other such books and old documents which were in private hands and to keep them in one place and to form a museum’ (BAN, f. 14k, a.e. 345, l. 2-5). From this letter it is obvious that Verkovich tried to find educated Bulgarians to describe different parts of Bulgaria as Zahariev offered to try to find people who could do it. He also offered to buy antiques for him. This is the main subject of the remaining correspondence which lasted until Zahariev’s death in 1871.

45 46


See Petkova 2004 The French text had been consulted – a translation from Ottoman Turkish into French by Aristachi Bey (Legislation Ottomane, 1874, Constantinople). The publication contains a reference that there could be inexactnesses in the translation to French. 49 BAN, f. 14k, a.e. 345, l. 6-8 50 BAN, f. 14k. a.e. 345, l. 14-15 51 9 August 1871/24:95 52 BAN, f. 14k. a.e. 346, l. 1 48

BAN, f. 14k, a.e. 4 BAN, f. 14k, a.e. 345, l. 2-5


BULGARIA AND ITS MUSEUMS IN ‘NEW’ EUROPE sell to the museum the remaining part of his collection containing his most valuable artefacts, including coins from the time of Tzar Shishman (1371-1395) and two particularly valuable coins from the time of Tzar Mihail (1323-1330), on which Tzar Mihail is on horse, ‘the only Bulgarian coins of that type’ (BIA, f. 35, a.e. 1187, l. 600). Unfortunately the valuation of the museum for the whole collection was only 300 leva. Ianchev refused to sell them for less then 500 leva and Stoyanov, the Director of the National Library and Museum wrote a letter to the Minister of Education to seek permission to buy them for 500 leva so that ‘these important and valuable for our museum coins stay in Bulgaria’ (BIA, f. 35, a.e. 1187, l. 600). The minister’s answer was that these coins could only be bought for the price of 300 leva according to the valuation.64 Consequently the collection was lost to the museum. It is possible that Ianchev sold it abroad but there is no documentary evidence to confirm its fate. The reason for this statement is the wish expressed by Ianchev in correspondence with Stoyanov to sell the collection abroad if a Bulgarian museum did not buy it for 500 leva. Seemingly pre-Liberation nationalism and patriotism were no longer alive. Proof for this statement is also the collection of Nedio Jekov (18431907) from Liaskovetz.

liberation collectors to work for the prosperity of Bulgaria by forming archaeological collections and museums.

The collections of Simeon Ianchev and Nedio Jekov There are two other intellectuals and collectors who assembled collections before the Liberation. They are Simeon Ianchev (?-?) from Shumen, Northeast Bulgaria, and Nedio Jekov (1843-1907) from Liaskovetz, north Bulgaria, near the old capital of Veliko Tarnovo.54 Simeon Ianchev studied in the French lyceum in Tzarigrad until 1852. For the period 1852-1858 he was a teacher in Shumen where he took an active part in the theatrical life of the town and participated in the first Bulgarian orchestra. From 1859 to 1862 he was a teacher in Sliven. Nothing is known about him after this period.55 In the archive of Stefan Verkovich there is a letter56 from Ianchev to Verkovich written from Vidin in 1865, from which it is evident that Ianchev was one of the people who collected archaeological artefacts for Verkovich. Another letter,57 from Ianchev to a friend in Vienna,58 contains information relating to his wish to go to Vienna and Munich and buy catalogues of old coins and other antiquities in order to be better informed about the trade. In a letter from Vassil Stoyanov, Director of the National Library and Museum to the Minister of Education, dated 27th February 188759 mention is made that Simeon Ianchev had been actively collecting ‘for the last thirty years (prior to 1887) and is very informed about archaeological and numismatic findings’. This is the only information found about Ianchev’s collection before the Liberation.

Jekov was another intellectual who first studied in a monastery school in his native town. In 1863 he was a teacher in Dolna Oriahovitza, Liaskovetz and Razgrad. He continued with his education in Belgrade, where he completed the courses of the theological school (18631867) and went on to study philosophy at the Belgrade Academy in 1870. After his return to Bulgaria he became the head teacher of a school he founded in Liaskovetz and became first chancellor of the Theological School of Petropavlovski Monastery (1874-1876). In 1875 he was a superintendent of Gorna Oriahovitza, than Drianovo and the whole Tarnovo region. After the liberation he was a deputy (1881) and school inspector for the Vidin (18821884) and the Lom (1884-1885) areas. During the last years of his life he was a lawyer and publicist. He was also a collaborator in the following newspapers: Dunavska zora (1868), Makedonia (1869, 1871-1872), Turcia (1872), Levant Times (1874) and Chitalishte Magazine (1872). He published poems in Duhovni knijki (1864), wrote a Biography of Theodosii Tarnovski (1867, Belgrade) and Historical view on the history of the Yugoslav people in the meaning of politics (1868, Belgrade). Clearly Jekov was a person who made a contribution to the cultural life of the population of Bulgaria.

What was in this collection partly became known immediately after 1878 when organised museum activities in Bulgaria began. The name of Simeon Ianchev is present very often in museum correspondence in connection with different old coins he offered to sell to the National Library and Museum in Sofia. For example in 1883 Ianchev offered to the museum 215 coins for 450 leva,60 in 1884 - 33 old Greek coins for 37.50 leva,61 in 1885 - 3 silver Roman coins for 20 leva,62 in 1886 - 3 golden coins for 150 leva.63 In 1891 Ianchev offered to 54 Data concerning these collections is limited and that given here is based on the original documents found in the Archive of the National Library in Sofia and the State Archive in Veliko Tarnovo, which have escaped the attention of Bulgarian authors 55 See Genchev 1988 56 BAN, f. 14k, a.e. 369, l. 2 57 BIA, f. 384, a.e. 36, l. 1-4 58 The name of the person could not be found 59 BIA, f. 35, a.e. 1187, l. 390 60 One lev is equal to 100 stotinki. Introduced with the Law for the coinage right (1880). The value of the lev and stotinka was then equal to the French franc and centime (Enciclopedia Balgaria 1986); (BIA, f. 35, a.e. 1187, l.186) 61 BIA, f. 35, a.e. 1187, l. 264 62 BIA, f. 35, a.e. 1187, l. 316 63 BIA, f. 35, a.e. 1187, l. 331

With regards to his private collection his archive in Veliko Tarnovo State archive and a few documents in the National Library in Sofia offer limited information. Memoirs without date and signature (but according to the text written by one of his sons)65 reveal that people came to visit Jekov to see his collection but also to ask if he could help them to identify artefacts accidentally found 64 65


BIA, f. 35, a.e. 1187, l. 603 DAVT, f. 83k, op. 1, a.e. 157

PRIVATE COLLECTIONS AND MUSEUM BUILDING nature of objects collected was almost exclusively archaeological.

near the town of Liaskovetz. The content of the collection (or part of it) is demonstrated by extensive correspondence between Simeon Ianchev, Jekov’s close friend, and Vassil Stoyanov, Director of the National Library and Museum in Sofia, which started in 1887. In 1886 Jekov asked Ianchev to value two of the artefacts in his collection, namely two Roman military diplomas, found accidentally by locals in the village of Debelec.65 In letters dated 2nd of May 1886 and 13th of June 188666 Ianchev replied that it is not in his competence to value these objects but he wrote to the appropriate people abroad for help. He also informed the Director of the National Library and Museum about Jekov’s wish to sell the most precious artefacts in his collection. Ianchev started intensive correspondence with the Director of the Museum, Vassil Stoyanov, to resolve the case. In a letter dated 27th February 1887 Stoyanov requested permission from the Minister of Education T. Ivanchov,67 to buy the artefacts for the Museum.68 The valuation of ‘museums in Paris and London is for 6000 leva’ (BIA, f. 35, a.e. 1187, l. 390). Ivanchov unfortunately replied that these could not be bought as the budget of the Museum for the whole year was 3000 leva. Stoyanov also wanted to ask wealthy people to donate money so that the artefacts could be bought from Jekov. Simeon Ianchev also asked Jekov69 to show his patriotism and not to require such a high amount so that the artefacts could stay in Bulgaria, apparently without result.

In West Europe collecting had become widespread by about 1650 or even earlier and princely collections were meant ‘to celebrate the power and wisdom of the prince and to dazzle courtiers and visitors with a tangible show of his splendour’ (Pearce 1992: 93). In contrast Bulgarians started building mainly archaeological collections with a different aim and only at the beginning of the 19th century. As already explained the period of Bulgarian Revival, although regarded by some authors as a Bulgarian Renaissance, is very different from the European Renaissance not only in terms of chronology but also in appearance and essence. Unlike Western Europeans, the Bulgarians found another basis for their ‘renaissance’. It was not classical antiquity that drove collecting but the desire for independent Bulgarian state and an independent Bulgarian church. The catalyst was the struggle for the establishment of their culture, i.e. culture that was in accordance with contemporary standards, generated by ideological and political forces, that was created by Bulgarians in the Bulgarian language, and that met at the needs of Bulgarian society. The revolutionary appeals to collect artefacts in order to demonstrate through them to the people the Bulgarian past, provide knowledge about it and inspire national pride resulted in private collections, composed mainly of archaeological and ethnographic materials of Bulgarian origin. However, in the case of Bulgarian private collections in addition to the fact concerning their late appearance and specificity relating them to pre-Ottoman times there is a need to introduce another issue - their importance to Bulgarians. When contemplating the reasons behind the act of private collecting in Bulgaria before and shortly after the Liberation the matter of nationhood seems to be of particular importance. Chronological order is apparently not the only characteristic we need to observe when talking about private collections in Bulgaria.

The whole story was forgotten until 1891 when Jekov offered again his artefacts to the museum and Stoyanov requested again permission from the Minister of Education to buy them. No information could be traced as to what happened after that. It is thought that the artefacts were never acquired by the National Library and Museum and that apparently Jekov sold them abroad but documentary proof has not been found. However, from this case it is obvious that reasons for collecting had changed dramatically after 1878. The patriotism demonstrated before the Liberation when people were ready to donate their whole collections for the opening of a museum, where all Bulgarians could see the evidences of the Bulgarian past had changed. The act of collecting had become a source of revenue.

Collecting is ‘the selective gathering and keeping of objects of subjective value’ (Muensterberger 1994: 4). The subjective aspect of the act of collecting is to be underlined; whatever is collected ‘is of particular significance to the individual collector. … [H]is collection is bound to reflect certain aspects of his own personality…. The emotion and often the ardour attached to the collected object is not necessarily commensurate with its special-ness or commercial value, nor does it relate to any kind of usefulness’(Muensterberger ibid: 4). In other words the passion for collecting differs according to individual style, circumstances and inner causes. There is however a need to open up the study of collecting to a range of interpretations.71 Indeed while trying to understand the reasons behind the act of collecting in preLiberation Bulgaria the differences between collectors, but most important the significance of each collection becomes noticeable. Arguably ‘…every collector has a

Features of early Bulgarian private collections The study of collecting is a study of practice, of the ways in which people make sense of the world by bringing elements together.70 Two characteristic of early Bulgarian private collections distinguish them from West European private collections: they were a very late event and the 65

DAVT , f. 83k, op. 1, a.e. 125, l.1-2 DAVT , f. 83k, op.1, a.e. 125, l.1-2 and DAVT , f. 83k, op.1, a.e. 125, l. 3-4 67 Minister of Education for the periods: September 1886 - July 1887 and January 1899 – October 1899 68 BIA, f. 35, a.e 1187, l. 705 69 DAVT, f. 83k, op. 1, a.e. 125, l. 3-4 70 See Pearce and Arnold 2000 66



See Pearce 1995

BULGARIA AND ITS MUSEUMS IN ‘NEW’ EUROPE On the other hand 19th century Eastern Europe and especially the Balkan Peninsula were the focus of interest for rich foreign traders and collectors. The abundance of artefacts which could be easily found or bought cheaply was a well-known fact to European collectors. As Milkovich (1982:5) states in relation to Macedonian museums: '…Today the biggest part of our heritage that for centuries had been systematically exported is in the European or other continents museums…'. This statement is also valid for Bulgaria. This fact gradually changed the reasons for collecting and influenced the ways of thinking of collectors, something which will be discussed in more detail in chapters four and five, which also describe the appearance and development of Bulgarian museums up until 1944, specifically concentrating on the work and contribution of two individuals - Vassil Stoyanov and Nikolai Pavlovich.

‘rational’ purpose in mind when collecting’ (Pearce 1995: 21). It is not entirely clear what the initial purpose in the case of Tosho Tzenov’s collection was, due to lack of sufficient written accounts. It is the first documented private collection in Bulgaria and is important to Bulgarian museology considering its richness and long, fascinating history. However, in its initial period it remained closed to the general public and it was only available from the 1880s when Tzenov’s grandson donated part of it to the National Museum and Library. While in the case of Stefan Penev Ahtar or Stefan Zahariev, the opposite is true; collections of artefacts of Bulgarian origin were made with the explicit aim to show them to the public for inspiration. The collections of Simeon Ianchev and Nedio Jekov were (arguably) formed with rather egocentric zeal. In those early days of collecting activities in Bulgaria objects might have been similar, i.e. mainly of archaeological origins, but their significance to the collectors differed as did their collectors’ motivations and the dynamics of their undertakings. Collections and collecting are then concerned with process and most importantly with social practice.72 If the rhetoric of some of these collections was to learn more about the past, to discover why and how ideas are made, aiming at knowledge, trying to explain and explore, others were representation of the act of collecting understood ‘as the notion of set-aside’ (Pearce 1995:406). In this sense these early Bulgarian private collections already represent the difference between individual and museum collection.

Summary Under the new, more favourable conditions that occurred in Bulgaria at the end of the 18th and the first half of 19th century, national awareness began to reappear with the stimulus of national feelings of patriotism, affection towards the Bulgarian language and to cultural and historical values. Changes in socio-political and cultural life influenced progressive Bulgarians. Increased financial stability allowed broadening of access to different spiritual values and a desire to collect objects, being not only a demonstration of wealth but also an attempt to emulate European trends in collecting. However Bulgarian private collections cannot be compared to the great collections of Europe. They were collections formed by representatives of a country whose population had lived for centuries under oppression, with no Tzar or King to set an example. At that precise moment (18th-19th centuries) the only way to selfassertion was to demonstrate the past glory of their nation to the world and to work for its spiritual and economic recovery. The Bulgarians who had the possibility to travel, whose personalities were progressive enough to make the relation between wealth, public recognition and possession of exquisite objects, used collecting as a passport to another, better, world. 72

See Pearce 1999


lands. Also Bulgaria, unlike other Balkan countries such as Greece, Serbia and Romania, is more geographically isolated, having no direct border with central and west European countries.1 These factors determined to a greater extent the social and political environment in Bulgaria at the beginning of the 19th century, the century which saw the birth of many nations within Europe. On the other hand, this delay was favorable as Bulgarian nationalists had a model to follow when building up nationalistic ideals.2

Early Museums Introduction The first Bulgarian museum appeared as part of the chitalishte cultural organisation in 1856 but it was only after the Liberation (1878) that the first National museum was founded in Sofia as part of the National Library. The functions and significance of the chitalishte and the forgotten activities of Nikolai Pavlovich are discussed in detail here to illustrate the importance of the social environment and personal dedication to museum building in Bulgaria. Much of this development took place during a period of social and financial instability that disrupted the status and operation of the ‘conventional’ vehicles for the establishment of museums seen in other parts of Europe. Does this make Bulgarian museum history special or different? Has this history had an impact on contemporary Bulgarian museums? These are the two main questions which will be addressed in this and the following chapters.

Cultural nationalism, characteristic for 19th century Bulgaria had (as in every other country) its symbols. Such symbols could provide emotional identification with a specific geographical area, an historical and cultural heritage, a national language or a notable figure in science or literature.3 The first Bulgarian nationalists may not have had such symbols in mind when they started working on nation building but they must have been influenced by events in surrounding countries such as Hungary where nationalism emerged earlier (at the beginning of the 19th century). The creation of the chitalishte4 institution had the primary aim to discuss and popularize issues such as a unified Bulgarian language and to celebrate the historical and cultural heritage of the country. The activists used Hilendarski’s Istoria Slavianobolgarskaia (1762) as a tool but then visualized that history through the collection and exhibition of Bulgarian artefacts in the chitalishta.

The chitalishte institution The notion of nationalism in 19th century Bulgaria When considering the concept of nationalism, which according to Minogue (1967: 33) is ‘a European invention’ the classic situation was that a nation already existed, fragmented into a variety of states or principalities. Nationalism was the attempt to make ‘…the boundaries of the state and those of the nation coincide’ (Minogue ibid: 12). In this process several authors (Minogue ibid, Wright 1996, Sugar 1999) consider France as the model for the birth of nationalism throughout Europe. In France by the 17th century ‘…nation was coming to stand for the political people’ (Minogue ibid: 10) and referred to a public interest in contrast to private privileges. If we consider nationalism as a process, the first stage is the moment when ‘…the nation becomes aware of itself as a nation suffering oppression’ (ibid: 26). This leads to the second stage - the struggle for independence. The driving forces behind these processes were the intellectuals who by the 19th century had increased in numbers throughout Europe.

Organisation The Bulgarian chitalishte is ‘a unique institution, which has a special place in the history of Bulgarian society’ (Gavrilova et al 2000:7). The three acts of the Ottoman authorities, mentioned earlier, gave impetus to all the cultural activities of the people of the empire in the 19th century, opening up possibilities for Bulgarians which until then were unthinkable. One of the outcomes was the creation of the chitalishte cultural institution. The mechanism of setting up chitalishte institutions was quite similar everywhere in Bulgaria.5 A chitalishte was normally founded after preliminary negotiations - i.e., after discussing the idea in casual conversations and meetings in public places. The next stage was the organisation of a meeting with the participation of all persons interested to vote in favour of establishing the chitalishte. It was then provided with a name and a board appointed (usually consisting of a chairman, a vicechairman, a secretary and a treasurer). Chitalishte

However, if countries such as France, Italy or Germany were large and relatively independent, others nations-tobe were still parts of an empire (Ottoman or AustroHungarian) and therefore nationalism had its differing connotations. Bulgarian nationalism in its 19th century form was a later event compared to similar actions in other European countries. The reasons for this are firstly to be found in the geographical position of the country. In the Ottoman period there were two consequences for Bulgaria because of its position. Due to the proximity to the center of the Ottoman empire, Constantinople, more Muslims settled in Bulgarian lands, while Turkish troops were able to exercise much greater control over these


See Stavrianos 2000 As suggested by Genchev 1982 3 Minogue 1967 4 Chitalishte - singular and chitalishta – plural, usually translated as ‘reading room’. Crampton (2005) however consider this translation inadequate and propose ‘community centre’ as a better expression of the essence of this institution. 5 For a detailed and comprehensive account on the history and social dimensions of the chitalishte institution see Gavrilova et al 2000 2


BULGARIA AND ITS MUSEUMS IN ‘NEW’ EUROPE make decisions for common activity and struggle. …The chitalishte was the organisation which made our people make attempts to communicate with their fellow Bulgarians, think of themselves as members of one and the same nation and take initiatives to provide spiritual and material well being to all. Over a certain period, the chitalishte was the one and only leader of public opinion and attitudes. In the movement for national reawakening and liberation, the chitalishte - a real people's institution…- concentrated the public activity of Bulgarian citizens….For Bulgarian society the chitalishte became the place to discover modern culture and was a bridge to Europe and its ideas.

founders would also establish financial capital and agree on membership fees. Later on, the by-laws would be printed and - when possible - a seal would be designed and produced. On the practical side premises had to be found and a library/reading room set up. The lack of buildings appropriate for social events and gatherings meant that the chitalishte would usually be located on school premises, in churches or in private homes. The library would initially be supplied by the local church book depository or school collection and gradually be enlarged by donations.6 ‘The initial capital of the chitalishte would be used for subscriptions to periodical editions and for book purchasing’ (Gavrilova et al ibid: 20).

Social dimensions

Bulgarian chitalishte in comparison to European societies

The social origin of Bulgarian chitalishte brought two main groups to the fore - teachers and tradesmen. For example the initiators for the organisation of a chitalishte in the town of Lom were the teacher Krastio Pishurka, his students and a group of influential tradesmen; in the town of Svishtov - the teachers Emanuil Vaskidovich and Georgi Vladikin (the chitalishte itself was located in the home of Dimitar Nachovich, a prominent tradesman); in the town of Shoumen - the teachers Sava Dobroplodni, Nikola Batsarov and Dobri Voynikov; in the town of Kazanlak - the tradesmen Stefan Gruev was among the most ardent upholders of the chitalishte, founded in 1857 (Chilingirov 1934).

In chapter three mention was made of the letter from the historian Prof. Marin Drinov (1838-1906) addressed to the Bulgarian chitalishta (August 7th, 1869). The letter is both an appeal-program and a set of rules for collecting ethnographic materials, old manuscripts and archaeological artefacts. In it Drinov stated that ‘in other countries there are special societies whose purpose is to create museums and preserve artefacts but in Bulgaria it is the chitalishta that should do what in other countries is done by societies and academies’. In England for example:

It was the cultural activity of the chitalishte that was the reason for its popularity and became its characteristic feature and symbol. For Bulgarian society, ‘…which was at that time in the process of discovering modern culture, the chitalishte became a territory reserved for culture’ (Gavrilova et al ibid: 19). Theatrical performances had the greatest success compared to the other arts while certain chitalishta went even further in their projects. For instance, the one in Svishtov introduced a mechanism for financial support to Bulgarian writers; while the one in Tulcha announced a prize to be awarded to the best collection of folk tales and songs, archaeological and historical documents (Gavrilova et al ibid).

…the foundations of the modern museum movement were firmly laid by the philosophical societies established throughout the country in the late eighteen and early nineteenth centuries. Their primary objects were the promotion of literature, science and the arts by the following means: by public lectures, by the reading of original essays and papers, by literary and philosophical conversation, by requesting the communications and correspondence of scientific persons, by collecting books and by forming a museum of specimens of natural history and of the arts (Brears 1984: 3).

The feature to be stressed here is that the chitalishte brought into one place members of the local community regardless of their education, financial situation, personal ethics or interests. Until then the only other place where different representatives of society could meet were the monasteries. Or as Gavrilova et al (ibid)7 summarizes:

Such activities had taken place in England from the mid 17th century. At this time Bulgaria was dominated by the Ottoman empire and very far from such progressive ideas. In England the need for these societies was motivated by the wish of gentlemen, mainly of the professional and merchant classes, to explore the rapidly expanding fields of natural history, chemistry and physics. By the end of the 18th century the Literary and Philosophical Society of Newcastle upon Tyne (1793), The Society of Antiquaries of Scotland (1781) and the Manchester Literary and Philosophical Society (1781) already maintained libraries and museums, acting as precursors of the first public museum. The early 1800s saw

Not only did (the chitalishte) play the role of a cultural-educational institution, but also of a club, where Bulgarians, regardless of status, could share their views on public issues of local and national importance, discuss ways and means and 6

See Gavrilova et all (ibid) A quotation from the parliamentary committee report of the Ministry of National education, 1911



EARLY MUSEUMS Bulgarian ethnographic exhibition, organized in Tzarigrad in 1873. This exhibition provoked considerable interest in Bulgarian newspapers, with articles supporting arguments for the need for greater attention to be given to Bulgarian historical and ethnographic materials in order to spread knowledge about the country and its achievements. It was felt that such an approach could give Bulgaria a place in European cultural development.9

…tremendous energy in data gathering, publishing and the founding of national societies devoted to various branches of natural history (The Zoological society 1826, The Entomological Society 1833, The Palaeontographical Society 1847). …(their) members did much to advance the knowledge of natural history and build significant museums (Davis 1996: 16). In Bulgaria the chitalishta were to play a similar role to the English societies but their reasons for creating and organizing museum activities differed. The chitalishte institution was created with the primary functions of publishing books, establishing the Bulgarian language and providing additional educational opportunities. These roles were predetermined by the need to stimulate the revival of a sense of Bulgarian national identity. Museums, created within the chitalishta also differ from the ones within Literary and Philosophical societies in England (or in similar societies in other European countries) by the purpose of organization of these museums and the nature of their collections. Both Bulgarian chitalishta and English Literary and Philosophical societies saw the creation of museums as a major task to be accomplished as ‘a means of keeping important local material preserved for the benefit of the local community’ (Brears 1984: 4). In England however initially the interest was in natural history and geology. So, for example, Whitby museum was opened with the main task to preserve the collections of fine Lias fossils exposed in the nearby cliffs. In some cases the discovery of natural history artefacts was the reason for the creation of a society. For instance it was the discovery of a group of fossil bones in Kirkdale Cave (North York Moors) which brought together the gentlemen who founded the Yorkshire Philosophical Society.

The first public museum The first chitalishte in Bulgaria was opened to the public on 30 January 1856 in the town of Svishtov,10 a major trading centre in Northern Bulgaria on the river Danube (Argirov 1924). The minutes of the constituent meeting, held in the house (Fig. 4.1) of Dimitar Nachovich (18451920), prominent tradesman and entrepreneur, reflected the initiative's background. The 45 chitalishte pioneers present at the meeting devoted to the organisation not only their time and energy, but also contributed financially. The total sum donated was enormous for the time - grosh 37, 409.11 Emanuil Vaskidovich, the founder of the first Bulgarian school in Svishtov and ‘the real initiator of the opening of chitalishte’ (Argirov ibid: 66), donated 800 volumes to the new chitalishte library. The intention in organising the first Bulgarian chitalishte was that it should be both ‘a library and a museum’ (Djonev 1957:12). There was an announcement in the Tzarigrad newspaper Turcia, (1856/49:3) about the opening of the first chitalishte – museum. It read: The inextinguishable spark, always alive in the hearts of the Svichtov people, gave birth to a new idea concerning moral education. This happened at a meeting between D. Nachovich, H. Filchov, E. Vaskidovich and G. Vladikin. Led by their patriotism they decided to express their love of their country and give as much as they can, according to their possibilities, to popular education…They decided to create a chitalishtemuseum which would be also a library with books in different languages and old manuscripts.

In contrast the initial purpose of museum building in Bulgaria was to stimulate the collection of archaeological and ethnographic material of Bulgarian origin and to display them in these local museums to provoke pride in the Bulgarian past and inspire visitors (Chilingirov ibid). This strategy supported the task of Bulgarian nationalists to build up national self-consciousness in the Bulgarian population. However, what Drinov pointed out in his letter-appeal was that Bulgarian chitalishta were encouraged to be the institutions to accomplish tasks seen as important for the local population. In Bulgaria the level of literacy and status of the population made the chitalishte a more appropriate vehicle. In his letter Drinov also promoted certain ‘Rules for the collection of popular songs and fairy-tales’ and ‘Rules for the description of old Bulgarian manuscripts’. The appeal, the programme and the rules were valuable since they made patriotically minded people collect artefacts and encouraged their display in the chitalishta throughout the country.8 Examples include the Svishtov chitalishte (1856) displaying a small archaeological and numismatic collection or the Veliko Tarnovo chitalishte (1873), whose museum collection was inspired by the first ever 8

Vassil Manchov in his article A few words about the Svishtov chitalishte, published in the Svishtov Naroda 9

See Domuschiev 1966 Gavrilova et el (2000) mention that three chitalishta emerged at the same time – in Lom, in Shoumen and in Svishtov. Chilingirov (1934), Argirov (1924) and Djonev (1957) however insist that the first one was the one based in Svishtov. It is documented though that all of them appeared in 1956 with a few months difference in towns with similar geographic, economic and social character. All were trade centres with a homogeneous population and an active class of tradesmen who maintained active contacts with Central European countries, and whose descendants completed their studies abroad. 11 Grosh - the word was used since the Middle Ages for all thick silver coins, as opposed to thin silver coins such as deniers or pennies. From mid-18th century the silver grosh was replaced by copper coins with the same name. One grosh at the time bought 13 loaves of bread. 10

See Radonov 1972



Fig. 4.1 The house where the decision for the opening of the Svishtov chitalishte was taken

newspaper (1879/17) gave a more detailed description of those eventful days. His memoirs are interesting as he directly took part in preparing the constitutive record and regulations of the first Bulgarian chitalishte. He described the program and the aims of the cultural-educational institute as follows:

origin of the coins and it is impossible to make an accurate assessment. The historical archives had the objective of collecting ‘from the whole Balkan Peninsula the remaining popular monuments such as parchments, manuscripts, incunabula, etc.’ (Djonev 1957:14). The reference to the whole Balkan Peninsula is not accidental. The suggestion being made was that the museum would remind everyone of the times of ‘Bulgarian glory’ when the country had a much greater territory. Therefore everything Bulgarian was to be collected – ‘to awaken the national consciousness forgotten after five centuries of foreign domination’ (Djonev ibid: 14).

…The same week at a meeting the donors decided to use the capital to open a popular chitalishte (this was the first chitalishte in Bulgaria). A commission was to work out the program. The program had four points: 1) to create a town library, 2) to collect throughout Balkan peninsula existing Bulgarian monuments such as parchments, old manuscripts, Bulgarian coins, etc…., 3) to help young people continue their education abroad and came back to Bulgaria after it and 4) help Bulgarian writers publish their works.

But who were the people that created this institution and why in Svishtov? Certainly geographical position plays a very important role in the development of all kinds of activities in Bulgaria. At the time in question Svishtov was one of the main trading centres on the Danube river, a principal route to Western Europe. Some of the people who created the chitalishte were rich traders and intellectuals who had the chance to travel, mainly abroad, and therefore obtain information about the latest Western European cultural achievements. So Dimitar Nachovich (1845-1920) after completing his education in political economy in Paris, was the person who first delivered ironwork and glass to Bulgaria via the Danube (Djambazov 1958). He opened a major grocery store and used his financial assets to publish a Primary school book in 1850 and pay for Bulgarian youths to complete their education abroad. However, what these people might have seen abroad could not be transferred automatically into the Bulgarian way of life simply because of the different state organisation. It had to be organised around local needs at the time, to educate and inspire, to provoke

The idea of the first Bulgarian chitalishte and museum came into being at the same time. The first constitutive record, regulations and program of the chitalishte apply also to the museum. According to these documents – the program and attached inventory - there were some very important artefacts in its collection, such as two copies of Paissii Hilendarski’s Istoria Slavianobolgarskaia, several old parchments and manuscripts and old coins displayed in a special case which had been designed and made by Nikolai Pavlovich (1852-1894). The archaeological museum, whose task was to collect ‘old remains’ and ‘coins’, was meant to develop its numismatic collection with an emphasis on Bulgarian coins. Unfortunately the inventory does not say anything about the number or 40

EARLY MUSEUMS Nikolai Pavlovich, painter, ethnographer and political activist, was deeply involved in the development of the museum institution in Bulgaria and helped build up a system to approach heritage-related issues. Pavlovich’s biography appeared in 1955, written by his nephew N. D. Pavlovich. At the beginning he states:

national self-consciousness and pride within local communities. Gradually chitalishta appeared in major towns in the country12 and most of them had museum collections. So for example, in the Shoumen chitalishte the teacher Sava Dobroplodni (1820-1894) created an archaeological collection in 1857, while in Lom Krastio Pichurka (18231875), Revival teacher and writer, collected incunabula and manuscripts and displayed them in the local chitalishte in 1856. In Razgrad the teacher Anani Iavashev (1855-1934) formed a small archaeological collection for the local chitalishte and put it on display on the eve of the Liberation (Nedkov 1998).

The life and activities of the first Bulgarian painter of historical paintings and one of the first Bulgarian painters is of great interest mainly because of his incredible efforts to establish the concept of Art in a society, which was not yet ready for it (1955:9). A society not ready for the innovations he was trying to introduce. This seems characteristic of many of his activities, including those related to museums and heritage.

The only place for Bulgarian archaeological collections to be exhibited at this first stage of museum formation were the chitalishta institutions. The chitalishta and the museum collections formed there had one main aim – the building of national self-consciousness. Through the images of Bulgarian kings and readings of Paissii’s Istoria Slavianobolgarskaia (1762) ‘…ordinary Bulgarians acquired the much needed national self-belief which made them participate in the struggle for religious and state independence’ (Gavrilova 2000: 18). Numerous lectures about the need to collect and preserve artefacts in order to study the history of Bulgaria attracted many activists to work in this field as they ‘were aware of the importance of growing feelings of patriotism among the people’ (Gavrilova 2000: 55-6). The fact that the first private collections in Bulgaria were related to collecting archaeological artefacts rather than natural history collections or art collections (as was the case in many West European countries) is also of importance. If a collection was formed at all, it was of archaeological artefacts – something Bulgaria was and still is very rich in. By revealing remains that demonstrated Bulgaria once had been a great state the first Bulgarian museums aimed to inspire people and build self-belief in the population. Only later, after the Liberation, when there was more information about the situation in Europe did the interest in other kinds of collections increase.

Nikolai Pavlovich (1852-1894) and his contribution to Bulgarian museum building Although earlier references linked the origins of Bulgarian museums explicitly with the efforts and enthusiasm of progressive Bulgarians, this section reveals that with Nikolai Pavlovich personal involvement went far beyond expected boundaries. He was such a progressive thinker that his ideas were not understood by the majority of his contemporaries. However his example set the path that was followed by Bulgarian museums up until the beginning of the communist era in 1944.


Fig. 4.2 Nikolai Pavlovich in 1859 – self portrait, source Pavlovich (1955)

Nikolai Pavlovich (Fig. 4.2) was born on 9th December 1835 in the town of Svishtov, in the family of the Revival activist, school director and author of historical and school books, Hristaki Pavlovich, who unfortunately died from cholera at the age of 44 at the height of his creative activities. Nikolai Pavlovich received his primary education in his father’s school. After his father’s death he was sent by his uncle to Bucharest to study as a tradesman, but the young man was not interested in these

112 chitalishta by 1870 according to Gavrilova et al 2000


BULGARIA AND ITS MUSEUMS IN ‘NEW’ EUROPE The intention was that the publication would be an illustrated magazine, printed in both Bulgarian and German. The contents and illustrations would be ‘objects, new and old, of our customs to know them as a monument for our future generations’, which is presumably why its title had to be Memorial. He states:

studies and spent his time painting. His tutor saw his work and decided to send him to Vienna to study painting at the Art Academy. At that time life in Vienna was calm and romantic - ‘this was Baroque Vienna’ (Pavlovich ibid: 43) There, Nikolai Pavlovich spent four years in one of the oldest Art Academies, created in 1693, until he successfully completed the course, including the highest Masters degree and decided to continue his education at the Munich Art Academy.

We have seen that the ancient Egyptian memorials, etc. have clarified in exclusively positive light the ancient people and their tradition: hence the Memorial maintains the reminiscence. Our conception of the word memorial does not include only the tombstone, but we would rather have some wider understanding - Memorial shall include any national landmark and masterpiece, and any prominent event that has been personified and immortalised through tangible representation: poetry, painting, etc. In this sense is our publication Memorial….

Prof. Dr. Petar Beron (1799-1871), a distinguished Bulgarian scientist and teacher, helped him financially and morally. When he completed the course at the Munich Academy Prof. Beron decided that it would be good for the young painter to have the chance to see some world-famous art galleries and museums. Consequently in 1858 Pavlovich set off to Dresden, Prague and back to Vienna where he visited art galleries and museums. When he came back to Bulgaria, Nikolai Pavlovich took an active role in the life of the Bulgarian intelligentsia. He was active in many and varied activities which were aimed to foster cultural prosperity. He was a prolific painter with a specific interest in historical subjects and a member of different school committees, contributing greatly to the activities of the Svishtov chitalishte. He collected old coins and created what is thought to be the first museum case in Bulgaria designed to display them. He also collected old manuscripts and considered them ‘real monuments or documents that could help the understanding of the respective period or support some historical notes for the epoch in which they were created…’ (Pavlovich ibid: 182). Theatrical performances were also part of chitalishte activities and Nikolai became the first Bulgarian to establish himself as a theatrical scene painter .

Unfortunately Pavlovich was trying to introduce a concept in a society which was not yet ready to understand heritage preservation. Bulgarian society was little aware of the meaning of the terms museum or heritage and even less concerned with notions of preservation. Even in Western European countries14 the concept of preserving heritage was not fully clarified and the major steps in this direction were undertaken only at the end of the 19th century and at the beginning of the 20th century. So for example in Sweden the first open air-museum in the world Skansen, was ‘founded in 1891 by Arthur Hazelius (1833-1901) for the purpose of showing how people had lived and worked in different parts of Sweden in times gone by’.15 Historic buildings had been moved there from nearly every part of Sweden (Edenheim 1995). Most of them date from the 18th and 19th centuries. Visitors to the houses and farmsteads were and still are met by hosts and hostesses in period costume. They demonstrated domestic occupations, such as weaving and spinning. In other words, at a time when in Bulgaria people had no idea of the meaning of terms such as museum, heritage, representation of the past and its preservation, the first open-air museum in the world was organised in Sweden, demonstrating not only a new way of heritage preservation but also a new method for educating and inspiration. However even in this country, so progressive in terms of museums and the protection of historic monuments,16 the idea of the heritage, understood as an all-embracing entity did not emerge until 1938 when the Swedish National Heritage Board took over the responsibility of managing ancient monuments. Only then did terms such as Cultural Monuments,

The painter’s archive, preserved in Plovdiv National Library ‘Ivan Vazov’, reveals that in 1871 Pavlovich suggested that a magazine (with the name Memorial)13 should be published, devoted entirely to the issues of collecting and popularising old Bulgarian monuments, manuscripts, coins and ethnographic materials. He had a very strong belief that historical knowledge could serve as inspiration and is directly related to the birth of nationalistic feelings. If only our people would have the fortune to enjoy older times, inheriting from its ancestors such memorials that would immortalise its wonderful experience, eminent personalities, and other prominent events, … (that) could awaken with us a stronger recollection, and would reinforce our national consciousness, and hence - our progress and development! The faithful national history has inspired the generation of people that it has derived from, and such a history tradition could be supported a lot by the 'Memorial'. 13


Arguably with the exception of France, see McClellan 1999 Skansen 2004 Living history [online], Available from: http://www.skansen.se/pages/?ID=260 [23.11.2004] 16 In 1666 a royal proclamation with the force of law placed under royal prerogative old monuments and antiquities 15

Appendix 6


EARLY MUSEUMS person, which is why he appealed to all intelligent Bulgarians, whether in Bulgaria or abroad, to supply information. The magazine was intended to be published quarterly.

Environmental Planning and Building and Cultural Heritage start to be regarded as an entirety. It was only after World War I that the idea of creating an international movement for protecting heritage in that cumulative meaning emerged. The event which gave a real impetus happened in 1959 and was related to Egypt and its monuments, about whose significance and importance to humankind Pavlovich had written in 1871. The event which aroused particular international concern was the decision to build the Aswan High Dam in Egypt, which would have flooded the valley containing the Abu Simbel temples, a treasure of ancient Egyptian civilization. After an appeal from the governments of Egypt and Sudan, UNESCO decided to launch an international safeguarding campaign. Archaeological research in the areas to be flooded was accelerated.

In the project for the first volume18 Pavlovich described the contents of the magazine and announced that he had collected information about popular customs in the village of Pavel (Svishtov region), with projects for illustrations. Unfortunately all this effort came to nothing, forgotten and not used. The magazine never obtained enough subscribers to ensure publication. Today Nikolai Pavlovich is known as a great painter and the National Art Academy in Sofia is named after him. However, the museum and heritage side of his activities has been largely neglected but this fact does not make them any less important. A pioneer in Bulgarian museology, Pavlovich designed exhibitions in 1856, at the time of the opening of the first Bulgarian museum in the Svishtov chitalishte. Not only did he design coin cases, but in order to let visitors see the coins easier and appreciate them he painted each one in a larger format and placed the paintings, along with inscriptions, on the wall above the cases. Pavlovich seemed to know the importance of suitable presentation in 1856. By 1871 he also had a clear idea of how to popularise museums and heritage issues both amongst Bulgarians and abroad. His intention and detailed plans for a magazine testify his understanding of the need to popularise Bulgarian heritage. The first museum-related journals appeared in Europe at the beginning of the 20th century.19 The Museums Journal, the organ of the Museum Association in Great Britain, began monthly publication in 1902. The first issue of Museumskunde in Germany appeared in 1905, while Museum Work, produced by the American Association of Museums, began to appear twice a year in 1919. The state of museums in these countries has already been mentioned in that they were much more advanced than those in Bulgaria. When Pavlovich had decided to publish a museum and heritage related magazine in 1871 Bulgaria did not even have a national museum and was still under Ottoman dominance. This meant that the project was misunderstood and unpopular. The existence of Bulgaria as a state did not re-emerge until 1878 and the idea of a national museum was not clear at all. Pavlovich however was well aware that Bulgarian heritage deserved to be known not only by Bulgarians but also more widely in Europe, and that a bilingual magazine was a good solution. However ‘he was too much in advance for his time’ (Aceva 1980: 379). Unfortunately even today, more than a century later, Bulgarian museology seemingly does not realise the need and importance of such a popularising tool. At the present time - the 21st century - no museum and heritage journals are printed in Bulgaria.

Abu Simbel and Philae temples were dismantled, moved to dry ground and reassembled. The campaign cost about US$ 80 million, half of which was donated by some 50 countries,17 showing the importance of nations' shared responsibility in conserving outstanding cultural properties. When UNESCO adopted the Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage in 1972 it embraced ideas, similar to the ones Pavlovich expressed in 1871. The concept of heritage, considered not only as archaeological remains but as an entirety of monuments, groups of buildings and properties with historical, aesthetic, archaeological, scientific, ethnological or anthropological value, combined with natural heritage was expressed with one word by Nikolai Pavlovich – a memorial, which included all of them. And more important – Pavlovich understood the need for these to be protected and popularised because they could provoke ‘national consciousness, and hence - progress and development’. In the Pravo newspaper (1871/13) Pavlovich published a detailed programme for Memorial. ‘Every beginning is meagre and imperfect’, he stated, but he evidently believed that it would be ‘beneficial and influential to future generations’. He believed that if Bulgarian people immortalised Bulgarian heroic acts and heroes from earlier times then this would reinforce popular belief and awareness. He thought the edition would be well-timed ‘for the epoch we begin our resurrection, because history inspires future generations’. The intention was that the magazine should publish differing opinions from representatives of the Bulgarian intelligentsia on heritage-related issues. A very important issue for Pavlovich was the style of language used in the magazine. He believed that the language must be simple in order to be understood by as many people as possible. He also planned to publish the magazine in Bulgarian and German so that ‘…other people could get knowledge about Bulgarians, and Bulgarian heritage…’. However he knew that such work was beyond the power of one


Now located in the painters’ archives NBIV, f. 1, a.e. 252, l. 1-4 19 According to Hudson 1987:14


UNESCO 2004 A brief history [online], Available from: http://whc.unesco.org/5history.htm [17.10.2004]



Summary The social institution of the chitalishte played an important cultural role in Bulgaria from 1856 as it was a centre for social gatherings, lectures, performances and debates. Because it was available to the entire public, this institution spread national cultural and political ideals beyond the intelligentsia to wider society. The first Bulgarian public museum was created as part of the Svishtov chitalishte on the 30th January 1856. The fact that the Svichtov people had created a chitalishte museum was made known via announcements in newspapers and personal letters to different participants in the Bulgarian revival process. Gradually many chitalishta exhibited small collections of mainly Bulgarian archaeological artefacts thus targeting an increase in national self-consciousness and self-belief. With the help of the Bulgarian intelligentsia and people who had been educated abroad museums turned into organisations to spread knowledge and provoke enjoyment. However it was only after the Liberation (1878) when the situation concerning Bulgarian museums altered and these transformations were determined by political and social changes in the newly-formed Bulgarian state. Museum development up until the beginning of the communist era in Bulgaria is the subject matter of the next chapter.


and scaled back the area of the proposed Bulgarian state and divided it into three regions - an autonomous Principality of Bulgaria to be ruled by a prince (Alexander I (1879-1886)), an autonomous Ottoman province called Eastern Rumelia while the Bulgarians in Macedonia and Eastern Thrace were left under the rule of the Sultan.

PART TWO – MUSEUM MODELS How to create a European scale museum Introduction This chapter analyses the development of Bulgarian museums after the Liberation (1878) up until the beginning of the communist era in 1944. The information presented here is based primarily on archival documents. The surviving documents from the period before 1944 and especially for the period after the National Museum was separated from the Library (1892) are found in four different institutions: The State Archive, The Historical Archive of the National Library, The Archive of the Archaeological Museum and the Archive of the Bulgarian Academy of Science. None of these institutions has an adequate cataloguing system; the State Archive is particularly badly organised and it is possible that many valuable documents remain to be located. In addition, the air raids on Sofia in 19441 destroyed documents as well as the laboratories and documentation of the natural history institutions formed by Tzar Ferdinand I (18871918). After September 1944 when the communist party came to power archival documents from the period 19001944 were purposely destroyed as they were perceived to be ‘bourgeois’ and therefore opposing communist ideas.2 Subsequently papers written by authors such as Filov (1928), Iordanov (1933), Velkov (1942) and Vassilev (1942) who had the opportunity to use documents before 1944 are of particular importance as they offer essential information on the development of Bulgarian museums.

This situation however provoked deep feelings amongst Bulgarians and at the beginning of September 1885 nationwide patriotic enthusiasm reached its peak when the people's volunteer forces and regular troops overthrew the government of Eastern Rumelia and declared its unification with the principality of Bulgaria. Prince Alexander I and the Bulgarian government instantly accepted that act and assumed the governance of both areas. ‘The unification of Bulgaria led to a political crisis almost unparalleled in European history: Bulgaria and the Bulgarians had taken a stand against an allEuropean treaty’ (Dimitrov 1998: online). The Balkan states and the Great Powers were once again concerned that Bulgaria was becoming the largest state in the Balkans. In this difficult situation, surprisingly perhaps, Bulgarian museology continued to develop.

The National Library and Museum In such an intensive and demanding political and economic environment it might be expected that the cultural activities of the Bulgarian state were set aside. However the political and social conditions in which Bulgarian culture developed were now ‘completely different’ (Radonov 1971: 249) compared to the situation when Bulgaria was under the Ottomans. The first National Library was created in Sofia by Marin Drinov, whose activities have been mentioned in previous chapters. After the Liberation (1878) Kniaz DondukovKorsakov (1820-1890) was appointed as Imperial Russian commissioner in Bulgaria and General P. V. Alabin (1824-1896) as governor of the capital Sofia. Kniaz Dondukov-Korsakov was the first person to mention the need of an archaeological museum to be opened in the National Library ‘where all antiquities found and to be found will be stored’.4 After this report General Alabin5 ordered all movable antiques in Sofia and nearby villages to be transported to the National Library. However the exact date of the establishment of the National Museum as part of the library is not known. Nevertheless in the 1879 National Library budget there were already dedicated funds for the museum.6 Officially the National Library and Museum was opened on 5th May 1879 and Georgi Kirkov (1848-1929) was appointed its

Political and economic situation in Bulgaria after the Liberation (1878) After 1878 the environment in which the newly-founded Bulgarian museums had to develop was influenced by several problems that the liberated Bulgarian state faced, especially with regards to international relations. All the Great Powers,3 Russia and Austria-Hungary in particular, ‘…tried to bring the poorly developed economy and war machinery of the principality under their sway and grossly interfered in its internal affairs to draw it into their own sphere of influence’ (Dimitrov 1998: online). The Treaty of San Stefano of March 3, 1878 proclaimed an independent Bulgarian State, which included the geographical regions of Moesia, Thrace and Macedonia. However many countries were reluctant to agree to such a situation that would establish a large pro-Russian state in the Balkans. As a result, the Treaty of Berlin (1878), under the supervision of Otto von Bismarck of Germany and Benjamin Disraeli of Britain, revised the earlier treaty,


In a report from September 18th 1878 to the authorities in Russia, according to Iordanov (1933: 318) 5 General P.V. Alabin was author of the “Project for a public museum in Samara” and founder of the Samara public museum (1886). The museum had 16 departments to ‘serve for geographical, historical, natural history, agricultural and industrial study of the region of Samara for education and entertainment’ (http://www.museum.samara.ru) 6 See Iordanov 1933


Six air raids between November 1943 and January 1944 See Beron in Kiosseva 2004 3 The Great Powers in the 19th century were Russia, Turkey, Great Britain, France, Austria-Hungary, Italy and Germany 2


BULGARIA AND ITS MUSEUMS IN ‘NEW’ EUROPE first director. Gradually, and with greater frequency antiquities which had been found all over the country were sent to the Museum in Sofia.7

minor details, which, although amateurish, testify for a greater understanding and desire to develop a proper Bulgarian science.

The role the second director Konstantin Irechek (18451918) had in the development of the National museum deserves attention. Irechek, of Czech origin, was interested in collecting archaeological material, manuscripts and art objects for the museum and initiated the creation of laws for the protection of Bulgarian heritage. He also published a guide for collecting ethnographical and archaeological materials in Periodichesko spisanie (1883, 5: 82-104). Referring to the works of the Swiss geographer Kaltbrunner and the German scientist Neumaier8 Irechek presents first a set of rules concerning the description and classification of geographical sites before moving to issues such as archaeology and history. In the latter section the author discusses sixty-seven rules which should guide every amateur historian. The author clearly states that his ‘rules’ are not addressed to ‘people who want to undertake serious, specialist research … but to people who love their country and can spare some time to collect various data to enrich the knowledge on Bulgarian geography and history’ (Irechek ibid: 82). In every archaeological site a single artefact is as important as its whole environment, states Irechek, therefore great attention to detail is required in order to collect as much information as possible. ‘It is necessary to accurately measure and describe all findings, including their exact location with regards to the location of any remaining ruins with their respective exact measurements, a description of the materials used and a drawing of a plan of the whole site’ (Irechek ibid: 93). In this process, insists Irechek, it is also important to collect information from local people about any legends and take account of all names under which the site was known. The author also underlines that ruins of old churches and monasteries are not to be ignored as these are places where incunabula, icons, manuscripts and other ritual church artefacts could be found. The need to collect any kind of information is stated on several occasions as the data collected will serve as basis for the new Bulgarian science and to enrich the collection of the Bulgarian National Museum. Irechek’s work had the important role at the time to serve amateur historians such as teachers. In a situation where historical or archaeological knowledge was minimal Irechek’s understanding was that at this early stage information was needed to lay the basis for serious academic research. Irechek’s efforts were not fruitless. Numerous documents9 reveals information about artefacts sent to the National Museum by teachers, intellectuals or state representatives, with descriptions of the location where found, local legends and different

Vassil Stoyanov (1839-1910) and his contribution to Bulgarian museum building For the period 1884–1892 the Director of the National Library and Museum was Vassil Stoyanov who, arguably, was the most successful museum director in the initial stages of the creation of the museum institution in Bulgaria after the Liberation. Vassil Stoyanov is a well-known figure in Bulgarian history. But he is best known as the Secretary and Deputy Chairman of the Bulgarian Literary Society, which became the Bulgarian Academy of Science in 1911. He is also known as one of the first Bulgarian critics, as Governor of the town of Varna, Head School Inspector and a Lecturer in ethnography. His activities as Museum Director however have been largely neglected and here an attempt will be made to rectify this situation. The account is based on his letters and reports, discovered in the Historical Archive of the National Library in Sofia and is relayed in chronological order. Vassil Stoyanov was the fourth director of the National Library and Museum and was appointed to this post on the 6th September 1894, 16 years after the Liberation. At that time the museum collection was still ‘largely mistreated’ (Vassilev 1942: 27). It was only in the second half of 1893 that the National Library and Museum became more active in this direction, when more and more people sold or gave artefacts to the museum. Stoyanov started work on museum activities during the first month of his appointment. In a letter dated the 1st October 188410 to the Minister of Education he raised an issue concerning artefacts found during building works in Sofia. On 29th September 1884 workers had found four large Roman tombs and ‘led by an enormous desire to find a treasure, destroyed the tombs and with them all archaeological evidence and artefacts’. Stoyanov requested that the Minister of Education appoint ‘immediately a commission of three people – one from the National Library and Museum, one from the Ministry of Education and one from the Police, to supervise any building works in the capital as it was well known that much archaeological evidence could be found there relating to different epochs’. These three people had to execute the strictest supervision at the excavations that preceded new buildings in order to stop any destruction and loss of artefacts. A letter dated the 23rd October 188411 from the Minister, R. Karolev (1884-1886), indicated that a commission had been appointed and that no excavations for new foundations could take place if these people appointed were not present. This was the first attempt at the organised protection of Bulgarian heritage and was initiated by Vassil Stoyanov.


BIA, f. 35, a.e. 1887, 1888 Kaltbrener, D. 1879 Manuel du voyageur, Zurich and Neumaier, G. 1879 Anleitung zu wisseuschaftlichen, Berlin – in Irechek, K. 1883 Upatvane za Sabirane na Geograficheski i Arheologicheski Materiali, In: Periodicjesko spisanie 1883, V: 82-104 9 BIA, f. 35 8

10 11


BIA, f. 35, a.e. 1187, l. 254 BIA, f. 35, a.e. 1187, l. 256

HOW TO CREATE A EUROPEAN SCALE MUSEUM appropriation by the Government. The act also prohibits the export of antiquities, and to prevent illegal exportation artefacts upon discovery could be appropriated by the Government without repayment. However ‘this act was very limited and could not stop the vandal destruction of our heritage by ignorant and mercenary people’ (Diakovich 1900:442). The population frequently used materials from antique buildings for construction of new houses or destroyed archaeological sites with the aim to find artefacts to sell them to foreigners at inflated prices.

Much of his correspondence concerns different museum acquisitions for which special permission had to be obtained from the Ministry of Education. This was until the major report dated 31st May 188612 in which Stoyanov insisted on the urgent need for legislation to protect Bulgarian heritage: …many European archaeologists, numismatists and other specialists of the kind …come from remote countries to visit our mother land, bringing a lot of money to this end and go back later to their homes, richly recompensed for their work, effort and expenses incurred in gathering multiple and precious antiquities from Bulgaria. This way, alien peoples grow richer and cover themselves with glory due to the time-honoured valuable antiquities taken from the Bulgarian lands, … while we are still condemned to remain in a humiliating deadlock, and the only thing we can do is to sigh from time to time when we get accidentally aware that such and such invaluable and significantly important antiquities have been found in Bulgaria and taken away, who knows where.... (BIA, f. 35, a.e. 1187, l. 344-345)

Another report from Vassil Stoyanov to the Minister of Education dated the 17th November 189014 is also of significance. Indeed, of all the original, unpublished or analysed documents found in the Bulgarian Historical Archives of the National Library in Sofia and related to museums development, this report appears to be the most important. It is an illustration of the steps to be followed in order to make a museum an organisation that would serve as a place for education, enjoyment and inspiration and also for engendering national pride. Stoyanov notes that articles in local newspapers and magazines, which appealed to the population to collect and preserve Bulgarian artefacts, led to energetic actions on the part of the population. ‘There are more and more signs of the greater desire on the part of the population to collect and preserve Bulgarian artefacts thanks to the articles published recently’ (BIA, f. 35, a.e. 306, l. 25). However, this was a double-edged sword, since the majority of people lacked a proper education, they often fell victim to unscrupulous foreigners who bought valuable artefacts for meagre sums in order to sell them abroad at a much higher price.

Stoyanov believed that in order to stop or at least to considerably restrict the disappearance of antiquities from the country, the passing of a special law on the collection and protection of antiquities in Bulgaria had to be considered. In support of his views Stoyanov described the richness of artefacts in Bulgaria and gives an example concerning the Roman artefacts belonging to Nedio Jekov from Liaskovetz . … an Englishman passed through Lyaskovets … with the special intention to meet Mr. N. Jekov who is the owner of many valuable Roman antiquities, in order to see and buy them, and offered an incredibly high price. Mr. Jekov has not sold them yet to the Englishman who has travelled to South Bulgaria, but he will turn back to Lyaskovets later to try to purchase the antiques in question again. (BIA, f. 35, a.e. 1187, l. 344-345)

From private sources I have also the information about intensified collecting activities in different parts of Bulgaria connected with preservation and further studies. Unfortunately among those people there are also foreigners who take mean advantage of our simple minded compatriots and dishonestly speculate on the archaeological findings taking them away from people under false pretences for further scientific studies and sending abroad the most valuable ones. Already there are Bulgarians who follow their example. Some of them come to the institution and offer artefacts at extremely high prices and when we tell them they want too much they say: “There are people who would pay that price, if you want it at that price take it, if not we will get much more from other people. (BIA, f. 35, a.e. 306, l. 25)

Stoyanov’s opinion was unfortunately not considered until 1889 when the Ministry of Education prepared a proposal for a Law and the Parliament voted on it at its XXVth regular meeting on 27th November 1889. The Exploration of Antiques, Science & Education Ventures Subsidy Act (1890)13 consisted of three parts: 1) collection of antiquities, 2) collection and registration of verbal materials and 3) book publishing. According to the first part of this act ‘antiques & relics, no matter where discovered, are the property of the state’. Those who wanted to excavate must obtain permission and excavations taking place without prior permission from the Ministry of Education were prohibited. Antiquities found without authorisation or permission were subject to 12 13

The fact that some Bulgarians were quick to comprehend the situation and aimed to benefit from the collection of artefacts made the need for strict actions even more urgent. Urgent measures to prohibit the export of artefacts by foreigners were crucial for their preservation;

Appendix 7 Appendix 8



Appendix 9

BULGARIA AND ITS MUSEUMS IN ‘NEW’ EUROPE for a keeper of artefacts; someone who would concentrate on the museum section of the institution. At the same time, the person chosen should be enthusiastic enough to work on museum activities but would also help (without additional payment) with library activities (which required an extensive knowledge of foreign languages). The person chosen was Damaso Takela, a man of Italian origin who spoke five foreign languages.

otherwise they would be lost to the Bulgarian people forever. Anxiety emanates from this letter, written with the main aim to demonstrate the current state of the National Museum and the collecting of artefacts in Bulgaria. An analysis of the situation made Stoyanov conclude what would be appropriate measures to change such a situation. The issues pointed out by Vassil Stoyanov to the Minister of Education provided a clear sense of what needed to be done in order to make a museum a working institution. This is rather unexpected from a man who though very well educated, had never received any instruction or special education in museum basics, specifics or management.

I believe it will be useful that in the beginning of the year we employ Mr. Takela full time like the other employees in the institution. Of course he is going to concentrate on the numismatic collection and on the archaeological collection as a whole and in this way we could call him keeper of the artefacts in the museum15 (BIA, f. 35, a.e. 306, l. 25)

The document also reveals that the interest displayed by the population in museums increased, proved by a direct comparison of the activities and visitors number of the Bulgarian National Library and Museum and that in Belgrade. The latter, although created 30 years before and despite the fact that the population of Belgrade was 1.5 times larger than that of Sofia, attracted fewer visitors.

The choice of Takela was not accidental. Stoyanov ensured that he would work on the archaeological collection but would also help with the library activities because of his abilities in foreign languages, ‘without additional payment’. In this way, concludes Stoyanov, the work of the National Library and Museum would be smoother and ‘… the institution will double its significance for our uplifted nation’.

…the Serbian National Library and Museum is visited by about 15 persons a day during the summer period and 20 during the winter period whereas our library is visited every day by about 80 persons in the summer and 100 in the winter. In our library the books that are used either in the reading-rooms or borrowed amount to 20 000 per year whereas in the Belgrade library their number is about 8000. The Belgrade library was set up 40 years ago, ours – 10 years ago. The citizens of the Serbian capital amount to 50 000, our capital has a population of about 35 000 including the garrison. Serbia has been recognized as a state for 60 years, Bulgaria – for 12 (BIA, f. 35, a.e. 306, l. 25).

The information obtained from the archival documents in the Historical Archive of the National Library relating to Vassil Stoyanov’s activities, prompt one to come to some conclusions with regard to his work as a museum director. At a time when the Bulgarian state was trying to catch up with Western European achievements and when political and economic chaos were still present in Bulgaria, financial means were insufficient for the necessities of life, not to speak of the development of cultural institutions. Yet the Director of the first National Library and Museum in Bulgaria, a person who had not been prepared professionally to occupy the post, had a clear vision about what needed to be done and how the work should be organised in order to make this institution successful and useful to society at this precise moment. His knowledge of the situation enabled him to make a thorough analysis of the causes and consequences of this situation. On the basis of this analysis he prepared an action plan for the development of the institution so that it could serve the community better.

As the interest in Sofia Library and Museum had increased greatly, statistical data about these visitors was needed, insists Stoyanov, as such information is indispensable if one wants to raise the profit both for visitors and the museum. A thorough analysis of the situation regarding the country’s artefacts and the daily operations of the museum were needed in order to create an institution to serve the community and contribute to the cultural progress of the Bulgarian nation. At a time when the country was trying to catch up with the achievements of Western Europe and in a demanding political and economic situation, it was understandable that there were not sufficient funds for the development of the museum. Clearly, however, Stoyanov found a way to make the museum work, despite such difficulties, proven by the increasing visitor numbers.

A clear vision about the purpose of the museum meant good planning and work organisation so that it could serve the people, even with utterly insufficient financial aid supplied by the Ministry of National Education. This man went into such detail that he realised not only the need for a suitable building which was one of the first steps in the long process of creating a successful cultural institution but also went to the level of collecting information about visitor numbers, aware that this was an important step when planning museum activities.

In the report Stoyanov insisted that in order to successfully run the National Library and Museum it was of particular importance to reduce to a minimum the obstacles in day-to-day activities. There was a great need



Author’s highlight


2700 2400 2100 1800 1500



All other artefacts

900 600 300 0 NL 892 893 894 895 896 897 898 899 900 901 902 903 904 905 906 907 908 909 m o 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 Fr

Fig. 5.1 National/archaeological museum - acquisitions for the period 1892-1909, (source Filov 1928: 147)

national museum and an archaeological museum. It was assumed that the National Museum had to be an archaeological one.16

By looking at the whole archive, letters and reports written by Stoyanov, it becomes apparent that one thing is particularly noteworthy with regard to his attitude towards his job and that is his proactive approach. He realised the importance of a National Museum for every nation and tried to make it a place for education and enjoyment based upon the achievements of the human race. The unstable political and economic situation in the country did not allow for work on museum development on a large scale. Nevertheless this did not stop him trying very hard to accomplish his aim.

At that time the collection was a compilation of everything that had been sent to the museum during the years since 1879 and contained 343 artefacts of archaeological, ethnographic or mineralogical origin and 2,357 coins.17 The presumption however was that this was an archaeological museum as the Director made an inventory of materials collected and everything, which was not of archaeological origin was sent to other institutions in Sofia. So, for example, the mineralogical and palaeontology objects (22 in total (Filov 1928)) were sent to Sofia University. The ethnographic collection however was kept in the museum until 1906 when an ethnographic museum was created in Sofia and this collection served as its basis. In this way the remaining part of the collection was divided into three departments: archaeological, numismatic and ethnographic.

Bulgarian Museums up to 1944 Structural changes and acquisitions Stoyanov made a significant contribution to museum building in Bulgaria. His museum-related activities imposed on Bulgarian society the connotation of terms such as heritage preservation, something Pavlovich had tried to introduce in 1871. What Pavlovich could not achieve in a society, which was unable to understand the terms of museum or even more heritage preservation due to the lack of a national museum, Stoyanov implemented by using international examples and actively working in a precise direction, i.e. the establishment of Bulgarian museology after the model of other nations. However real progress in the museum institution could only be initiated after 1892 when the Minister of Education, Georgi Jivkov (1887-1893) decided to separate the museum from the library and appointed Vaclav Dobruski (1858-1916) as Museum Director. Nevertheless there was no clear understanding of the difference between a

Dobruski started systematically collecting archaeological material (Fig. 5.1) and initiated major archaeological excavations and the publication of a Museum Journal which ‘gradually attracted the attention of the European museum world’ (Vassilev 1942:27). Unfortunately all the information, original documents and photographs on these activities were lost to fire during the World War II air raids on Sofia in 1944. In 1892 Dobruski also initiated the purchase of art objects and paintings, the first being 16 17


See Vassilev 1942 See Velkov 1942:10

BULGARIA AND ITS MUSEUMS IN ‘NEW’ EUROPE bought from the Plovdiv International fair.18 These served as a basis for the opening of the National Art Gallery in Sofia in 1942.19

monasteries, mosques, emporiums, fountains, water pipelines, bridges, fortresses, knolls, tombs, carved rock, etc.; antiques & relics of carved materials, like: statues, tombstones with carved face, stones with inscription and adornments, pottery, weapons and other metal articles and gears, coins, seals, stone and bone tools, wall paintings, paintings on textile or wood, mosaics, icons, etc. church attributes, various carvings, glass products, fossils of animals and plants dating back to prehistoric times, various other fossils, etc.

This figure however demonstrates that until 1902 considerable attention was still given to coins and their number exceeded the number of all other artefacts. After 1902 the number of ‘all other artefacts’ increased, which was directly related to the intensification of archaeological expeditions and the greater attention allocated to the activities of this institution in the direction of ‘using the museums’ collection in a more scientific way’ (Filov 1928: 147).

This was an important description as for the first time in Bulgarian heritage protection legislation the cataloguing of all ‘antiquities’ in the country was required. Within one year from the publication of the Act all public institutions in the country, such as schools, monasteries, chitalishta, archaeological societies, etc., were required to submit full lists of ‘antiquities’ in their possession or heritage sites in the respective area to the Ministry of Public Education.

Legislation In 1910, Prof. Bogdan Filov took over the post of Director of the National Museum. However for all this time, after 1893, ‘…the museum had only three staff members – the director, one numismatist and a secretary’ (Vassilev ibid: 28). It was only after 1909 when the Minister of Education, Nikola Mushanov (1908-1910), inaugurated the Law for National Education that a new environment for the development of Bulgarian Museums was created. According to this Law there were two museums in Bulgaria (the National Museums and the Ethnographic Museum) and the document provided regulations for the management of these institutions. It stated that the National Museum is a museum with four departments: prehistory, antiquity, Middle Ages and numismatic. A curator was employed for each section. The museum also contained an art section but again there was no precise definition of the term National Museum. It was believed that there was no need for this, because ‘since the opening of the museum it has attracted thousands of visitors and this made it national’ (Vassilev 1942: 28).

Once the term was defined the next step was to differentiate the institutions and people responsible for their preservation, and there was a section devoted to the organisation of the antiquities services. Section 7 of the Act concerned the management of Bulgarian museums. It clearly states that different organisations can create museums but only if they possess appropriate exhibition and storage areas where the collections shall be safely kept and arranged. Any museum that did not comply with the Act could be closed down by the Ministry of Education upon a decision by the Commission of Antiquities. The Act was created by some of the most renowned people in the cultural sphere at the time, including Prof. Ivan Shishmanov (1865-1928), Prof. Vassil Zlatarski (1866-1935) and Andrei Protich (18751959).21 They all studied at well-respected European universities and had the necessary knowledge to create the legislation. What is most important however is that as a basis for the Bulgarian Act they used Acts from countries with traditions in the field, such as the British Museum Act from 1753 and the French Act (Conservation des monuments et objets d'art ayant un intérêt historique et artistique national) from 1887.22

A new Act concerning Bulgarian museums and heritage, appeared in 1911 - the Antiques Act.20 In the new Act it is stated that all movable and immovable antiquities in the Kingdom of Bulgaria are under the supreme supervision of the Ministry of Public Education and this institution shall be responsible for their preservation and maintenance. Important for Bulgarian heritage and for its preservation is the exhaustive definition of the term ‘antiquities’:

The political and social environments and their impact on museum activities

Art.2. (1) The Antiquities under this Act comprise monuments, documents and masterpieces of art, from ancient times to the liberation of Bulgaria that have historical, archaeological, artwork, and palaeontological significance like, for example, old buildings and ruins, settlements, routes (tracks), entrenchments, churches, temples and

In 1912 and 1913 Bulgaria took part in the Balkan Wars, incorporating Macedonia and South Dobrudja into its territories, but immediately after that lost them again. On 12th October 1915 Bulgaria entered World War I on the side of Germany by declaring war on Serbia. The territory previously lost was regained at first but then lost


International fair organised annually since 1892 in the town of Plovdiv when Plovdiv hosted the First Agricultural and Industrial Exposition on the Balkans. At the time there was an art section as well. 19 See Silianovska 1972 20 Appendix 10

21 Archaeologist, art expert, art critic, belletrist, academic, director of the National Museum in Sofia for the period 19201928 22 See Nedkov 1998







3500 Prehistory 3000

Antiquity Middle Ages Numismatic


Art 2000




0 1910 1911 1912 1913 1914 1915 1916 1917 1918 1919 1920 1921 1922 1923 1924 1925 1926 1927

Fig. 5.2 National/archaeological museum –acquisitions for the period 1910-1927, (source Filov 1928: 148)

again. On 29th September 1918 Bulgaria surrendered to the allies.23 Immediately after the war a new peasant led ‘Agrarian’ government took control. In June 1923 a bloody military coup deposed the Agrarian government and similarly dealt with an abortive communist insurrection. Amid economic depression another mili tary coup in 1934 established a government of ‘National regeneration’ (Dimitrov 1998). In 1941 Bulgaria joined the Axis and entered the Second World War on the side of Germany. This ended with national catastrophe and following agreements between Stalin, Churchill and Roosevelt after the war Bulgaria fell into the sphere of influence of the Soviet Union. For 45 years (1944-1989) the country was governed by the Bulgarian Communist Party.

The first archaeological societies and their importance in the preservation of antiquities In this and previous chapters it was mentioned that whenever Bulgaria tried to continue its progress in the cultural sphere it was hindered by a conflict or political crisis. Yet even in these conditions the country made attempts to maintain its cultural life and achieve progress. That is why archaeological societies, which ‘were the only organisations except the National Museum which organized excavations and announced scientific results’ (Velkov 1942: 9), were of particular importance in the preservation of Bulgarian heritage and the development of museums. The interest in Bulgarian archaeology was provoked by the Russian Byzantologist F. Uspenski (1845-1928). In 1877 while working at the British Museum he accidentally found the Ivan Alexander Tetraevangelia24 and published his findings. He continued work on Bulgarian history and in 1879 he published in Odessa his doctoral thesis Establishment of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom.

Figure 5.2 hints at a direct relation between political and social situation and the state of the National Museum. The very modest number of acquisitions during the Balkan war (1912-1913) is followed by an increase in 1914 when Bulgaria was not at war. The number immediately decreases again (coins excluding) during the period of the First World War (1915-1918) and is close to non-existent during the 1923 military coup and the economic depression in the following years, especially 1926 and 1927. Unfortunately it was not possible to find more documentary evidence concerning the exact nature of each new acquisition.



14th-century manuscript prepared and illustrated during the rule of Tsar Ivan Alexander (Second Bulgarian Kingdom). The manuscript is regarded as one of the most important written records of the medieval Bulgarian culture and arguably the one with the greatest artistic value.

Serbia, Montenegro and Greece


BULGARIA AND ITS MUSEUMS IN ‘NEW’ EUROPE been interested in or sought to gain control of this land. Many of the cultural effects left by such peoples can still be found in Bulgaria today. Naturally this abundance attracted people who knew the value of antiques even though it was not clear to the local population. Before 1878 there was no strict legislative basis for the protection of cultural heritage, making treasure-hunting activities possible. So, for example, information in the Tzarigrad newspaper (March 8 1852) details mass excavations near the town of Eski Zara,27 where some 4050 people dug both night and day. Such large scale excavation was a result of the then acting Ottoman legislation. This legislation held in favour of the treasure– hunters, as it stated that of any five artefacts found, the treasure-hunter could keep four of them and one was to be given to the State.28

In 1896 Uspenski organised a Russian archaeological expedition in Bulgaria and visited Sofia, Plovdiv, Rila Monastery and Boyana church. In 1889 under his leadership the first professional and one of the most successful archaeological excavations had been organised in the village of Aboba when Pliska, the first Bulgarian capital, was found. This was the basis for organised archaeological activities in Bulgaria (Nedkov 1998). Gradually archaeological societies were formed in the towns of Varna, Shoumen, Stara Zagora, Kazanlak, Pleven, Preslav and Kustendil, all places with a significant concentration of heritage sites. Major activity in connection with the collection of artefacts was demonstrated by the National Museum, which organised mass excavations in the old Bulgarian capitals Tarnovo and Preslav (Velkov ibid) with excavated material being exhibited in the museum. All this work testifies for a much greater attention allocated to scientific research. Archaeology was now regarded as a discipline inseparable from museum work and although it was difficult to find funding for great archaeological expeditions the very fact of the rationalization of archaeological artefacts as museum objects put museum work on a more professional level.25

As previously mentioned this situation was almost uncontrollable in the years following the Liberation (1878) when on several occasions people refused to donate artefacts to museums, willing only to part with them in exchange for cash. When a museum could not afford the price requested the artefacts were sold to foreigners. The Exploration of Antiques, Science & Education Ventures Subsidy Act (1889) could not really stop illegal excavations or export, aggravated by the fact there was nobody who could really exercise control over historical artefacts in the demanding political situation in Bulgaria at the time. The Act from 1911 still could not fully protect Bulgarian heritage even though Art. 22 of this legislation stated that:

The role of Russian scientists in Bulgarian museum building Many authors (Dimitrova 1959, Vajarova 1960, Radonov 1971, Silianovska 1972) have published exhaustive studies praising the contribution of Russian intellectuals or scientists to Bulgarian museum building. It is undisputable that Uspenski attracted the attention of the Slav academic world to the richness of Bulgarian archaeological and palaeontologist resources, while Kniaz Dondukov-Korsakov and General P. V. Alabin were the driving forces behind the opening of the National Museum and Library in Sofia. The subject of Russian academic impact features so much in the works of Bulgarian writers that it is difficult to justify any additional research. Here however another viewpoint will be revealed, which counteracts accepted views.

(1) Export of articles abroad could not be performed without the authorisation of the Ministry of Public Education. Authorisation is provided upon presentation of the antiques articles concerned, with attached list therewith, and the opinion of the Commission of Antiquities is taken under consideration. There were foreigners who were well aware of the value of antiquities. Documents in the Historical Archive of the National Library testify there were people who took valuable artefacts abroad under the pretext of studying them. So, for example, archival documents29 implicate the name of Polihronii Sirku from Petersburg University, a Russian specialist in Slav incunabula and manuscripts. In 1883 he took from the National Library and Museum an ‘old Slav manuscript, never to return it’. Sirku was also the person who took away 22 manuscripts from the collection of Stefan Zahariev ‘…allegedly to study them but never returned’ (Zagariev 1900: 663). A letter from the archive of Stefan Verkovich,30 reveals that Verkovich lent Sirku several manuscripts ‘for study’, which he wanted back. Sirku never replied as Verkovich wrote two more letters (17 February 1880 and 28 November 1880) on the same subject. There is no specific information

When working on archival documents concerning either the opening of the first museums or the early private collections on several occasions mention was made about artefacts taken by Russians under the pretext to study them abroad but never returned. This is certainly not unique to the Bulgarian heritage environment. Most probably each country which has once been the home land of foreign civilisations was at some stage of its historical development the arena of export of artefacts under one or another pretext. Previous chapters discussed the richness of different types of artefacts in Bulgaria. One of the oldest European states, founded in 681, Bulgaria sits geographically at a crossroads between the East and the West.26 Through the passage of time this territory has appealed to all sorts of peoples whom have


Now Stara Zagora, central Bulgaria See Petkova 2004 29 BIA, f. 35, a.e. 1188, l. 75 30 BAN, f. 14k, a.e. 4, l. 467 28

25 26

See Krasteva 2003 Appendix 11


HOW TO CREATE A EUROPEAN SCALE MUSEUM whether Sirku returned them or not. But three letters requesting the same manuscripts were left without reply by Sirku, suggesting that most probably he did not.

Museums outside the capital The political and economic situation, the wars and military coups, the grave economic depression, predetermined the development of the museum institution outside the capital as well. So, for example, the archaeological museum in Plovdiv, which had opened in 1879,32 closed down in 1901 and the first ethnographic museum outside the capital, also located in Plovdiv, which had been created in 1917, closed down in 1932 not to re-open until 1939.

A report from 17th of August 1884 from the Director of the National Library and Museum to the Minister of Education mentions that the Russian Professor Aleksei Leonidovich from the Institute of Her Majesty the Empress Maria visited the National Library and Museum ‘…to study old Bulgarian manuscripts’. He took from the Library two manuscripts saying that he only wanted them for the evening and that he would return them the next morning. The next morning however he left the country taking the manuscripts with him.

Plovdiv archaeological museum is one of the most significant ones outside the capital and has as equally an interesting foundation and development as the Sofia National Museum. At the time of its opening as part of the library, the town of Plovdiv was part of Eastern Rumelia, separated from Bulgaria after the Berlin Congress (1878). In 1906 Diakovich published a detailed overview concerning the process of establishment and early operation of the Plovdiv museum. The author starts its article as follows:

Such activities were most certainly not confined to Russians. In chapter three mention was made in connection with Stefan Zahariev’s reference to foreign counsels (Germans and Austrians) taking away artefacts before the Liberation, using the loopholes in the acting legislation. After the Liberation, even with the two new Acts (1889 and 1911), the situation was not much better. So, for example, in January 1915 the Director of the National Library in Sofia wrote a letter31 to the Minister of Education in which he expressed a deep regret and even sadness about information he read in the Bulletin de l’ Institut pour L’ etude de l’ Europe Sud-Orientale (I/10, October 1914). The information was that the Keeper of Manuscripts in the Athens National Library had just completed a tour of Bulgaria, during which he collected from different churches and monasteries around 10 000 manuscripts and 1000 incunabula from which at least 3 500 were to go to the Athens library. The Director talks then about his sadness and regret when reading the above. He considers the activities of the Greeks as shameless robbery, a major loss for Bulgarian palaeography but a big gain for the Greek one. At the time there were merely 863 manuscripts and incunabula in the Bulgarian National Library, which were collected mainly during the time when the National Museum was part of the Library. The letter ends with an appeal for more severe measures to be taken so that ‘…the different speculators, who often collect Bulgarian artefacts in order to sell them abroad’ can be stopped.

…At the beginning of our new political formation as autonomous entity on the Balkan peninsula there were such Bulgarian men with natural talent for culture and governmental work who even today bewilder us with their energy and make us try to imitate them. Completely devoted to one idea – everything for the country and the people these men did not save time and work…One such person is Ioakim Gruev… (1906: 959) Gruev was Director of National Education of Eastern Rumelia33 and the person who initiated the opening of the first library and museum there because his understanding was that ‘in the system of national education libraries have the most important place, while the opening of a museum is of major importance for the development of Bulgarian science (Diakovich ibid: 64). This museum is interesting for Bulgarian museology as documents concerning its opening and earl development are preserved and catalogued, which is not the case of Sofia Library and Museum. This makes possible relatively uncomplicated research, which reveals a surprisingly well managed institution. So, for example, by 1882 there was already an official document (Public-administrative regulations for the organisation and management of the Regional Library and Museum - 1 May 1882) which put the institution under the Directorate of National Education and where the tasks to be executed by the librarian are well defined. The first librarian, who was also manager of this institution, was the Russian publicist Alexander Bashmakov. When the library was opened to the general public Bashmakov introduced a system to establish a visitor profile, ‘…similar to the one used in

However this was an extreme case and the historical data repeatedly points at Russian specialists taking artefacts abroad, allegedly to study them. Particularly noteworthy here is the fact that Russians used the traditional admiration of Bulgarian intellectuals for their Russian ‘big brother’ and there are no indications the Russians ever had any difficulties whatsoever in exporting what interested them. The Bulgarian intellectuals also realised that in Bulgaria no one had the necessary knowledge and skills nor the technical equipment to scientifically study documents or other artefacts. Giving them to Russian specialists for research seemed a reasonable and logical solution. The question is why the material taken abroad has never been returned, lost forever to Bulgarian science and museums. 31


At the time of the opening of the museum Plovdiv was part of Eastern Rumelia, therefore not a Bulgarian territory; at the time of closing it was in Bulgarian territory 33 As semi-autonomous region Eastern Rumelia did not have Ministries but Directorates.

BIA, f. 35, a.e. 1188, l. 1456


BULGARIA AND ITS MUSEUMS IN ‘NEW’ EUROPE …Early collectors prized horns and bones which were said to come from unicorns, murderers and giants as well as mummies or less complete human remains. They celebrated the abnormal, the bizarre and even the imaginary … (SheetsPyenson 1988:4).

the Imperial Public Library in St. Petersburg at the time. (Diakovich ibid: 965). The system, based on the issue of visitors’ card, for everybody who wished to enter the library and museum, not only permitted collecting information about visitor’s numbers but also about their gender and occupation. Very strict control and cataloguing of new acquisitions, not only of books but also coins and archaeological artefacts, was executed as well. This makes it possible to find information about the number and nature of museum accessions and which ones of them were purchased and which donated.

This private museum was apparently of interest for the local population judging by the existence of an entrance fee and the opening times till 12 pm every day. These conclusions however are not based on any other documentary evidence as none could be found in Russe’s or other libraries to confirm the status of this ‘private’ museum.

Diakovich (ibid) however stresses that these were years dominated by uprisings, aiming at the unification of Bulgaria and concentration was not on this institution but on a task important for state unification. The same author mentions also problems between the second librarian, some Mr. Iovchov and the Directorate of National Education in 1884-1885 for which period documentation is missing. By September 1885 Plovdiv Library and museum was in a disastrous situation as personnel were caught selling valuable books to foreigners. The whole story was forgotten in the unrest, surrounding uprisings, country unification and wars. The museum closed down in 1901 and was re-opened only in 1910, once again as part of the Plovdiv Library.

The 19th century witnessed an unprecedented explosion in the creation and expansion of natural history museums in Europe and the United States. However, collections of natural curiosities may be traced back to the third century BC, to Ptolemy’s museum at Alexandria, or to the treasures hoarded by nobles and clerics since antiquity. It was, however, the great voyages of exploration of the 16th and 17th centuries that made collecting natural objects ‘a reasonably common endeavour’ (Sheets–Pyenson, 1988: 3). It is estimated that in Italy alone there were 250 natural history cabinets by the end of the 16h century36 but many of them were assembled simply for their curiosity and rarity value. In Britain it was ‘the late 18th and the early 19th centuries…when the seeds of the conservation movement were sown and a respect for the natural world began to become engendered in society’ (Davis 1996: 15).

Natural History in Bulgaria It is also worth mentioning the beginning of public interest in natural history in Bulgaria and the opening of the Natural History Museum in Sofia as the achievements of this project were regarded as ‘amazing for the time’ (Beron in Kiosseva 2004: 60).

The British Natural History Museum opened in 1881 and the high quality of its collections, especially in palaeontology and mineralogy, soon made it ‘the example to which every other national museum aspired’ (Sheets– Pyenson, ibid: 6). Natural history museums were established elsewhere in Europe, stimulated by the increasing interest in natural history in the mid-19th century. So Vienna’s Imperial Natural History museum opened in 1889 and in the same year the zoological collections at the Paris museum were moved to new Romanesque quarters decorated with animal carvings. Around the same time the Bohemian museum opened in Prague and in Brussels the Royal Belgian Museum inaugurated new buildings. By 1900, Germany could claim 150 museums of natural history, Britain 250, France 300 and the United States had 250 (Sheets– Pyenson, ibid: 9).

In 1876 intriguing information, concerning the interest in natural history before the Liberation (1879), was published in the Dunav newspaper.34 An article discussed the private natural history museum in the town of Russe,35 owned by a Mr. Mihailov. In the museum one could see natural and artificial objects, which represent perfectly all parts of the human body …When visitors enter the building they receive a leaflet, which describes all objects in the museum. The museum is open every day from 12.00am to 12.00pm. In the museum there is also a live cow with five legs. The museum is situated in the house of Mr. Georgi Dimchov in Varocha, near Hotel London. Apparently Mr. Mihailov was a trader who traveled abroad and may possibly have seen some of the European natural history museums. The limited information gathered from this extract demonstrates something in which European collectors were interested in their early collection:

In Bulgaria the idea for the opening of a Natural History Museum or at least a department within the National Museum was initiated again by Vassil Stoyanov, who in April 1884 began corresponding with the Minister of Education about such a possibility.37 In 1884 Stoyanov initiated correspondence with the Minister of Education about the possibility to open a natural history department



6th of July 1876 Russe is a town in North Bulgaria, on the Danube river, a major trading centre during the Revival period.

See Stansfield, Mathias and Reid 1994 BIA, f. 35, a.e. 1187, l. 276, 277, 285-286, 282-283, 288, 289, 298, 300




HOW TO CREATE A EUROPEAN SCALE MUSEUM bought from the French Diplomat and naturalist Count Amede Aleon (1892); a collection of feathers from Indian birds from the English ornithologist Stuart Baker (1901); part of the rich collection of big African mammals, birds and botanical materials from the famous Czech naturalist Emil Holub; and insects from the naturalist Dr. Lendel from Budapest. ‘In this way Tzar Ferdinand created the first, and at that time the only, Natural History Museum on the Balkan Peninsula’ (Patev 1939:15). The museum, together with the other three institutions, was open to the general public in 1894 free of charge. The zoo provoked great interest and ‘…during non-working days there were over 5000 visitors a day’ (Patev ibid: 17). ‘The son of Tzar Ferdinand, Tzar Boris III, continued even more energetically the activities of his father and enriched the collection’ (Georgiev 1939:3). In fact, the first decree Boris signed as Tsar in 1918 was for the appointment of a director of His Majesty’s Natural History Institutions (Beron in Kiosseva 2004). He even initiated the publication of a magazine43 devoted to the latest natural history news and including material by Bulgarian scientists and announcements about new specimens. The magazine was published in four languages: Bulgarian, German, French and English. The number and variety of artefacts are astonishing.44 Particularly well represented was the birds section: 4500 stuffed birds from 2300 species, collected mainly in Bulgaria and Macedonia and 3166 eggs from 500 species. There were also 1000 reptiles from 200 species and 2000 fishes from 200 species. Particularly good was also the collection of Bulgarian species of bats and mice. Spiders and sea animals were well represented. The entomological station contained nearly 120 000 insects/butterflies.45

in the museum. A Pole named Julian Offner, who was a taxidermist, offered to stuff every kind of animal found in Bulgaria. He prepared a detailed inventory of all he would need for the organization of the department, including instruments and special cupboards. Offner presented 35 specimens of stuffed birds and animals and the director found his work satisfactory. In a letter38 to the Minister of Education Stoyanov mentions ‘that it was high time a museum department was created to show the animal kingdom in Bulgaria’. Three main things were needed: firstly, an educated zoologist to serve as ‘custos’ or supervisor as in the European museums, and classify all the specimens. Secondly, premises were required with sufficient space and light, and thirdly a man to skin and prepare the animals. It was also very important that by the time all these activities started the Ministry should send somebody abroad to gain knowledge and experience in European natural history museums. Correspondence again shows the efforts of the Director to turn the National Library and Museum into an organization benefiting the whole nation and to create a European scale museum. Unfortunately the whole project failed due to a lack of money and the Offner collection went to the College of Classics in Sofia in 1885.39 Archival documents from the Historical Archive of the National Library however reveal that for a few years after these events people from different parts of the country continued to send dead animals and birds to the museum in parcels. The director forwarded them to the College of Classics.40 There was however, another natural history collection in Bulgaria which was owned by Tzar Ferdinand I who became Tzar of the Bulgarians in 1887.41 Taking an interest in the natural sciences and rather zealous in his researches on world flora and fauna he was immediately attracted by the biodiversity of Bulgaria. An ardent collector he created the so called "Natural History Institutes of His Majesty" in Sofia, namely His Majesty’s Natural History Museum, His Majesty’s Zoo, His Majesty’s Botanical Garden, His Majesty’s Entomological Station, His Majesty’s Scientific Library and His Majesty’s Sea Biological Station in Varna. Tzar Ferdinand had large collections in his Natural History Museum and continued enriching them. His trips abroad42 allowed the acquisition of insect collections from central Europe, tropical butterflies and herbarium collections. Gradually he acquired specimens from Bulgarian forests. During his trips in the country he always had ‘…in his entourage a botanist, a zoologist and a taxidermist, and in the kit a shot-gun, entomological net and botanical basket’ (Georgiev 1939:2). The collections expanded as a result of innumerable purchases from other countries, amongst which were a valuable ornithological collection

The richness of the collections was ‘incredible even for contemporary standards and one wonders where all these specimens were stored’ (Beron ibid: 60). So great was Ferdinand’s and later Boris’s interest for natural history that ‘instead of using the money for luxury items they used them to enrich the collections and the result was – the richest Natural History Museum in South East Europe at the time’ (Beron ibid: 60). The Tzars’ hobby was well known abroad and very often diplomats offered them as gifts a rare stuffed animal. Beron (ibid), who is now director of the National Natural History museum, describes the devotion of these two Tzars to natural history. In early 20th century Sofia, which was just a ‘big village’ (Beron ibid: 61) and in a demanding political situation they managed to create a European-scale institution. ‘These [Tzar’s] collections represent valuable contribution to Bulgarian science and will be the basis for further scientific research’ (Filov 1928: 153). Unfortunately during bombing raids on 30th March 1944 major part of the ‘Natural History Institutes of His Majesty’ – exhibitions, artefacts, 12 laboratories and documentation, were destroyed. The library of the institute contained 20 000 volumes. Part of them burned during the bombing raids while a significant number of


BIA, f. 35, a.e. 1187, l. 276, 284-5 BIA, f. 35, a.e. 1187. l. 300 40 BIA, f. 35, a.e. 1187, l. 441-443, 448, 450-452, 454, 455, 457, 458, 462, 463, 466, 467, 470, 497, 502, 503, 504 41 Georgiev 1939 42 Apart the state visits in European countries Tzar Ferdinand made two world trips and went twice to Brazil 39


Izvestia na Tsarskite Nauchni Instituti See Filov 1928 45 Appendix 12 44


BULGARIA AND ITS MUSEUMS IN ‘NEW’ EUROPE 1996: 58). Gaehtgens (ibid) also argues that the political character of the institution was not only demonstrated in the architecture of the building but also through the collections. ‘The Nationalgalerie … collected and exhibited particularly German art …and the framework for [it] was political propaganda’ (Gaehtgens ibid: 60).

the remaining volumes were destroyed by representatives of the communist party. The remaining exhibits from the time of Tzar Ferdinand I and Tsar Boris III however are still the core of the Natural History Museum collection today and proudly shown to visitors.

Art in Bulgaria

In contrast, at this time Bulgaria had no art collections. My argument here is that with archaeological artefacts being used as a basis for the opening of the first museums the very concept of the art gallery institution was put aside and even misunderstood. The tremendous significance seen in European museum building was certainly not the case in Bulgaria. The lack of a Royal art collection made it impossible to use art as a mediator of nationalistic ideas. Although works in the Bulgarian Art Gallery were of Bulgarian origin it is difficult to argue that the reason for it is based on nationalistic ideas. The real reason was simply that the financial situation meant that the Ministry of Culture could not buy foreign paintings. As the acquisitions were predominantly of Bulgarian origin comparisons to other schools of art were impossible. Consequently art galleries did not play a major role in the nation building process. Bulgarian nationalists turned to the past as the basis on which to create Bulgarian nationalism. With comparatively very late origins and with no particular understanding for their use or place in society other then contemplative and aesthetical, Bulgarian art galleries had a very peripheral place in Bulgarian museology during the first half of the 20th century. Interestingly this situation changed during the governance of the communist party after 1944. The subject however requires extensive research as until now there has been no exhaustive study of the origins and development of Bulgarian art galleries.

The example of the National Art Gallery in Sofia is interesting for comparative purposes - how the concept of the art gallery was understood in Bulgarian museology at the time and what are the implications for it in contemporary Bulgarian museology. The first Art Gallery in Bulgaria was opened in 1942, based on the collection of paintings initiated by the National Museum in Sofia. In fact it was first opened as a separate exhibition in the National Archaeological Museum and despite the plans to convert it into a separate institution this could not be achieved as the building, especially designed to serve as a permanent home of the National Art Gallery, was destroyed during the raids on Sofia in January 1944. The paintings were exhibited following a chronological principle and contained examples from the Revival period, as well as icons and works by contemporary Bulgarian artists. The foreign contribution was very limited as was the total number of items.46 Started in 1892 by 1910 the collection contained 6 paintings which increased to 852 art objects by 1927, reaching 3222 by 1942 at the time of the official opening of the National Art Gallery.47 In previous chapters reference was made to the importance of art collections in the museum building in West European countries. The Luxemburg Gallery, the first art museum in France opened in 1750 in Paris ‘…the purpose of the display … to demonstrate to all of Europe the progress made by the arts in France’ (McClellan in Wright 1996: 31). Not only was a public art gallery opened so early compared to the Bulgarian case but the philosophy and methods of display were introduced and debated. Italian, Dutch or Flemish paintings in the first two rooms were arranged in an ‘educational’ mode, prompting the visitor to learn through comparisons and contrasts of subjects and styles as 18th century art theory insisted on comparison as a means to learn to judge quality in art. At the same time it also served to promote nationalistic ideals as in ‘the mixed-schools display … the juxtaposition … provoked competition…’ which could only be in favour of the French paintings (McClellan in Wright ibid: 32).

A National Museum – meaning and interpretations Although museums slowly gained in significance and different types of museums gradually appeared it must be stressed that Bulgarian museums (1879-1944) were largely devoted to archaeological and historical specimens. After the Liberation this was the case for the first National Museum and even today such institutions are prevalent in Bulgaria48 and every large town has one. The museum which was called The National Museum in Sofia before 1944 was an archaeological and history museum and all museum activities in the country were associated more with this particular kind of museum. The National Museum in Sofia became the model for all other museums in the country. Another reason was that the major proportion of funds for museums after 1909 was for those which organised archaeological excavations.49 Intentionally or not, this made archaeological museums more important than the others. All this explains why when anything was written about Bulgarian museums in

In Berlin one of the museums on the Museum Island was the Nationalgalerie, a purposely designed building opened in 1876 housing predominantly German paintings. The building itself was magnificent and ‘…a symbol of newly awakened patriotism after the Napoleonic Wars’ with the ‘…figure of Germania as patroness of visual arts occupying the centre of the sculptural frieze on the pediment’ (Gaehtgens in Wright 46 47

48 There are 229 museums in Bulgaria. From them 84 are historical/archaeological museums while the remaining 136 contain all other types, including 48 art galleries (2005). 49 See Velkov 1942

See Krasteva 2003 See Filov 1928 and Silianovska 1972


HOW TO CREATE A EUROPEAN SCALE MUSEUM political and economic factors the wish to build the Bulgarian museum system was enormous, something proven by the archival documents in the Bulgarian Historical Archive (BIA, f. 35) and the Central State Archives (CDA, f. 177). The documents testify that during the years following 1900 much greater attention was paid to museums. The pioneering efforts and enthusiasm of many intellectuals, teachers, amateur historians and museum directors contributed to the establishment of the institution. The modest number54 of museums determined by the political and social environment in the country did not prevent scientific research, upheld by the intelligentsia, who tried to propagate measures to protect and popularise Bulgarian heritage despite the several attempts of foreign counsels, diplomats and scientists to export Bulgarian antiques abroad, on many occasions illegally. This trend however stopped during the governance of the communist party, which had a different agenda for Bulgarian museums, something to be discussed in chapter six which will be also the basis for further exploration of the subject concerning the influence of history on contemporary Bulgarian museology in chapter eight.

the past it related mainly to archaeological and history museums. Because Bulgaria was so rich in archaeological artefacts they were acquired extremely easily and therefore the collections of archaeological museums could grow much more rapidly. Striking examples for accidentally found ‘treasures’ can be found in the archives of the National Museum in Sofia, which are partially preserved in the Bulgarian Historical Archive and partially in the Bulgarian Academy of Science. These for example reveal that on 10th November 1929 Panajot Todorov from the village of Reka Devnia accidentally found two pots with Roman coins during building works.50 The pots contained 77,940 coins51 of which 65,512 went to the museum in Sofia and the remaining 12,428 were acquired by Varna Archaeological Museum. This acquisition enriched the collection of the National Museum in Sofia, which possessed 2,357 coins in 1893 and by 1942 already contained 117,279 coins.52 Authors such as Diakovich (1900) and Velkov (1942) even considered the archaeological/history museums as the most important as: ‘…a national museum must witness the country’s most noble achievements and archaeological museums are such institutions…’ (Velkov 1942: 15). Diakovich (1900: 448) was of the opinion that ‘[a] National Museum must contain artefacts which most fully characterise the country and cannot be seen anywhere else, i.e. all the country’s monuments from oldest times in chronological order, …as such collections are very important for the education of the population and for the development of the arts and archaeology’. This is not a particularity of the Bulgarian museum environment. In the 19th century in most museums in Eastern Europe archaeology was used to demonstrate the past glory of a country and to build national identity and nationalism. In Bulgaria, as in most Balkan countries, history/archaeology museums represented a symbol to unify the nation. Similar reasons for museum building related to 19th century nationalism make most East European history museums very similar institutions built to glorify past achievements.53

Summary After the Liberation (1878) the first National Museum was created as part of the National Library. The difficult political situation and many wars, which the small country of Bulgaria could not afford, did not allow large scale work on museum building. However the efforts and proactive approach of people such as Vassil Stoyanov made the museum institution gain in significance and slowly evolve into an organization benefiting the nation. After the Liberation efforts were allocated to not only build a Bulgarian museum system but also protect the country’s cultural heritage. Despite difficult social, 54

Silianovska (1972:179) indicates that for the period 18781944 34 museums appeared in the country. From them only 13 were under the Ministry of Education and received subsidies from it. The rest were small local museums which were run by archaeological societies in chitalishta institutions.


BAN, f. 132, a.e. 267, l. 77 51 BAN, f. 132, a.e. 267, l. 80 52 See Velkov 1942 53 Kreuger 2004, pers.com.


Communism and museums

information is very limited and preference is given to slogans that mimic Zhivkov’s works.


What was written abroad often went in the opposite direction, criticizing everything communist-related. Often written by Bulgarian political emigrants, publications were commonly coloured by propaganda issues and museums were not the centre of their scope. Foreign authors were seemingly not interested in writing about Bulgaria while the country was under communist rule. Some exceptions can be mentioned and these are used in this and the following chapters to demonstrate particular aspects of not only Bulgarian but Eastern European cultural life at that precise period (e.g. Brown 1970, Konrad and Szelenyi 1979 and later Verdery 1996, Kaneff 2004). Kaneff’s and Verdery’s works represent an anthropological point of view on socialist Bulgaria and Romania respectively. Written after the afll of the communist regimes these provided important background information and were used when approaching the subject concerning the representation of the past in museums during the communist period.

Chapters five and six described the organization of Bulgarian museums until 1944. Despite severe obstacles, including wars and lack of funding, the organization and daily operations of Bulgarian museums were structured in a way to meet the requirements of important social institutions and provided education and enjoyment for visitors. However in September 1944 a communist regime1 was imposed as political structure in Bulgaria and the country’s political, social and cultural structures were radically changed by the ideology of this political system. This chapter gives an account of the development and status of Bulgarian museums and heritage during the communist period (1944-1989). The review helps to further explore the reasons for the conditions of contemporary Bulgarian museums which will be considered in later chapters.

Museums and communism in Bulgaria – published accounts

Literature sources strictly devoted to Bulgarian museology during the period 1944-1989 in Bulgarian are limited to methodological publications on museum organisation and best museum practice as designated by the communist party. Two publications are of particular significance, demonstrating the link between communist ideology and museum activity.

Between 1975 and 1989 Todor Zhivkov, the leader of the Bulgarian communist party and head of State, published 39 volumes of Selected works, describing measures of what needed to be implemented to achieve communism. When discussing the role and tasks of the communist ideological work Zhivkov underlines that

In 1985, just four years before the collapse of the communist party, Dolapchieva edited a multi-author volume, 40 godini socialistichesko muzeino delo v NR Balgaria [40 years of socialist museum work in the People’s Republic of Bulgaria]. This work clearly demonstrates how strong the influence of the communist party was in Bulgaria, even at this late stage. The articles describe either the role of Russian expertise in building the Bulgarian socialist museum system (e.g. Draev, in Dolapchieva ibid: 24-31) or the relationship between museums and socialist society (e.g. Krastev and Mitev and Todorova in Dolapchieva ibid: 38-42; 111-117). Two authors have particularly intriguing views of Bulgarian museums under communism. Iliev describes the congresses of the Bulgarian communist party,2 where time was reserved to discuss cultural issues. He notes (In Dolapchieva 1985: 18):

…the main task of our ideological work is to use all means for the communist education of the people and development of socialist consciousness, to constantly fight with the anachronisms of capitalism and bourgeois ideology and morals, to arm the workers with the Marxist – Leninist views, to serve for the building of socialist society ….and to develop creatively our revolutionary theory’ (1975:118, quoted in Dolapchieva 1985: 85). This statement is representative not only for the period but for all publications which appeared during the years of communist government of the country. If any author wanted their draft published he or she had to conform to the rules of communist censorship and include such ideological statements. Consequently they appeared in all publications, inspired by (and often simply copied) from Todor Zhivkov’s works. The censorship which took place was just one control mechanism that ensured the ‘correct’ messages were given by authors. Because of this censorship the academic literature tells us little of what was really happening in museums. The factual

…the documents issued there are wise and rich source of ideas to guide our activities concerning our socialist culture and the people working within the system of the Bulgarian culturalhistorical heritage. We all must study and learn from them, and use them as ideological and methodological guidance in our work. Even more it is absolutely impossible to do our work properly if we do not study the richness of these ideas.

1 The party governing in Bulgaria for the period 1944-1989 was a communist party. However pure communism remains theoretical and the state was a socialist one. In the present book both terms are used but the term of communism is used prevalently to demonstrate the ideology Bulgarian communist party tried to implement in the museum domain.

The party congresses were ‘the supreme body of the party’ (Crampton 2005: 187), which made important 2


The communist party organised congresses every 5 years

COMMUNISM AND MUSEUMS policy decisions. ‘Those decisions however ….were usually to implement those already taken by the party’s most powerful organism, the politburo...’ (Crampton ibid: 187). Hence the supposed ‘richness of the ideas’, described by Iliev, were in fact those promulgated by a coterie of politburo members, ideas that promoted communist rules and regulations and the ways in which these should be implemented.

Bulgarian museums under communism.

Bulgarian museums under communism Bulgarian cultural life was dominated by communist ideas for 45 years. The Bulgarian museum system developed in a closed country where strict communist party directives had to be followed. After 1944 ‘the tradition from the past was cut off... and the so called socialist museology was imposed in Bulgaria… The main characteristic of museums under this museology was that they were State museums, managed by different organs of the communist party’ (Krasteva 2003:141). Rules relating to good and bad practice had to be closely followed in all walks of life, including museums. At its fifth congress in 1948 the Bulgarian communist party initiated the creation of new museums and heritage legislation as ‘the old one was a bourgeois legislation and was not in accordance with socialist ideas’3 (Silianovska 1972: 180). The most important task however was the ‘ideological transformation of all museums. [Communist] ideology was also the guiding principle when building new ones’ (ibid: 181).

Similarly Kissiov (in Dolapchieva ibid: 19), suggested that ‘the function of the museum system [in Bulgaria] is to educate the people in communist ideas’. This statement – that Bulgarian museums at this time were designed to celebrate the achievements of the communist party – encapsulates the main characteristics of these museums. This ideological approach is also promoted by Stoyanov (in Dolapchieva, 1985: 85-6): [Bulgarian museums]…are places, spreading amongst the socialist workers and youths knowledge about the history of the people, researching and propagating the revolutionary, ideological and theoretical heritage of the party leaders, devoted to the triumph of socialist building in Bulgaria. Along with all that the memorial museums are also in the front line of the fight of our party against the imperialistic diversions of the reactionary imperialistic forces to disorganise the people and divert their attention from the saving direction of socialism.

In order to understand the policies influencing the development of Bulgarian museums during the governance of the Bulgarian communist party, a brief description of the political, social and environmental situation with stress on the intellectual life in Bulgaria after 1944 is essential.

This quotation, very similar to one quoted above by Zhivkov, further indicates that museums under communism were used to promote the ideological work of party activists. They were simply an instrument to serve the ideological programmes generated by the party leader Todor Zhivkov.

Under the guidance of the USSR The communist party which came into power in September 1944 was operating under the name ‘Bulgarian Workers’ Party’ (BWP) and was initially very popular due to its closeness to Russia. The BWP membership grew from 15 000 in October 1944 to 250 000 a year later.4 This was the result of the traditional Bulgarian russophilia known since the time of liberation from Ottoman domination. However ‘…the communists had a sharp nose for political power’ (Crampton ibid: 180), which meant an immediate and very strong control over the media, including radio, distribution of newspapers, and even the import of foreign films. In the context of the present book an interesting point arises with regards to the attitude communists had towards the Bulgarian intelligentsia, which make the Bulgarian case different from other countries where a communist regime was established. The BWP established courts for collaborators and war criminals to be sentenced. Bulgaria however was never occupied during the World War II and did not participate in the Eastern front. Therefore no Bulgarians fell into either category.5 Nevertheless

Kissiov (2004) has provided a chronology of socialist museum building for the period 1945-1990. As Head of the ‘Museums’ section in the Ministry of Culture from 1961 until 1987 he was in a unique position to shed light on how the Bulgarian museums system operated at this time. This long tenure is typical in Bulgaria and still persists today in Bulgarian museums, i.e. people working in the same position for 20 or more years. Seemingly it is extremely difficult for these employees to change their ways of thinking and behaving, formed so strongly during socialist times. Although published long after the fall of the communism Kissiov’s work reflects the way of thinking of a person who lived and worked for several years under the regime, i.e. it is an attempt to glorify the achievements of Bulgarian museology under communism. It appears at first sight that the information available in the published literature says little or nothing about the actual condition of museums under communism, only indicating that like every other part of the system they were heavily controlled. However, a closer examination of Kissiov (2004), Dolapchieva (1985) and Pecheva and Raichev (1955) has supplied information that is used below to clarify the ideology and functioning of

… per capita more Bulgarians were accused of these crimes than any other East European nation. 3

The regulations from 1911 (see section 6.5.2) See Crampton 2005 5 See Crampton ibid 4


BULGARIA AND ITS MUSEUMS IN ‘NEW’ EUROPE For [Bulgarian] communists the problem was that the …intelligentsia had not been decimated by Gestapo or its local equivalent, and therefore the potential pool of opposition was greater than in other states. The Bulgarian intelligentsia … [was] paying now for its relatively easy war (Crampton 2005: 182).

In the present review it is also important to reveal the state of Bulgarian affairs (and the cultural ones in particular) during the period when Bulgaria closely followed the Stalinist model of socialism. In the Soviet Union Stalin created a repressive state claiming that it was possible to build socialism in one country alone, which seriously contradicted Marxist internationalism. Stalin’s model however was adopted in Bulgaria under the guidance of Valko Chervenkov, leader of the Bulgarian Communist party and Head of State (19491956).

Or as Brown (1970) notes: ‘The Bulgarian communists had the dubious distinction of making the bloodiest beginning of all the new regimes in Eastern Europe’. This particular attitude towards the Bulgarian intelligentsia resulted in a difference in the political and social development of Bulgarian internal affairs under communist rule. It meant a lack of dissident activity in Bulgaria (such as in Hungary or Czechoslovakia for example) and relatively slow societal change compared to other socialist countries.6 With reference to the above Verdery (1996) notes that no socialist country was ‘typical’. Each, underlines the author, ‘had its specificities, and each shared certain features with some but not all other countries of the bloc’ (ibid: 11). Therefore it is not appropriate to assume that conclusions valid for one of those countries could be applied to another. This line of thoughts will be further examined in connection with Bulgarian museums.

Chervenkov, who was Stalin’s trusted protégé, - and called ‘little Stalin’ in private (Crampton 2005:190 and Brown 1970: 27) - completed the conversion of the BCP into one-man dictatorship. He ‘…modelled his style and scope of government on Stalin…’ (Brown ibid: 23), assumed all top government and party positions and developed a cult of personality like that of his mentor. At Stalin's command, Chervenkov purged party members from 1950 until 1953 and ‘…at least 100 000 party members were expelled, many of them being sent to labour camps, thus creating police terror in Bulgaria’ (Crampton ibid: 193). A closer look to the intellectual life in Bulgaria in this period reveals that ‘the architects of communism recognized that their success depended on the new outlook of the people, to be shaped among the lines of Marxist-Leninist philosophy, which was to eradicate the cultural legacy of the capitalist past’ (Raikin in Ramet 1998: 234). In Bulgaria this eradication meant a complete purge of the intellectual field of ‘fascists’ – fascist ideology, laws, associations and publications. Many of the nationally recognized scholars, writers, artists, editors and intellectual leaders were either put in jail or thrown out of their offices. In 1949 for example Sofia University was purged of 5000 ‘reactionary’ students, while some were allowed to be ‘reconstructed’. The ‘reconstruction’ was a humiliating process where academicians marched to the podium at the university before an audience of students and other academicians and renounced their antiMarxist views.8 ‘Chervenkov, notebook in hand, was writing his observations’ (Raikin ibid: 234). The Hungarian revolution in the autumn of 1956 caused the Bulgarian leadership to further discourage dissident intellectual activity. In response to events in Hungary in 1957 and 1958 the leadership of the Bulgarian Writers' Union was purged and liberal journalists and editors dismissed from their positions.9

In December 1948 at its Fifth congress, the BWP changed its name to Bulgarian Communist Party (BCP) and like other communist parties in Eastern Europe adopted ‘democratic centralism’ as its guiding organizational principle. This meant in effect that the chain of command was always vertical, from the centre down; there were to be no horizontal links because the centre could not tolerate the possibility of local conspiracies against it (Crampton ibid: 187). The implication in practical terms was that the party executed control on all levels. This was done through primary party organizations within all factories and places of work. These organizations kept two lists.7 The ‘nomenklatura list’ contained the important posts within the organization to be taken only by trustworthy individuals. The ‘cadre list’ contained the names of trustworthy individuals. Anyone who wanted a decent job would keep their political record clean as for those …within the party who carefully toed the party line there was the promise of rewarding jobs together with privileges such as access to better shops, holiday resorts, hospitals, schools, and other facilities (Crampton ibid: 188).

It appears that the party leaders had a particular and very strong opinion concerning an eventual ‘threat’ coming from the Bulgarian intelligentsia although the intelligentsia in Bulgaria at the time was heterogeneous and hardly capable of organised protests.10 Both Brown (ibid) and Raikin (ibid) however stress that Chervenkov in particular insisted on being involved in the supervision

This led to corruption, the consequences of which will be discussed in the following sections.


See Raikin 1998 See Brown 1970 10 See Dimitrov 2001



See Brown 1970 7 Crampton ibid


COMMUNISM AND MUSEUMS of Bulgarian cultural life. implications for museums.




has full control over all museums activities’ (Cultural Masterpieces and Museums Act 1969: article 5(1)). This Act will be explored in chapter seven as it is still the one under which contemporary Bulgarian museums function.

Cultural legislation

Museum organization

After 1944, with the communist party in power, several changes occurred in museums. The main directive was to create ‘socialist culture and art while completely eradicating all class-related elements from the past’ (Krasteva 2003: 273). This provoked the creation of different legislative acts and documents in order to regulate the work of Bulgarian museums. As early as 1949 a Law for collecting materials about the anti-fascist movement was created (August 1949). This Law was meant to stimulate the collection and preservation of materials and personal belongings of people related to the communist party during the anti-fascist revolt. ‘At the same time all paintings and portraits of royalties and all monarchy related symbols disappeared’ (Krasteva ibid: 273), a result of the appeals to ‘eradicate’ all signs of the bourgeois-related past. A critical moment in the development of Bulgarian museology under communism was the creation of the Committee for Science, Arts and Culture (with Decree No 160 of the Council of Ministers, 13 April 1951). The Decree stated that the work of Bulgarian museums was regulated solely by this Committee, which ‘became the main centre for realization of the aims of the socialist cultural revolution’ (Krasteva ibid: 273). The Committee administered the work of Bulgarian museums until 1989. Another Decree (No 165, 2 August 1958) was meant to further clarify the tasks of Bulgarian museums in socialist society. It stated that the museums ‘are scientific and cultural-educational institutions, main depositories of the moveable monuments of culture, which contribute to the patriotic and communist education of the workers’. As mentioned, Bulgarian culture had to strictly follow the directives of the party and such texts demonstrated how to introduce communist ideology into the practical, everyday work of cultural institutions. From 1944 until the mid-60s the work of Bulgarian museums was regulated by different Decrees or documents concerning one or more of their activities, but there was no official museum law.

‘Museological activities in Bulgaria were concentrated on building museums whose main aim was to collect materials concerning the process of building socialism’ (Krasteva ibid: 141). This resulted in the appearance of a unified and centralized museum system. Bulgarian museums at the time turned into ‘political’ (Krasteva ibid: 275) rather than historical institutions, which had been the situation in Bulgaria before World War II. What did the ‘communist museum’ mean in practical terms? Pecheva and Raichev (1955) give an insight as to how communist ideas had to be incorporated into museum work in Bulgaria. According to their ‘guide book’ museums in Bulgaria had to be … of a socialist type, with exhibitions built upon the principles of Marxism-Leninism…. (Pecheva and Raichev ibid: 6) In order to achieve these aims the first task to be undertaken when preparing a museum exhibition was the appointment of a Commission which consisted of the Head of the ‘Culture’ department of the local municipality, the museum director and two local members of the communist party. This combination immediately makes one doubt the success of such a Commission. From the four members only one had a museum background, while the others, especially the members of the communist party, had little or nothing to do with museums. The criteria for a good museum exhibition included the following principles: •

Only in the second half of the 1960s did the Committee introduce the idea for a unified law for Bulgarian museums as ‘the guidances in so many different documents were not entirely fulfilled’ (Kissiov 2004: 14). All pre-communist legislative documents were regarded as ‘bourgeois’ and therefore useless as ‘these could not ensure the socialist building in the country’ (Silianovska 1972: 180). On 4 April 1969 the Cultural Masterpieces and Museums Act11 concerning Bulgarian museums and heritage was agreed and passed by Parliament and its text published in the State Gazette (Darjaven vestnik, 18/11.04.1969). ‘…This document ensured the necessary conditions for the normal work of all Bulgarian museums’ (Kissiov ibid: 15). Kissiov’s personal view of ‘normal’ was that under the communist regime the ‘State 11

• •

To demonstrate and underline the achievements of the communist party and to show the real face of the enemies of the working class To reflect the historical development of the local revolutionary movement with an emphasis on the difficult but heroic revolutionary struggles of the workers To reflect the leading role of the Bulgarian communist party and its role as a protector of workers’ interests To demonstrate the difference between the socialist way of life and the difficult life of people living under hard economical and social conditions in the capitalist world (Pecheva and Raichev ibid: 41).

In order to achieve these criteria all museums had to be transformed and transformation meant ‘eradicating all signs of the past by completely changing all museum

Appendix 13


BULGARIA AND ITS MUSEUMS IN ‘NEW’ EUROPE content, essence and forms of previous activities – exhibitions, research and collecting’ (Pecheva and Raichev ibid: 6). In order to achieve these goals each museum’s exhibition must have the following three – tiered structure:

have exhibitions demonstrating only one archaeological or ethnographic collection which made them archaeological or ethnographic museums. Such museums must aim to create the above mentioned three - tiered exhibitions, including all three departments with the relevant sections (Pecheva and Raichev ibid: 10).

1. A historical section with areas devoted to: • Local life before Ottoman domination • Revolutionary activities of local people against the Ottomans • Workers’ revolutionary activities 2. A ‘Socialist building’ section including: • The local history of the development of socialism • Present day activities of the socialist people 3. ‘Natural history’ section – including elements of local natural history curiosities (Pecheva and Raichev ibid: 7).

Following such directives museums in Bulgaria were denied any opportunity for creativity, individuality or self-determination. All exhibitions were to be organized in a similar way, with the priority being to reveal the ‘glorious activities’ of the communist party. The strict division of museums according to their collections disappeared, giving way to museums whose only substantive difference was the name of the local communist hero used in the exhibition. School groups went into these museums with the sole purpose of studying the heroic acts of the communist activist whom they should be proud of and inspired by (Fig. 6.1).

Thus any museum which had ethnographic or archaeological collection had to present these under the ‘History’ section of the exhibition. The meaning of such presentation was ‘to unify all Bulgarian museums… and to avoid isolated and formalistic exhibiting of materials and collections that museums may have’ (Pecheva and Raichev ibid: 8). The authors continue:

This picture was taken in 1978 and shows children at the end of their first year at school. The ceremony, at which the children received their diplomas for successfully completing the year, was held in the house-museum of Georgi Dimitrov in Sofia, the model for every person living under socialism in Bulgaria. These are seven-year old children but they had to be trained in communist principles from an early age.

…Some museums have large archaeological or ethnographic collections, which indicate their biased character. It is intolerable that museums

Fig. 6.1 School group in the museum of Georgi Dimitrov12 in Sofia (personal archive) 12

Georgi Dimitrov (1882-1949) – Leader of the Bulgarian communist party (1944-1949), general secretary of the Commintern, eminent representative of Bulgarian and international communist movement


COMMUNISM AND MUSEUMS In the light of the above we need to question why the specificity of different museums had to be eradicated. The answer lies in one basic element from communist ideology, simply that (in theory) there are no differences under communism. Everything and everybody is equal. No one can possess more than the other. Everybody can have exactly (and only) what the others have. So the different regions of Bulgaria were to create similar kind of museums. However the plan for exhibitions described by Pecheva and Raichev (ibid) was not realistic, nor achievable for every museum. First of all not all museums had the necessary objects in their collections to achieve the three-tiered model and more important only a few had a building big enough to house such an exhibition. And while the first criteria could be realised through exchange and loan of objects between museums the issue of the buildings was not so easily resolved. The result was frequently chaos, particularly in small country museums, which were often located in a house with only 2-3 rooms of exhibition space. My memory is of overcrowded rooms that were dark and musty, where even basic cleaning was ignored.13 Being only 10 years old or so at the time I still remember that while visiting such museums my only wish was to get out as quickly as possible. It was impossible to pretend to listen to the long lectures of the guides which although supposed to be an inspiration for school children were exactly the opposite.

Bearing in mind that criticism was not tolerated by the communist government this article is extraordinary. The author underlines the fact that the lack of professionalism is not only a characteristic of the administrative staff in the Committee for Science, Arts and Culture but also of the people working in museums. Valchev (ibid: 4) states: ‘Having a University degree does not make one able and capable to work in a museum’. Several questions arise from the above statements. People working in Bulgarian museums before the communist period were never trained in museum basics either but, in my opinion and based on documentary evidence, they demonstrated much higher professionalism. What made them then capable enough to successfully organise and run Bulgarian museums? An explanation was partially given in chapters four and five. The combination of enthusiasm, an eagerness to learn from foreign expertise combined with endless desire to build a Bulgarian museum system, meant that people working in Bulgarian museums before 1944 turned into real activists and achievers although exactly how professional they were remains debatable. The lack of ideological and political prejudice in pre-communist Bulgarian museum building gives additional credence to this view. Here, however, a further question emerges: Why is it that in 21st century Bulgaria the majority of people working in museums still do not have adequate museum training and education? Why it is still considered that having a University degree in any discipline is enough to secure a job in a museum? This statement will be further explored in the following chapters.

Museum professionalism and communism Further investigation on the subject concerning equality under communism reveals its mainly theoretical aspect. Arguably it was not achievable nor possibly desirable when related to employees not only in museums but in other places of work too. All museum staff from the period before communism were gradually replaced by ‘politically and ideologically well oriented young people’ (Krasteva 2003: 275). These selection criteria are interesting, and suggest that young people were preferred because they were easier to mould and that being ‘well oriented’ meant they knew what they wanted in terms of career and ambition. The ‘nomenclatura’ list and ‘cadre’ list, with the consequent privileges of being on the cadre list were a huge incentive for careerists.14 In museum terms however such ‘young, well oriented people’ ‘were rarely trained even in the basics of museum work’ (Krasteva ibid: 275). In 1948 the new Committee for Science, Arts and Culture with a sub-department of ‘Museums’ began to influence people working in Bulgarian museums:

Types of museums and museum collections From the beginning of socialist museum-building in the mid 1940s, the number of items in museum collections increased significantly. In 1958 Bulgarian museums acquired 51, 048 new objects. For the period 1960-1970 the new acquisitions averaged some 77, 000 objects each year and by 1990 Bulgarian museums were estimated to contain some 4, 100, 000 objects.15 However, it is not possible to make an accurate assessment of the number of acquisitions as it is not known how many were held at the beginning of the communist period despite the attempts to make an inventory due to the situation in the country after World War II.16 The nature of the objects collected is something which also requires consideration. What is important to stress here is that objects in Bulgarian museums collected during the period of the governance of the communist party were exclusively collected in Bulgaria. This is in stark contrast to museums elsewhere in Europe that formed collections that frequently represent a world view, with relatively few restrictions on the scope of either geography or subject area. In Bulgaria the majority of museums still restrict their collecting activities to their local area. However the quality and quantity of many of

…This new organisation made Bulgarian museums deteriorate due to the extreme incompetence of the people working in this department as none of them was ever trained in museum techniques, or even worked in a museum to know at least some parts of a museums functioning (Valchev 1955: 4). 13

My memories of these museums, as they were unchanged in the 1980s 14 See Crampton 2005

15 16


See Kissiov 2004 See Krasteva 2003

BULGARIA AND ITS MUSEUMS IN ‘NEW’ EUROPE the archaeological finds collected during this period made Bulgaria known world wide, despite its isolation due to its politics. Good examples are the Panagurishte golden treasure (1949), the Rogozen treasure (1985) and the Varna necropolis golden treasure (1972). These are archaeological finds that became part of global touring exhibitions that illustrated the rich history of Bulgaria. It would appear then that this ‘Bulgarian’ focus was not necessarily negative, although the museum visitor had little opportunity to experience other world cultures or environments.

period when a large number of memorial museums appeared in Bulgaria. So for example the Museum of Nikola Vaptzarov19 was created in Bansko (1952), the Museum of Vassil Kolarov20 in Sofia (1952) and the Museum of Hristo Smirnenski21 in Sofia (1952) (Kissiov 2004: 17). Needless to say, these were all museums dedicated to communist heroes. With a decision of the Central Committee of the Bulgarian communist party (16.07.1953) the Museum of Bulgarian–Soviet friendship in Sofia was created ‘to reflect the centuries long relations between Bulgarian people and the peoples of the Soviet Union’ (Kissiov ibid: 17). All these were State funded museums. Gradually their number increased significantly (Table 6.1) with one third being dedicated to communist heroes. By 1984 the number of such strictly memorial museums in the country was 74 out of 227.22 This imbalance is a strong indicator of the ways in which Bulgarian museology had been appropriated by the state to achieve its political objectives.

It is interesting to look at how museum objects were presented in line with strict party directives and how an object could be ideologically biased. When describing the theoretical structure of a successful socialist exhibition Silianovska (1972: 208) notes: …The successful exhibition can use the method of contrast. This one is particularly useful when presenting class differences. So for example a weaving mill from the time before the socialist revolution in Bulgaria with its primitive machines can be juxtaposed to a modern textile mill using contemporary machines to demonstrate how the workers’ life improved under the guidance of the party.

Table 6.1 State funded museums and art galleries (source Kissiov 2004: 21) Year State funded Museums (incl. art galleries)

1956 98

1966 136

1972 171

1978 207

1981 215

1990 230

It is necessary here to clarify why art galleries feature alongside museums and what was their role under the guidance of the party. The Museums and Cultural Masterpieces Act from 1969 is the document which also regulated the work of art galleries. Art galleries were therefore also places meant to propagate communist ideas and ‘…were entirely representative for the years following the socialist revolution’ (Krasteva 2003: 286). From the 1950s onwards creative artists in Bulgaria such as writers, painters, artists and musicians were organised under the aegis of the Ministry of Culture into different unions or associations, which assigned the subject to be studied. These bodies, together with the Ministry of Culture arranged the production of the different creative works. They were also responsible for the disciplining of those judged to have strayed ‘from the straight and narrow path mapped out by the regime’ (Brown 1970: 243). In practical terms this meant that artists were told what to create. ‘Ideologically opposed to both private property and individualism, the regime dictated the rules for artistic production, limiting artists to the official style of socialist realism’ (Brown ibid: 243).

In other words a historical period in the development of the textile industry is not presented as such but serves to represent party success and advance. In this sense it is relevant to mention the scope of symbolisation in a repressive political situation. In such a situation isolated features are frequently given a symbolic meaning. Objects, sites and landscapes may be re-interpreted to provide new meaning, often different from what they meant in their original context. 17 Bulgarian museums became a prime focus for such activity in order to achieve party directives. The intensification of collecting activities provoked the expansion of the museum network and museums collections and many new museums appeared. So for example one of the first new museums built after the communist party came into power was the Museum of the Revolution in Sofia, following a decision of the Central committee of the Bulgarian Communist Party in 1947. The Council of Sofia took the decision that the house of Dimitar Blagoev18 in Sofia should be converted into a house-museum (1948). A decision of the Council of Ministers (10.07.1949) also enabled the house of Georgi Dimitrov in Sofia to become a house-museum. These two examples give an indication that decisions for new museums were taken exclusively by political bodies or more precisely by the leading communist party. In 1951 the ‘Museums’ department of the Committee for Arts and Culture prepared a strategic long-term program for museum building in Bulgaria until 1970. This was a

Defined in 1934 at the first All-Union Congress of Soviet Writers, socialist realism was based on the principle that the arts should glorify political and social ideals of communism.23 My personal memories of the art galleries 19 Nikola Vaptzarov (1909-1942) – activist of the anti-Nazi movement in Bulgaria, he was arrested in 1942, subjected to inhuman torture and finally executed on 23rd July, 1942. One of the most famous 20th century Bulgarian poets 20 Vassil Kolarov –(1877-1950) - Bulgarian communist political leader 21 Hristo Smirnenski (1898-1923) – a proletariat poet 22 See Kissiov 1984 23 See Fowkes 2002: online


See Bohman 2001 Dimitar Blagoev (1856-1924) Bulgarian political leader, founder of the Social-Democratic party of Bulgaria in 1891



COMMUNISM AND MUSEUMS at the time, which I visited often as part of the school curriculum but also because of a personal interest, are of monumental-sized paintings representing the fight of socialist workers against a capitalist enemy or a moment from the life of some communist hero. Sculptures were also huge monuments of participants in the anti-fascist revolt demonstrating either a group of fighting people or the single (but always huge) figure of a communist leader such as Georgi Dimitrov for example.24 After the fall of the communist regime some of these sculptures (for example the monumental statue of Lenin in the centre of Sofia) were demolished, but most, especially in the small towns and villages, still exist, covered with graffiti.

deviation from the strict party directives. The religious collections, although in discordance with the politics of the communist party, could not be completely destroyed and their richness in Bulgaria did not permit them to be entirely neglected. Therefore a way had to be found to present them. The only open-air museum in Bulgaria on the other hand was regarded as being far too specific for the Bulgarian museum environment and was consequently subject to a particular approach.27

Religious collections Chapters two and three discussed the importance of Bulgarian religious collections for Bulgarian museum building in the 19th century. At that time the church collections represented all that was ‘Bulgarian’. So what were the implications of communist ideologies for the churches’ collections when ‘religion’ was regarded as taboo and anti-religious propaganda was rife?

As mentioned earlier the principles of the socialist realism imposed the requirement that ‘…art reflected reality and at the same time complied with the requirements of obedience to the party, was to be for and about the people, and was to be associated with the positive hero’ (Fowkes 2002: online). ‘The 'pivotal tenet' of the theory was the requirement that artists 'in documenting the present, find in it those elements that foreshadow the dazzling future of communist paradiseon-earth' (Fowkes ibid: online). However ‘…socialist realism was not created by the masses but was formulated in their name by well-educated and experienced elites’ (Groys 1992: 9). Consequently it had little or nothing to do with the actual tastes and demands of the masses. ‘…It was unappealingly didactic, devoid of entertainment value and divorced from real life’ (Groys ibid: 8). More important however was that this ideology was applied beyond the borders of the Soviet Union to all countries within the Soviet sphere of influence. ‘During the Stalinist period in Eastern Europe ... the Soviet model was to be followed slavishly’ (Fowkes ibid: online).

The communist party ‘could tolerate no organization or institution that might possibly offer an alternative focus of loyalty’ (Sugar 1999: 45). In Bulgaria …the Orthodox church was formally subordinated to the state, prohibited from engaging in education and charity work and deprived of its sources of finance….The Catholic and Protestant churches were all but destroyed because of their suspected links with the West (Dimitrov 2001: 24). Although the communist regime recognized that ‘various churches could not be eliminated’ (Sugar ibid: 45) the main task of communist activists was to eradicate all religious ‘delusions’. Perhaps it is therefore not surprising to discover that none of the authors who wrote on Bulgarian museum-building in the years after 1944 said anything about the churches’ possessions.

The directives all artists received from the above mentioned unions or associations were implemented first under the close supervision of Valko Chervenkov. Chervenkov resigned in 1956 after Khrushchev criticised Stalin’s cult of personality to the 20th Congress of the communist party of the Soviet Union in February 1956.25 However in Bulgaria the 7th Congress of the Bulgarian Communist Party (1958) imposed three general demands on Bulgarian intellectuals which were not very different from Chervenkov’s ideas: to associate themselves more directly with the economic, political and cultural tasks of the country; to raise further the ideological, political and artistic level of their work and to struggle against hostile ideology.26 And if all museums presented similar exhibitions, then the art galleries all offered similar art exhibitions as well; the only real difference was the name of the painter or sculptor.

In Russia in 1946, the collection of the Central Antireligious Museum in Moscow were moved to join the collection of the Museum of the Religions and Atheism in Leningrad to form one museum, based in Leningrad (St. Petersburg). ‘This museum was very popular amongst all countries of the socialist camp. It was a model for them with its extensive program, propagating anti-religious scientific knowledge’ (Silianovska 1972: 57). Alongside a significant collection of Orthodox icons (whose presence in the museum was justified because they were ‘needed for the study of the history of painting’ (Silianovska ibid: 57) were many anti-religious materials such as engravings, posters and cartoons from all over the world.

Other examples

In Bulgaria, despite this Soviet model, church collections seem to have been deliberately avoided as was any interference with monastic collections. ‘…The existence of such collections, however, as well as their richness and diversity, could not be completely neglected’ (Krasteva

This section discusses two examples from the Socialist period of museum organisation, which in a way represent 24

See Fowkes in Cowley and Reid (eds) 2002 See Crampton ibid 26 See Krasteva 2003 25





Fig. 6.2 Etara open-air museum

Midsummer Day (Enjovden). Each September Etara hosts the Traditional Autumn Fair of Arts and Crafts where master-craftsmen from the whole country present their art objects and exchange idea and expertise (Aleksieva ibid). There are four permanent exhibitions: National costumes; the Town’s manner of life during the period end of the 19th – beginning of the 20th century; The study of Lazar Donkov – the founder of the museum and The interior furnishing of craftsman house. These however are the same exhibitions one could visit 25 years ago and nothing, at least technically or in design terms, has changed.28

ibid: 280). In places such as the Museum of the Rila monastery for example, the collections remained but the name of the museum had to be changed to the ‘Museum of the History of Bulgarian Literature and Middle-ages and Revival Culture’ so avoiding all religious connotation and as if to emphasize that museums and religion were incompatible.

Etara - Bulgaria’s Open -Air Museum Along with the growth in the number of memorial museums the years of communist government witnessed the opening of the only open-air museum in Bulgaria, known as Etara (Fig. 6.2). It is situated 8 kilometers from the town of Gabrovo, in central Bulgaria, and was created in 1964 by a local man, Lazar Donkov.

Lazar Donkov’s idea for the creation of an open–air ethnographic museum dates from as early as 1949, but met with major opposition from the Ministry of Culture and some museum specialists. Only in 1963 were these issues sufficiently resolved to start the creation of the museum. However, ‘… in no official document was the word ‘museum’ mentioned’ (Petrov in Nedkov 2005:104). The new enterprise was referred to simply as a ‘park’. On 7 September 1964 the ‘park’ was officially opened for visitors while building activities still continued. Only in 1966, when it parted from the Regional Ethnographic Museum of Gabrovo, was the site named an ‘Ethnographic park-museum’ but it continued to provoke resentment from some museum specialists. (Petrov ibid: 117). The reason for this was that during the communist period some authors such as Koniarska (1984:5) considered it as structure ‘inexpedient and intolerable for Bulgaria’ as open-air museums were related to West European museological values and practices.

Etara was built in a picturesque region of the Balkan Mountains as a way of presenting the Bulgarian historical past, economic development, the way of life and Revival architecture and techniques. It covers an area of 7 hectares and includes genuine houses, 16 crafts workshops, water driven technical facilities (Fig 6.3), and exhibitions of pottery and rugs, exquisite wood carvings and fine silver jewelry. All houses are in the Revival style (18th – 19th centuries) and in each one there is a small craft shop where traditional Bulgarian crafts can be found (Fig. 6.4). The craftsmen produce and also sell their products there and visitors can observe old local technologies, original tools, talk to the craftsman and buy hand–made objects from metal, leather, clay, wood and fur. Ancient rituals, songs and dances are presented there during the folk-calendar holidays – Palm Sunday, St. George’s Day or



Personal memories


Fig. 6.3 Etara – water mill

Fig. 6.4 Etara – crafts shops

to save the ‘real thing’. However the open-air museums as a specific way of representing and preserving the past for education and enjoyment have their importance in society. The living town-museums (to which Koniarska refers and which will be explored in the next chapter seven) although demonstrating Revival architecture, cannot express Revival culture of living, arts, crafts and different techniques and machinery as an open-air museum does and there is no reason why both cannot exist, cohabit and complement each other.

In Bulgaria there are villages which are preserved the way they used to be 200 or more years ago, therefore the idea to artificially create a heritage site when the real ones are preserved did not have many supporters. It was felt that more attention should be given to heritage sites such as these old villages and funds allocated for their restoration. Building a new ‘ethnographic village’ was ‘intolerable’ as visitors could see almost the same features in any Bulgarian Revival town. In a way this is a fair point, underlining the necessity of funds being used 67

BULGARIA AND ITS MUSEUMS IN ‘NEW’ EUROPE Etara open-air museum remains today as the only deviation from the strict museological rules applied during the communist period as it represents a structure more common in Western museological practice. Although it was never referred to as an ‘open-air museum’ it ‘…went through a difficult and tense period and the idea and further development met with very harsh opposition from some museum specialists (Petrov ibid: 110).

system was too frightening or full of promise (and often both), to be worth challenging’ (Dimitrov ibid: 28). In museum terms although the so - called ‘socialist museology’ was established in all these countries it does not have equal dimensions in them. So, for example, in 1964 in East Germany ‘museology’ became a separate university subject. In Romania and Yugoslavia L. Stefanesko and A. Bauera respectively, leading names in the theory of museology in these countries, defended the idea that ‘museology’ should be regarded as a distinct science. In Bulgaria ‘museology’ as a separate university discipline still does not exist. In the second half of the 1960s the theoretical approaches concerning museology in Germany, Romania or Hungary embraced research in the social functions of the museum institution. In 1964 a laboratory for sociological research in museums was created in Poland and its publications were translated into other Eastern European languages.31 Attention was focussed on theoretical museology and the implementation of closer relations between museums and education. In all these countries the period after 1965 was characterised by increasing international cooperation provoked by the activities of ICOM. Although Bulgaria became an ICOM member formally in 1958 there was little or no activity.

Exchange of knowledge During the years of communist governance of the country there was no possibility for exchange of museological knowledge with non-communist countries and therefore little opportunity to learn from museums other than those that were organized in a very similar way.29 Travel to non-communist countries was impossible, so acquiring new ideas, new museum knowledge and transferring it to Bulgarian museums was equally difficult. However, it is only fair to recognise the help that Bulgarian museology obtained from Russian specialists. Russian museology was considered to be at a much more advanced level at least in technical preparation and execution of exhibitions and in practice was, arguably, the best model Bulgarian museology could follow at the time. In an isolated situation the assistance provided by Russian specialists was essential. ‘This included technical assistance, conservation, financial management and even the terminology of museum work’ (Krasteva 2003: 278). In other Eastern-European countries the situation was similar, establishing the so called ‘socialist museology’ (Krasteva ibid: 141) in these countries.

All the above reveals that ‘the main task of Bulgarian museology in the communist period was building up a socialist in spirit and content museum system’ (Krasteva ibid: 278). The achievements of Bulgarian socialist museology are underlined by Kissiov (1984: 43): … Without doubt the museum system in the years of communist regime achieved incredible heights. It was built under the guidance and with the help of the Central Committee of the Bulgarian communist party which did what the bourgeois state before could not do.

It is important however to underline once again the differences in social and political factors in these countries compared to the Bulgarian situation. Although Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia and Hungary were countries governed by socialist regimes, the events there demonstrated a different intensity of socialism. Led by J.B. Tito (1892-1980), Yugoslavia took an independent course in 1948, which was much feared by Stalin and his supporters. The Hungarian crisis (1956) and the Prague Spring (1968) demonstrated the existence of dissident movements in these countries and they were never known to be in such isolation from the outside world as Bulgaria was. In Bulgaria there simply was no opposition to the governing regime. The main opposition would have come from the peasantry but it had been completely eradicated in the post-war years. The working class, which in Hungary and Poland was in the centre of all protests, was only just emerging in Bulgaria with workers ‘…recently arrived from villages and still feeling insecure in urban environment’ (Dimitrov 2001: 28). The middle class, which could have been expected to assume intellectual leadership, was small and disorganised.30 To summarize ‘…for the majority of the population, the communist 29 30

This quotation glorifies the achievements of the communist party but cannot be substantiated – unless one considers the creation of a large number of identical museums promulgating socialist ideology as a success. However if Kissiov wanted his texts to be published (and indeed to retain his job for 26 years) he had to conform to censorship rules. But from a contemporary point of view his comments can be seen in a very different light. It is true that the Bulgarian state before 1944 could not create what was done during the years of communist regime and arguably would not have wished to. What the communist regime created were museums where school children and workers were obliged to go to learn and be proud of the achievements of the communist party and its communist heroes. In other words all cultural activities in the country were simply in the service of the leading party, enabling it to reach its target for political, economical or educational success. The all-embracing leadership of one political party, which

See Krasteva 2003 See Dimitrov ibid



See Krasteva ibid

COMMUNISM AND MUSEUMS …violence and military-police terror annihilated democratic liberty …. led to the political and ideological coloring of all areas of life, to the manipulation of peoples’ minds and repressions against the other-minded - all these were characteristics of a government, aiming not only control over economics and politics but mainly over the spiritual life of society (Ureneva, 2003: 370).

Summary The end of the Second World War marked the beginning of a period in Bulgarian development described as ‘a fundamental rupture in the history of modern Bulgaria…as it led to the total repudiation of the political, social and economic system that had been developing in the country since the achievement of independence seventy years earlier’ (Dimitrov 2001:22). The new authorities imposed requirements for museums to participate in the building of the socialist value system. This provoked the regulation of all museum activities and the introduction of a well controlled administrative style of museum management. In all decisions of the Central Committee of the communist party the role of the focused ideological education amongst the population was constantly emphasized. The previous governments’ approaches to museums were drastically reconstructed to meet the new requirements. In the years of communist governance ‘the meaning of the cultural-historical heritage reaches new dimensions, it became part of the politics of the party and the socialist state. Even more, it became part of the whole ideological activity of the party’ (Iliev in Dolapchieva 1985: 11). The consequences of these activities will be revealed in the next chapter, which deals with present day Bulgarian museums.


The situation is obstructed by the lack of well structured and planned activities in the sector. It is unclear which administrative structure is responsible for Bulgarian museums. The discrepancy between loud slogans stating what needs to be done, expressed by the Ministry of Culture, and the real problems met by museum specialists are greater than ever. Some of the decisions taken by different administrators in high positions in the Ministry of Culture are ‘chaotic and often completely deprived of common sense’ (Krasteva ibid: 316). As a result museum organisation does not improve or even change. Most museum exhibitions were created 15-20 years ago. These are permanent exhibitions and local communities have completely lost interest in them. There is no connection and no dialogue between society and museums. Communication is not a leading principle in the work of Bulgarian museums. Seemingly, the organisation of the contemporary museum system in Bulgaria is not based on a precise analysis of what is important for society, or of the museum’s interests, needs, factors and resources, which could ensure adequate development of the museums system. Good examples for this statement are the declarations of the (frequently changing) Ministers of Culture that there is a need of sponsorship for Bulgarian museums and heritage sites. However it is not clear who is expected to be the ‘sponsor’ nor a mechanism to promote it.1 There is still no well formed middle class in Bulgaria, which might serve as catalyst for the development of Bulgarian culture, while the very rich ‘businessman’, whose wealth is acquired by unknown but most certainly criminal means,2 are not interested in sponsoring culture. Neither do tax legislations stimulate sponsoring cultural activities. Attempts to implement recommendations made by international organisations such as ICOM or different scientific associations are failing.

PART III – BULGARIA IN ‘NEW’ EUROPE Contemporary Museums Introduction Previous chapters communicated the historical development of Bulgarian museums in relation to social, political and environmental factors, introducing little known individuals or events in museum building. Utilizing examples of three museums, this chapter describes the state of museums and heritage in Bulgaria in the period following the communist regime until the present day, commenting on the consequences of past events on them, and the communist regime in particular. These museums are examined at a time when Bulgaria has become the latest European Union member. This chapter however is not a critical appraisal but simply serves to introduce the situation. In chapter eight the information from the current chapter and all previous chapters will be linked to reveal the influence of the past on contemporary Bulgarian museums.

Bulgarian museums in the 21st century When the communist regime in Bulgaria fell in 1989 the museums system had to re-examine its organization and try to catch up with the (then little known) achievements of museums in Western Europe and the USA. Bulgaria’s political and social life after the fall of communism demonstrated a well known phenomenon, where Bulgarians turn towards their history after a period of oppression. This has been identified by authors such as Crampton (2005) and Dimitrov (2001). ‘…Bulgarians have not been able to agree upon a new state emblem. There is… a sense of doubt as to their national identity and their place in the contemporary world (Crampton 2005: 259). As a result ‘….it is to the past that many present-day Bulgarians look for clues as to their true identity, for grid references to plot their position in an increasingly unstable and insecure world’ (Crampton ibid: 259). Once again issues such as nationalism and patriotism appear and although differing from those known in the 19th century the answers to all questions are still sought in the history of Bulgaria.

…[t]he socio-economic changes, which characterise the transformation of the old political system, left Bulgarian museums to try to find realisation of their product on the cultural market by their own means. (Krasteva ibid: 317-8) This statement is somehow bizarre having in mind that Bulgaria has became the latest EU member. It appears that the country has serious problems to overcome. The main EU concerns however lie in the area of organized crime and corruption where Bulgaria is expected to implement thorough reforms in its judiciary and public administration systems. Chapter ‘Culture’ of the negotiation process with the EU was one of the first to be closed, meaning that what was made in that sector was satisfactory enough and complied with EU standards. Therefore all efforts have concentrated on restructuring more problematic areas rather than reserving attention for what is not in the scope of the monitoring EU Commissions. But are Bulgarian museums reaching the necessary level and high museological standards? The

This feeling of a lost sense of direction can be examined in relation to other features of contemporary life in Bulgaria including Bulgarian museums. Seemingly in their majority these …fail to find way to solve economic, creative and structural problems. Their rating fall, while the neglected exhibitions …are very far from the topics in which people are interested (Krasteva 2003: 315).

1 2


See Aleksieva in Nedkov 2005 or Tzekova in Nedkov ibid See Crampton 2005


Fig. 7.1 Nikola Vaptzarov house – museum, Bansko

what we need to know about the future, and b) nothing can be learned from history. Tosh identifies the second option as a defence against totalitarianism, which is why nearly all communist related museums were destroyed although examples exist of how these can be converted.

following is a review of the operation of contemporary Bulgarian museums using examples of national and municipal museums to reveal the answer to this question.

The inheritance from the communist period The majority of communist memorial museums were closed down after 1989 in an effort to completely eradicate the signs of the past 45 years. The initial euphoria after 1989 prompted the destruction of everything that was communist-related. Even extraordinary buildings were destroyed, including in 1992 the Mausoleum of Georgi Dimitrov in the centre of Sofia. The Bulgarian Prime Minister at the time, Ivan Kostov (1997-2001), a member of the Union of Democratic Forces, had insisted the mausoleum must be destroyed because it symbolised totalitarianism. The majority of the revolutionary museums were converted into local history museums while some of the house-museums of communist leaders simply closed. So, for example, the Museum of Revolution in Sofia was demolished in 2002 and a business centre was built in its place.

One such example is Nikola Vaptzarov’s House (Fig. 7.1) in Bansko, converted in 19923 and demonstrating how communist house-museums can have new meaning and role. Vaptzarov (1909-1942) was born in Bansko and educated at the Marine High School in Varna, following which he travelled and visited Tzarigrad, Alexandria, Beirut, and Port Said. His great wish was to study literature but his financial situation made this impossible and he had to start work as a technician and stoker on the Sofia railways. During this period he had been writing poems but his only book, Motoring verses, was published in 1940. After September 1941 he started subversive activities against the Germans. He was arrested in March 1942 and sentenced to death on the 23rd July 1942; the same evening he was executed. Nikola Vaptzarov was posthumously given the International peace award in 19524 and is still the only Bulgarian to be awarded this prize.

These museums, which Krasteva (2003: 315) goes as far to call ‘still-born’, lost their legitimacy as society changed its values systems. However, closing down all such museums is an arguable act. The communist period, whether desirable or not, was part of Bulgarian history for 45 years and this cannot be denied. In this sense while discussing the uses of history and trying to find an answer to the question: What can we learn from history? Tosh (2002) argues that people’s understanding about how and if we should use historical knowledge embrace the following polarised opinions: a) history tells us most of


The information concerning this museum was collected during a personal visit, complemented by additional notes taken during a conversation with the museum curator Elena Erinina (2005) 4 Destinations Bulgaria 2007 Nikola Vaptzarov House, [online], Available from : http://www.destinationbulgaria.bg/msvaptzarov.htm [21.02.2007]


BULGARIA AND ITS MUSEUMS IN ‘NEW’ EUROPE The house where he was born opened as a house-museum in 1952 to commemorate the 10th anniversary of his death. In 1959 an exhibition demonstrating his activities as a communist was opened and renewed in 1979. The house represented communist ideas through the life of a communist hero. Visiting this house was an essential part of the school curriculum under communism, something I experienced in 1980. This was the reason for the high number of visitors at the time according to Erinina (2005: pers.com.), the museum curator, although she was not able to quote precise visitor numbers for this or the present period. However she mentioned that although visitor numbers decreased drastically during the years immediately following the fall of the communist regime the interest in Vaptzarov never ceased and the audience is beginning to grow again.5 Vaptzarov is regarded as one of the most lyric poets in Bulgarian literature and his poems have been published in 60 languages.6 This was the key when regenerating the museum and when preparing the new exhibition in 1992. The new exhibition was prepared by a team led by the late Valo Radev (1923-2001), one of the most renowned Bulgarian film directors. The exhibition concentrates on the literary side of Vaptzarov’s life while still not avoiding the fact that he was a communist and the dramatic way he lost his life in 1942 (Fig. 7.2). A film recalls Vaptzarov’s favourite Bulgarian song (Oye da vidich temna mi magla), and there is a taped interview with his mother made in the 1950s in which she talks about his purely human qualities, rather than anything communist-related. Another film illustrates some of his most famous poems such as Prolet moia, moia biala prolet,7 known by many Bulgarians because for many years it was included (and still is) in the school curriculum. The museum is administratively run by the local municipality; funding is insufficient even though the Ministry of Culture ensure some of it. The approximate amount the Bansko museum complex (4 museums) receives each year is 90 000 leva (or euro 45 000). This sum is supposed to cover the salaries of the 10 people working in the four museums, maintenance (buildings, exhibitions) and all other activities. This is one of the reasons why the exhibition is not accessible to foreigners, despite the fact that they are a significant part of the museum’s audience, Bansko being a major ski resort. Visitors therefore fail to understand the dramatism of Vaptzarovs’ life and the beauty of his poetry as the language used is Bulgarian. Some attempts were made to provide labels in English but after the death of Valo Radev these ideas were shelved.

Fig. 7.2 Representation - Vaptzarov in prison with the bullets that killed him on display

Although there are weaknesses in the current exhibition which need to be addressed, Vaptzarov’s house is an example of how a purely ‘communist’ house-museum can be converted. It is however an exception in the contemporary Bulgarian museum environment. Most communist related house-museums closed down after the fall of communism and valuable historical documents and archives are subjected to destruction in the unused houses. Such is for example the house-museum of Georgi Dimitrov. Tzekova, Director of the National Museum of Polytechnic in Sofia,8 which shares the same courtyard with the former Georgi Dimitrov’s house-museum, mentioned that the building is unused and the historical archive is stored in a basement subject to flooding. In this sense the renewed Vaptzarov’s house-museum indicate how such a disastrous situation can be avoided, that there is no need to destroy everything related to an ambiguous historical period but can be transformed into a resource, reflecting local history and culture.

The operation of Bulgarian museums in 2006 – further examples 5

It was not possible to find precise information, concerning visitor numbers in this particular museum. Erinina refused to provide the information, as did the Ministry of Culture. 6 Slovoto 2007 Nikola Vaptzarov [online] Available from: http://www.slovo.bg/showbio.php3?ID=17, [21.02.2007] 7 My spring, my white spring [translation is mine]

The above example demonstrates a particularity of the Bulgarian museums environment and how it had been addressed by Bulgarian authorities and the general public. 8


Tzekova 2005, pers.com.

CONTEMPORARY MUSEUMS related activities. It states that the Committee for Science, Arts and Culture will:

But how are the other kinds of museums in Bulgaria faring in the present political, financial and social environment? Three examples - the National Museum of Polytechnic, The Earth and Man National Museum and Bojentsi living-town museum - have been chosen to give an indication of the progress being made.

…execute supervision & control on the exploration, study, and preservation of Cultural Masterpieces, and of museum activities. Its orders on the issues concerning Cultural Masterpieces and museum activities shall be imperative for all institutions, enterprises, organisations and citizens (Art. 5(1)).

The choice of the National Museum of Polytechnic and the Earth and Man National Museum for discussion in this chapter was predetermined by the following factors: • The need to focus on a national museum, i.e. one funded by the state to explore what the vision of the state and the Ministry of Culture is for Bulgarian museums and museology • The Directors of the two museums kindly agreed to supply the information requested and reflected on results, activities, successes and failures • Previous preliminary research suggested that these particular museums are a relevant example of how past events influenced Bulgarian museology, something that required further investigation and a matter which is a cornerstone of this thesis.

In real terms this means that each museum relies on the goodwill of the state. The state has full control over all museum activities, including the appointment of directors and all other (even minor) activities. It is one of the many acts of the former socialist government that aims to centralize all activities in the country. ‘This act does not concern museums, but serves a centralized system’ (Sokolova et al 2000: online). The weaknesses in the current museum legislation are further underlined in a recent publication (Velchev et al 2006) in which the comments and analysis of the Cultural Masterpieces and Museums Act (1969) are made by solicitors specialising in heritage legislation and comparisons are made with similar legislation in countries such as France, Spain, Italy, UK, Hungary and Greece. I am not going to describe here complicated legislative issues as this is not an objective of this book, however some examples will illustrate the Acts’ inadequacy.

The choice of the ‘living town-museum’ of Bojentsi was predetermined initially taking into consideration that it is a museum experience little-known in other countries of Western Europe. However during the preliminary research process it transpired that its situation demonstrates how the past has influenced its present operation. Although not a typical museum establishment, Bojentsi living-town museum falls under the same legislation as all other Bulgarian museums.

The full control of the Ministry of Culture over museum activities means that there is no possibility for decision making at museum director level. ‘Even decisions on minor problems require the Ministers’ signature’ (Velchev et al 2006: 134). It does not take great imagination to realise how this obstructs the day-to-day activities in any Bulgarian museum, never mind more strategic issues.

Naturally it is difficult to make legitimate generalizations from just three examples. However while discussing the issue of validity and reliability Silverman (2001) indicates that one way of establishing these is to use a comparative study. In this chapter the examples have been used to illustrate roles, functioning and problems. In the next chapter more details about the contemporary Bulgarian museum environment are introduced to support the issues discussed here, to complement the information and only then used to generate conclusions.

The term ‘cultural masterpiece’9 which is the basis on which the functions of Bulgarian museums are described as:

Before proceeding to these examples however it is necessary to give an overview of the existing legislative system in Bulgaria and more precisely the Cultural Masterpieces and Museums Act (1969) which regulates the work of Bulgarian museums. This document is illustrative of the overall work of the Bulgarian Ministry of Culture and a review facilitates the understanding of the cultural environment in which Bulgarian museums function in the 21st century.

… products of the human activities that document the material and spiritual culture, and have scientific, artwork, and historic significance or are related to the historical and revolutionary fights and events, with the life and activities of 9

The term of ‘cultural masterpiece’ was proposed by Sara Translating agency, the agency which translated all archival documents used in this book and all legislative documents. The word used in Bulgarian can be literally translated as ‘Cultural monument’. However as in Bulgarian the term used in the Act means all movable and immovable monuments and includes heritage sites, buildings, single craft and archaeological objects the term ‘Cultural masterpiece’ was considered by Sara’s translators as more appropriate when translating this particular legislative document.

The Cultural Masterpieces and Museums Act (1969) Chapter six revealed the creation of this Act under the guidance of the Bulgarian Communist Party. The most important issue for that time was that the Act ensured that the state (i.e. the party) has full control over all cultural 73

BULGARIA AND ITS MUSEUMS IN ‘NEW’ EUROPE prominent public, cultural, and scientific figures (Cultural Masterpieces and Museums Act 1969 Art. 3)

The text of the Cultural Masterpieces Act stated (as in the old Act) that the ‘State has all rights when considering museums. The executive power is the one that collects, studies and popularises cultural monuments’. Museums are only required to cooperate in this strategy. The state has all rights while museums have only obligations. In fact ‘this Act is meant to make the museums components of the State Administration’ (Sokolova et al ibid: online), which makes it very similar to the preceding one, created during communist times and indicates no significant change in the state of Bulgarian cultural life. These are only some of the points which need consideration.

The description however remains a vague description only as there are no precise criteria according to which an object can be regarded as a cultural masterpiece. Furthermore Art. 12 states that an object can automatically be declared a cultural monument if it is a ‘remain of human activities from past epochs’, i.e. such an object can become a cultural masterpiece ex lege and not after some precise registration and valuation procedure, which in practice means that monuments without any particular value can be declared ‘cultural masterpieces’ automatically.

It appears that 18 years after the fall of the communist regime in Bulgaria contemporary Bulgarian museums and heritage are in an abject situation. The totalitarian regime seems to remain, and some of the decisions made by different Ministers of Culture only support such a statement. For instance Bojidar Abrashev (Minister of Culture (2001-2005)), attempted to convert the National Gallery for Foreign Art into a Turkish Bath and Hotel and only a response from the Bulgarian intelligentsia prevented this.12 However he managed to sell, in secret, a house-monument in Plovdiv dating from 1850, said to be one of the finest architectural monuments in Bulgaria, to a private individual. This occurred even though the legislation clearly states that a house pronounced a cultural monument, cannot be sold. Yet apparently it can, exactly as it would have been under the communist regime when a law could always be bypassed by someone with enough power. Abrashev’s successor, Nina Chilova, although Minister for only a few months (March 2005 – June 2005), managed to shock Bulgarian society13 with an Order (6 April 2005) that prevented Directors of theatres, libraries, galleries and museums from talking to the media. No museum or gallery director or employee could make a statement to a journalist unless this statement had previously been approved by the Ministry of Culture. This order was considered by Bulgarian society as symptomatic of the old directives of the Communist Party. Since then the Ministers have changed and this order is no longer in operation. However one can still notice the reluctance of Museum directors and staff to give interviews and volunteer even basic information.

In the Act there is no text which regulates the status quo of the museum experts of cultural masterpieces – their rights and obligations, the requirements and compulsory qualification to become an expert or even a document certifying their expertise. These are only a few of the examples which give the authors of the publication the right to conclude that the present legislation in Bulgaria regulating heritage and museums is inadequate and the first and main reason for it is that the state lacks a definition of cultural heritage. ‘The current legislation is illogical and archaic and is working against the national interests’ (Velchev et al ibid: 140). Since the fall of communism in 1989 Bulgarian governments did little to change the legislation concerning Bulgarian museums. Only in 2002 did the government of Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (2001-2005) put forward a new museum law for discussion and adoption – the Cultural Masterpieces Act. It was presented on 3rd September 2002 for discussion in Parliament, but it had so many imperfections and met a violent negative reaction by members of Parliament that consequently it has not been further discussed.10 It disappeared from the Parliament Web site without further note. One of the reasons why that proposal met with the resistance of museum professionals in Bulgaria are that it was not adequately discussed by museum professionals. It was drafted by people working in the Ministry of Culture and the correct way forward would have been for the draft to be sent to all museums in the country to initiate discussions. In this case museums only received information from the mass-media that a new proposal for museum legislation has been presented in Parliament for adoption. The old Bulgarian Acts from 1890 and 1911 were not considered and no lessons have been learned from other countries.11

The National Museum of Polytechnic14 The information in the previous section aimed to reveal the background in which contemporary Bulgarian museums function. In this and the following sections the direct results of the current organisation of the Bulgarian


Trud 2004 April 22 Novinar 2005 April 13 and Trud 2005 April 13 14 This particular kind of museum is commonly known in Western Europe as a Technology or Science museum. However it was judged more appropriate to use here the museum’s own English translation ‘Museum of Polytechnic’ rather than translate it against their wish into the better known Western European title, therefore it will be referred to as the National Museum of Polytechnic. 13


Information: Narodno sabranie 2002 Zakonoproekt za Pametnicite na Kulturata [online] Available from: http://www.parliament.bg/law_projects.php?id=342 [07.03.2003] [Bill for Cultural Monuments] 11 See Sokolova et al 2000: online



Fig. 7.3 The main entrance of the National Polytechnic Museum, Sofia, 66, Oplachenska Str., next to the ruins of a still inhabited house. The museum entrance is on the right of the house (2005)

The collections are split between its four branches – the Museum of Textile Industry in Sliven, the Palace of Physics in Kazanlak, the Museum of Architecture in Veliko Tarnovo and the main museum in Sofia. The permanent exhibition of the Sofia museum is limited to about 1000 objects in an area of 1000m2, the rest of the collection being in store. Of particular interest for visitors is the collection of clocks, which was formed in 1971 when the Boiana Film centre in Sofia presented part of the property of the Tzar Boris III palace to the museum. Amongst the 500 clocks, ‘…uniting the achievements of the mechanics and the high artificial craftsmanship of the clockmakers of 17th, 18th and 19th centuries’ (Kamenarov et al. 2004: 6) are 17 clocks from the personal collections of Tzar Ferdinand I and Tzar Boris III.

cultural sector will be illustrated using the examples of the above mentioned three Bulgarian museums.

Establishment and collections The idea for the establishment of a Museum of Polytechnic dates back to 1885 when the first technical society was found in Bulgaria in the town of Russe. Collections of science and technology were maintained at several sites by the Bulgarian Engineering and Architectural Society until 1957, when the National Museum of Polytechnic was fully established by Decree No 486 of the Council of Ministers (13.05.1957). The museum however did not have its own building and the collection was housed in the ‘House of Technique’ in Sofia until December 1992 when the Ministry of Culture allocated to it the building that had housed the Museum celebrating the former communist leader Georgi Dimitrov. Today the National Museum of Polytechnic preserves over 22 000 objects that represent scientific achievements.15

Tzekova (2005)16 revealed that the present day management of the museum is extremely difficult due to ‘the lack of understanding from the Ministry of Culture, which is responsible for the museum and from its overall philosophy and attitude concerning Bulgaria’s cultural heritage’.


The objects are divided under the following collections: time measurement, transport, photographic and cinematic techniques, optics, sound-recording and reproduction, radio and TV, calculation techniques, musical mechanisms, geodesic instruments, measurement technique, household technique, sewing machines, type-writers, physical appliances, communication technique. The scientific archive includes more than 2000 archive units. See Kamenarov et al. 2004


The information is entirely extracted from the interviews with Mrs. Tzekova (11.10.2005 and 21.10.2005) in the National Museum of Polytechnic



The inheritance from the past When Tzekova became museum Director in 2003 ‘the museums’ administration and daily operation were in terrible chaos’ (2005; pers.comm.). Employees had neither contracts nor job descriptions. The collection was not catalogued, museum objects did not have passports,17 there was no conservation plan and there was no heating in the galleries even during the winter. Computers and other contemporary equipment and basic techniques and processes needed for the successful running of a 21st century museum were non-existent. As mentioned above the National Museum of Polytechnic is under the direction of the Bulgarian Ministry of Culture, the body governing all national museums in Bulgaria and that provides their funding. Tzekova (2005: pers. com.) notes that the current funding provided by the Ministry of Culture covers only the salaries of the museum employees. The geographical position of the museum in Sofia is a significant problem. The museum is situated in immediate proximity to the city’s gypsy ghetto and according to Tzekova (2005: pers. com.) this is the first obstacle when people are making a decision whether to visit or not. The area is not safe enough for families and children and is not a place where anyone living in Sofia would choose to walk (Fig. 7.3). The museum relies on the nearby food store for car parking facilities. As a result of this environment the guards at the main entrance ask all visitors about the purpose of their visit, which is a bewildering question for any potential visitor.

Fig. 7.4 The National Museum of Polytechnic– the entrance to the exhibitions

Work on the collections has been slow and objects had just recently been catalogued, but their ‘passports’ are still not computerized. This is in part due to lack of funding but also because there is no unified object cataloguing system for the National Museums in Bulgaria. Conservation and restoration of the collections is equally alarming. There is no funding for such activities and there are no conservators based in the museum. The few restorations done in recent years have been carried out by the curatorial staff using spare parts bought at a local flea market; hardly the most professional museum practice. The collections are not insured because there is no such practice in Bulgarian museums and because no insurance company would agree to insure items housed in a building without a security system.

The most recent renovation of the building itself was in 1992. From the outside it appears to be little changed from the time when it housed the museum of Georgi Dimitrov. It is a typical communist period ‘block’ building, with unfriendly chrome doors and crumbling steps (Fig. 7.4). The inside of the building is no more welcoming. The floors are covered in faded red carpets, inherited from the previous communist museum, a color symbolic of communist ideology. However a close look at the collections reveals their richness. Intriguing objects such as the clocks, the traditional mining lamps, the collection of cars, and the 18th and the 19th centuries musical instruments all provoke the interest of visitors. The car collection includes a Ford ‘A’, produced in 1928 and a threewheeled ‘Messerschmitt KP 200’ (Fig. 7.5) (1952). The display cases however, inherited from the old museum are poorly lit and the whole place looks dark and unattractive.

A conclusion to this sorry story is that in 2005 the museum was temporarily closed by the Fire brigade because of the lack of fire-prevention systems: it was a threat to visitor safety.

Operational management of the museum How then is this museum surviving with little support and help from the authorities responsible? The museum’s Annual Reports for 2004, 2005 and 2006 reveal that much has been achieved since Tzekova’s appointment as


As there is no unified cataloguing system for museum objects in Bulgarian museums the information for each one of them is held in the so called ‘passports’, which is very similar to the information Western Euroepan museums keep in museum catalogues.



Fig. 7.5 A three-wheel ‘Messerschmitt KP 200’ – 1952

As the state covers only the salaries of staff other funding for development, activities and sponsorship comes from donations and sponsors. Some of the museum offices are rented out and the museum main hall can also be hired for special occasions. However as the museum is in fact owned by the state all income does not go directly to the museum but to the Ministry of Culture. The Ministry then decides whether to give some money back to the museum or to allocate it elsewhere.

Director in March 2004. ‘…The building (then) was in a disastrous situation, there was not even a single advertising material but the major problem was with the motivation of the employees’. However progress has been made. A complete re-organization of responsibilities was implemented and every employee received a job description. The staff have weekly meetings where progress of individual tasks is discussed. Everybody is empowered as ‘only the results matter’ (Tzekova 2005: pers.com.). Because there are few permanent staff Tzekova is proud of her achievement; she has managed to motivate staff to such extent that they accept significant additional tasks without pay. For example employees clean the galleries, carry out small but urgent building works, maintain the gardens and restore objects. Even the museum curators act as guides, cleaners and gardeners. Or as Tzekova underlines these changes are ‘achievements due to the enthusiasm and commitment of the staff’.

The museum receives major assistance18 from Ford Moto Pfohe Bulgaria – the representative company for Ford in Bulgaria. However in order to gain this financial aid the museum had to lend out one of its two antique Ford cars which is now displayed in the Ford show-room. Ford Moto Pfohe Bulgaria paid for the restoration of the second Ford ‘A’ (1928), which is now exhibited in the museum and also paid for the creation of education offices and facilities. Tzekova believes that the success with sponsorship is a result of good customer care practices. Sponsors are well–treated, each one receiving a beautiful honorary diploma as a mark of respect.19

A six - year plan for development of the museum has been written and there is a new permanent exhibition planned. Everyone now has a computer, if not the most modern, at least a working tool. Museum staff have created two new educational programs – in chemistry and in physics - and work very closely with Sofia’s primary schools as these programs complement the national curriculum. The museum has started to publish an advertising leaflet in Bulgarian and English and a small news sheet and the success of the museum has encouraged the formation and registration of a ‘Friends Society’.

Tzekova notes that the balance between survival and progress is extremely difficult in this situation but is determined to make the museum both attractive to visitors and professional. She needs to retain the enthusiasm of her staff but it is clear this cannot last forever without financial reward and moral support from 18

Tzekova was reluctant to discuss financial information in details. 19 Designed for free by a painter, one of the Museum’s friends.


BULGARIA AND ITS MUSEUMS IN ‘NEW’ EUROPE the Ministry of Culture. For the time being however this does not stop them working on new projects. For example Mrs. Dashovska, a curator and education officer, has instigated a new educational program ‘Studying and having fun in the Museum’, and been responsible for the organization of the new educational facilities. The museum’s education programs, according to Dashovska, are designed for school children between 11 and 17 years old and are based around experiments, which children cannot do in school as the majority do not have appropriate laboratories for practical experiments.

in 2004 was BGN 42 200 (Euro 21 000) for the 4 museums. In 2005 this was reduced to BGN 38 200 (Euro 19 000). This money only covered the employee’s salaries. While comparing the Annual Reports of the museum for 2004, 2005 and 2006 one realizes that its overall situation remained unchanged despite apparent efforts. The list of tasks which could not be accomplished is repeated from year to year and the major reasons appear to be financial. At the end of 2006 the staff still did not participate in any specialized training program, but each one of them is still carrying on tasks for which he/she is not qualified and is not paid. The museum web site is still not updated and the museums’ catalogue is still not computerized due to the non-existent museum cataloguing system in Bulgaria.

A major undertaking currently being planned is a new exhibition. The old one, from 1993 ‘was prepared without money, by non-specialists, without the use of designers and consultants and is obsolete and inadequate’ (Tzekova 2005, pers. comm.).

The experience of the National Museum of Polytechnic is indicative of a situation where the work of Bulgarian museums is hampered by the constant lack of money and the daily struggle for survival. The example of another Sofia based National museum, which has done much to raise additional funding however demonstrates that this can have an impact on the museum’s role.

Interesting information concerning the work of the National Museum of Polytechnic can be also extracted from the questionnaire distributed to museum and gallery directors, by the Ministry of Culture in 2005.20 The answers were provided by Ekaterina Tzekova and communicate further disturbing details which question the survival of the museum. The questionnaire revealed that of the 32 employees in the museum none is below 35 years, while 19 are older than 50. No member of the staff has a PhD or has ever studied for a museum related degree. Only four of them speak a foreign language. No employee has been trained in new museum practices. Tzekova indicated that for the normal work of any contemporary museum features such as, for example, a web site, a dedicated museum store with adequate environmental control, a space for visitors to talk, eat and drink, constant monitoring the number and profile of the visitors and collecting information about visitors’ expectations are essential. With limited funding however little can be done. At this stage the museum only collects information on visitor numbers (Table 7.1) according to the requirements of the Ministry of Culture.

The Earth and Man National Museum No other Bulgarian museum organizes as many events as ‘The Earth and Man National Museum’ (Nedkov 2005 pers.com.).21 Founded in 1986 this is a ‘museum of the mineral kingdom’ (Maleev et al. 2001). It contains 20 212 items. Seven permanent exhibitions show 3875 of these on the following themes: Giant crystals, Minerals of the Earth, Mineral Resources of the Earth, Mineral resources of Bulgaria, Minerals of Bulgaria, Gems and Ornamental stones. The Museum’s Annual Reports for 2004, 2005 and 2006 reveal that the museum had lent out its exhibition areas to a large number of events including Classical concerts, Cats exhibitions, Honey and honey products exhibition-bazaars, Christmas bazaars and Exotic animal exhibition-bazaars. The figure below (7.6) demonstrates that the number of museum visitors decreased significantly (reaching a trough in 2006) and the reason for it according to the Annual Reports is ‘the increased number of days when the museum exhibition area was closed to house more profitable events’ (AR 2004).

Table 7.1 National Museum of Polytechnic - visitor numbers Year 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006

Visitor numbers Total 11 300 12 900 12 100 NA 14 300 15 171 15 639

Foreigners 120 160 210 NA 230 1952 2013

Can the significant decrease in the museum visitors’ numbers can be justified because other events are more profitable? The Annual Reports substantiate the large number of events held. These however being mainly oriented to adults result in a higher number of adult visitors and a decrease in the number of children (Fig. 7.7). The correlation children: adults reached its lowest level in 2004 with only 30% of all visitors being children.

Although the table demonstrates an increase in visitor numbers in the last two years these are relatively low for a national museum for reasons already mentioned such as geographical location and lack of marketing. Still 80% of the visitors are organized school groups. School children however do not pay an entrance fee and consequently there is no increase in income. Although Tzekova realizes the importance of detailed visitor profiles this is not a priority at present where the Ministry of Culture’s grant 20


Dr. Simeon Nedkov is a lecturer in museology at Sofia University, secretary of ICOM Bulgaria and author of publications on Bulgarian museums

Appendix 14


CONTEMPORARY MUSEUMS In the Earth and Man National Museum the visitor numbers are increasing overall but not the number of the visitors to the original museum and certainly not the number of children. The museum PR officer, Desislava Delibaltova (2005 pers.com.) seems to believe that in doing so the museum is ‘even more national as it houses a major variety of events’. This is also stated in the 2004 Annual Reports, which reserves on average 5 pages for the museum’s ‘exhibition activities’ but 22 pages for the ‘other events’. Whether this is the case or whether the result is that a very interesting museum has turned into an event venue is arguable. It is clear however that the confusion over the use of the term ‘national museum’ still persists.

70000 60000 50000 40000

Museum visitors Events visitors

30000 20000 10000 0










Museum visitors 30330 39247 25608 14349 23680 15275 10227 11574 8376 Events visitors

56372 55406 46940 48255 43210 46942 53621 57274 50252

Fig. 7.6 Earth and Man National Museum – correlation – museum visitors: events visitors

Chapters four and five revealed that in the 19th century Bulgaria a ‘national museum’ was more associated with an establishment attracting and serving different social groups, which considering the purpose and aims of the museums at the time was arguably the correct approach. In 21st century Bulgaria a ‘national’ museum is apparently one that can attract as many people as possible without necessarily considering what exactly attracts them. According to Nedkov (2005 pers.com.) this museum was designated as a national museum precisely because of the great variety of events organized there, which attract funding, rather than because of the nature of its collections or museum-related work. This brings into question the criteria that the Ministry of Culture uses to designate a national museum, criteria which were unclear at the end of the 19th century in Bulgaria and apparently are still not decided.

60000 50000 40000 Children



20000 10000 0



























Fig. 7.7 Correlation children: adults in the Earth and Man National museum22

Recent years have seen many West European museums considering diversification as important part of museum work, including hiring out museum buildings. The role of the European museum of the future is thought to be predetermined by the opening up of the idea of exhibitions as learning environment for all visitors groups. West European museums are moving quickly away from the old perception of ‘education being understood as an activity separate from the main role of the museum’ (Hooper-Greenhill 1994: 137) trying to incorporate as many educational programs for all visitors groups as possible thus linking museums closer to communities. The educational role of the museum is expanding as new methods of collaboration and communication with audiences are tried.

The above mentioned examples demonstrate that enthusiasm and efforts to improve the situation are essential in present day Bulgarian museums. However the Bulgarian museum environment does not have a clear structure and organization, mainly due to the lack of clear ideas and sense of direction from the Ministry of Culture. Changing societies demand adaptation of the purpose of museums and consequently their management. In Bulgaria however, the balance seems to be fragile and assumes the necessity of careful museum management.

Bojentsi town – museum23 Characteristics

Arguably, however, the example of the Earth and Man National Museum demonstrates that an attention to the balance is also important. The only Bulgarian museum devoted to the mineral kingdom, which could be used in the school curriculum fails to do so on some occasions due to ‘the increased number of days when the museum exhibition area [is] closed to house more profitable events’.

Bojentsi village (Fig. 7.8, 7.9 and 7.10) is situated in the centre of the Stara Planina Mountain. Legends say that it was founded in the first years of the Ottoman conquest (1393) when a noblewoman named Bojana from the town of Veliko Turnovo escaped with her family and found refuge in the mountain and settled there. During the five centuries of Ottoman domination stock-breeding, crafts

22 The high number of ‘children’ in 2006 is not realistic. In 2006 the criteria for ‘children’ was changed to include university students as well. It was not possible to get data without the students’ number (AR 2006).

23 The information in this section resulted from interviews with Dr. Stefan Lisitzov, a specialist in the National Institute for Cultural Monuments (2003) and Svetla Dimitrova, administrator and guide in Bojentsi town-museum (2004)



Fig. 7.8 Bojentsi – the sweet shop and café

Fig. 7.9. Bojentsi- the central square

built 200 years ago are privately-owned25 but the owners cannot make changes to them without the permission of the Institute. All restoration and maintenance is executed by the Institute, which according to Lisitzov (pers. comm.), is a ‘double-edged sword for the owner’. The owner does not pay for repairs but if he wants to sell the house the state takes back the money invested in the preservation of the building.

and trade were the basic means of livelihood in the village. Today the whole village of Bojentsi has been given the status of an ‘Architectural and Historic Reserve’ by the National Institute for Cultural Monuments under Act No 5 of the Ministry of the Culture.24 Most of the houses, 24

Act No 5 (1998) of the Ministry of culture relates to Exploration, Study and Documentation of the Immovable Masterpieces of Culture – Appendix 15



There are about 70 permanent residents in Bojentsi


Fig. 7.10. Bojentsi- a tavern

Five of the houses in the reserve are house-museums26 and there is a monastery school and church. The other houses represent a library, wax workshop, several taverns and a sweet shop where old production techniques can be seen. This complex is preserved in its entirety and according to Bulgarian legislation no changes are allowed within the reserve.

methods. Once the immovable cultural masterpiece has been identified it has to be declared as such and is put under temporary protection until all its features are well defined. Then an expert valuation is needed to determine the authenticity and degree of preservation, its scientific and aesthetic value, its interaction with the environment and interaction with society. The final proposal for inclusion in the list of cultural masterpieces is made by the Minister of Culture and approved by the Council of Ministers. The decision is then published in the State Gazette and a certificate is issued by the National Institute for Cultural Monuments that the site or the monument is protected by the State. This process was followed to declare the village of Bojentsi as an historical and archaeological reserve in 1969.

To a certain extent this is also the case for listed buildings in the UK, where the English Heritage is the body which ‘advises the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport on proposals to list buildings of special historic or architectural interest’.27 The procedure of pronouncing a site as a historical and architectural reserve in Bulgaria is complicated. Regulations No 5 from 1998 notes:

Foreign tourists often enquire about the difference between living-town museums and open-air museums. Open-air museums are a phenomenon quite common in Western Europe with Skansen (Sweden), being the first open-air museum in the world and a model for many open-air museums afterwards. The open-air museum however in its pure form is an artificially created site.

…immovable property, comprising authentic material evidences of human existence and activities together with their environment and all the movable valuables in this environment shall be pronounced as immovable culturalhistorical heritage (Art. 2)

A closer look to a more recent example reveals that this is still the basis of the open-air museums idea. The web site of Beamish open-air museum in UK explains that the museum …tells the story of the people of North East England at two important points of their history 1825 and 1913. … Most of the houses, shops and other buildings have been "deconstructed" from elsewhere in the region and rebuilt here.28

According to the procedure the way to declare a site an immovable masterpiece of culture includes four steps: 1) identification, 2) declaration, 3) final complex valuation and 4) confirmation, publication and registration. Identification is made by systematic field work and research, by scientific expeditions, aerial and submarine study and other non-destructive 26 Topalov house, Granny Raina’s House, Priest Doncho’s house, Ganka Kadieva’s House, Tsana Mihova’s House 27 Available from: http://www.english-heritage.org.uk [01.10.2003]

28 Beamish 2004 Beamish open-air museum, [online] Available from: http://www.beamish.org.uk/ [27.11.2004]


BULGARIA AND ITS MUSEUMS IN ‘NEW’ EUROPE The construction of the site depended on moving buildings to erect a new settlement, recreating a particular period of British history.

however nobody will provide the finance without a business plan. Foreign specialists in open-air museums often cannot understand how such a museum exists without sufficient income. Bojentsi and its whole territory was restored and declared as a reserve during the communist period when funding for culture came from the state; these funds are now wholly inadequate. Clearly something needs to be done if Bojentsi is to survive. The vision of the Ministry of Culture and the National Institute for Cultural Monuments for such heritage sites is unclear. If Bojentsi is kept in the situation it is in now, with insufficient funding, this will lead to deterioration. If the conception is changed this will convert the town-museum into a historic town. This would mean that one part will be preserved the way it was, while new building will be permitted on its borders, thus provoking a completely different effect. However preservation still requires funding for maintenance while a major increase in income is unlikely. New housing would destroy Bojentsi’s authenticity as a town-museum.

In contrast to the idea of the open-air museum, an artificially created educational facility, Bojentsi living town-museum is a site where houses, craft shops and inns are preserved in-situ, in the way they were at the time of their erection some 200 years ago.

Current situation By rights Bojentsi should be one of the major tourist attractions in Central Bulgaria but unfortunately it is not part of most tourist itineraries. Although some web sites29 advertise it as ‘part of UNESCO’s cultural monuments’ it is not on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The number of visitors is almost the same every year, i.e. about 19 000. There appears to be no possibilities for an increase at this stage, a situation which is problematic for the village and its inhabitants. The whole reserve is in desperate need of money for maintenance. The only source of revenue for the people living there are the entrance fees for the museums and the tourists who visit the different shops, cafes and taverns or stay the night at the inn. Bojentsi has problems originating from the location of the village itself.30 The initial idea when founding the village, according to the above mentioned legend, is that it was inaccessible to potential enemies. Today there are 8 kilometers of sharp turns in the road to it from the nearest village and this route is the only way to reach the settlement. The interest of tour operators to bring foreign tourists, who number only about 800-900 a year, is low. Organized tours do not feature Bojentsi because of its inaccessibility, preference being given to the Etara open–air museum which is easily reached. This lack of visitors however may be the reason why the village is so well preserved in its authenticity. At this stage it is not possible to attract more tourists for financial reasons. There is no money for advertising and little infrastructure suitable for a large number of tourists. The place is not as popular as other Bulgarian resorts because it is far from the sea and the terrain is inappropriate for skiing. What the management of Bojentsi would like to achieve is to include the settlement in a strategic program for cultural tourism. However it is a site that can only attract a specialist audience. When creating this town-museum the idea was not to make money from it but simply to preserve a living culture. At the present time there is seemingly no clear strategy for the future of the reserve.

Opportunities Bulgarian internal affairs mitigate against obtaining realistic funding to run heritage sites. Why then are international organizations, resources and competence not used? In this sense the first and most obvious one is UNESCO. A possible way forward would be the inclusion of the site on the UNESCO World Heritage List on the grounds of ‘cultural landscape’. However this would require significant work from the Bulgarian authorities as UNESCO does not itself propose the sites to be included. Bulgaria ratified the UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage on 7th of March 1974 and came into force on 17th December 1975. Since then 9 Bulgarian properties31 have been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List, yet Bojensti, which in its uniqueness has possibly the necessary features to be included in the list as ‘cultural landscape’, is not there.32 The last site inscribed to the list was the Thracian tomb of Sveshtari in 1985, when Bulgaria was still under the governance of the Communist Party. Since the fall of communism only the 31

Boyana church (1979), Madara Rider (1979), Rock-hewn churches of Ivanovo (1979), Thracian tomb of Kazanluk (1979), Ancient city of Nessebar (1983), Srebarna Nature reserve (1983), Pirin National park (1983), Rila Monastery (1983), Thracian tomb of Sveshtari (1985) 32 Bojentzi fall under at least 3 of the UNESCO criteria for inscription, namely ii, iii and iv: exhibit an important interchange of human values, over a span of time or within a cultural area of the world, on developments in architecture or technology, monumental arts, town-planning or landscape design; bear a unique or at least exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or to a civilization which is living or which has disappeared; and is an outstanding example of a type of building, architectural or technological ensemble or landscape which illustrates (a) significant stage(s) in human history – information UNESCO 2006 The criteria for selection [online] Available from: http://whc.unesco.org/en/criteria/, [23.03.2006]

The situation of the Bojentsi reserve is odd and it originates from the fact that there is no strategic plan for it. There is a resistance to change yet funding is needed for the preservation of the site. At the present time 29

For example: http://www.comfort.bg/en/public/index.php?ladger=objects&id =29 - 35k [20.05.2006] 30 According to Svetla Dimitrova, administrator and guide in the village (2004: pers. comm.)


CONTEMPORARY MUSEUMS government of Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha took actions in this direction and made proposals for 2 sites.33 Interestingly in 2005 Albania managed to inscribe on the UNESCO World Heritage List the Museum-city of Gjirokastra, which ‘is characterized by the construction of a type of house (Turkish ‘kule’), of which Gjirokastra represents a series of outstanding examples’,34 a characteristic of Bojentsi as well in the sense of ‘cultural landscape’ and type of houses.

follow of course and the process is not easy or quick. But for inclusion to take place a proactive approach is required. The above indicates that there are great possibilities to develop Bulgarian heritage. At present tourists visit places which have been at the centre of major advertising campaigns. Bulgaria, like possibly every other country, has something specific and distinctive to offer. To attract visitors it will be necessary to draw their attention to these typical Bulgarian elements; things that cannot be seen anywhere else. Such sites in Bulgaria include the living town-museums – places where time stopped 200 years ago where it is possible to experience history in an authentic setting. Funding is desperately needed in order to promote cultural tourism but this requires a strategic, proactive approach. Well considered marketing campaigns are one course of action that can assist. But if proper action is not taken sites will simply disappear and with them the only possibility for the visitor to experience the past in its purest, most real form. As underlined by Kissiov (2003) ‘…not doing anything only maintains the chaos’. It was not until 2004 that the Bulgarian government led by Simeon Saxe-CoburgGotha launched a major advertising campaign ‘Destination Bulgaria’39 to promote the country’s tourism abroad. This however is a very small step in the overall picture and ‘Bulgaria needs to offer something distinctive in order to attract foreigners and foreign capital’ (Nacheva 2004: online). That is why it is important to demonstrate that Bulgaria is not only ‘sand and snow’ but can offer much in the area of cultural and heritage oriented tourism (Nacheva ibid: online).

A key benefit of ratification, particularly for developing countries, is access to the World Heritage Fund. Annually, about three million US dollars are made available, mainly to Least Developed Countries and Low Income Countries, to finance technical assistance and training projects, as well as for assistance to States Parties requesting help to prepare their nomination proposals or to develop conservation projects. Emergency assistance may also be made available for urgent action to repair damage caused by human-made or natural disasters. Inscription of a property on the World Heritage List may also open the way for financial assistance from a variety of sources in heritage conservation projects. Since 1979 when the first Bulgarian property was added to the list, the World Heritage fund has assisted the nine Bulgarian sites on the list with USD 348, 497 for preparatory assistance, training assistance and technical cooperation.35 Such funding would be ideal for Bojentsi, enabling funds for maintenance, training of specialists and the development of planning strategies to enhance cultural tourism. State parties can also request international assistance under the fund for expert missions, equipment, long-term loans and non-repayable grants. Countries such as Greece, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Spain and the UK manage to get at least one site onto the list almost every year.36 Just identifying sites is not enough as they need maintenance and protection. There is an abundance of Internet sites37 offering tourist guides to UNESCO Heritage sites. This would be an ideal opportunity for the Bulgarian government to take action.38 It is widely reported by Bulgarian mass-media that there is no funding for culture in Bulgaria, but it would appear that few efforts are being made to obtain it. There are also some questions over the influence of politics on heritage issues. What happens to the cultural heritage of a country largely depends on the priorities of its Government. The country went some 15 years without trying to include a single site in the UNESCO list. There are criteria and a procedure to

Summary The impact of the communist regime on Bulgaria was more insidious that is often suggested. During the communist period ‘…Bulgaria appeared to overcome its historic backwardness but that came at the expenses of its democratic traditions, social diversity and national independence’ (Dimitrov 2001: 30). Zhivkov’s ‘tight hold’ on power prevented the emergence of any form of autonomous social or political activity. Unlike Poland or Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria never saw the rise of a serious dissident movement or of a reformist faction within the communist party. What is most important however is that because Zhivkov tried to satisfy what he regarded as the real needs of the people, namely a modest but secure and steadily rising standard of living, turned out to be ‘…counter-productive in the long run as people learned to rely solely on the state for a solution to their problems’ (Dimitrov ibid: 31). These circumstances led to a passive non-proactive approach to work including the cultural and museum-related sector.


Ancient Plovdiv (14/09/2004) and The Thracian tomb near Alexandrovo village (14/09/2004) 34 UNESCO 2006 The museums – city of Gjirokastra [online] Available from: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/569 [23.03.2006] 35 UNESCO 2006 International assistance provided by the World Heritage Fund [online] Available from : http://www.unesco.org/whc/sp/bul.htm [03.06.2003] 36 See http://www.unesco.org 37 For example: www.worldheritagesite.org or www.travelimages.com/unesco_world.html 38 Only the Government of the State Party to the Convention can submit an inventory of properties on its territory that may be suitable for the World Heritage list.

This subject matter is particularly important in the present context of a united Europe when ex-communist countries 39 Bulgaria travel 2006 Destinations Bulgaria [online] Available from http://[email protected] [20.01.2006]


BULGARIA AND ITS MUSEUMS IN ‘NEW’ EUROPE are seeking integration, trying to adapt their cultural policies to the European Union requirements. The process however has not been equally fast for all of them (Dragicevic-Sesic, 2002: online). While in countries such as the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovenia, Hungary and the Baltic states the transition process included the introduction of new legislative systems, functioning, multiparty democratic systems and market-driven economy, in Bulgaria previous governments wasted (and still waste) significant amount of time and efforts fighting with the opposition over issues such as the fate of secret police files40 and purely culture-related matters remained in the back-ground. The developmental process of the country was judged as slow and not satisfactory enough by the Council of Europe. As a result Bulgaria together with Romania was left behind the other countries which joined the EU in 2004 to wait for the next wave in 2007. This made it obvious that the concepts of ‘culture’ and ‘heritage’ and of a common European heritage, in vogue today in Europe, (Bugge in Peckham 2003: 61) cannot be neglected any longer in Bulgaria. Chapter eight is a discussion chapter, based on the information in previous chapters. It will also reveal other aspects of the contemporary Bulgarian museums operation to better understand the influence of the past on these museums.


See Crampton 2005


used as ‘…a political resource whereby national identities are constructed and forms of power and privilege justified and celebrated’ (Tunbridge and Ashworth (eds) ibid: 46). Therefore defining identities through museum representations is in fact only one part of a deeper relationship – museums and political representations.

Emerging themes in the history of museums Introduction Chapter one suggested that history, its meanings, uses and representations has always been a part of political, sociological or cultural debates. History in relation to museums has more recently become a subject of several academic studies (e.g. Tunbridge and Ashworth (eds) 1996, Delafons 1997, Fladmark (ed) 2002, Harrison and Hitchcock (eds) 2005). Walsh (1992) argues that museums are an important element in the maintenance and promotion of a consciousness of the past. But what past and whose past?

Chapters two and three revealed that the epoch of the Bulgarian Revival was characterized by several significant and diverse processes that resulted in the formation of the Bulgarian nation. Although … [t]he course of Bulgarian historical development in the 18-19th centuries was slow, the changes - … anaemic and incomplete… there were factors which accelerated the historical development. First, the Bulgarians were able to use the ideas, material and spiritual achievements of the bourgeois epoch. … [Second] Bulgaria could borrow from the historical knowledge of other nations and pass through those levels of social and spiritual maturity, which distinguished them from the Middle Ages, for a much shorter period (Genchev 1972:13).

This chapter discusses the use, exploitation and representation of history and heritage in Bulgarian museums as mediator in the process of propagating ideals that support the needs of the times, predetermined by political, social and environmental factors. The role museums had in society throughout the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries will be explored but also the opposite relation, namely how society shaped museums, will be investigated. No attempts however are made to present a complete list of all possible past or contemporary uses of the terms of history or heritage as this has been done with varied success by others.1 Based on the findings discussed earlier, in this chapter Bulgarian experiences are compared to those in other parts of Europe in order to identify similarities and differences and examine the particularities of the Bulgarian situation

Where was the place of museums in this process and ‘…what was it about museums that made them appropriate agencies for culturing the public and for thinking nation-state?’ asks Macdonald (2003: 2). The author (ibid: 2) points out the importance of the idea of ‘having a culture’, which had become ‘crucial to nationalists’. Museums were then regarded as ‘…an expressive site and agency of some of the new ways of thinking and of public culturing’ but also as ‘…national expressions of identity and of the linked idea of having a history’, where having museums was gradually understood as an imperative element of having identity (Macdonald ibid: 2).

History, heritage and museums – politics and ideology History, museums and identity

A national heritage to be demonstrated in museums however depends ‘upon the prior acceptance of a national history’ (Tunbridge and Ashworth (eds) ibid: 46). In the process of utilising the historical past to provoke national pride in new generations and establish a new system of values the first Bulgarian public museums acted as institutions which established the necessary link with that past.

Both history and heritage have a relationship with the past. ‘…History, although based on facts is not factual at all but a series of accepted judgements. … [T]he facts of history do not exist [then] until a historian creates them’ Tunbridge and Ashworth ((eds) 1996: 6). Heritage is ‘…a product of the present … developed in response to current needs or demands and shaped by those [present] requirements’. Therefore, conclude the authors,

In the debate concerning the place of museums in identity formation McClellan (in Wright 1996: 29) notes that

… both history and heritage make a selective use of the past for current purposes and transform it through interpretation. History is what a historian regards as worth recording and heritage is what contemporary society chooses to inherit and to pass on (Tunbridge and Ashworth (eds) ibid: 6).

…[p]ublic … museums in the West serve the cause of nations in two ways. First they foster feelings of collective belonging by providing a space dedicated to shared enjoyment of treasures in the public domain and in which equality of the access renders citizenship transparent. Second, through their contents and strategies of display, museums identify the nation-state that sponsor them as heirs to Western civilization….

If we accept the reasoning that history and heritage are created to serve contemporary functions we can then extend the idea and argue that history and heritage can be 1

Ashworth and Graham (eds) 2005, Walsh 1992, Ashworth and Larkham (eds) 1994


BULGARIA AND ITS MUSEUMS IN ‘NEW’ EUROPE These two features of the West European public museums can be attributed in general terms also to Bulgarian museums (see chapters two and three). The idea of nationhood in a museum context in Bulgaria was also understood in the same way as in other European countries, namely based on the distinction ‘we and the others’ (Avgouli in Kaplan 1994). However a closer exploration of notions of nationalism and identity, expressed through museum exhibits in different European countries testifies their dynamic nature. These can imply different, sometimes even contrasting thoughts. Or as Forster-Hahn (in Wright 1996: 79) argues ‘…the concept of nationalism is not constant but…shifts in response to ideological fluctuations and political transformations’ in a defined geographical location.

found in Bulgarian lands. In my opinion at this early stage the notion of history in Bulgarian museums was closer to what Sheehan (2000) discusses in connection with the early age of German art museums, namely it was understood as a disconnected series of stories, rather than a unified or complete historical account. In Bulgaria ‘…yesterday’s objects were used to meet today’s needs’ (Sheehan ibid: 13) literally and the choice of objects is therefore of interest. What exactly was the role of museums objects and collections in the process of creating identities? Fisher (in Wright 1996) argues that European collections in the 19th century not only contained locally created examples but were also largely composed of foreign (imported) art, namely Italian and Dutch art, Chinese paintings and objects or French contemporary works as those were the areas of interest and indeed fashionable to collect. ‘The great curators and collectors in Berlin, Paris, London….were all in pursuit of the same ideal museum: antiquities, Renaissance works, medieval and modern works of a surprising similarity’ (Fisher in Wright ibid: 21). Although ‘national artefacts and art works were an important strand’ (Macdonald 2003: 3) foreign collections were regarded as equally important. They expressed another use of the museum in the creation of an identity, namely ‘… (for colonialist nations) [they represented] signs of the capacity to gather and master beyond national boundaries. As such they were claims of the capacity to know and to govern…’ (Macdonald 2003: 3). So collections of most Western European 19th century museums were heavily influenced by the fashion to collect archaeology, leading to what Poulot (2001:78) describes as ‘international rivalries’.

So for example in the French model2 of creating a museum in order to provoke and inspire nationalistic ideas we notice that the opening of the Luxembourg gallery (1750) is related to the idea that the museum as an institution should reflect the glory of France and the king. This image was combined with the official historiography and the national educational programs and together formed the representation of nationhood.3 The Bulgarian case is similar to an extent to this model of nationalism. Artefacts were displayed in order to show to the Bulgarians that they are also heirs of legendary rulers. They could therefore be proud of their Bulgarian past (see chapter four). The difference comes in the persistent desire of the French to show they are better than any other nation by putting on display, for example, two paintings – one French and one Italian – and where the comparison is always in favour of the French.4 Determined by differing historical development, the representation of Bulgarian nationalism in Bulgarian museums in the process of building up an identity could not be carried through with such élan. France was at that time a great European power, while Bulgaria was a newly liberated poor country with ill-defined borders. What was needed in Bulgaria in the first instance was to demonstrate that Bulgarians also had reason and rights to be proud of the achievements of the nation, that they had as much right as other nations to call themselves Europeans. Use was made of any historical cultural material evidence and intangible heritage that could be

Interestingly then the Bulgarian intelligentsia’s appeal for collection and donation of archaeological artefacts with explicitly Bulgarian origin to serve as exhibits in the first Bulgarian museums, is in contrast to European trends. Most western European museums were involved in quests for archaeological objects with Greco-RomanEgyptian origins.5 In Bulgaria archaeology was regarded as the field where evidence about the Bulgarian past could be found. Collecting and displaying it in local museums was of paramount importance. Even if local people could not always understand the value and meaning of the archaeological findings6 these actions were meant to gradually introduce the idea of Bulgarianness. Consequently in Bulgaria national, in terms of museum collections, meant also ‘open to the nation’ but, more importantly, it meant entirely ‘of Bulgarian origin’. However it has to be stressed that only artefacts attributed to periods before the Ottoman occupation were valued, a deliberate rejection of a long period of Bulgarian history.


The ultimate example used in several works (see for example McClellan 1999, or Duncan in Wright 1996) is France, considered as the model for almost all other countries. It will be used here as well; needless to say not to compare specific museums such as the Louvre with the chitalishte museum but to demonstrate the particularities of the nationalistic concept as driving force behind museums origins - how it was created in a differing political and social environment and what exhibitionary forms it took. 3 See McClellan 1999 4 In 1688 Charles Perrault mentions in his Parallèle des anciens et des modernes that two paintings – Charles Lebrun’s Tent of Darius and Paolo Veronese’s Pilgrims of Emmaus hung in the antechamber of the Grand Appartement of Louis XIV “where it seems they were placed opposite each other precisely by order that one might compare them” (McClellan in Wright 1996: 31).

5 6


See Poulot 2001 Reference to the level of literacy of the population

EMERGING THEMES IN THE HISTORY OF MUSEUMS allocated for school visits and the use of museums in the national curriculum.

Museums, conflict and power Following this line of thought an examination of the 20th century museums representations further reveals the role of the museum institution in the process of identity formation and the re-shaping of collective memory.

Seemingly the main task Bulgarian museums had during the first 40 years of the 20th century was catching up with European museological achievements. It was a period of wars, of social and economic instability, and museums faded into the background. Museum staff at that time concentrated on developing basic museological techniques relating to collections management.9 By the eve of World War II several museums including: the National Archaeological museum, the National Ethnographic museum, His Majesty Natural History Institutes, the National Art Gallery and some local housemuseums devoted to famous Bulgarian writers had been created and operated to a reasonable standard.

This period in Western Europe witnessed several diverse processes in museums often contradicting and denying past approaches and beliefs. A process of denial of the issues of history and its representation in museums started earlier, possibly in 1874 when Nietzsche looked upon the notion of heritage as a ‘dead weight’.7 The persistent desire to collect everything ancient was regarded as an ‘historical illness’, a burden which prevented humanity looking forwards and indeed working more actively to make the future happen. The period around and following World War I however witnesses this process of denying museums go in a different, in fact opposing direction – museums being not only acknowledged but utilized to serve political purposes. The Bolshevik revolution in 1917 and the popularisation of fascist theories in the 1930s provoked the understanding of museums ‘as tools to serve totalitarian propaganda’ (Ballé, Poulot and Mazoyer 2004: 57). Under dictatorship culture became ‘…an instrument to transform social identities and collective values’ (ibid: 57). So, for example, in Italy two indicative museums appeared, namely the Museum of the Roman Empire (1926) and the Mostra della Revoluzione Fascista (1932),8 where the amassment of antiquities from the period of the Roman Empire inscribed the new fascist Rome within the imperial tradition.

The post World War II years witnessed a new approach towards museums in Western Europe – they were judged to be archaic and conservative. The reopening of museums or the creation of new galleries and museums was forgotten in the urge for restoration of the countries. The contrast with other sectors and in particular with the industrial sector was more and more acute. ‘Museums were then forcefully criticized within an intellectual tradition that associated cultural heritage with ruins’ (Ballé in Crane et al ibid). In France for example by the 1960s the social criticism reached levels where some even foretold the death of the museums as conservatories of the past, used by a bourgeois elite to maintain social status. This concept met with great enthusiasm and as a result museums were pronounced inadequate in modern society.10 Or as Rosenberg (in Tobelem 2005: IV) summarizes:

The Russian Revolution also contemplated the use of museums for propaganda agendas and confiscated the objects of value from the ancient regime. It was the 1930’s however which witnessed the formation of identical types of museums throughout Russia, namely museums meant to illustrate Marxist-Leninist views, where censorship had significant impact in the process of ‘…establishing conformist aesthetics and absolutists politics’ (Poulot ibid: 144).

In the 60’s… the museum occupied a very marginal place in the society… The artists avoided it, the political class despised it, the elite considered it as unfashionable and archaic… The situation after 1944 in Bulgaria was different. The museum institution was found to be of great utility serving the needs of the Bulgarian communist party. Previous sections suggested that the use of museums in political agendas to shape identities was nothing new. For example, Wright (in Wright (ed) 1996: 9) argues that when addressing the needs of the nation, politics and aesthetics ‘…actively reinforce each other’ and especially at the time when national collections and museums were first being created. While in Western Europe the preWorld War II years are the ones when the use of museums reached a new level as propagators of party ideologies, in Bulgaria such activities are associated with the period when the communist party was in power (1944-1989) and the application of museums in political agendas reached an extreme.

There is no documentary evidence to demonstrate that museums in Bulgaria from the beginning of the 20th century until after World War II followed such a line and promoted Marxist-Leninist or fascists ideologies, even though Bulgaria was under the German sphere of influence. They followed a museological trend which was closer to a Western European model, museums and galleries being regarded as an inseparable part of educational provision. The Antiques Act of 1911 gave Bulgarian museums the necessary impetus to approach European standards. The legislation required an adequate building, trained curators and museum staff, the careful storage of artefacts and the production of annual reports on the museums’ activities. Greater attention was

In 1979 Konrad and Szelenyi published a sociological study of the East European intelligentsia under the


See Poulot 2001 Called also Museum Mussolini as it was organised under Mussolini’s direct supervision



Krasteva 2003 Ballé (in Crane et al 2002)



BULGARIA AND ITS MUSEUMS IN ‘NEW’ EUROPE governance of the communist party. Based on research of the Hungarian intellectuals the authors concluded that during communist times the intelligentsia in Eastern Europe established their own class and even exercised class domination over the proletariat. This indicates significant power of the intelligentsia and the possibility of influencing political and social events. This may have been the case in Hungary and Czechoslovakia but in Bulgaria the situation was very different. Any rudimentary activities of Bulgarian intellectuals in the direction of assuming too much power and therefore influence were quickly suffocated by the governing communist party to avoid events such as the Prague Spring. The repressive apparatus in Bulgaria was particularly harsh towards intellectuals and this is very well illustrated in the development of Bulgarian museums under the communist party.

antiquity as well as a new art, a Fascist art. In 1932 a temporary exhibition (Mostra della Revoluzione Fascista) was opened at the Palazzo delle Esposizioni in the heart of Rome to celebrate the ten-year anniversary of the march on Rome and the Fascist Revolution. It narrated the history of Fascism from 1914 through 1922 utilizing historical documents. These however were not offered to the visitor in the conventional contemplative method but were presented ‘as palpable [displays]… [and were] embodied in allegoric-symbolic terms…’ (Schnapp 1992: 89) to present the fascist revolution in a most striking, even shocking, way using huge displays in vibrant colours to promote political ideas. Even the building itself was meant to produce the effect associated with the grandeur of the fascists ideas. It was imposing in size and the modernistic design of the façade in black, bright red and silver ‘produced a sense of shock’ (Schnapp ibid: 91). The success of the exhibition was incredible and it turned into a ‘…socio-cultural event of considerable proportion’ (Schnapp ibid: 89).

Tunbridge and Ashworth (ibid: 48) quote one simple principle expressed by Orwell in 1949 which guided all party activities: ‘Who controls the past control the future, who controls the present controls the past’. When applied to heritage and its representations in museums this principle involved some very practical activities, namely constant attempts by the communist party to rewrite history by destroying or changing archival records and by providing new identities for potentially ‘difficult’ museums or artefacts. So, for example religious artefacts were given new meanings and interpretations and regarded only as objects representing different art schools rather than material evidence of a religion which could not be tolerated as a form of diversion from party devotion.11

In short, the transformed Pallazzo rapidly evolved into a kind of Saint Peter’s of fascism: a site of pilgrimage for fascists from throughout Italy and Europe, a shrine in which the revolutionary values of fascism were [displayed]… (Schnapp ibid: 89). Similar approaches can be recognized when the use of museums in the communist environment in Bulgaria is considered. The ‘communist sections’ in these museums were designed to provoke pride in the working class of the achievements of communist heroes who supposedly lost their lives in the name of that same working class; therefore their stories must be cherished as examples, as something to aspire to.

How was then the museum institution used in this context in Western Europe and in Bulgaria? Were there any similarities or was it different, presupposed by differing political regimes? Looking at the organisation and functioning of Bulgarian museums under communism it might be argued that communist museums echoed the museums in pre-World War II Western fascist Europe. Weber (in Brown 2002: online) insists that the only difference between communism and fascism is that the fascists are honest about what they are doing. Although the fascist movement appeared in opposition to communism, during their historical expansion they developed similar features. For instance, both use a central authority to maintain control. Terror and censorship are common as methods of dealing with any opposition and to exercise control over culture, media and education. This comparison is of course superficial but museums in both regimes became propagators of political agendas.12

Returning to the link between communist and fascist museums it is paradoxical that communist museums were meant originally to represent the fight of communist heroes against fascism. However they gradually turned into places used to implant in the population the perception of greatness, faultlessness and superiority of the communist party over any others. In doing so they helped to steadily establish full control, where any attempts to deviate from the rule were punished. Although, in theory, communist museums were meant to establish notions contradicting and devaluing fascist ideas, in reality they represented a similar experience to the fascist ones in the process of using museums and history representations in them as political tools. In practice the communist party followed Mussolini’s 1926 ideas that a ‘new heritage’ must be created. However if the Fascist period in Europe was relatively short13 the communist regime in Bulgaria was in power for 45 years and it had relatively strong positions in society until the very end, supported by the tactic of maintained fear of a repressive apparatus. The

In October 1926 Mussolini delivered a speech before the Academy of Fine Arts in Perugia in which he insisted that a new heritage must be created to place alongside that of 11

See Crampton 2005 Current museological studies suggest a stronger relation between communist and fascist methods and techniques exploited in museums, see Cristea 2008 12

13 The Fascist Party was in power in Italy for the period 1922 1943


EMERGING THEMES IN THE HISTORY OF MUSEUMS consequences of past experiences in the operation of contemporary Bulgarian museums is discussed below.

Public perception of history in Bulgaria in the 21st century

History and museums in contemporary societies

Representations of the past Urry (in Macdonald and Fyfe 1996: 45-69) argues that both social sciences and cultural studies failed to allocate enough attention to the issue of how society remembers the past. In relation to museum representations such an issue cannot be regarded one-sidedly. The 19th and the 20th centuries witnessed museum representations that were shaped by politics and the needs of society, in other words society shaped museums. An equally interesting phenomenon is the role museums and their exhibits played in the process of influencing society’s ways of remembering the past.

21st century European experiences The decades at the end of the 20th century saw West European museology going through a new process of transformation. ‘Access to culture became a driving force for new policies and contributed to an unexpectedly large-scale process of cultural change’ (Ballé in Crane et al 2002: 136). The idea of cultural development as a social project became a key theme at the meetings of ICOM ‘while the increase in national budgets for the arts reveals that culture had become a public concern’(ibid: 137). European towns and cities became aware of their responsibilities towards their heritage and monuments, museums, natural and historical sites ‘…began to be considered as an asset for local development and even as a means of social integration’(ibid: 137). The increased allocation of funds had a major impact on museum development and their number increased, although not all types of museums saw consistent growth.14 New museum buildings became projects for famous architects. All this interest suggests a revival of the importance of the museum institution in Western European societies and some authors even talk about an institutional Renaissance. 15

Reference has been made earlier to the two periods in Bulgarian history when the Bulgarian people were in a situation of oppression and which continue to have an impact on Bulgarians’ perception of historicism – the Ottoman domination (1393-1878) and the Communist period (1944-1989). With reference to the Ottoman period Stavrianos (2000) insists that no period of modern European history remains as obscure. Contemporary Western observers wrote detailed accounts of what they saw and experienced but these accounts were usually limited to Constantinople. Very few writers had contact with or interest in the Christian people living within the borders of the empire. The Balkan people themselves have left few records of this period as associated with national ignominy. The Ottoman period, although 500-years long, was not presented in 19th century Bulgarian museums. The very fact it was not represented had significance. By 1878, when the Bulgarian people had recovered their independence, they turned their backs on the preceding Ottoman period, regarding it as one of national humiliation and ignominy and rejected everything connected with their past servitude.16 This leads us back to the use of history and the representation of selected events in museums. So strong is the hatred of Ottoman rule that even in the 21st century the interpretation of associated historical events in Bulgaria is affected. Alternative accounts and theories rarely make their way into Bulgarian literary and cultural spaces. Chapter two hinted how difficult it is to publish a work which may even tentatively suggest that the Ottoman period might have had brighter moments.17 A recent event in contemporary Bulgarian life demonstrated just how deeply are the negative feelings towards a period suggesting national ignominy implanted in the mind of the Bulgarian.

…[W]ith modern architectural settings and spectacular exhibitions of contemporary arts, science and humanities, museums seem not only to have regained the status they acquired in the nineteenth century but to have won a pre-eminent role in society today. … [They] radically changed their activities and favoured a broader interest in the relationship between the arts, sciences and society (Ballé in Crane et al ibid: 139) This statement implies a sense of overall continuity with regards to the attitudes of society towards the museum institution in historical progression. Even with the devaluation of the institution in the post World War II years, the 21st century seemingly demonstrates a revived understanding of the relationship between societies and museums and of the mutual benefit. After a period of deviation, ambiguity and uncertainty perhaps museums and galleries are rediscovering their true purpose.

In June 2004 the deputy mayor of the town of Plovdiv (central Bulgaria) Zdravko Zafirov initiated the building of a monument to the Turkish soldiers who lost their lives 14 15


Ballé, Poulot and Mazoyer 2004 See Tobelem 2005 or Poulot 2001



See Stavrianos 2000 Georgieva (in Mantran 1999)

BULGARIA AND ITS MUSEUMS IN ‘NEW’ EUROPE in the battle for Shipka (1877)18 in exchange for a monument being erected to honour Bulgarian solders who died near Odrin (now in Turkish territory) during the Balkan war in 1913. This provoked a strong national reaction. The mass - media were flooded by letters from angry Bulgarians who refused to accept the idea of a monument devoted to Suleiman Pasha (1838-1892) and his soldiers19 who massacred more than 7000 Bulgarian and Russian soldiers during the Shipka battle and who had been responsible for the destruction of several Bulgarian town and villages in 1877-1878. Bulgarian nationalism rose again, against what was perceived as a ‘heretical’ idea.

situation had been distorted and manipulated to serve party directives. Looking at the communist ‘past’ and its representations in museums during socialist times also hints at a carefully orchestrated ‘history’ meant to serve party needs. Kaneff (2004) discusses specific features that characterised socialist history, while Verdery (1996) even talks about the appropriation of the notion of ‘time’ and its utilisation by communist governments. ‘Intentionally elaborated ideology’ and ‘state-approved rendition of the past’, underlines Kaneff (ibid: 56-7), are but a few of its components. Socialist history relied greatly on textualisation. The past, recorded in manuscripts of letters by communist heroes, photographs of dead communist heroes murdered by fascists, all exhibited in museums, made the past a knowledgeable past, a past that demonstrated the relationship between particular events and present phenomena. ‘Documentation provided ‘evidence’ of the legitimate position of the historical past at the same time allowing contemporary rendition of history to reinforce and build upon the old’ (Kaneff ibid: 62). In this way, continues Kaneff, Bulgarian socialist history represented a road which linked the past to the present in a particular way. ‘The road led away from one place – fascism-capitalism – and towards a particular destination – communism’ (ibid: 64).

In the process of re-writing history in communist museums and re-shaping public memory and perception of historicism even more striking is the way in which the Ottoman period was represented. In the historical section of the required three-tiered exhibitions the revolutionary activities of local people against the Ottomans had to be demonstrated. The period was represented rather briefly but always emphasising how many Bulgarians had lost their lives during the Ottoman occupation.20 This is further explanation why any theories suggesting that there were brighter moments for Bulgarians during the Ottoman period made their way with such difficulties not only during communist times but even in contemporary Bulgaria. Black (2007) suggests that if one wants to engage the public intellectually when representing a historical event a very good start is to engage it emotionally first. This technique was used to an extreme in Bulgarian museums when the Ottoman period was approached. Exhibits explicitly provoked hatred towards the Ottomans, which was transferred to the Turks in Bulgaria and neighbouring Turkey. This created serious social alienation in the 1980s, support being given by the Bulgarian population to the activities of the Bulgarian communist party in deporting any Turks who refused to change their Muslim names to Bulgarian ones.21 The hatred was ‘visually’ implanted into museum visitors and especially aimed at children during their compulsory museum visits. The ultimate example for every museum of how to represent the Ottoman period was the depiction of an opened mass grave or an enormous pile of skulls. The terror a child can experience in such a one-sided presentation stays for life and is almost impossible to discard these memories. This is true in my own case, despite since finding documentary evidence that such a

Furthermore a local memorial museum at that time had an immensely important role with regards to the establishment of relations between the local community and the state. Being able to claim involvement in historical events in the fight against fascism meant being able to exercise power but also a means to attract state attention and the consequent benefits. Towns or villages which could prove involvement in the communist past were thriving places with significant funds allocated.22 Museums were the ultimate place to present such proof, gathering evidence of the involvement of a particular community in the ‘communist past’. Therefore the appearance of so many memorial museums is far from surprising. They established a link with the past and proof of the heroism of those who fought against fascism while providing a basis for the claims of grandeur of the party. In this way museums contributed to the process of using history as a political resource. But museums were also the places where ‘documentary evidence’ of participation of a community in historical events could be exhibited. Once in a museum such ‘evidence’ became legitimate and authoritative, which turned museums and the representation of history in them into a means of providing access to state financial resources.

18 One of the most decisive battles was fought there during the 1877-1878 Russian-Turkish war. It determined the outcome of the war and liberated Bulgarians from Ottoman rule. Today there is a National park museum there located on the place of the battle (Information: BG Globe Hram-pametnik Rojdestvo Hristovo [online] Available from: http://www.bgglobe.net/index.php?s=-407&l=0, 27.06.2004 19 According to Prof. B. Dimitrov, director of the National History Museum in Sofia (2004 June 23, 24 chasa: 5), this is against the rules of international conventions which prohibit monuments of war criminals to be raised and Suleiman Pasha is regarded as such. 20 Although to this day there is no precise and accurate statistic. 21 See McIntyre 1988 and Crampton 1998 and 2005

The fall of the communist regime in Bulgaria witnessed a trend, possibly characteristic for all ex-communist countries, i.e. a desire to destroy the old cultural expressions completely, because they are now considered to represent an ‘evil time’. Socialism had become another period provoking shame, one that everyone wished to eradicate. There was a reversal in the state ideology 22


See Kaneff 2004 on the village of Talpa

EMERGING THEMES IN THE HISTORY OF MUSEUMS those who suffered, but that oppression should not be used as an excuse for present failings or for a lack of commitment to rectifying them. …Bulgarian history has better things to offer the Bulgarian nation than a lack of confidence in their own ability to adapt and survive.

which demanded re-evaluation of the past and involved transformation of the content of history. So, for example, the entry of Soviet forces on 9 September 1944 was not any longer seen as a ‘liberation’ from fascism, but ‘the beginning of the country’s fall under the sphere of Soviet imperialism’ (Kaneff ibid: 181). It is therefore not surprising that all communist sections disappeared from Bulgarian museum exhibitions after 1989, leading to some museum closures. In similar situation though, after a certain period of time, however, a tendency is observed to preserve relics as a reminder, as a means of education about the past. The symbols are still negatively charged, but not so dreadfully that they cannot be used for education. However, in Bulgarian museums these farsighted educational aims have not yet been carried through.

Bulgarians certainly have selective memory, with preferences given to remembering past oppression, trying to find solace there as well as a good excuse for retarded development. The meaning of this statement is far from an attempt of a comparative socio-behavioural analysis. It should be regarded as a challenge for museums, an arena where it might be possible to find the roots of the interdependence between museums and society. In their role as facilitators in the process of re-shaping collective memory Bulgarian museums have contributed in the task of re-shaping society. This on the other hand turned to be counterproductive as the way people started thinking and behaving has its influence on the look of these same museums.

Social paradoxes – are Bulgarians prisoners of their past? In the process of remembering the past and learning from it (or not) the notion of historical memory and its perception by Bulgarian society is a very interesting phenomenon. Dimitrov (2001: XIII) argues that the ‘…[p]ost-communist transition is perhaps the greatest social experiment of the second half of the 20th century’. Bulgaria, unlike Central European countries, has been through a much slower process of economic and social transition, with real progress only being made towards the end of the 1990s. The reason for it - continues Dimitrov (ibid) - is that in Bulgarian history there is a sense of ‘living history’ as similar events and problems re-appear time and again. This makes Bulgarians on the one hand ‘identify with predecessors who were seemingly fighting similar battles’ and on the other - despise them for failing, ‘…giving ground for both enthusiastic self-congratulation and pathetic self-pity’ (Dimitrov ibid: 1). In this process the nation is often confused and suffers particular lack of confidence. This, argue Dimitrov (2001) and Crampton (1998 and 2005) is the reason for a social phenomenon where Bulgarians are often prisoners of their past and cannot come to terms with their historical legacy of oppression. One can notice a persistent determination to play the role of passive spectator and sigh over ‘bad historical luck’ and to imagine how unfairly Bulgarians had been treated by others. In relation with this Crampton (2005: 268) states:

Cultural policies and social inclusion The discussions during the Museums in transformation process conference in Brno in 2003 (November 24-26) revealed that although the long endurance of a repressive regime could be the reason for a longer period of ‘convalescence’ there are other and more important reasons for it. Cultural transformation after the fall of the communist regime in most ex-communist countries went through processes similar in structure and meaning. Three common problems were identified in the museum environment of these countries, namely the lack of well trained museum staff, the inadequacy of museum legislation and the low level of interest and consciousness in the general public about museums. However, identifying the problems is not enough and it is salutary to note that the development of Bulgarian museums is much slower then those in neighbouring ex-communist countries.

Professionals and museums Chapter six described the typical communist museum and culture system where employees could remain in the same position for 20-30 years. The sphere of Bulgarian culture was the area where this symptom was mainly envisaged. Krasteva (2003) and Valchev (1955) emphasize the lack of professionalism of people employed in Bulgarian museums. During communist times it was enough to have a University degree in any discipline to be able to obtain a job in a museum. ‘Bulgarian museums turned into calm places where one could survive for years, doing nothing’, states Vakarelski (quoted in Krasteva 2003: 277). During communist times Bulgarian museums required no creativity or even enthusiasm and one could passively survive for several years in the same position getting a small but secure monthly salary. After the fall of the communist system the same museum staff remained in place. The secure

…if the Bulgarians now have a problem in overcoming their past it is less in the way they have treated other peoples than in the way they believe foreign domination has affected them. There is still a tendency amongst many Bulgarians, particularly when an outsider points out a shortcoming, to relapse into a regressive fatalism, a fatalism expressed most often in phrases such as ‘Five hundred years of Ottoman rule…’. This is an unhelpful attitude. It is using the past to escape from the present and more so from the future. …. Past oppression is inevitably a part of national consciousness and respect for 91

BULGARIA AND ITS MUSEUMS IN ‘NEW’ EUROPE living in Bulgarian museums however changed drastically because of the new economic and financial measures the whole country had to face after the fall of the communist regime. The huge gap in expertise suddenly became obvious, which in turn led to insecurity for museum professionals. Fear of change or even complete denial of change and no wish to improve the situation were prevalent (Popovic-Jivanchevic 2005). Excuses such as the economic situation are unconvincing in today’s Bulgarian museums and heritage environment. The problems, put simply, are related to the human factor. While there is a realisation that the situation has to be changed, the only time real fervour is expressed is when pointing out that there is no money to improve the situation.

museum who could take an additional responsibility? Besides, ‘volunteer’ is not a term common for Bulgarian society. In a country where the majority of people are trying to find paid work to survive who can afford to waste time and efforts on unpaid activities? In chapter seven mention was also made about a questionnaire distributed to 81 museum directors in August 2005. The analysis and summary of the results were published in October 2005.24 The worrying results where qualification of museum staff is concerned are as follow: • in the majority of the museums there are no employees below 50 years of age • only a few museums have specialists with a museum qualification or who have at least attended some course related to museum practices • only 1/3 of the museums have an employee who has, if not a specific museum qualification, at least some marketing or PR knowledge These results include the museum directors.

To summarize, where Tobelem (2005) underlines not only the high qualification of museum staff in Western European museums but also the apparition of new professions within the museum profession and the recognition of a need for continuous professional development, in Bulgaria museum staff remain without even basic training in museum practices.

Contemporary Bulgarian museums are the places where the lack of cultural strategy is observed in the most acute manner. They demonstrate a link to the past through their staff, recruited during communist times (in which fact there is nothing wrong if observed on its own). The lack of adequate training however means practically that museum work is brought to a standstill.

In such a situation it is difficult to visualize the so needed change of mindset, as the way of working and thinking are so entrenched. It might only occur …after extensive training, … devolving power, responsibility and resources to new forces and crucially by experiencing and absorbing a new way of more participative decision making and acting (Landry 1997: 1).

The lack of a well structured cultural policy can be observed also in the lack of adequate legislation. Eighteen years after the fall of the communist system Bulgarian museums are still governed by the Museums and Cultural Masterpieces Act (1969), passed when the communist regime was at its peak. Only a few minor changes have been made since then. In the light of the social and political changes in the country during the last years this act no longer serves the needs of Bulgarian museums. It expresses the credo of a political structure which no longer governs the country, when the state had complete control via the Committee of Arts and Culture. Or as Landry (ibid: 18) observed, the Ministry of Culture, which although expressed some general priorities to decentralise in the last years is ‘…continually changing priorities in terms of the cultural sectors. Since 1989 the priorities of all Ministers of Culture have differed. ... As a consequence the notion of what cultural policy might be rests on perpetually shifting sands’.

The Bulgarian state and its museums If there is a resistance from museum professionals in Bulgaria to accept the new, to change attitudes and practices it is also true that there is a total lack of understanding, a lack of strategy and systematic approach from the top governing body, the Ministry of Culture, which guides the operation of contemporary Bulgarian museums. Tzekova, the Director of the National Museum of Polytechnic for example,23 is young enough not to have spent much time working in a museum under socialist instruction. This is possibly the reason for her being ‘one of the most active museum directors in Bulgaria in the present situation’ (Nedkov 2005 pers.com.). Her enthusiasm however is not characteristic of the people working in present day Bulgarian museums but it proves that much can be done even without sufficient funding and staff. Any failures in her work are more a consequence of the overall situation in the country rather than her personal lack of knowledge, commitment or understanding. So, for example, even if she could find funding for computer cataloguing of museum objects, which computer system could she use if there is no unified museum cataloguing system in Bulgaria? How could she develop an organization of volunteers to help in the museum if there is no one from the staff in the 23

Visitors and museums The above mentioned examples concerning contemporary Bulgarian museology and heritage matters make the new directions European museology is taking seem remote: In the past decades enormous changes have taken place in museums and galleries across the world. The thrust of the shift are clear – museums are 24

Chapter 7


Kultura 14.10. 2005/35


6 000 000

232 230

5 000 000 228 4 000 000

226 224




3 000 000

2 000 000

220 218

1 000 000 216 0 Visitors










4 314 099 4 134 141 4 268 174 5 646 414 5 052 854 3 937 634 3 554 515 3 925 178










Fig. 8.1 Bulgarian museums and visitor numbers (Statistical Yearbook of the National Statistical Institute 2006)

changing from being static storehouses for artefacts into active learning environments for people. This change in function means a radical reorganisation of the whole culture of the museum – staff structures, attitudes and work patterns must all mutate to accommodate new ideas and new approaches. In addition to looking inward to their collections, museums are now looking outward towards their audiences; where in the past collections were researched, now audiences are also being researched; the balance of power in museums is shifting from those who care for objects to include, and often prioritise, those who care for people. The older ideology of conservation must now share its directing role with the newer ideology of collaboration. (Hooper-Greenhill 2000:1)

decreasing (Fig. 8.1). In simple terms there is little to attract them. During the communist regime the majority of visitors were school groups and organized groups of employees who were obliged to visit exhibitions, so artificially providing high visitor figures. Today those obligations do not exist. This lack of public interest meant that some of the purely ‘communist’ museums were demolished such as the Museum of Revolution in Sofia for example. Others (such as the Museum of Literature) were simply closed down due to lack of visitors. Only in 2005, 16 years after the fall of the Communist regime, a slight increase of the museums number gives an indication that things are perhaps slowly starting to change. The figures however include art galleries and the increase in the total is due to their increase in number rather than any other kind of museums.

This extract from Eilean Hooper–Greenhill’s book Museums and their visitors indicates the distance between the status of Bulgarian and other European museums and indeed museums elsewhere where a new museology has been embraced. In these countries, museum professionals have built strategies where the visitor is at the centre of activities, whilst in Bulgaria the ‘static storehouses’ are much closer to reality. Unattractive, old fashioned exhibitions; the lack of basic customer care; the attitude of museum staff and the inaccessibility of museums (few museums in Bulgaria are accessible to disabled people), not to mention that during the winter many Bulgarian museums are not heated,25 are just a few of the reasons why the number of visitors to Bulgarian museums is 25

The state of contemporary Bulgarian museums can only to a certain extent be echoed in other ex-communist countries.26 Bulgaria, although a recently accepted member of the EU, is seemingly far behind in museum theory and practice than other ex-communist countries. A trip to Serbia and Montenegro27 revealed that a significantly greater effort is being made by museum professionals there for the development of the sector. As elsewhere in Eastern Europe the beginning of the 1990s saw deterioration in the political and economic situation 26 See Mladenovski in Dolak (ed) 2004 or Laszlo in Dolak (ed) ibid 27 20-24 August 2005 - to participate in the regional committee meeting of the newly organised ICOM SEE regional section

Trud, February 10, 2005


BULGARIA AND ITS MUSEUMS IN ‘NEW’ EUROPE in these countries. The professional heritage institutions were faced with an almost complete breakdown in their basic functions and activities. However, in Serbia and Montenegro there is evidence that several museums and heritage projects are being carried out28 despite the political and economic situation. This is especially notable when the war in Serbia in the mid 1990s is considered, a war that led to complete isolation, economic embargos and little chance of joining the EU soon.

society. They do not represent ‘…a preconstituted entirety … with direct or fundamental role’ (HooperGreenhill 1992) and the decision to acquire and display an object ‘…is both philosophical and political’ (Hudson 1987: 114, quoted in Hooper-Greenhill ibid). The process of presenting the past involves choices about what is remembered and what is forgotten, what is collected or preserved and presented and what is not (Davison in Corsane 2005: 184). In the historical development of both Bulgarian and European museums those who selected what to exhibit were guided by contemporary standards. Elements were carefully chosen with the purpose to assert some truths and to ignore others. Or as Tunbridge and Ashworth (in Tunbridge and Ashworth (eds) 1996: 36) conclude ‘…the interpreted past is a changeable creation of the present amenable to goal-directed intervention’.

Boniface (1995:3) argues that we live in modern times and the needs of society are changing. In order to be successful in any walk of life one ought to be flexible and swiftly react to changes in society. The examples discussed here demonstrate that Bulgarian museums have yet to accept such changes. It could be argued that the influence of the communist period on the operation of contemporary Bulgarian museums was so significant that even today, 18 years after the fall of the regime, Bulgarian museums are under its spell. Staff have yet to react to the need to re-examine the place, meaning and functions of museums in a contemporary European environment.

In Bulgaria, as in other European countries, in the process of identity formation museum exhibits had the role of facilitator, creating a link with an interpreted past as an expression of ‘public culturing’ (Macdonald 2003: 2) and representation of the idea of ‘belonging within political and social contexts’ (Ashworth and Graham 2005: 3). In this process, in Bulgaria and (arguably) elsewhere, the attention was prevalently drawn to only particular historical events, the ones that can be used in museums specifically not only to shape identities but also to reshape collective memory and the collective sense of historicism.

The knowledge of the past History and museums and their interrelationship expressed above challenge the very understanding of notions such as truth, knowledge and power. In chapter one reference was made to Tosh’s (2002) two meanings of the word ‘history’, namely what actually happened in the past and the representation of that past in the work of historians. In its relation to museums ‘history’ can be decisively attributed to the second meaning. A collective identity implies shared interpretation of events and experiences.29 The role museums had in this process was to represent ‘accepted belief’ about the origins of society (Tosh ibid).

‘How securely based is our knowledge of the past then? And can the facts of history be taken as given?’ asks Tosh (2002: 164-166). The author devises some possibilities for the professional historian to accumulate factual knowledge by ‘applying critical methods’. But is this possible when related to museums? Foucault has argued that power and knowledge are thoroughly mutually implicated: power is involved in the construction of truth, and knowledge has implications for power (Foucault in Rabinow and Rose (eds) 2003). In this sense – continues Macdonald (in Macdonald (ed) 1998: 1) – ‘…[museums] displays are never and have never been, just representations of incontestable facts; and they always have cultural, social and political implications’.

Baxandall (in Karp and Lavine 1991) debates the move of museum exhibitions from neutrality to instrumentality. If all the above suggests that museums can be regarded as instruments utilised by different administrations can we accept that museum exhibitions were ever ‘neutral’? It is difficult to find arguments in support of such a thesis. Recent years have seen even the previously accepted ‘neutrality’ of science museums exhibitions being questioned.30 Museums (Bulgarian included) cannot be regarded as institutions with clear and neutral roles in

The 21st century will continue to question the role of museums in identity formation and memory re-shaping. Up until now ‘museums have considered their visitors as ignorant or at best as blank slates on which to write new information. While the opposite is true, namely ‘visitors are competent, intelligent and …know exactly who they are and where they belong’ (Bradburne (in Fladmark (ed) 2000: 387). In other words they come to the museum with existing experiences, education and opinions. It is possible that the museum has a new role to ‘capture identity from bottom up – not to impose it from the top down’, (Bradburne ibid: 389). This is done by exhibits which ‘register and preserve culture as experienced by local actors, rather than imposing a new narrative in which they were expected to fit their own experiences. The museum’s role then can be to support, not to create’.

28 In August 2005 the National Committee of ICOM of Serbia and Montenegro initiated the creation of a Regional Committee of ICOM SEE with a remit to better serve the needs of the region. With the participation of representatives of the ICOM from Serbia, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Romania, Croatia and Albania the Committee was established and the first regional project planned - the ‘Revitalization of Cultural and Natural Heritage in the Balkan region’, divided into three phases for the period 2006-2009. 29 See Tunbridge and Ashworth (eds) 1996 30 See Macdonald 1998 and 2001


EMERGING THEMES IN THE HISTORY OF MUSEUMS So where is the place of Bulgarian museums in this new museum environment?

to the changing demands of the present. In Bulgaria the end of the communist system brought forward issues similar to those seen in the 19th century when the Balkan states were resurrected after 500 years of Ottoman domination and in a way museums have rediscovered their 19th century functions. From the start of the transition period (1989), cultural policies in the countries of Eastern Europe have been facing two opposing goals.33 Firstly, they are questioning and asserting their identity by seeking a return to national cultural values, using local traditions and emphasizing national cultural identity and by exploring the past to prove that a country has always been a part of Europe. Secondly, they are looking for integration, fighting for modernization and trying to break isolation.

A sense of place - Bulgarian museums in contemporary Europe When the present role of European museums is concerned Macdonald (in Macdonald and Fyfe (1996: 1)) insists that ‘most of museums’ long-held assumptions and functions have been challenged’ as an apparent failure was noticed to satisfy the requirements of the public. Conversely the specialist attention to museums has increased with several academic publications theorising museums. But even if we forget rigid theoretical analyses on the practical side the number of museums have increased with several trying to introduce new, even controversial ways of presenting different, often problematic issues to an extent that this new movement has even been called ‘Institutional Renaissance’ (Poulot 2001). Even more perceptible is the significant shift towards postmodernism. ‘The traditional representation of the museum as a conservatory – or a shrine – for past heritage has tended to go away’ (Ballé in Crane et al 2002: 139). The concept of the modern museum is now questioned and current debates have even introduced controversial notions such as the ‘universal museum’.31

Interestingly, contemporary Bulgarian museums have used 19th century tactics as a basis for meeting these challenges. The infrequent exhibitions of the most famous archaeological artefacts excavated on Bulgarian territory34 are accompanied by major media coverage in the spirit of ‘Bulgarians – heirs of great ancient civilisations’. In this sense Dragicevic-Sesic (2002: online) describes features of the national perception for resurrection after a period of oppression similar to the ones seen in the middle of the 19th century in Bulgaria. The nation has again turned to cultural assets in a quest for ways to join the contemporary European system. ‘In the present context of a united Europe ex-communist countries seek integration [by] trying to adapt their policies, including culturally related ones, to the European requirements and [so] join the contemporary European system’ (Dragicevic-Sesic idid: online). This process however is very tentative and chaotic in Bulgaria and lacks a national strategy. The situation is even further aggravated by a skills gap as ‘…[t]he skills currently required from cultural mangers such as management, strategic planning, marketing and entrepreneurial skills (which) were not only not needed under the former totalitarian regime, they were not encouraged – yet they are needed now’(Landry 1997: 2).

However while looking closely at the relationship between history and identity and museums one realises that it had not only coloured the look and shape of the 19th century museum. It is a relationship, a mutual dependence that persists throughout time and one can find this in contemporary museums as well, modified by politics and the demands of differing epochs, but still similar in a way to past representations. Identity and its representations in museums have travelled far since the early 19th century and today these are not only subject of ‘…political, geographical or economic analysis but [also] of cultural analysis’ (Evans in Boswell and Evans 2005: 3). The 21st century witnesses the notions analyzed through the prism of concepts such as ‘common European heritage’ (Bugge in Peckam 2003: 70) and identities and museums are not regarded only at a national level but also on a macro level.32 Discussions are now raised to address issues such as ‘postnational, transcultural and ‘hybrid’ identity’ (Macdonald 2003: 9). Still in this process all elements and influences (past and present) are important or, as Mason (2005) underlines, in the search for defining national identity it is the historic and contemporary which meet in the museum in response

Where West European museums are revising their operations and goals to meet the requirements of the public, seemingly another factor in Bulgaria for not revising the situation in museums could be the lack of any requirements from the public. The public passively accepts what is offered and either go to visit or decide to spend their money elsewhere. And if the public refusal to visit a museum is a factor prompting the re-visioning of the work of museums in Western Europe, in Bulgaria the reaction is to simply close the museum down, rather then improve it. In this way the Ministry of Culture at least saves the money needed for maintenance and salaries.

31 A Declaration on the Importance and Value of Universal Museum was signed in 2002 by the directors of leading museums in Europe and America such as the British Museum, the Louvre, the Prado, the Hermitage and J. Paul Getty Museum. The stress of the declaration concerns the question of restitution of artefacts but it also introduced the much debated idea of the ‘universal museum’, stating that ‘these museums are universal institutions whose displays enable visitors to ‘see the world as one’ and hence promote a more tolerant society’ (O’Neill 2004: 190). 32 See McLean 2005


See Dragicevic-Sesic (2002: online) Bulgarian Thracian treasures such as the Panagurishte, the Rogozen and the Borovo ones are almost all the time on touring exhibitions abroad. The most they spend in Bulgaria is 2 weeks per year. 34


BULGARIA AND ITS MUSEUMS IN ‘NEW’ EUROPE In this situation the pattern one notices concerns attitudes. Where other nations use their history to promote uniqueness while debating notions such as common European heritage,35 Bulgarian cultural institutions are only very tentatively promoting such ideas, while Bulgarians today seem to see their history only as obstacle, stubbornly remembering the times of oppression.36 This persistent relapse into the sterile and futile memories of past times is even more worrying when one realises that it is used as an excuse for passivity. From one side we have the passive approach of the museum professionals, from the other - the passive approach of the public and from the third - the passive approach of the governing bodies. All these features of Bulgarian museums under the governance of the Bulgarian Ministry of Culture bring Landry (1997: 20) to the following conclusion which, although written ten years ago, is unfortunately still valid:

culture in general it is clear that major efforts are needed before Bulgaria is ready to fully participate in the process of building and communicating this new form of European culture ‘…where local and trans-national aspects are constantly shifting’38 to satisfy the requirements of the European visitor.

The crisis is thus so deep that it cannot be simply dealt with by a series of strategic initiatives, such as the aim to decentralise, worthy as these may be. What is therefore striking is that there is no national debate on the future of the cultural sector. Rosenberg (in Tobelem 2005: IV) argues that the European museum in the 21st century has reached ‘…an enviable (and often envied) place in society’. The institution is now so large and its importance so considerable that no one can deny its very existence any longer. It has reached a stage where geographical borders are no longer an obstacle. In this sense and following the findings of the European Museum Forum workshops in 2000 and 2001 the conclusions of the 2002 workshop underlined that European museums are regarded in contemporary Europe as: ‘…cultural institutions with a special direct relationship with local or national communities and/or with users from other countries should also function as crossroads and gateways, as places where borders and cultural and political barriers can be crossed’.37 The workshop summary report stresses that the 21st century witnesses a new kind of public, ‘a new breed of museum visitor’, with very varied cultural backgrounds. ‘If we are all Europeans, when visiting other State museums we are no longer tourists, but simply European residents from another area making use of local cultural facilities’. Debatable as it is, such statements prompt the question ‘Are Bulgarian museums ready to participate in this process and to offer this new breed of visitor the high level exhibitions he/she expects’? Being Bulgarian I very much would like to be proud of Bulgarian achievements and promote them to an international audience. Being realistic however and recognising the features of Bulgarian museums and 35

Council of Europe 2006 Cultural Heritage [online] Available from: http://www.coe.int/T/E/Cultural_Co-operation/Heritage [22/11/2006] 36 Crampton 2005 37 Workshop Museums as crossroads: meeting other cultures, Parma-Italy, 17-20 October 2002 – summary report





Articles from newspapers, vol. 1

(Author unknown, date 1873-1876 – compilation, p.44) Turkey and the East 1873-1876 Daily news, 28 July 1876 – from the special commissioner in Philippopolis … When you are met in the outset of your investigation with the admission that 60 or 70 villages have been burned, that some 15 000 people have been slaughtered of whom a large part were women and children, you begin to feel that it is useless to go any further. When in addition to this, you have the horrid details of the vilest outrages committed upon women; the hacking to pieces of helpless children and spitting them upon bayonets; and when you have these details repeated you by hundred, not by Bulgarians but by the different councils at Philippopolis and the German officials on the railway; as well as Greeks, Armenians, priests, missionaries, and even Turks themselves, you begin to feel that any further investigation is superfluous. Mr. Baring, I am informed, will report that in the district about Philippopolis and Tatar Pazardjik alone there have been about 50 villages burnt, without counting those that have been only pillaged and that nearly 15000 people have been slaughtered. This is the lowest estimate and it does not include the districts about Sofia and those north of the Balkan. The French and Russian Consuls and the railway officials give much higher figures, and would put the number of villages burned at over a hundred and the killed 25 000 to 40 000. For my own part, once the enormous number of 15 000 killed in four days is admitted I do not care to inquire further. The Greek consul, who is not friendly to the Bulgarians tells me of 12000 wretched women and children marched into Tatar Pazardjik, nearly all of whom suffered the vilest outrages. He tells me of Bulgarian fathers who killed their wives and children in order to put them out of reach of the ferocity of the Bashi-Bozuks. The german officials tell me of the bodies of men cut up and flung to the dogs in villages near their own railway stations; of little children of both sexes maltreated and brutalised until they died; of a priest, whose wife and children were outraged and slaughtered before his eyes, and who was then put to death after the most fearful torture, the details of which are too abominable to be re-told. The French consuls tells me of Bashi-Bozuks that cut off the heads of little children, and how the dismembered trunks would leap and roll about like those of chickens. It has been said that these acts were committed by irregular troops, over whom the Government had no control, for whom the Turkish authorities were in no way responsible. Unfortunately, there are many facts, connected with the business, which show that this view of the case is altogether erroneous. Had the government really been in earnest in making these protestations, it would have seized some of the principle leaders of the Bashi-Bozuks, some of those who had particularly distinguished themselves by their ferocity and punished them summarily. Ahmed Aga for instance, a Tuz – Bashi, or captain of a company of Bashi – Bozuks, who likewise distinguished himself by his ferocity was the one who slaughtered 8000 people at Batak, and burned 200 women and children alive in the school. He is a low ignorant brute, who can neither read nor write, and yet he has been promoted to the rank of Pasha, and with that exquisite mockery of European demands for justice, for which the Oriental is so distinguished, he has been named a member of the commission appointed to prosecute and punish the Bashi-Bozuks. The reason is clear and simple. These men carried out the wishes and inventions of the Government, if not the positive orders. They did their duty and have been rewarded. The country is in a state of anarchy. Women are attacked and violated every day, cattle stolen wherever found, and the inhabitants cannot go out of their villages without being robbed. The suffering is great and immediate relief necessary. Daily News, same commissioner, August 16th 1876. “.… 3000 people were killed at Ottukkur with fearful atrocities and violations. Children of both sexes were carried about the streets on bayonets. People were burnt alive. At Pazardjik 1000 people were killed. A bag full of human heads from Pazardjik was emptied in the street at Zambuli before the house of the Italian Consul and eaten by the dogs. Every Bulgarian house at Jambul was pillaged by the regular troops and Turkish neighbours. Women are outraged every day……”


BULGARIA AND ITS MUSEUMS IN ‘NEW’ EUROPE APPENDIX 2 RIM Vratza, f. 1, a.e. 21, l. 30-35 Translated from Bulgarian1 Reg. No. 493 Attn.: The Minister of National Enlightenment 1894, 30th March, Sofia City. Report by Vasil Stoyanov, Director of the National Library and Damazzio Takela, Managing Director of the National Museum Specification of the archaeological and historical materials included in the Museum Collection of Todoraki Dimitrevich Hadzhitoshev, that shall be delivered to the National Library and the National Museum. With data specification of the historical memorials, and the persons, possessing manuscripts and other things with historical value in Vratsa and the region thereof. For the Attn. of: Minister of National Enlightenment Report Dear Esq. Minister, We, the hereunder signed, Vasil D. Stoyanov and Damazzio E. Takela, duly commissioned on official trip on your Order of 5th July 1893, ref. number of No.7704, to perform a survey of the collections of Todoraki Dimitrakiev in the town of Vratsa, selected the following valuables for the Museum and the collection of the National Library, [1]: I. On Numismatics: - 3 (three) gold Byzantine coins, - 11 (eleven) Imperial Greek bronze coins; - 16 (sixteen) Roman silver and bronze coins; - 2 (two) Bulgarian silver coins from the time of Tsar Ivan Asen I and Tsar Ivan Shishman; - 1 (one) gold Russian medal of Alexander I (1807), in memory of; - 1 (one) double gold Hungarian ducat, of Ferdinand II (1656); - 1 (one) silver Russian rouble of Peter the Great (1 issue); in total 35 (thirty-five) coins, at approximate numismatic value of BGL 500.II. On Palaeontology: - Stone pattern for making bronze hatchets (dating back to the Bronze Age), price BGL 30.-; - Parts of stone weapons (from the Stone Age), price of BGL 10.-; - Shells and bones of pre-deluging four-legged animals. III. On Archaeology: - Bronze statuette (Flora) of Roman Times, price of BGL 100.-; - Bronze statuette, artwork, of high value; style of Classic Roman Times, price of BGL 300.-; - Iron hatchets, axes, maces, copies and battle axes, etc. dating back to Roman times and the Middle Ages, price BGL 115.-; - Tabs, one of silver and one of bronze, adornment from scabbard shieth, bracelets and various small bronze decorations, at the price of BGL 40.-; - Human head of marble, double natural size, price BGL 50.-; - Beautiful bronze chalice, price BGL 50.-; - Bronze horse rein, found together with a coin from the time of Ivan I Tsimishius (X c.), price of BGL 25.-; - Seal of opal with decoration ornaments, artwork, found in the riverbed of Iskar river. On the grounds of the calligraphy of the three letters, engraved on it, an assumption could be made that it is done in Venice to the end of the Middle Ages. Post probably it has belonged to someone from the King's Army, Vladislav, the misfortunate campaign of which is associated with the Great Catastrophe near the City of Varna (1444), price of BGL 200.


The translations of all legislative texts, interviews and archival documents have been made by the Sara translating agency, Sofia, Bulgaria.


APPENDICES IV. Manuscripts & Books: 1) 10 (ten) manuscripts, as stipulated hereunder, one of which on a parchment of XIV c., Bulgarian edition, price of BGL 288.-; 1. Gospel, enclosed in Book-covers, Serbian edition, XVII c., BGL 10.-; 2. Church Register of the Cherepish Monastery, written in 1682. Containing a lot of names of villages and persons. BGL 2.-; 3. Service Prayer Book of XVII c., the greater part of it Serbian Edition; the last 30 pages middle-aged Bulgarian edition (XV c.), with some of the capital letters variously decorated. The Serbian part is written by different authors. To the end of the manuscript could be seen two Bulgarian inscriptions of XVII c., and one calendar of two pages. BGL 10.-; 4. Psalm Book, printed in 1546, 8 bneciecht, Serbian edition. BGL 15.-; 5. Part of Psalm Book, XVIII c., Serbian Edition. BGL 1.6. Psalm Book, written by Jehovah-monk Kalinik, in 1646, Serbian Edition. BGL 10.7. ABC Book, with Slovenian, Greek and Roman texts, printed in Moscow in 1701. BGL 10.8. Psalm Book, written by two authors, dated back to XVII and XVIII c., Serbian edition. BGL 5.9. Time-Prayer, collection with Life Histories and church poetry, printed in XVIII c. On some of the places are missing printed pages, supplemented by manuscripts, Serbian edition. BGL 5.10. Gospel on parchment of XIV c., Bulgarian edition, [3] ... 2) 53 (fifty-three) books, as stipulated hereunder, older and new ones, whereas particular attention shall be paid to the Staematography of Jefarovich, dating back to 1741, very rare edition, Price BGL 98.75 ... V. 16 verdicts, as described hereunder, most of which of private character, various letters from the past and the beginning of the present century, containing some history notes about our ecclesiastical continence, price of BGL 200.VI. Todoraki Dimitrakiev granted to us: besides all these, some things possession of his misfortunate legendary father - Dimitraki. The said things comprise: 1. One tobacco-pouch of Persian finest cloth, gift from Pazvantoglu that his father had with him when killed on 24 June, 1827, price BGL 250.2. 1 (one) turtle spoon, decorated with corals, made in Turkey, price BGL 40.3. Richly decorated knife with fork, and handle of opal, placed into pretty made and decorated scabbard, elegant product of Turkey, BGL 250.4. The seal of the grandfather and the grand-grandfather of Dimitraki - one chair, artwork inlays, with guilt ornaments, local product, dating to 1804, exceptionally original thing; several precious garments, one petty-cash pouch, richly embroidered in gold. This pouch is gift to Dimitraki by a Serbian maiden, enslaved by Pazvantoglu, who run away from the latter with the aid of Dimitraki, price BGL 380.VII. But the greatest benefits we had from the visit to Mr. Todoraki Dimitrakiev comprise priceless historical data and clear instructions that this very experienced old man provided to us. It would have been a great loss for our museum in case the said historical data were not collected prior his death. He showed us exactly the place where each of the antique objects was found that he granted to us, and also the circumstances under which it had been found. He showed us also a great number of old fortresses and towers, the ruins of which are situated in the District of Vratsa and the districts neighbouring to it. He explained also the reasons, due to which there is reasonable ground to believe that there could be found a lot of other antique objects, in case excavations are made (there are reasons to believe that some of them may be even of Roman times, but most of these are Bulgarian and Byzantine). He showed to us several caves (into the limestone mountains in the vicinity of Vratsa there are a lot of such mountains), into which could be found fossils and human bones; the survey of these caves could exhibit pretty easily some old, prehistoric objects and habitats, and also exclusively interesting scientific and historical things. He stipulated the place of a lot of ... knolls, and motivated his opinion that there is great possibility to find with these exclusively rare antiques.


BULGARIA AND ITS MUSEUMS IN ‘NEW’ EUROPE He showed a great number of villages and places, with tombstones with inscriptions, bas-relieves, statues etc. He stipulated a lot of people that possess antique things, and so on. As a reward for all these precious data and facts in benefit of the future archaeological and historical surveys on these places we do consider that it would be better to grant to Mr. Todoraki Dimitirev exclusive remuneration, in the amount of BGL 600.VIII. Besides the above said precious things we found a considerable quantity of ancient church manuscripts in the old attachments of the Church of 'Saint Nikola', whereas the said manuscripts have been brought here from the old church of 'Saint George'. Unfortunately most of these are in pieces, and some of them are very work out, so we selected some of the more preserved and other very torn, but exclusively interesting due to their Bulgarian edition, and most of them are from XV, XVI and XVII c., and predominantly in Serbian language. With the kind authorisation of the Holy Vratsa Metropolite, His Hol. Constantine, we collected into one packing case and delivered these with the remaining antiques into the Capital, so they are intended also for this National Library and Museum. In a conclusion we feel obliged to state out Dear Sir Minister, that we made exact and pretty detailed notes of the precious data, provided to us by Mr. Todoraki Dimitrakiev about the palaeontology, history and archaeology of the Vratsa antiques and historical monuments, for which Mr. Todoraki Dimitrakiev is a living legend, and in case when appropriate we will issue on the grounds of the said notes a serious book as one small contribution to the National History of Bulgaria. Mr. Todoraki Dimitrakiev in connection with his exclusive anxiety, untiring jealous and diligence explores and selects various antiques in the Vratsa region, for the common national welfare, deserves praise and great honour on the side of all Bulgarians. [10] That is why we dare state, Esq. Minister, our complete assurance that you will have the gratitude and the pleasure to take care not only for the granted to Mr. Todoraki Dimitriev the said amount of BGL 3,562.75 that [11] he shall receive against providing the above-said [12] various antiques, but would send on your side exclusive Letter of Gratitude for his exclusive contribution to our country. By doing this you shall provide great joy and delight to that wonderful Bulgarian old man, that is about to complete 80 years of age. Sredets, 30th March 1894 (signature) Library Director of the Bulgarian National Library: Vassil D. Stoyanov (signature) Managing Director of the National Museum: Damazzio E. Takela True copy of the Original document. For the Head of Division: [sgd - not legible] [Seal of the Ministry of National Enlightenment - State of Bulgaria], [14] OIM. Transcript with curriculum vitae: seal affixed. 1,2,3,7-13 - at this place the list is damaged, and the text is hardly legible, supplemented in compliance with the context. 3,5,6 - at this place the list is damaged, and the text destroyed. 14 - the document is covered in a list with later inscriptions with various signatures: 'N.T.Dimitrov, Vratsa', 'I.Kepov' No.54 'A. Kunchev' Str., '1827-1812, 15'


APPENDICES APPENDIX 3 BIA, F. 35, a.e. 1188, l. 1670-1682 Translated from Bulgarian List of manuscripts donated by Bishop Miletia 1. Virgin Mary’s Book (Thanksgiving Canons), written on a simple paper, clean and using the systematic orthography incidental to 16 century, in folio, number of folia 183. 2. St. Efrem’s words, some sheets in the beginning are broken, other are lost, and it begins at the fifteenth speech and continues to 204th. Written by a monk named Rafail, year 1592, in folio, number of folia 266. Quite cleanly and clearly written, on thick and sound paper. 3. A sticharion, written on a simple paper, regular or simple script, old orthography, the letter for the nasal vowel (Ѫ) has been used. It seems it has been written in 15 century, in folio, 140 folia, enclosed in quite old book covers. 4. An Optoptych, in folio, 246 folia, in the form of book, written in 15th century. A note in it makes evident it was bought in 1607 and belonged to St. Nikola Monastery of Zhelyavitsa. 5. Full-year Virgin Mary’s breviary consisting of 32 orations mainly by St. John Chrysostom and by other saints, among them an oration written by the Bulgarian Patriarch Evtimiy Tarnovski. Life and sufferings of Her Reverence St. Paraskeva, in folio, cleanly written and beautiful passional from 15th century, 296 folia, containing some interesting posterior notices. 6. A Gospel, in folio, a very nicely written book with large letters and old orthography, the letter Ѫ has a considerable presence, three effigies, Evangelists’ portraits are included, only St. John’s portrait has been torn out; very beautiful golden letters and pictures, 497 folia, there is a collection of saints at the end and the part of the Gospel that is to be read on their holidays is marked, and the Sunday gospels are marked too. There are many and very interesting notes also. 7. A Gospel, in the form of book taken from the Monastery of Kurilo, very clean and beautiful letters, skilful pictures at the beginning of each testament and prologues by each evangelist, old orthography, the letter Ѫ for the nasal sound is used appears many times, in folio, folio 189, some folia are missing at the end. 8. A Gospel in the form of book, very beautifully and cleanly written, the orthography is not quite old, it seems to be from 15th century, it has belonged to the Church of Mramorsko, bound and well preserved, in folio, folio: 220 9. A Mineus for July and August, beautifully written, the orthography is not too ancient from 15 century, it belonged to the village of Stolnik, St Virgin’s Temple, nice and skilled drawings, in folio, 382 folia. 10. An Optoptych in the form of book written by some Nikola from Novachane, St. Petka Monastery, during the époque of Suleiman Sultan. It seems to be copied from another, very ancient Optoptych, as the orthography is very old, from 11th century, in folio, 176 folia. 11. A Gospel, in folio, in the form of book written in 16th century, regular but very clean writing, not very ancient orthography, nasal vowel missing. 189 folia, containing 4 images, rough, of the Holy Evangelists. 12. A Mineus for July, many folia from the beginning and at the end missing, torn out, written in the form of book, beautiful and clear letters, the orthography is not too ancient, from 16th century, 41 folia. 13. An Optopych written in the form of book of 17th century, here rough letters, there pretty, by Archpriest Pimen. 14. Sunday Lessons and speech by St. John from Damask, St. John Chrysostom, in the form of book written in 18th century, in simple Slavonic Bulgarian and simple hand, 313 big-size folia, no orthography. 15. A Trinity written in 15th century, in the form of book, regular hand, 12th-century orthography, in folio, 203 folia. 16. An Apostle, written in the form of book in 16th century, some folia are missing in the beginning, and finishing at Eureemuse’s Message, the other folia have been torn, beautiful and clear hand, the nasal vowel is missing, not very old, 113 folia. 17. A Trinity printed apparently in Targovishte, Romania, very ancient orthography has been applied, the nasal vowel also, I guess it has been printed in 15th century, in folio, 192 folia, it begins from folio 12 and continues to 292. 18. A Gospel printed in Russia (Kiev) in the beginning of 16th century, containing many political personages, in smallsize folio, 367 folia, ex-property of Mramorovo Church. 19. Official Liturgical Book written on paper in 16th century, inferior-quality handwriting, not very old orthography, in folio, 153 folia, 43 of them almost thorn. 20. Official Liturgical Book on paper, written in 17th century, good and clear handwriting, not very old orthography, in folio, 71 folia. 21. A Gospel written on paper in 16th century, good and clear handwriting, the nasal vowel has not been used. It begins with St. Matthews, on page 98, Marcus, Lucas and John beginning from page 17, some folia in the beginning and at the end are destroyed, total number of folia 171, in folio, kept by the church of the village of Gorni Okol, County of Samokov. 22. Sunday Cautionary Tales and speeches by several saints written on paper in ordinary Slavonic Bulgarian in 18th century, in folio, 231 folia. 23. A Trinity written on paper in 16th century, good and clear handwriting, not very old orthography, in folio, 231 folia. 101

BULGARIA AND ITS MUSEUMS IN ‘NEW’ EUROPE 24. Fragmentary folia bound in one volume, in folio, extracts from a trinity and Optoptych gospel; different handwriting. The orthography is from 16th century and older. 107 folia. 25. A Mineus for July and August, written on parchment in 14th century, beautiful and clear handwriting, old orthography using the nasal vowel, in folio, 103 folia. 26. A Trinity written on paper in 16th century, the nasal vowel is not used, moderate handwriting, 154 folia, 4=. 27. An Apostle written on paper, it seems to have been further rewritten, as the original, as it is mention in the Apostle itself, has been written in 6728 (1220), and the copyist has exactly recorded on this Apostle. Old orthography, the nasal vowel has been used, the handwriting is not very pretty but clear. 4=, 315 folia, some folia are missing from the beginning, but the rest is well-preserved and bound. 28. Pentecos-book, roughly written, 17th century orthography, 4=, many folia are missing, total folia: 51. 29. Mineus for September, October and November, written in the form of book in 15th century, old orthography, moderate hand writing, 4=, 340 folia, bound. 30. A missal and part of a ruling-book, written on paper in 16th century, moderate hand-writing, not very old orthography, 4=, 103 folia. 31. Liturgical book containing resurrection gospels and apostolic messages, written on paper in 18th century, rough handwriting, ex-property of the priest Vuch from the town of Vakarel in 1738. 4=, 147 folia, many of them missing in the beginning and from the end. 32. Prayer-book written on paper in 17th century, beautiful, clean and clear handwriting, 4=, 190 folia, the first ones missing and many of them missing at the end. 33. A collection of Sunday festival gospels, a liturgy and a prayer-book written on paper in 17th century, moderate handwriting, 4=, 301 folia, bound. 34. Official liturgical book written on paper in 17th century, rough handwriting, it seems to be re-written from a very ancient liturgy, as the orthography comes from 14th century, 8=, 49 folia, bound. 35. A missal, it seems to has been printed in Venice, in 17th century, 8=, 190 folia, at the end some hand-written folia have been added, evidently, the other folia have been ton long time ago. 36. A psalm-book and universal consecutions in the final part by Vicenzo, Chieftain Bozhidar’s son from Podgoritza, printed in Venice, 8=, 136 folia and all the folia beautifully pain in the margins. 37. A psalm-book and universal consecutions and a Diurnal in the final part by same Vicenzo, Chieftain Bozhidar’s son from Podgoritza, printed in Venice, 8=, 238 folia. 38. Fragments from an Apostle, Gospel, etc., on paper; moderate and differing handwriting; not very old orthography, 4=, 16 folia 39. An Apocalypses written on paper in 17th century, pretty and clear handwriting, not very old orthography, 4=, 21 folia from Chapters 13 and 14 and partially from Chapter 16. 40. Fragments from a verbal saga and others, 9 folia, rough handwriting 41. Fragments from different church books printed in Venice and Kiev 42. Fragments, the upper part of a Mineus, on paper, moderate handwriting, not very old orthography, seems to be from 17 century, 80 semi folia. 43. Fragments of paper folia, from different church books, different handwriting and orthography, 18 folia. 44. Other fragments from a church manuscript book, in folio, different orthography and diverse handwriting, 68 folia 45 Fragments of Sunday Cautionary Tales in ordinary Slavonic Bulgarian language, rough handwriting, in folio, 29 folia. 46 Fragments from a Mineus written on parchment, pretty handwriting, old orthography, from 15th century, in (small) folio, 8 folia. 47. An Optoptych written on parchment, very torn, almost destroyed, beautiful handwriting, very old orthography, seems to be from 1st century, in (small) folio, 33 folia, badly preserved. 48. An Official prayer-book containing resurrection gospels, on paper, moderate handwriting, not very old orthography, seems to be from 17th century, 4=, 66 folia, from the beginning to folio No. 34 in the middle of the book the folia are in a very bad condition. Note: Besides these manuscripts there is also a bible illustrated in the ancient Moses’s language accompanied by comments by Dr. Philippson Ludwig, printed in Leipzig in 1858 in three volumes, 1st Moses’s books, 4=, 1002 pages, 2nd: the prophecies 4=, 1560 pages, 3rd: The Holy Writ, 4=, 1188 pages and a marble slab 040 cm long and 030 cm wide with a bas-relief representing a horse man piercing a wild boar with his spear, a part of the inscription on one of the sides is preserved: VIN VS VET RAN VS.


103 Tzarigrad Bucharest Bucharest Braila Tzarigrad Tzarigrad

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1869 - 1873

1863 - 1856


Periodichesko spisanie (Periodical journal) Pravo (Legislation)



1870 - 1876

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1858 - 1862



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1863 - 1867



Gaida (Pipe) Luboslovie (Love for words) Makedonia (Macedonia) Narodnost (Nationality) Otechestvo (Fatherland)


1846 - 1847



1863 - 1864

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Printed in Tzarigrad

Published 1859 - 1863

T.S. Burmov

Iv. Naidenov

V.D. Stoyanov

Iv. Kisimov

Dr. Iv. Bogorov

P.R. Slaveikov

K. Fotinov

P.R. Slaveikov

M.D. Balabanov, L. Jovchev, P. R.Slaveikov Iv. Chorapchiev, St. Popov

D. Mutev

K. Tulechkov

G.S. Rakovski

Dr. Iv. Bogorov

Hr. D.Vaklinov

Editor Dr. Tzankov

Socio-political and educational newspaper expressing the interests of Bulgarian liberal bourgeoisie Socio-political and educational newspaper expressing the interests of Bulgarian liberal bourgeoisie Socio-political newspaper, expressing the interests of the Bulgarian liberal bourgeoisie in Rumania and Russia, influenced by the policy of Russian tzarism Journal, treating linguistic and literary problems, organ of the Bulgarian Literary society Socio-political and educational newspaper, expressing the interests of the Bulgarian bourgeoisie in Turkey, against the revolutionary movement Socio-political newspaper, expressing the interests of Bulgarian

Informative officious newspaper popularising and protecting the policy of Midhat pacha in the Danube region, against the Bulgarian revolutionary movement Satirical-humoristic newspaper criticising the defects of society and Greek clergy mainly The first Bulgarian magazine – socio-political and educational

Popular science journal, year I-III – historical-philological, year IV – socio-political Popular-educational journal

Socio-political newspaper with liberal-democratic tendency

Science-historical journal

The first Bulgarian newspaper - socio-political and educational

Contents Socio-political newspaper, mouthpiece of the French influence, anti Russian tendency Socio-political and educational newspaper

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Dunav (Danube)

Title Balgaria (Bulgaria) Balgarska pchela (Bulgarian bee) Balgarski orel (Bulgarian eagle) Balgarska starina (Bulgarian antique) Balgarski glas (Bulgarian voice) Balgarski knijitci (Bulgarian booklets) Chitalishte



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T.L. Baington

L. Karavelov

M.D. Balabanov

Dr.Iv. Bogorov

N. Genovich

L. Karavelov

Protestant religious newspaper

Popular and educational magazine

Socio-political reformist newspaper

traders in Tzarigrad Socio-political newspaper, of consistent revolutionary-democratic tendency, organ of the Bulgarian central revolutionary committee Pro-Turkish newspaper according to which the interests of the Bulgarian people coincide with these of Turkey Informative and educational newspaper



APPENDICES APPENDIX 5 RIM Vratza, f. 1, a.e. 20, l. 6 Translated from Bulgarian

Reg. No. 495 1894, 17th Sept., Vratsa. Draft of Application by Todoraki Dimitrovich Hadzhitoshev for the attention of the Minister of National Enlightenment in Sofia. RE: The provided by him museum collection. By this the above said grants to the Bulgarian National Library and the National Museum everything from its collection, and the stipulated amount into the Report could be accepted exclusively as gratitude for his modest contribution. For the Attn. of: the Minister of National Enlightenment Application by Todoraki Dimitrakiev, citizen of the town of Vratsa Dear Esq. Minister, I received the report of Mr. Vasil D. Stoyanov and Mr. Damazzio E. Takela who the honourable Ministry has sent on official trip to examine my archaeological collection. From the said Report I understand that my works are well known and estimated on their merits. I have the exclusive pleasure to thank you for the above-said. The greatest joy and remuneration for me is the proper valuation of my contribution to our national history. I could feel easy in my mind as all my work has not gone in vein, my incredible efforts to collect everything old, speaking on itself about our ancestors, that illustrates our past, comprising evidence of the mentality, economic and historical standing of our tortured people - I am glad that all these efforts did not go in vein. The very thought that our next generations will read this contribution to our national history fills me with great enthusiasm and makes me further more jealous to continue my historical inquests. My only will was to 'lay some bricks in the wall of the Great Building', called Bulgarian National History. This will of mine has come true, my cherish dream has been achieved and I am grateful for that. I have not, and do not search for reward against my work - for bad in the field of science is those one who seeks tangible reward and interests. That is why I hereby state out that by this I grant to the Bulgarian National Library and the National Museum everything, no matter whatever the price, from my collection, and everything that contributes by even a little to our numismatics, palaeontology, archaeology etc. That is why I could not accept the amount, stipulated in the said report, as it is provided as reward against the value of the things, granted from my collection. It would be different if the honourable Ministry provides to me the said amount as gratitude that my work has been well accepted, and my place has been well detached according to the contribution. In this case - I could accept the above said amount exclusively as gratitude, but never as a remedy against my modest contribution. Remaining yours in excellent respect.[2] Town of Vratsa, 17th Sept., 1894 OIM, File 1, a.e. 20, page 6, Draft copy. See No. 493. Todoraki has not signed this document. In regard to signature, language, and style someone else has written this.


BULGARIA AND ITS MUSEUMS IN ‘NEW’ EUROPE APPENDIX 6 NBIV, f. 1, a.e. 252, l. 1-4 Translated from Bulgarian 67. 11th May, 1871, Town of Svishtov. Announcement in 'Pravo' [1] Daily, Tsarigrad [2]. Announcement about the anticipated for publication by N. Pavlovich 'Bulgarian Memorials' magazine. The publication provides also the editorial program of the magazine. Bulgarian Memorial Digest All the correspondences shall be sent to the Publisher Nikolay Pavlovich in Svishtov. At each line may be done insertion references. ____________ * Archive of Nikolay Pavlovich (1852-1894). Shall contain feature articles (outlines) about national and public landmarks, both ancient and contemporary, in connection with the subject presented. Intended to be issued once per two months. Contents: Editorial Letter or foreword ...*** Description of the Picture 'Maiden from Pavlene' ...**** Foreword Notwithstanding we may have the feeling that the labour that we are employed for may be intended not for us, but with all our demerits we dared to commence this undertaking, to place somewhat a beginning in the presentation of our national memorials, that shall be elaborated for the future, and that we shall acquaint our fellow-countrymen that in my view will not be redundant for the said period we commenced the Renaissance. As every beginning is fragile and imperfect, thus our undertaking could not be scanty and not requiring doing a lot for the purpose that I believe would be fruitful for the time, and would have beneficial effect on the nation. If only our people would have the fortune to enjoy older times, inheriting from its ancestors such memorials that would immortalise its wonderful experience, eminent personalities, and other prominent events, in this case we would have better understanding of the detriments of the memorial and its devotion, and we would be grateful for that and would bless it from all our heart. For the enthusiasm for their deeds would not have vanish form us today, but would have retained and awaken with us a stronger recollection, and would have reinforce our national consciousness, and hence - our progress and development! The faithful national history has inspired the generation of not one people that it has derived from, and such a history tradition could be supported a lot by the 'Memorial'. We have seen that the ancient Egyptian memorials, etc. have clarified in exclusively positive light the ancient people and their tradition: hence the Memorial maintains the reminiscence. Our conception of the word memorial does not include only the tombstone, but we would rather have some wider understanding - Memorial shall include any national landmark and masterpiece, and any prominent event that has been personified and immortalised through tangible representation: poetry, painting, etc. In this sense is our publication Memorial, and as it would include also subjects concerning exclusively the Bulgarian nation and Bulgarian tradition, we called it Bulgarian Memorial. This magazine will be published periodically, and that is why we called it digest, it will be something like a chronicle that would be helpful in writing our national cultural and political history. It will present in a most accessible and wide manner prominent subjects, events etc. national landmarks from ancient to the present day. Our intention is for the 'Bulgarian Memorial' to become as we described it, and we will make efforts for it to contain various illustrations on the page itself, printed and often commingled with the very text, and in particular: portraits, history events, ornaments; clothing - Tracht: national dresses, costumes, clothes; pottery Geraetschft: all types of implements and equipment, produced in various time in the past and at present; masterpieces of literature and culture: manuscripts (written letter), paintings, antiques (ancient coins, stamps), weapons etc., of historical, cultural and spiritual significance. It shall contain also essays and outline about our national monumental and cultural tradition. Mythological (fabulous) novelettes and national tradition or folk beliefs (superstitions) etc., in connection with various presentations, life biographies of prominent and distinguished our fellow-countrymen, with their portraits, if available; directions and instructions for practice of 106

APPENDICES painting skills in our schools, with samples of various folk art and creative artwork; reviews and criticism: abstracts about various presentations and comments of reviews and criticism, etc. in regard to a memorial or related subjects thereto. Our digest shall be published in two languages: in Bulgarian and in German language, as is this announcement, as in our view we do consider that it would be better for the other educated people to know about Bulgaria, that is why we decided to publish the presentations in German as well, for the German being one of the most widely distributed foreign languages, and most of all among the German Slavians, our co-tribes, that we truly believe are anxious about our tradition, and would be glad to appreciate our modest efforts through which they would get know about our life and existence. As far as the Bulgarian is concerned, this hardly needs any interpretation, for we shall read in it, and it would be in the very same style, as is this digest. We do not present ourselves as scholars and philologists, and we are far away of such pretensions. We would rather take concern as far as our abilities provide for us to do so, to make the presentations as clear and popular, as possible, whereas in regard to subjects about we have no terminology yet, or our language has not yet such presentations, and it would be hardly to make new ones, we will clarify in details and in broader sense. The format of this digest publication 'Bulgarian Memorial' is after the German and the French illustration, A4. The edition shall comprise besides the above said illustrations, at least 6-8 lists (12-16 pages) of text, depending on the circumstances. At first it will be published in Vienna on quarter basis, and when it has enough subscribers, that would provide sufficient funds that is the main advantage for the existence of such magazines, we shall increase the volume of the contents, both in terms of illustrations, and in terms of text articles, and we could even make it published more often through the year. Taking into consideration that the hard efforts for doing this are fairly significant, and also very heard, and in particular for us the Bulgarians, the brain-workers of which being rather insufficient, without the aiding and assistance of which could not be performed similar undertaking, that is beyond the abilities of a single person (even the most educated nations use the aid and assistance of a lot of people in the contemporary magazines), under that circumstances anyone would confirm that a period of a quarter of an year is not great for the publication of our 'Bulgarian Memorial'. I would like to stipulate it again, as I mentioned it herein above, that in order for the said magazine to be able to perform its objectives, there is inevitable need for our brainworkers to take part in this undertaking. That is why I would like to ask all our scholars, residing anywhere in Bulgaria, Tracia and Macedonia, and also the scholars and intelligence, residing abroad, to make efforts in collecting various evidences in this respect, as stipulated in the editorial of the 'Memorial', and to submit articles, for anyone about what he knows, and to make further efforts to perform more profound and comprehensive investigations about: folk traditions, rituals and other of the kind, both village and town, and to continuously submit their magazine reports. On our side we would be grateful for their hard efforts, and we will make our best to reward their contributions. We would like to assure that scholars and authors that both the editorial team and the nation would appreciate their efforts. We would like to ask the said scholars and authors to ease our undertakings and to start sending their magazine reports and articles at first to Svishtov, and directly to our address, and in case we change our place and address, we take the obligation to notify each of them personally. The reports and the short notes will be published as digest column, abstracts or whole articles, with the signature of the Contributor; insofar it is willing to omit its name. On our side we have collected and continue to collect illustrations of village dress - national costumes, etc., pottery from present times, with possible description of the materials. The present village dress and various pottery we intent to present in such a way, for the reader to see and get to know the difference and the variety of the national tradition that exist in the various regions of the country, and on the ground of this to draw conclusions about the national culture and tradition, and its variety in the various regions of the country. We would like to go even further: to make efforts to discover and trace also other traditional utensils dating to past times. All the interesting things that we could found we shall not omit to present them to our people, to pay attention thereto. The price of the annual subscription of the digest shall be for Austria ATS 10.-, and for Turkey and abroad 2 Austrian gold coins, in all cases prepaid. The stipulated price is not only for subscription costs and for other cases of Boards of Wardens, subject to the terms and conditions as stipulated hereunder, this price shall include also the delivery costs. The Boards of Wardens, and the places of subscription are: - Bulgarian Library Centre - Svishtov; - Bulgarian Library Centre - Ruse. The price for the annual subscription shall be not expensive for our fellow-countrymen, for the number of the magazine illustrations shall be not less than 12 per year, and that shall be large in compliance with the 107

BULGARIA AND ITS MUSEUMS IN ‘NEW’ EUROPE above stated dimensions of the page, with clear print on cardboard paper - it may be used for decoration of the home. Our discourse is that they have very great costs. That is why we would like to ask most kindly our fellowcountrymen and their acquaintances to make subscription for the digest edition of 'Bulgarian Memorial'. When the undertaken by us affairs would go fairly far away to be able freely to put ones signature we will make a promotion of our edition through our newspapers, and at the same time we would print this presentation on special paper, that will have the format and the printed quality of the very edition digest of 'Bulgarian Memorial'. Let the circumstance help us to be able to start the regular publication of the digest [3] if not possible earlier, at least the next spring - 1872. Nikolay Pavlovich National Library - Sofia, File1. a.e.252, p.1-4, draft, 4 p. 7 p.s. * Thus said in the Original. ** Thus said in the Original. *** Thus said in the Original. **** Thus said in the Original. 1,2 - The town and the Addressee are stipulated in compliance with the announcement for the anticipated for publication magazine. 3 The publication of this magazine is not performed in practice subject to lack of funds - Nikolay Pavlovich does not succeed to acquire subscribers.


APPENDICES APPENDIX 7 BIA, f. 35, а.е. 1187, l. 344-345 Translated from Bulgarian To the Minister of Public Education Sir! Our mother country, which constitutes the largest central part of the Balkan Peninsula that, on the other part, has ever been one of the closest and in the immediate vicinity of the lands of the ancient classical world, although she has suffered multiple and violent ravages caused by barbarian nations and tribes at different times, still abounds in various valuable antiquities going back quite a long way in human development in Europe, and especially from Hellenic, Roman and Byzantine times. By the way, these facts are actually confirmed by the great heed, with every passing day to more and more significant extent, paid by many European archeologists, numismatists and other specialist of the kind, to such things that, to discover and acquire them, they come from remote countries to visit our mother land, bringing a lot of money to this end and go back later to their homes, richly recompensed for their work, effort and expenses incurred in gathering multiple and precious antiquities from Bulgaria. This way, alien peoples grow richer and cover themselves with glory due to the time-honoured valuable antiquities taken from the Bulgarian lands, instead of us, while we are still condemned to remain in a humiliating deadlock, and the only thing we can do is to sigh from time to time when we get accidentally aware that so and so many invaluable and of significant importance antiquities have been found in Bulgaria and taken away, who knows where, etceteras. Verily, also in our country and quite recently, some sense of respect and deference began to awake in this concern and the Bulgarian Government, especially the Ministry of Public Education has given, and more than once, certain orders to collect and preserve the Bulgarian antiquities. However, I doubt these measures are satisfactory to Bulgaria of today, I doubt that even other, more striking, more rigorous and more relevant measures, or even a special law, shall be able to achieve something more and less satisfactory, because, in our country, that very important sense of respect of such things is not awaken yet, even among our most literate compatriots representing the Bulgarian Intelligentsia of today, and the people having full consciousness of the importance of antiquities are not so many yet. Due to this simple but important reason, this imperceptible disappearance of antiquities will continue in Bulgaria for a long time, either because of the unintentional destruction by the population, or because of the exportation abroad, etc., before we also achieve the necessary mentality and awareness of their importance. In order to stop or, at least, to considerably restrict this disappearance of antiquities from our country, I believe that, in addition to the well-thought circular letters issued by your Ministry in this respect, and sent to the regional school inspectors and to other administrative authorities, the issue of a special law on collection and protection of antiquities in Bulgaria shall play an important role too. But, in this respect, this measure shall be even more successful and consistent if, from time to time and to the right places, some specialists who shall have some relevant experience and skills in this field, are purposefully sent not only to gather the already discovered antiquities, but also to find others and to skillfully examine and explore them, describing in details the places they have found antiquities. This method shall, probably, prevent many antiquities in our mother country from being definitely lost and, not in the last place, among the population, a sense of respect and protection of antiquities will awake, as the persons who shall intentionally visit some well-known places to this end shall, by their personal presence, exert influence in this regard on the population to a much larger extent than even the best ordinances, issued and put into action by any administrative power that, even having the best will and autoinvitation, shall perform this sort of work in a manner resulting less and less satisfactory in many cases. So, the best measure for the time being is to send purposeful people from time to time, more or less skillful for the purposes of such a mission, and first they have to visit the places about which we already know that there have been or still are, or may be found some antiquities, for instance, the following places: …………. (names of several places follow). In order not to trouble you more, I would like to briefly say that everywhere in Bulgaria many and different Bulgarian and particularly Roman and Byzantine antiquities can still be found and we must not postpone their collection any longer, as this will lead to immense and irreparable losses due to the actual unjustified negligence; it will be an inexcusable sin for ever before our posterity if we and now, when we are still able, fail to gather and preserve for ever all those ancient valuables that are still hidden in different places of our mother country, but with all the existing risk to be lost in a perfect way from the face of Bulgaria due to any reasons. Here is a good example, one of these days an Englishman passed through Lyaskovets (near Veliko Tarnovo) with the special intention to meet Mr. N. Zhekov who is the owner of many valuable Roman antiquities, in order to see and buy them, and offered an incredibly high price. Mr. Zhekov has not sold them yet to the Englishman who has traveled to South Bulgaria, but he would turn back to Lyaskovets later to try to purchase the antiquities in question again. I was aware of these facts from a letter by Mr. Zhekov to Mr. S. Yanchov from Sofia, and I immediately contacted him through Mr. Yanchov and kindly asked him not to give, in any way and at any price his valuable antiquities to anybody, but to contact the National Library and Museum as these institutions may become owners of these antiquities. It is a matter of fact that these antiquities, which 109

BULGARIA AND ITS MUSEUMS IN ‘NEW’ EUROPE have been found in the village of Debelets (near Veliko Tarnovo), have, due to their extraordinary rarity, already attracted the attention of the most famous European experts in archeology, as it can be noticed by A. Boutkovski’s prominent work “Dictionnaire numismatique” (Leipzig & Londres, 1881 – p. 1155-1161), so it is not very strange that the Englishman has offered such a high price to Mr. Zhekov. Finally, at the end of my expose, I would like to add that those persons who are supposed to look for and gather antiquities in Bulgaria from time to time, can also perform a lot of other useful works: to collect folklore materials such as songs, proverbs, specific words and statements, fairy-tails, old legends and newer sagas about places, persons and events etc., as well as Bulgarian river chronicles, land history, forest records and other materials. Sredets 31 May 1886 V.D.St. Esquire, Director Ministry of Public Education No. 235 5 June, 1886 Sofia To the Director of the Bulgarian National Library and Museum Your idea concerning the collection of antiquities abounding to such an extent in our mother country, and to record Bulgarian folklore, may not be accepted by our Ministry in any other form but with pleasure and readiness to render any assistance to its realization. For this reason, Mr. Director, our Ministry, considering that for the time being it is not able to find a most suitable person to send in a mission to the places mentioned in your report for the purpose in question, has the honour to propose to you to go for the first time to Kyustendil Region, being completely convinced that you shall do your utmost for the thorough recollection and description of antiquities. Regarding your activities there you shall timely make a detailed report to me. Minister R. I. Karolev Head of Department: Em. Ivanov V.D.St.’s resolution: To comply with the Minister’s instruction immediately after the Deputy Director’s return from his trip and some money for travel expenses to be taken for the trip to Kyustendil Region. 5/6 St.


APPENDICES APPENDIX 8 Translated from Bulgarian State Gazette, Batch XII, Sofia, Wednesday 17 January 1890, No.13 Official Part - Ministry of Public Education Decree No. 181 O.M., hereby, Ferdinand I-st, with the Grace of God & Will of the Nation, Knyaz of Bulgaria Do hereby solemnly pronounce to all our faithful citizens: The V-th Common National Assembly at its regular session, accepted, and O.M. approved & ratified the following Exploration of Antiques, Science & Education Ventures Subsidy Act S ECTION O NE Exploration of Antiques (coins, monuments, statues, tombs, weapons, cannons, etc.) and documents (manuscripts, ancient printed books, etc.) Art.1. Unfound tangibles comprising antiques & relics, no matter where discovered, are property of the state. Art.2. (1) Persons that explore similar tangibles with the prior permission by the Government shall receive 1/2 of the value of the tangibles. (2) The said repayment shall receive also the persons that have found by accident any such antiques and/or documents. Art.3. The owners of the land where the tangibles are found, shall receive 1/4 of their value. Note: In case the discovery is done by the landowner, it shall receive the repayment as stipulated in Art.2. Art.4. The estimation of the tangibles shall be done by a commission, appointed by the Ministry of Education. Art.5. In the event when from the found antiques & relics are found more identical copies, the repayment stipulated in Art.3 and Art.4 could be settled on the discretion of the Ministry instead in cash, into copies of the very found tangibles. Art.6. The Owners of ancient manuscripts, ancient printed books, costumes, coins, weapons, and others of the kind, upon presenting the above-said with the Ministry of Education, shall receive remedy estimated by a Two-Member Commission, the one of the Members appointed by the Owner, and the other Member by the Ministry of Education. Note: In the event of disagreement on the value, the Ministry Council shall perform arbitration estimation. Art.7. Persons, willing to explore antiques & relics shall submit for permission for doing so directly, or through the local authorities, with the Ministry of Education. Art.8. The found immovable antiques, like shrines, fortresses and others, no matter where located, shall be bequeathed under the supervision and control of the local authorities, and comprise property of the Government. Art.9. Excavations for exploring antiques without the prior permission by the Ministry of Education, is prohibited. Antiques found without Authorisation of Permission are subject to appropriation by the Government. Art.10. Permission for exploring in private property shall be issued upon acquiring the prior consent of the owner and the place with the boundaries is stipulated in details, or a topographic map of the place is submitted therewith. Art.11. The owner of the place, whereat are performed the excavations without its prior consent, shall receive reimbursement against the damages that it has suffered. Art.12. (1) Persons to which the Ministry issues permission for exploring excavations shall submit personal Guarantee by two Guarantors. 111

BULGARIA AND ITS MUSEUMS IN ‘NEW’ EUROPE (2) The permission could not be enforced for a term exceeding two years. Art.13. The excavation of places, where damages to the public could be caused, like water pipelines, public roads and others of the kind, is prohibited. Art.14. In the event the excavations commenced with a permission cause danger, the Ministry of Education prohibits the further works and the due persons have no rights of indemnity. Art.15. The permission for exploring antiques could not be sold, nor transferred to any third party. Art.16. Costs on the exploration shall be at the expense of the person, having acquired the permission for doing so. Art.17. The found movable antiques shall be filed on record, and in case of an occasion, shall be sent through the local authorities to the Ministry of Education. Art.18. The export of antiques & relics outside the state could not be performed without permission by the Ministry of Education, in compliance with Art.8 of the 'Customs Act' that shall issue an Authorisation of Export, upon prior presentation of their list with the Ministry. Note: The Government could purchase, in case it is willing to do so, by one copy of the presented antiques for the state museum, in accordance with Art.6 of this Act. Art.19. Any antiques subject to conceal export from the state, upon discovery shall be appropriated by the Government without repayment. Art.20. The persons, exploring antiques are obliged to comply strictly in accordance with the directions for doing so, provided by the Ministry of Education. Art.21. Ministry of Education shall send on business trip officers or any other persons for exploration and registration of antiques, to whom it shall provide the corresponding remuneration from the detached for the purposes amount from the budget. S ECTION T WO Collection and Registration of Verbal Materials (songs, proverbs, riddles, legends, short-stories, traditions, etc.) Art.22. Ministry of Education shall accept collections and comments on verbal materials, submitted with it by anyone willing to do so. Art.23. Ministry of Education shall assign to authorised and other persons the exploration, specification, and the estimation of verbal materials. Art.24. Submitted materials in accordance with their significance shall be presented for estimation to local competent persons, or to a commission. Art.25. Any person has the rights to send to the Ministry of Education proper and clearly written, unpublished folk songs, proverbs, traditions, etc., without the due explanations, whereas against doing so, in case the above-said are estimated well and published, it shall receive remuneration, estimated at BGL 20 - 60 per printed quire. Art.26. The Persons, engaged with the acquisition and registration of verbal materials, or that are volunteers on any such activities shall comply strictly with the issued for doing this instructions and directions of the Ministry of Education. Art.27. Submitted materials that prove to be incorrect shall not be printed and are not subject to return of the owner. Art.28. Upon publication of the verbal materials, the names of the persons having collected, described, or estimated the said materials shall be published. Art.29. The persons employed by the Ministry of Education with the survey and the estimation of the verbal materials, shall receive a remuneration in cash, stipulated by the Ministry, in compliance with the significance and the scope of the manuscripts, and the estimations thereon. Art.30. Authorised officers sent on business trip on survey, collection, or description of any such materials shall receive only reimbursement of daily costs and business trip; non-authorised persons shall receive remuneration, that in case of not exceeding BGL 500.- shall be stipulated by the Ministry of Education, and in the event of greater amounts, an authorisation by the Ministry Council shall be requested. Art.31. Natural persons having submitted manuscripts of folk songs, proverbs, riddles, traditions, short-stories, legends and others of the kind, and also the persons that on the authority of Art.17 describe tombs, monuments, statues, fortresses, coins, coffins, altars, shrines, weapons, cannons, costumes and others of the kind, shall receive remuneration in cash in the event the estimation is good, made in their benefit and in compliance with the significance and the volume of the manuscript.


APPENDICES S ECTION T HREE Book Publishing Art.32. With the objective of encouraging the writers in their publishing activities, and also with the objective of enriching the Bulgarian literature, the Ministry of Education may provide grants for the publication of various compositions, may purchase books and magazines from the authors, and may provide remuneration for reviews of compositions. Art.33. Any author or translator of publishing materials could request for it from the Ministry of Education either aid in cash, or approval for review. Note: Any such subsidy or approval could be requested exclusively for materials, written in Bulgarian language; in case of materials in foreign language, the ditto could be requested, in case the said materials are in close connection with the history and culture of Bulgaria. Art.34. Various Applications about publication materials shall be submitted with the Ministry, in writing form, upon presenting the subject of the Application, with attached publication therewith. Note: In the event the materials are published, therewith the said Application shall be attached at least two whole copies; in the event the materials are manuscripts, it shall be completed and written accurately and legibly. Art.35. The submitted with the Ministry materials, for which subsidy is requested shall be submitted to selected competent persons for estimation. According to the needs concerned, the Ministry shall not be restrained for one publishing material with the estimation of only one reviewer. Art.36. All textbooks, submitted with the Ministry for approval, shall be presented for special estimation to at least two separate persons, whereupon are presented for review with a Commission, appointed by the Ministry of Education. Art.37. Each estimate for particular textbook composition shall be issued and submitted with the Ministry together with the composition, within a term not exceeding three months commencing on the day the composition have been submitted to the Assessor (Reviewer). Note: In exceptional circumstances, and in regard to capital compositions, the Ministry could extend the above-said term of estimation. Art.38. In the event the appointed persons whereto the composition is submitted for estimation, could not take this assignment, on reasonable grounds, or to perform the above-said within the stipulated term, they are obliged to return immediately everything back with the Ministry. Art.39. The Ministry may not delay the reply on particular Application in regard to subsidy and approval for a term exceeding 6 months following the submittal of the Application, insofar an extension of the estimation term of the presented materials is made (Art.37, Note). Art.40. On the grounds of the estimate of approval for a particular composition, and in compliance with the Application that it has been submitted with, the Ministry may either approve the composition, or grant subsidy, or may provide both an approval and subsidy. Art.41. In various cases the Ministry may announce Tenders for working out of the required textbooks or for other compositions. The Tender is announced in 'State Gazette', wherein shall be published all terms and conditions on the Tender procedure. Art.42. The compositions, submitted by an announced by the Ministry Tender shall be presented for estimation to a Commission of three persons, exclusively summoned for the purpose. Art.43. The subsidy for the beneficially estimated compositions shall be of the three types as hereunder: a) sum in particular amount is granted for publishing the composition; b) part of the copies of the printed textbook is purchased by the state, and provided to the libraries with the state and the municipal schools, or to poor students; c) in case of periodical publications, temporary subsidies are provided for their maintenance, or part of the issues are purchased by the state for annual subscription of persons and organisations in It. b) hereof; and d) Tender compositions shall be granted by a remuneration anticipated for reward of the Author and subsidy for publishing the composition. Art.44. The amount of the stipulated in Art.43 types of subsidies shall be stipulated by the Ministry Council that shall also charge the sales price of those compositions that would acquire subsidies on It. a) and d) herein-above. Art.45. All compositions, with granted subsidy for publishing (Art.43, It.a) and d)) shall be published within the same year of the day on which the subsidy is granted. 113

BULGARIA AND ITS MUSEUMS IN ‘NEW’ EUROPE Art.46. The remuneration for a particular Tender composition and the subsidy, provided for its publication, are granted to its author or official translator. Art.47. All the persons (Reviewers), to whom the estimation of publishing materials is assigned shall receive against the work the stipulated by the Ministry reward. Note: Remuneration is granted both to Reviewers, natural persons or officers. Exception is made for officers of the central administration of the Ministry of Education, against the reviews of which no remuneration is done. Art.48. The amount of the remuneration for a review is stipulated by the Ministry, in compliance with the scope and the virtues both of the estimated composition, and of the estimate itself. Note: No one has the right to request a reward exceeding the subsidy, granted by the Ministry for its review. Art.49. (1) The reviews, submitted with the Ministry on provided for estimation compositions remain property of the Ministry that on its discretion may print these completely, or in excerpts, without stipulating the name of the author. (2) In the event the Reviewer is willing for its name to be printed as well, it is obliged to stipulate this on the Review prior its submittal with the Ministry. Art.50. The Ministry of Education shall issue from time to time, into particular publication, the collected verbal materials, their abstracts and estimations, the description and the photos of various antiques & relics, the major reviews and everything valuable that shall be submitted to the Ministry of Antiques and Relics. The above-said act was voted and accepted in its present form at the Third regular session of the V Common National Assembly, on its XXV meeting, performed on 27 November, 1889. O.M. hereby command this Act to be sealed with the Great Seal of the State, to be published in 'State Gazette', and to be enacted. The directions for enacting this Act shall be assigned to Our Minister of Public Education. Issued in Our Capital City of Sofia, this 17 December, 1889. Executed on the Original Copy, by setting his hand: Ferdinand Affirmed by: Minister of Public Education Georgi Zhivkov The Original copy of this Act is with affixed thereto the Great Seal of the State, and filed under No.246, of 13 January 1890. Guardian of the Great Seal of the State, For the Minister of Justice: D. Tonchev


APPENDICES APPENDIX 9 BIA, f. 35, a.e. 306, l. 25-26 Translated from Bulgarian Letter from V. Stoyanov (Director NLM) to the Minister of National Education (Selected parts), 17th of November 1890 ……………………………………………………………….. I believe it will be useful that in the beginning of the year we employ Mr. Takela full time like the other employees in the institution. Of course he is going to concentrate on the numismatic collection and on the archaeological collection as a whole and in this way we could call him keeper of the artefacts in the museum. Though a foreigner, he works with particular perseverance and even extra time not only in the institution but in his home, as well. He could also be useful in his spare time to work on the catalogues and books in foreign languages as he speaks, besides Italian, his mother tongue, French, English, Greek and Latin. In order to be completely free from dayto-day worries and commit himself to his work it is advisable that his monthly salary be increased as he deserves a higher salary than the 300 leva he gets now. In general the employment of Mr. Takela by the institution I am in charge of will be henceforth relevant as he has got knowledge and experience in this field and loves, as I mentioned it already, being occupied by such things and works with great perseverance. Under my close supervision, he, being a loyal and honest employee, will contribute much for the enrichment of the museum collection, which needs much greater attention than until now because of the following, very serious reasons: There are more and more signs of the greater desire on the part of the population to collect and preserve Bulgarian artefacts thanks to the articles published recently. From private sources I have also the information about intensified collecting activities in different parts of Bulgaria connected with preservation and further studies. Unfortunately among those people there are also foreigners who take mean advantage of our simple minded compatriots and dishonestly speculate on the archaeological findings taking them away from people under false pretences for further scientific studies and sending abroad the most valuable ones. Already there are Bulgarians who follow their example. Some of them come to the institution and offer artefacts at extremely high price and when we tell them they want too much they say: “There are people who would pay that price, if you want it at that price take it, if not we will get much more from other people.” The best way to put an end to such outrageous activities, which apparently are not rare, will be the strict prohibition for foreigners to collect artefacts except in very few cases and under the supervision of Bulgarians. It is better to collect artefacts slowly and carefully than in a hurry and risk to lose them forever. ……………………………………………………………………………………………… Even more noteworthy is the fact that the number of visitors wishing to have a look at the museum collections has increased of late. Only a year ago their number hardly reached 100 (a year). At present it is above 100 a month. Therefore, I will start statistics about such visitors and will inform you about it as I do about other visitors. Here I will mention also the information I got concerning the Serbian National Library and Museum in Belgrade and its present situation. According to this information, the Serbian National Library and Museum is visited by about 15 persons a day during the summer period and 20 during the winter period whereas our library is visited every day by about 80 persons in the summer and 100 in the winter. In our library the books that are used either in the reading-rooms or borrowed amount to 20 000 yearly whereas in the Belgrade library their number is about 8000. The Belgrade library was set up 40 years ago, ours – 10 years ago. The citizens of the Serbian capital amount to 50 000, our capital has a population of about 35 000 including the garrison. Serbia has been recognized as a state for 60 years, Bulgaria – for 12. From all the above mentioned I can draw the following conclusion: If from the beginning of the New year we take the necessary measures for a more successful development of the institution and especially if a new building is constructed for purpose, I can assure you that the Sofia library and museum will double its significance for our uplifted nation as now the services performed do not meet the needs of the wide public, of which I have already informed you. Sredetz (former for Sofia) 17th of November 1890

Director: V. D. St.


BULGARIA AND ITS MUSEUMS IN ‘NEW’ EUROPE APPENDIX 10 Translated from Bulgarian State Gazette, Batch XXXIII, Sofia, Friday 18 February 1911, No.37 Official Part - Ministry of Public Education Decree No. 7 O.M., hereby, Ferdinand I-st, with the Grace of God & the Will of the Nation, King of Bulgarians Do hereby solemnly pronounce to all our faithful citizens: The XIV-th Common National Assembly at its III-rd regular session, meeting LXVIII, performed on 28 January, 1911, voted & accepted, and O.M. approved & ratified the following Antiques Act S ECTION O NE General Provisions Art.1. All movable and immovable antiques in the Kingdom of Bulgaria are under the supreme supervision of the Ministry of Public Education that shall be anxious about their preservation and maintenance. Art.2. (1) The Antiques under this Act comprise monuments, documents and masterpieces of art, from ancient times to the liberation of Bulgaria that have historical, archaeological, artwork, and paleonthological significance. like for example old buildings and ruins, settlements, routes (tracks), entrenchments, churches, temples and monasteries, mosques, emporiums, fountains, water pipelines, bridges, fortresses, knolls, tombs, carved rock, etc.; antics & relics of carved materials, like: statues, tombstones with carved face, stones with inscription and adornments, pottery, weapons and other metal articles and gears, coins, seals, stone and bone tools, wall paintings, paintings on textile or wood, mosaics, icons, etc. church attributes, various carvings, glass products, fossils of animals and plants dating back to prehistoric times, various other fossils, etc. (2) As antiques are considered also gardens, forests, buildings and in the general case all places related with events and history persons, and also with old manuscripts, rare and valuable old-printed books, engravings, portraits, old textures, clothes and musical instruments. (3) The antiques exclude buildings and artwork of alive authors. S ECTION T WO Organisation of the Antiques Service Art.3. Ministry of Public Education shall exercise the supervision and the anxiety for antiques preservation by managing the pubic museums and libraries, through the local archaeological fellowships and through the school, administration and border authorities. Art.4. Service for Preservation & Maintenance of Antiques shall be embodied with the National Archaeological Museum in Sofia City, and shall be managed by the Museum Director, the Museum Curators, and a Commission of Antiques. Art.5. Director shall preside the Commission of Antiques and shall take be anxious for the performance of its Resolutions. Art.6. The Commission of Antiques comprises the Director of the National Archaeological Museum, the Director of the Ethnographic Museum and the National Library in Sofia, by three persons, appointed by the Minister of Public Education, and three delegates, elected by the archaeological fellowships that have arranged museums. Note 1 : In the event the archaeological fellowships do not elect their delegates in time, the Commission shall function without them. Note 2 : The mandate of the appointed and elected members comprises three years. Art.7. This Commission shall take decisions on all provisional issues, concerning the exploration, preservation and maintenance of antiques. The said decisions shall be approved by the Minister of Public Education.


APPENDICES The Commission shall consider in particular the issues as hereunder: a) to stipulate the excavations taken on the side of the state; b) to consider the Applications, submitted by the Ministry, requesting an authorisation for the performance of archaeological drills and excavations; c) to stipulate the price of the submitted for redemption articles and collections, in case their value exceeds BGL 2,000.-; d) to be responsible about the registration of the antiques, and the work-out of archaeological map of Bulgaria; e) to distribute between the various archaeological fellowships and museums the subsidies, anticipated for their budget; f) to consider and provide opinions on Draft Acts, Regulations and Articles, regarding the Antiques and the museum activities in Bulgaria; and g) to resolve the issues in dispute between the national and local museums. S ECTION T HREE Preservation of the Antiques Art.8. (1) All state and public organisations and institutions (municipal council, public municipalities, churches, monasteries, metropolises, schools, library centres, archaeological and other cultural or religious fellowships), possessing antiques, whatsoever, are obliged to submit with the Ministry of Public Education, within a term of one year from the publication of this Act, improved specification of the said antiques. (2) The above-said specifications shall be submitted from time to time whenever the Ministry is willing to do so. On the grounds of the above-said specifications, following their due check up, Inventory Lists of the antiques shall be issued, and the antiques shall stay under the direct supervision and control of the state, and could not be appropriated. Art.9. Antiques as herein-above could not be reconstructed, destroyed or transferred to new location without an authorisation by the Ministry of Public Education. In the event the antiques are endangered by destruction, loss or are set under conditions, under which they could not be implemented for public use, the Ministry, upon a Resolution of the Commission of Antiques could dispose for their transfer from one place to another. Art.10. In the event the antiques are endangered by destruction or damages, the liable persons are obliged to notify immediately the Ministry to take or cause to be taken measures for their preservation. Otherwise the costs for remedy of the incurred damages shall be on the account of the organisation, or of the juristic person, holding the ownership on the antiques to the extend they are capable of doing this. Art.11. Upon a Resolution of the Commission of Antiques the state has the rights to appropriate any movable and immovable antique, notwithstanding whether public of private property in the event the said antique is endangered by destruction or extinction, and in case the Owners do not take measures within the term as stipulated by the Ministry, for its preservation. The appropriation is performed in compliance with Art.19 in the event of movables, and in compliance with Art.26 in the event of immovable antiques. Art.12. (1) Any person that finds antiques, whatsoever they are, and notwithstanding wherever, is obliged to notify and to cede them immediately against voucher, either to the closest in place district or town museum, or to the administration authorities concerned. (2) The museum shall issue Act with detailed description of the articles, transcript of which shall be sent immediately with the Sofia Public Museum; the administration authorities shall issue also the Act, and the very articles, carefully packaged and stamped with the seal or institution concerned shall send to the Public Museum in Sofia. The Director of the museum is obliged within a term not exceeding one month, to notify the Forwarder about the decision, taken in regard to the article. (3) In the event the people concerned do not receive to the expiry of this term any notification, it may submit a petition directly with the Ministry of Public Education that shall take the due measures. Art.13. (1) The state and municipal authorities upon working out binding conditions for public construction like buildings, water pipelines, channels, roads and others of the kind, are obliged to anticipate for all antiques that could be found throughout the performance of the said works to be ceded by the Entrepreneur to the Right-Holder, or in case the antiques comprise immovables, to preserve the latter to their inspection by the competent authorities. The said inspection shall be performed not later than fivedays term from the date of the notification. (2) The provisions of this Article concern also all persons, furnished with an authorisation to discover natural resources within stipulated perimeters. 117

BULGARIA AND ITS MUSEUMS IN ‘NEW’ EUROPE S ECTION F OUR Movable Antiques Art.14. Any antiques, found at places, owned by the state, districts, municipalities, towns and villages, are property to the state. Art.15. (1) Those of the antiques, stipulated herein-above, that the state is not willing to preserve for its collections, shall be ceded to the municipality or the district, in case they possess museums, own or owned by a fellowship, established in compliance with the regulations of this Act. (2) From the preserved with the state collection antiques, the above-said museums shall receive castings or other reproductions. Art.16. Discovered accidentally in private property movable antiques shall become ownership of the Acquisitioner, in case the latter is owner of the estate, whereat the said antiques were found. Otherwise the antiques belong at half to the Owner of the estate, and at half to the Acquisitioner. Art.17. The state reserves its rights to redeem those of the stipulated in Art.16 antiques that it needs for its collections, by paying their value to the Right-Holder. Art.18. Against the antiques, found into the stipulated in Art.14 places, a reward to the Acquisitioner shall be granted. Art.19. Reward and value of the articles that will be acquired by the public museums are stipulated by the Committee concerned (Art.391 and Art.420 of the Public Education Act). The party concerned, in case it is discontented could submit petition with the district court of jurisdiction that shall settle the dispute ultimately. Art.20. (1) All movable new-found antiques, about the discovery of which no due notification has been done, shall be confiscated on the authority of Art.12. (2) The person that has announced about such antiques shall receive award, corresponding to the half of the article value. (3) Any transactions, having as an objective to appropriate any such antiques, shall be considered voided in regard to the state. Art.21. (1) Movable antiques, property of private persons, could be considered under the provisions of this Act and to be stock-taken in compliance with Art.8 exclusively on the sole discretion by a Resolution of the Commission of Antiques, for each case in particular. The said Resolution shall be announced to the owner. (2) The above-said antiques could not be sold, granted, destroyed, remade or amended in any other way, whatsoever, without the prior authorisation of the Ministry of Public Education that shall take into consideration the opinion of the Commission. (3) Upon the sales of such antiques the state has the rights to redeem these within a term of three months. In case within the said time the Museum does not dispose with the required amount, it shall be repaid from the budget for the next year. Onto this time the article for sale could not be sold to anyone else. Art.22. (1) Export of articles abroad could not be performed without the authorisation of the Ministry of Public Education. Authorisation is provided upon presentation of the antiques articles concerned, with attached list therewith, and the opinion of the Commission of Antiques is taken under consideration. (2) The state has the rights to redeem within a term of 6 months those of the submitted antiques that it needs for its collections. Their estimation shall be performed in compliance with Art.19 of this Act. (3) In the event of export of antiques, supplementary charge comprising 10% of the antiques' value shall be refunded in benefit to the state. Art.23. (1) Antiques, detained upon export without an authorisation for doing so, shall be considered as smuggling and shall be confiscated in benefit to the state. (2) The telegraph & customs authorities have the rights to open in the presence of the Forwarder any parcel, intended for export abroad, in case there is reasonable ground to believe it contains any antiques. Art.24. The import of antiques in the Kingdom is free. The imported antiques could be re-exported exclusively in case of attached therewith Specification, authenticated by the customs authorities they were imported by. For the said antiques, the anticipated in Art.22 charge shall not be paid. S ECTION F IVE Immovable Antiques Art.25. Immovable antiques, no matter where found in the Kingdom remain property of the state. 118

APPENDICES Art.26. (1) The state shall appropriate, in compliance with the Appropriation in Public Benefit Act, the place where the immovable antique it is willing to preserve was found, or shall pay all damages and loss for the time through which the place was not at disposition of the Owner. (2) In the event of a disagreement in regard to the damages and loss, the conflict shall be solved by the courts of jurisdiction. Art.27. (1) New construction, private or public, and Regulation Plans concerning any immovable antiques, whatsoever, could be approved and performed exclusively with the consent of the Ministry of Public Education upon taking into consideration the opinion of the Commission of Antiques. (2) The Ministry has the rights to stipulate distances, dimensions, and other required dimensions in such a way that the new construction shall neither endanger the antiques, nor they shall be in detriment of the perspective and required light. (3) The Ministry has the rights to discontinue any excavations for exploring natural resources in case the said excavations endanger the immovable antiques. S ECTION S IX Excavations Art.28. (1) The state has the rights to take or cause to be taken archaeological drills and excavations wherever on the territory of the Kingdom. (2) The Owner of the estate where the excavations are performed shall be provided remedy in compliance with Art.26 of this Act. Art.29. (1) All antiques found throughout excavations, remain property of the state. (2) As alternate to the said into the Article herein above remedy the state may cede to the Owner of the estate, in case the latter prefers for doing so, the discovered antiques or part of these in case the antiques are not indispensable for the collections of the state. Art.30. (1) Any scientific fellowships and/or private persons could perform drills and excavations for exploration of antiques exclusively upon Authorisation of Permit by the Ministry of Public Education. (2) The said authorisation may be provided exclusively for excavations of scientific purposes, upon taking in consideration the motivated opinion of the Commission of Antiques. Art.31. Authorisation of excavations could be provided exclusively to Bulgarian citizens and fellowships. The Authorisation of permit is private and could not be sold nor ceded to any third parties. Art.32. (1) The Application for authorisation of excavations shall be accompanied with accurate details and plan of the place whereat the excavations shall be performed. (2) Authorisation is provided exclusively for one place at a time. Art.33. (1) In case of foreign scientific institutes and scientists an authorisation for excavations shall be provided upon observation of the same terms and conditions, whereas a Decree by the Ministry Council shall be issued. (2) In the above-said case the Ministry of Public education shall send its own permanent delegate that shall preserve the interests of the state for the time of the excavations. Art.34. Authorisation for drills and excavations in the estates of private persons shall be provided upon presentation in advance a consent of the owner. Art.35. Excavations of places are prohibited in case this may cause damages to public buildings. Art.36. (1) The ministry of Public Education shall notify the National Archaeological Museum about all the authorised excavations, whereas the said Museum shall supervise through its representative at the site, or through the Local Museums and local authorities their performance, with the exception of the cases, stipulated in Art.33 hereof. (2) The persons that perform excavations are obliged to notify the said Museum within a term of three days in advance about the commencing of the excavations and to oblige to all directions of the Museum, or its Representative. Otherwise they loose the rights to continue the excavations and shall be subject to the penalty provisions of this Act. Art.37. (1) Authorisation of Permit for drills and excavations is valid of a term of one year. (2) The Holder of the Permission for Excavations looses the rights to perform the excavations in the event it has not commenced this within a term of three months upon issue of the said Permit. (3) Before commencing the excavations any person is obliged to notify the nearest administration authorities within the region, whereat the excavations are being done. Art.38. (1) All found throughout similar excavations antiques are property of the state.


BULGARIA AND ITS MUSEUMS IN ‘NEW’ EUROPE (2) They shall be kept at the local museums, in case these exist within the district; otherwise they are retained by the National Museum in Sofia. (3) The Commission of Antiques however may authorise the keeping with the Sofia Museum of Antiques with exceptional scientific significance. Art.39. (1) The persons and companies having acquired Authorisation of Permit to perform excavations are obliged to submit with the National Archaeological Museum a Report about the results of the excavations right upon their completion or termination. (2) The persons and companies have the rights within a term of 2 (two) years following the termination of the excavations to publish first the discovered articles. S ECTION S EVEN Archaeological Museums Art.40. The District Councils, Municipalities and Cultural Fellowships, as well as the Schools notwithstanding whether Bulgarian or foreign ones - the Ecclesiastic and Military institutions have the rights to establish museums under the terms and conditions as hereunder: a) To possess Intra-Organisation Bylaws or Articles of Association that shall not contradict to this act, and to be approved by the Ministry of Public Education; b) To posses appropriate compartment whereat the collections shall be kept safe and arranged well; c) To have inventory for the collection, inspected and approved by the affixed seal of the authorities concerned; d) To have Curate of the Museum, approved by the Ministry of Public education, or appointed upon the prior consent of the said Ministry; and e) To submit on annual basis with the Ministry of Public Education a report about the standing of the Museum, whereas the said Report shall specify in a list all acquired by the Museum articles throughout the said year. Art.41. Collections of the said Museums are formed on the grounds of: a) antiques that the national Museum shall cede to these for transitory or final ownership, and in particular duplicates from the articles of the national Museum; b) antiques due by regulations to the said Museums, in compliance with the provisions of this Act; and c) antiques that the Museums receive as a grant by private persons or acquire with their own funds, insofar the provisions of Art.14, 17 and 20 are not violated by this Act. Art.42. (1) The Museums that do not comply with this Act could be closed by the Ministry of Public Education, upon a Decision of the Commission of Antiques. (2) In the event for a period of five years the Museum is rehabilitated, its Collection or part of this may be returned on a Decision of the Commission of Antiques. (3) The Cultural Fellowships may appeal the Decision of the Commission of Antiques within seven days' term following its pronouncing, with the Ministry Council that shall resolve finally the issue for the close-down of their Museum within a term not exceeding one month. S ECTION E IGHT Penalty and Transitory Provisions Art.43. (1) The Offenders on this Act shall be punished by a penalty of BGL 50 through BGL 2,000. (2) In the event of a recidivistic violation the penalty may not be less than BGL 100. (3) In the event the violations have caused the destruction, loss or damaging of any antique, the Offender shall pay in benefit to the sate also the whole value of the antique. Art.44. The Administration Authorities, upon coming to know about violations on this Act, shall issue Penalty Edict and shall submit this with the District Governor that upon taking into account the opinion of the due Museum Committee, by an Edict shall stipulate the Penalty amount. Art.45. (1) The Edict of the District Governor may be appealed with the District Court within twoday term from the date of notification. (2) The Court shall consider the Case within one-month term following the date of appeal. (3) The judgement of the District Court could be appealed with the Supreme Cassation Court within two-days' term of its pronouncement, in the event the Penalty exceeds BGL 100.


APPENDICES Art.46. Six months after the enforcement of this Act any Authorisations of Permit priory issued are invalidated. Art.47. Existing museums are obliged to comply with this Act for a term of six months following its public pronouncement. Art.48. Details about the implementation of this Act shall be established by special Regulations. Art.49. All Acts and Regulations, contradicting to this Act, are hereby repealed. We, hereby, order for this Act to be ratified by the Great Seal of the State, and to be published in 'State Gazette', and to be enforced. All instructions and directions on the implementation of this Act we do hereby assign to our Minister of Public Education. Issued in Sofia, this 10 Feb. 1911. We, hereby, O.M. set Our hand for ratification, on (the Original of) this Act: Ferdinand For the Minister of Public Education: V. Mollov The Original copy of this Act has the Great Seal of the State affixed, and is filed with the Registrar under the No.1914 of 15 Feb. 1911. For the Guardian of the Great Seal, Minister of Justice: H.P.Slaveykov


BULGARIA AND ITS MUSEUMS IN ‘NEW’ EUROPE APPENDIX 11 Bulgaria – geographic location (Map courtesy Graphic maps, USA and Italy)


APPENDICES APPENDIX 12 His Majesty’s Natural History Collections (Source: Filov 1928: 147)

Collections Exotic insects Collection Tzar Ferdinand I Collection Tzar Boris III Systematic collections: 1. Lepidoptera Diurnal Vesperian Nocturnal 2. Hymenoptera 3. Diptera 4. Haemiptera 5. Neuroptera 6. Psedoneroptera (Odonata) 7. Coleoptera 8. Orthoptera Total

Boxes 77 155 65 271 25 153 53 46 36 37 14 154 35 1 121

Treated Numbers 2079 6220 1931 15051 609 17694 4080 5585 8460 1790 250 37320 3108 104 177


Non-treated Boxes Numbers 1000 -

Boxes 77 155 65

Total Numbers 3079 6220 1931


271 25 153 53 46 36 37 14 154 35 1121

17051 709 18694 6080 7585 10460 2190 350 40320 4108 118 777

2000 100 1000 2000 2000 2000 400 100 3000 1000 14 600

BULGARIA AND ITS MUSEUMS IN ‘NEW’ EUROPE APPENDIX 13 Translated from Bulgarian State Gazette, No.29/69 Sofia City, 11 April 1969 Decree No.324 The Presidium of the National Assembly, on the authority of Art.24 and Art.35, It.3 of the Constitution of the (Peoples) Republic of Bulgaria Does hereby pronounce: To make official publication in State Gazette the 'Cultural Masterpieces & Museums Act', accepted by the Fifth National Assembly, at its ninth session, second meeting, held on 4th April 1969, and in particular: Cultural Masterpieces & Museums Act S ECTION O NE General Provisions Art.1. This Act regulates the development of the museum activities, the exploration, study, preservation, and the popularisation of Cultural Masterpieces located on the territory of the (Peoples) Republic of Bulgaria, with the objective of supporting the education of the citizens in patriotic and international spirit, and to enrich the cultural inheritance. Art.2. The Cultural Masterpieces are all-nation property and are under the custody of the state policy. The said ones could be property of the state, of co-operations, of public organisations, and of citizens. S ECTION T WO Cultural Masterpieces Art.3. The Cultural Masterpieces are products of the human activities that document the material and spiritual culture, and have scientific, artwork, and historic significance or are related to the historical and revolutionary fights and events, with the life and activities of prominent public, cultural, and scientific figures, like: a) settlements, residential quarters, streets, buildings, fortresses, towers, excavations, fences; b) monasteries, churches, mosques, shrines, cemeteries, necropolis, headlands, historical plates; c) Masterpieces, sculptures, fountains, and springs, pictures, icons, wood-carves, wall-paintings, mosaics, valuable chronicles, rare books, arms, adornments, coins; d) means of production, pots, other objects, narratives and artwork following their registration with the Museums funds. Art.4. (1) The pronouncement of the Cultural Masterpieces is performed by competent central and local authorities on preservation of the Cultural Masterpieces. (2) Settlements, complexes of Cultural Masterpieces and historical places that have particular historical, archaeological, ethnographic, architectural, and museum significance shall be announced as reserves by the Ministry Council, on a proposal of the Committee of Arts & Culture. (3) The Committee of Arts and Culture shall execute supreme supervision on the above-said reserves. Any assignment of building & construction, tender programs, town-planning maps, design projects for new construction and repairs, providing building permits and other within the reserves shall be co-ordinated or worked out by the National Institute of Cultural Masterpieces. (4) In case of settlements and historical places, and in case of other sites on (2) hereof having exclusive significance for the country (Bulgaria), the Chairman of the Committee of Arts & Culture could issue Regulations that are obligatory to the state authorities, public organisations, and the citizens.

S ECTION T HREE Supervision & Control on the Exploration, Study & Preservation of the Cultural Masterpieces Art.5. (1) The Committee of Arts & Culture shall execute supervision & control on the exploration, study, and preservation of the Cultural Masterpieces, and on the museum activities. Its orders on the issues concerning the Cultural Masterpieces and the museum activities shall be imperative for all institutions, enterprises, organisations and citizens.


APPENDICES (2) The Committee of Arts & Culture shall perform these activities through its organs, public municipalities, and the other state and public bodies, stipulated by this Act. (3) The organisation and the tasks of the National Institute of Cultural Masterpieces shall be established by regulations, approved by the Ministry Council. Art.6. The local state administration and the supervision for exploring, study and preservation of the Cultural Masterpieces shall be performed by the public municipalities, through the Councils of Arts & Culture, and through the state museums. Art.7. (1) The museums in the (Peoples) Republic of Bulgaria comprise cultural-educational institutions, whereat are kept movable cultural Masterpieces and objects of live and dead nature with cognitive purposes. In terms of their significance, tasks and territorial scope the latter are divided into national and local. (2) The local museums are opened and closed by the Executive Committee of the District Public Municipality, co-ordinated with the Committee of Arts & Culture, or with the central institution concerned, whereas the national museums - by the Ministry Council. Art.8. In the event of National Museums scientific & research teams are established, whereas in the case of the remaining museums such groups could be established in compliance with the provisions for doing so. Art.9. The Museums are governed: a) methodologically - by the Committee of Arts & Culture; b) in terms of scientific and research activities - by the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, and by the corresponding public scientific & research institutes & institutions; c) in administrative & organisational aspect - by the public municipalities and the institutions that they are registered with. Art.10. (1) The museums shall explore, acquire, purchase and explore, safeguard, and popularise the Cultural Masterpieces. Their activities are regulated by Bylaws and regulations, approved by the Committee of Arts & Culture. (2) The Bulgarian Academy of Sciences shall issue bylaws and regulations for the activities of the museums accredited therewith. Art.11. (1) The museum collections at the institutions, enterprises, and the organisations shall be established, managed, and terminated in compliance with the provisions, stipulated by the Committee of Arts & Culture. (2) The citizens have rights to acquire collections of Cultural Masterpieces that are not included into the museum funds. S ECTION F OUR Exploration, Registration & Study of the Cultural Masterpieces Art.12. (1) The Cultural Masterpieces shall be officially declared and registered in compliance with the provisions, stipulated by the Committee of Arts & Culture. By registration these are included into the cultural fund of the country. (2) The institutions, enterprises, and organisations, possessing collections or distinct Cultural Masterpieces in the form of movables are obliged within a year term to the enforcement of the law to declare these with the state museums concerned. (3) The owners and the persons, that use and manage Cultural Masterpieces are obliged to secure access to the authorities concerned for the registration of the said Masterpieces. Art.13. The state-owned and public enterprises shall furnish to the museums, samples or coins of their production, that make new stage in the development of production, in compliance with the provisions, established by the Committee of Arts & Culture, and by the State Committee of Science & Engineering Development. Art.14. (1) The persons that have discovered or found Cultural Masterpieces are obliged within one-week term to announce about this to the public municipalities concerned, or to the nearest museums. (2) To the persons that have discovered or announced about found valuable Cultural Masterpieces, or have submitted the said ones to the museums, shall be granted remuneration in compliance with the provisions, established by the Committee of Arts & Culture. (3) The concealed Cultural Masterpieces shall be appropriated in benefit of the state. Art.15. (1) Any archaeological excavations, drilling activities, underwater surveys, geophysical and any other surveys on the territory of the (Peoples) Republic of Bulgaria aiming at the discovery of Cultural Masterpieces shall be performed by the Archaeological Institute at the Bulgarian Academy of 125

BULGARIA AND ITS MUSEUMS IN ‘NEW’ EUROPE Sciences, whereas any supporting, restoration and conservation works on the above-said - by the National Institute of Cultural Masterpieces at the Committee of Arts & Culture. (2) By a Resolution of the Archaeological Institute at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, archaeological excavations could be performed by the state museums, the National Institute of Cultural masterpieces, and the major subject in Archaeology with the academic institutes and universities. (3) By a Resolution of the Ministry Council, archaeological excavations could be performed in Bulgaria by foreign institutes as well. Art.16. All Cultural Masterpieces, discovered throughout archaeological excavations, are possessions of the state. Art.17. Surveys and excavations for discovery of Cultural masterpieces could be performed into estates, possessed by public or co-operative organisation and citizens without appropriation of the estates. All the damages, incurred to the owners, shall be reimbursed by the organ having performed the excavations. Art.18. (1) In the event throughout the performance of building and construction works, or agricultural activities are discovered finds that have the signs of Cultural Masterpieces the works shall be temporary discontinued. The building owners, and the building project managers of the building site are obliged to take measures for the preservation of the discovered finds and to notify immediately the public municipality or the nearest museum. (2) The organs for exploration, study, and preservation of the Cultural Masterpieces, not later than one month term are obliged to notify the owners of the estates, and the building project managers whether the finds are Cultural Masterpieces and shall provide instructions and directions about the measures that shall be taken for the survey and preservation thereof. (3) The Ministry of Finances shall provide credits for surveys and preservation of Cultural Masterpieces, discovered throughout building construction works in the event the reimbursement for the remedy of the excavations exceeds the assets that the site could afford. (4) In the event the building owner is a citizen the assets shall be provided by the executive committee of the district public municipality concerned. Art.19. (1) The Cultural Masterpieces - no matter movable or immovable - depending on their scientific & historical, architectural & town-planning, and artwork significance shall be classified as hereinafter: a) Masterpieces of world significance; b) Masterpieces of national significance; c) Masterpieces of local significance; d) Masterpieces for history chronicles. (2) The classification of the Cultural Masterpieces shall be performed by the central organs for their preservation. S ECTION F IVE Preservation of the Cultural Masterpieces Art.20. (1) The preservation of the Cultural Masterpieces is a national and highly-patriotic task. All citizens, authorities, public and other organisations, are obliged to maintain in good standing, and to announce to the central and local authorities about the exploration, study and acquainting with Cultural Masterpieces, and also about any damages, incurred to the masterpieces, and about the violations of the law. (2) The repair works and the amendments on Cultural masterpieces comprising immovable ones could be performed exclusively by an authorisation of the corresponding Council of Arts & Culture, or by the nearest state museum, upon co-ordination with the National Institute of Cultural Masterpieces. (3) In the event it is established that the owners or any other persons that use Cultural Masterpieces comprising immovable ones do not take care for their upkeep, the upkeep is taken by the public municipalities on the account of the owners. Art.21. (1) Any surveys, construction engineering and the performance of supporting, restoration, preservation and other works on Cultural Masterpieces comprising immovable ones shall be performed under the supervision & control of the National Institute of Cultural Masterpieces. Its organs have the rights to perform new construction and repair works, concerning the Cultural Masterpieces and their surroundings, to discontinue any construction works violating the provisions of the law. The built in violation to the law is subject to destruction. (2) The assets spent on exploration and study, surveys, design and performance of supporting restoration and conservation works on Cultural Masterpieces, comprising immovable ones, ownership of 126

APPENDICES citizens, shall be at the expense of the state. The state shall file on record judicial mortgage on the real estate for which the said assets have been spent, but not exceeding the surplus value thereof Art.22. (1) Any person aware of damaging or destruction of Cultural Masterpiece is obliged to notify within a term of 3 (three) days the public municipality concerned, or the nearest museum. (2) To the persons that have prevented damages of valuable Cultural Masterpieces shall be granted remuneration, in compliance with Art.14 hereof. Art.23. Cultural Masterpieces, originating from the Bulgarian territory, or related to the Bulgarian national history, culture, and everyday life, and are located abroad, shall be kept on record with the central authorities on preservation of the Cultural Masterpieces. S ECTION S IX Management & Popularisation of the Cultural Masterpieces Art.24. The immovable Cultural Masterpieces could be used in accordance to their implementation for practical purposes, in conformity with the provisions and subject to the terms and conditions, stipulated by the National Institute of Cultural Masterpieces. Art.25. Any premises and buildings - comprising immovable Cultural Masterpieces could be let on rent in compliance with the provisions and under the terms and conditions, stipulated by the Committee of Arts & Culture. The said letting is released of the applicability of the Rents Act, and is not charged with taxes. Art.26. (1) The transfer and exchange of Cultural Masterpieces comprising movable ones between museums and museum collections of institutions, public organisations, and co-operations shall be done on mutual agreement. (2) The Committee of Arts & Culture may in exceptional cases order the transfer of movable Cultural Masterpieces between museums and museum collections, whereas the Recipient is obliged to provide a copy of these on its expense. For the difference between the value of the copy and the value of the original shall be paid indemnity to the museum or to the museum collection wherefrom the original has been appropriated, in compliance with the provisions stipulated by the Chairman of the Committee of Arts & Culture. (3) Transfer and exchange of Cultural Masterpieces comprising immovable ones between institutions, public organisations, co-operations, and museums shall be done following a notification of the Committee of Arts & Culture. Art.27. The purchase and sale of Cultural Masterpieces comprising movable ones between citizens, co-operations, public organisations and institutions could be performed exclusively with the aware of the museums that the said masterpieces have been registered with. Art.28. (1) Transfer, exchange and granting of Cultural masterpieces comprising immovable ones between citizens shall be performed with the consent of the National Institute - in case of masterpieces of world and national significance, and of the executive committee of the corresponding district public municipality - for the rest of the masterpieces. (2) Partition of Cultural masterpieces notwithstanding whether movable or immovable, is allowed in the event the said masterpieces are subject to partition, and this does not hinder their preservation as Cultural Masterpieces, upon a Resolution of the Committee of Arts & Culture. Art.29. The transfer of Cultural Masterpieces comprising immovable ones by citizens in benefit of institutions, museums, state-owned enterprises, public, and other organisations, shall be done without payment of state and local charges for the transaction. Art.30. Cultural Masterpieces comprising immovable ones, property of citizens, in case they have high value for the Bulgarian historical and cultural development, could be appropriated fore state or public needs. The appropriation is performed upon a proposal of the Committee of Arts & Culture, in compliance with the established provisions for appropriation of real estates for state and public needs. Art.31. The export of Cultural Masterpieces abroad is prohibited. In exceptional cases the export of separate movable Cultural Masterpieces is authorised by the Chairman of the Committee of Arts & Culture. Art.32. (1) The Cultural Masterpieces have cognitive and educational significance. (2) Citizens, public, and other organisations that are join owners or use immovable Cultural Masterpieces, shall provide access for their exhibition in compliance with the provisions, established by the Committee of Arts & Culture. Art.33. The work out of copies from Cultural Masterpieces and their distribution shall be performed exclusively by an authorisation of the Committee of Arts & Culture.


BULGARIA AND ITS MUSEUMS IN ‘NEW’ EUROPE S ECTION S EVEN Penalty Provisions Art.34. A penalty of BGL 500. is imposed in the events of: a) performing excavations without authorisation, with the objective of discovery ancient ruins, treasures, and other objects, under the custody of this Act; b) export of Cultural Masterpieces with Authorisation for Temporal Export, in the event when within the stipulated term the said Masterpieces are not returned without any reasonable grounds for doing this; c) performing or order for performing cast, copies, and others of the kind of original Cultural Masterpieces, or distributes such copies without authorisation by the Committee of Arts & Culture; d) authorised persons and citizens that violate: 1. the provisions for letting premises and buildings - immovable Cultural Masterpieces; 2. Imposed prohibitions for building or rehabilitation of the Cultural Masterpieces. e) selling, granting, or exchanging movable Cultural masterpieces without the aware of the state museums and the Committee of Arts & Culture, and also immovable Cultural Masterpieces without the consent of the National Institute, and does not announce about the change to their owners; f) non-performance of the directions for executing the supporting and rehabilitation works, and also works on the preservation of the Cultural Masterpieces. Art.35. A penalty of up to BGL 100.- is imposed to an Owner or Tenant that impedes the citizens to visit in compliance with the established conditions the immovable Cultural Masterpieces, and to the competent authorities to protect the Cultural Masterpieces, to check up the current standing of the abovesaid, and to perform any other activities in relation to their preservation. Art.36. Any damages on Cultural Masterpieces subject to violations of Art.34 and Art.35 of this Act, shall be reimbursed on the account of the Offenders. Art.37. (1) The violations of the law shall be established by the due Edicts, issued by the authorities on the preservation of the Cultural Masterpieces. On the grounds of the issued Edicts, the Chairman of the Committee of Arts & Culture, the Chairmen of the Executive Committees of the District Public Municipalities, or authorised officers empowered by the latter shall issue Penalty Decree. (2) The Edicts are issued and the Penalty Decrees are worked out, and appealed, in compliance with the provisions, stipulated by the Penalty Procedural Code. (3) With the Penalty Decrees shall be pronounced also the appropriation of the found and concealed Cultural Masterpieces, and also of the materials and instruments, related to the said violation. Art.38. (1) This Act repeals Art. 75a and 75b of the Planning & Building of Settlements Act. (2) The observance of this Act is assigned to the Chairman of the Committee of Arts & Culture. Published in Sofia City, 5th April 1969, and sealed by the Great Seal of the State. Chairman of the Presidium of the National Assembly: G. Traykov Secretary of the Presidium of the National Assembly: M. Minchev B-1048


APPENDICES APPENDIX 14 Translated from Bulgarian FAKT – Agency for marketing and social research, August 2005 Problems in Bulgarian museums Questionnaire for museum and gallery directors 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

How many years have you been working in the museums’ sector? How many years have you been working in this museum? Have you been working in another museum (no matter on which position)? For how many years have you been director of this museum? Have you been working as director of another museum? Your education? Subject? How old are you? Gender? Have the conditions for development of museums in Bulgaria been improving/ deteriorating in the last 2-3 years? 11. What are your expectations for the development of Bulgarian museums for the next 2-3 years? 12. Which of the following represent a problem for the work and development of your museum? Please answer all sub-questions with one of the following answers: 1. This is a major problem 2. It is a problem but not big 3. Its is not a problem 12.1. Old and inadequate legislation? 12.2. Not enough funding from the state or the municipality? 12.3. No interest for private sponsorship? 12.4. Restrictions to the museums to use independently funds gained from own activities? 12.5. No interest from the general public to visit museums? 12.6. Not enough well trained specialists? 12.7. Not enough young museum specialists? 12.8. Old material and technical basis, no contemporary technical help? 12.9. Inadequate building? 12.10. Inadequate and inaccessible geographical situation of the building? 12.11. Criminal activities, stolen museum objects, illegal trade and export of cultural masterpieces? 12.12. Low level of cooperation with other cultural and educational institutions (other museums, schools, Universities, scientific institutions, libraries, houses of culture) 12.13. No interest from the medias towards museums and low level of cooperation? 13. Are there any other problems in the work and development of your museum, different from the above described? Please describe them briefly. 14. How many museum specialists work in your museums? 15. Is that number sufficient? 16. How many from the people working in your museum: 16.1. Speak fluently foreign language? 16.2. Have academic degree such as PhD or higher? 16.3. Are younger than 35 years? 16.4. Are older than 50 years? 17. Do you use volunteers in your work? 18. How many museum objects there are in your museum? 18.1. In the main fund? 18.2. In the exchange fund? 18.3. In the permanent exhibitions?


BULGARIA AND ITS MUSEUMS IN ‘NEW’ EUROPE 19. What % of the artefacts in your museum has scientific passports? 20. How long it takes for an object to get a passport after the acquisition? 21. What is the % of the computerised artefacts’ passports? 22. What % of the artefacts in your museum needs urgent conservation and restoration? 23. Do you think that the successful running of your museum needs some of the following: Please answer each sub-question with one of the following answers: 1. It is a must 2. It will be good to have it but it is not a must 3. No need for it 23.1. To have its own web site 23.2. To have its own museum store 23.3. To have areas where visitors can relax? 23.4. To monitor constantly visitors’ number and profile 23.5. To collect information for the visitors requirements 23.6. To have advertising leaflets, presenting the museum and its exhibits? 23.7. To have electronic advertising materials describing the museum and its exhibits (CDs or DVDs)? 23.8. To have regular and planned activities to attract volunteers? 23.9. To have regular and planned activities to attract more private donors? 23.10. Information about the museum to be included in advertising leaflets and catalogues for the town? 23.11. To have regular and planned activities for closer cooperation with tour operators and travel agencies which could put information about the museum in their leaflets and catalogues and include it in the tourist itineraries? 23.12. To have regular and planned activities for closer cooperation with other cultural and educational institutions? 23.13. Develop publishing activities and publish thematic books and/or magazines? 23.14. Participate in tourist fairs? 24. Has your museum some of the following? Please answer each one of the sub-questions with one of the following answers: 1. Has 2. Does not have 24.1. Its own web site? If yes please write down its address 24.2. Its own museum store? 24.3. Areas where visitors can relax? 24.4. Constant monitoring of the number and profile of the visitors? 24.5. Constant collection of information for the visitors’ requirements? 24.6. Advertising leaflets, books and magazines presenting the museum and its exhibits? 24.7. Electronic advertising materials describing the museum and its exhibits (CDs or DVDs)? 24.8. Regular and planned activities to attract volunteers? 24.9. Regular and planned activities to attract more private donors? 24.10. Information about the museum included in advertising leaflets and catalogues for the town? 24.11. Regular and planned activities for closer cooperation with tour operators and travel agencies which could put information about the museum in their leaflets and catalogues and include it in the tourist itineraries? 24.12. Regular and planned activities for closer cooperation with other cultural and educational institutions? 24.13. Own publishing activities and publication of thematic books and/or magazines? 24.14. Participate in tourist fairs? 25. Cooperation with tour operators? Please describe briefly any positive or negative experience. Positive Negative 26. Does your museum organise some specialised educational programmes? If so please describe them briefly. 27. Is the museum executing some of the following activities: Please answer each sub-question with one of the following answers: 130

APPENDICES 1. Yes, regularly 2. Yes but not regularly 3. No 27.1 Organise touring exhibitions? 27.2. Organise exhibitions abroad? 27.3. Borrow/exchange objects with other Bulgarian museums? 27.4. Show objects from other Bulgarian museums temporarily borrowed? 27.5. Allocate funds to advertise its activities, exhibitions or collections? 28. What is the total amount the museum had in 2004? 29. What is the total amount expected in 2005 (i.e. all funds from state, municipality, private donors or other)? 30. What % of the annual museum income comes from the following sources: Please answer each sub-question. Put the % in numbers. If the museum does not have the relevant source of income put 0. Please make sure the total % makes 100. 30.1. Funding coming from the state? 30.2. From the municipality? 30.3. Entrance fees and guided tours? 30.4. Museum store? 30.5. Hiring out museum artefacts? 30.6. Hiring out rooms, technical equipment for different meetings, conferences, concerts, etc.? 30.7. Donations from private sources? 30.8. Funding from international programmes and projects? 30.9. Other income? Total 31. What is the entrance fee for the museum? If there is no entrance fee please put ZERO. 32. What is the fee for guided tours? If there is no entrance fee please put ZERO. 33. Does the museum have reduced fees for categories of visitors different from the ones determined by the Ministry of culture? 34. Which year was the present exhibition opened? 35. Was this exhibition partially changed since 2000 and if yes how many times? 36. How often a new temporary exhibition is prepared in the museums? 37. Was anything stolen from your museum in the last 3 years? If yes how many museum objects had been stolen? If no go to question 39 38. How many objects had been returned to the museum? 39. Is there any security? Please answer each sub-question with one of the following answers: 1. Yes 2. No 39.1. Security during opening times? 39.2. Security outside working times? 39.3. Constant connection with security company which employees arrives only if alarm goes off? 39.4. Alarm system and electronic equipment? 40. When was a complete inventarization of the museum fund made for the last time? 41. What % of the museum objects is catalogued? 42. Does the museum use a computer cataloguing program? 43. What % of the new objects undergoes through expert valuation when entering your collection? 44. Does the museum prepare projects to apply for European funding? 45. Approximately how much money you got from such projects? 45.1. In 2004? 45.2. Since the beginning of 2005? 46. How many from the following ideas do you approve? Please answer each sub-question with one of the following answers: 1. Approve 2. Disapprove 46.1. Accreditation of museums? 46.2. Museums to be free to use the whole amount of money they got from activities? 46.3. Museums to be free to organise exhibitions abroad with their own collections? 131

BULGARIA AND ITS MUSEUMS IN ‘NEW’ EUROPE 46.4. Museums to be completely autonomous, without the need to seek approval of all their decisions from state or municipal institutions (Ministries or municipal councils, etc) 47. In your museum is there any employee (including director or deputy director) who in the last 3 years participated in training or qualification courses, specifically related to: Please answer each sub-question with one of the following answers: 1. Yes 2. No 47.1 Principles of the advertising activities? 47.2. Public relations and contacts with the medias? 47.3. Principles of museum management and museums services? 47.4. Principles of organising and managing the activities to attract donors? 47.5. The accession of Bulgaria into the EU and the consequences for museums? 47.6. Administrative management? 47.7. Museums marketing? 48. What is your opinion about education or qualification courses, especially oriented towards: Please answer each subquestion with one of the following answers: 1. I approve and I would participate in such course 2. I approve in general but I would not participate in such course 3. Such courses are useless 48.1 Principles of the advertising activities? 48.2. Public relations and contacts with the medias? 48.3. Principles of museum management and museums services? 48.4. Principles of organising and managing the activities to attract donors? 48.5. The accession of Bulgaria into the EU and the consequences for museums? 48.6. Administrative management? 48.7. Museums marketing? 49. What % of the visitors in 2004 and 2005 are: Please answer each sub-question. If you do not have information please put “X”. 49.1. Non-organised visitors, individual visitors or families? 49.2. Organised visitors – tourists, organised by tour operators? 49.3. Other organised visitors (school groups, employees in state, municipal or private companies, soldiers, etc.), organised not by tour operators but by other organisations? 50. Is the visitor’s number increasing or decreasing in 2005 compared to 2004? 51. If there is an increase or a decrease what are the main reasons according to you? Please choose up to 3 answers: 1. The museum shows new exhibitions 2. Increased advertising activities 3. Improved communication with the mass-medias 4. Improved relations with tour operators 5. The museum works more closely with other cultural and educational institutions 6. Improved qualification of people working in the museum 7. Increased number of museum trained specialists working in the museum 8. Other (Please describe) 52. Was there any publications or programmes in central or local medias devoted to the work or problems of your museum in 2004 and 2005? 53. Are the collections of your museum insured? 54. Is the museum technical equipment insured? 55. Is the museum building insured? 56. Does the museum insure the artefacts which are on loan? 57. According to you is an employee’s salary dependent on his/her qualification and the amount of work completed? 58. Do you approve or not the following ideas: Please answer each one of the following questions with one of the following: 1. I approve 2. I do not approve 58. 1. Introduce professional standards for the employees’ qualification and work? 58.2. The individual salary of each museum worker to depend on the assessment of how these standards are met?


APPENDICES 59. Is there a PR specialist on a permanent contract in your museum? 60. Could you please describe briefly what is your PR specialist responsible for? 61. According to you what % of the activities of a museum like yours should be for: Please answer each sub-question 61.1. Exhibitions and research activities? 61.2. Additional educational activities, corresponding to the profile of the museums? 61.3. Additional attractions and services for visitors? 62. What % of the activities of your museum at the moment is for: Please answer each sub-question. 62.1. Exhibitions and research activities? 62.2. Additional educational activities, corresponding to the profile of the museums? 62.3. Additional attractions and services for visitors? 63. Is the fact that some of the artefacts in a museum (for example the archaeological ones) are state owned but at the same time the management of the museum depends on the local municipality a problem? 64. Is the fact that your museum cannot freely use the money obtained from additional activities a problem? 65. Do you believe that there is a need for a specialised centralised institution to be created to regulate the state policy concerning the national heritage? 66. According to you which of the following functions such institution should execute? Please answer each one of the sub-questions with one of the following answers: 1. It has to do it 2. It does not have to do that 3. I don’t know 66.1. Participate in strategies, programmes and planning concerning cultural policies? 66.2. Represent and defend the interests of the museums in front of legislative and executive power? 66.3. Have regulating and controlling functions concerning the preservation of the cultural heritage? 66.4. Prepare methodical instructions for the organisation of museum activities? 66.5. Organise informative and qualification courses, seminars and conferences related to different parts of the museums activities? 66.6. Mediate between Bulgarian and foreign museums, help the organisation of touring exhibitions? 66.7. Maintain centralised data-base for the collections of all Bulgarian museums? 66.8. Manage all activities concerning the preservation of the cultural heritage? 67. Which ones of the following ideas concerning the preservation of the historical and cultural monuments do you approve? Please answer each one of the sub-questions with one of the following answers: 1. I approve 2. I disapprove 3. I don’t know 67.1. Create an Inspectorate for the cultural heritage with regional structures? 67.2. Create specialised police to work exclusively with the cultural, historical and natural heritage? 67.3. Create an institute for the cultural heritage as part of the Bulgarian academy of science? 67.4. Create a state institution to ensure financially the cultural heritage related activities? 67.5. Organise state auction on which state and museums can buy historical and cultural heritage related objects? 68. Do you approve or disapprove with the idea of normative and juridical guaranties for further independence of the museums concerning how to find additional funding and how to spend this money to be created? 69. How do you get information and news, concerning museum activities? Please answer each one of the subquestions with one of the following answers: 1. Yes 2. No 69.1. From colleagues? 69.2. At specialised meetings, seminars, conferences?


BULGARIA AND ITS MUSEUMS IN ‘NEW’ EUROPE 69.3. From specialised literature? 69.4. From specialised periodical medias? 69.5. From the TV? (Which ones) 69.6. From the radio? (Which ones) 69.7. From daily newspapers? (Which ones) 69.8. From weekly newspapers? (Which ones) 69.9. From WEB sites? (Which ones) 69.10. From other sources? (Which ones?) 70. Which 3 sources of information you trust more? Please choose up to 3 answers from the following: 1. Colleagues 2. Specialised meetings, seminars, conferences 3. Specialised literature 4. Specialised periodical media? 5. TV 6. Radio 7. Daily newspapers 8. Weekly newspapers? 9. WEB sites 10. Other sources 71. How would you describe the relations between your museums and the Institutes of the Bulgarian Academy of Science? 72. Did the museum publish during the last 3 years the following: Please answer each sub-question with one of the following: 1. Yes 2. It publishes generally but not during the last 3 years 3. No 72.1. Annual report? 72.2. Proceedings of conferences organised by the museums? 72.3. Articles by museums employees? 73. Please fill in the numbers concerning the territory of: 73.1. The museum? 73.2. The exposition? 73.3. Stores? 74.4. Laboratories? 74. When was museum built? 75. Was it a purpose-built museum building? 76. What is your position? 77. Are you working in a museum or in a gallery?


APPENDICES APPENDIX 15 Translated from Bulgarian 'State Gazette' No. 8, yr. 1969, pp. 58-60 MINISTRIES AND OTHER INSTITUTIONS Committee of Culture REGULATION No. 5 Exploration, Study and Documentation of the Immovable Masterpieces of Culture Section One General Provisions, Types of Immovable Masterpieces of Culture Art. 1 (1) Immovable property, comprising outstanding pieces of workmanship of architecture, building, fine and applied arts, and comply with the provisions on Art. 3 of the Masterpieces of Culture & Museums Act (MCMA) shall be pronounced as Masterpieces of Culture. The above-said are subject to survey, study, and documentation. (2) In terms of type and significance the Masterpieces are classified as distinct (standing in separate), and group ones - complexes, ensembles and reserves, and both of the classes may be: 1. Architectural & building (masterpieces of town-planning, architecture, and archaeology); 2. Masterpieces of fine and applied arts; 3. Historical monuments and sites (3) The environment that the immovable Masterpieces of Culture are created, and also the movable valuables of the latter shall comprise inseparable part of the Masterpieces of Culture. Art. 2 (1) The Masterpieces of Architecture & Building comprise the valuable in terms of history, architecture, archaeology and community buildings, facilities and ruins of the above-said, tombs and settlement tumuli, ramparts, necropolises, etc. (2) The Masterpieces of fine and applied arts comprise: pieces of workmanship of the monumental fine arts, wood-carving art, mosaics, wall-paintings on exterior and interior walls and ceilings, artworks of the monument sculpture and the applied arts. (3) The historical Masterpieces comprise buildings and places, related to important historical events, to the life and activities of historical persons, and prominent figures of culture and science. Art. 3 All institutions, administrations, public and co-operative organisations and citizens, possessing Masterpieces of Culture, shall be obliged upon request to submit with the authorities on exploration and study the required data about these and to provide aid in their examination. Section Two Exploration, Study & Documentation of the Masterpieces of Culture Art. 4 (1) The exploration, study and documentation of the immovable Masterpieces of Culture have as an objective to establish the fund of the cultural inheritance, its systematic study, scientific classification and categorisation. For the said purpose shall be performed scientific passports, graphical, photo- and photocopied documentation, etc. that shall be implemented in the development and the performance of the conservation works, presentation & exhibition, and popularisation of the Masterpieces of Culture. (2) The state shall take care about the exploration and study of the immovable Masterpieces of Culture on the territory of the country, through the National Institute on Masterpieces of Culture (NIMC), the District Councils of Culture (DCC), the various Institutes of the Bulgarian Academy of Science (BAS), etc. Art. 5 (1) Exploration of Masterpieces of Culture shall be performed by means of archaeological excavations, surveys on the spot, scientific expeditions, commission and other methods and means. The discovery may occur also by accident, in the event of agricultural, town-planning, building and other activities. Art. 6 (1) The excavations on the exploration of Masterpieces of Culture shall be performed on the grounds of General Plan of National Survey, worked by the Committee of Culture (CC) and BAS. (2) For the performance of archaeological excavations by the National Institute on Masterpieces of Culture (NIMC), an Authorisation of Permit is required, issued by the Archaeological Institute and Museum (AIM) with BAS. Following this the Director of the NIMC shall issue an Administration Order that has to be presented with the Chairman of the Public Municipality concerned, or submitted to the Owner of the terrain. The


BULGARIA AND ITS MUSEUMS IN ‘NEW’ EUROPE bodies of the state authority and government are obliged to provide assistance & aiding in performing the excavations in compliance with Art. 17 of the Masterpieces of Culture & Museums Act. For cleaning up of studied archaeological masterpieces, subject to restoration by the NIMC, no Authorisation of Permit is required. (3) The Executive Committee (EC) of the District Public Municipality (DPM), in co-ordination with the NIMC has the rights to pronounce by an Order distinct zones as protected, in the event the latter may possess cultural layers. Art. 7 The study of the Masterpieces of Culture shall be performed by the NIMC, in co-ordination with the District Councils of Culture (DCC), the institutes of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (BAS), the Higher Institutes & Universities (HI & U), the museums and other state and public institutes and organs. The said surveys shall be done by means of studying the place, survey on the literature, and in the event of necessity - by means of supplementary archaeological excavations, architectural drillings and other means of exploration. Art. 8 (1) The study of the Masterpieces of Culture is complex and comprises the hereunder: 1. Establishing the general condition of the Masterpiece of Culture, and its environment, and initial documentation by means of descriptive methods, architectural planning and photo-representation, photocopying and geodesic documentation; 2. Historical survey on the grounds of archive materials, literature sources, fine-arts', polygraph press, epigraphic and heraldic materials, bibliographic references, etc.; 3. Art-expertise surveys, comprising: description of the Masterpiece, and analogies with other Masterpieces, dating; style, author, school and chronological approximations; 4. Technical and technological characteristics - materials, constructions, solvents, physical, chemical and biological studies, infra-red, ultra-violet, x-rays, and other examinations, micro- & macro-photos, stereo-radiographic, etc. - in compliance with the needs concerned. (2) The study of the Masterpieces of Culture shall be performed at stages: 1. Preliminary Study - at this state a Conclusion about the historical, scientific and art significance of the masterpiece shall be provided, concurrently with this a Record is filed of this Masterpiece, whereupon it shall be registered and published in 'State Gazette'; 2. Comprehensive Study - the File of the masterpieces shall be supplied with Passport, Catalogue, Monographs, etc., whereupon its final category shall be stipulated. The said comprehensive study shall continue throughout the conservation and the restoration works. Art. 9 (1) All the documents that are acquired and issued throughout the process of exploration, declaration, study, registration and announcement, study, development, conservation and restoration of the Masterpieces of Culture, their popularisation and security guard, shall comprise their own dossier. Each Dossier shall have three parts: 1. Text part - with historical data and estimation about the historical, scientific and arts' significance of the Masterpiece and its technical and technological characteristics; 2. Graphic part - comprising architectural, photocopying, geodesic, and other photography of the Masterpiece; 3. Photo-documentation with complete photography of the Masterpiece of Culture: black & white and colour negatives, colour dia-positives and black & white and colour copies, done throughout the initial study, prior the commencing, throughout and upon completion of the conservation and restoration works. (2) At the National institute of Masterpieces of Culture shall be preserved the original dossiers of the immovable Masterpieces of Culture, and with the District Councils of Culture or stipulated by them bodies copies of the files. Section Three Declaration, Registration and Announcement of the Masterpieces of Culture Art. 10 (1) Proposals for the declaration of buildings, and historical places of Masterpieces of Culture could be submitted by the state institutions, the central administrations of the public organisations, institutes, the fellowships of the friends to the Masterpieces of Culture and the Museums, and by the citizens. (2) The explored Masterpieces of Culture shall be declared by the National Institute on Masterpieces of Culture (NIMC) by means of issuing a list with the masterpieces of Culture, one copy of which shall be sent to the District Council of Culture (DCC) that shall notify the owners concerned. (3) About the declared Masterpieces of Culture a Card file shall be completed in two copies, one of which shall stay with the National Institute on Masterpieces of Culture, and the other one shall be sent to the District Council of Culture. 136

APPENDICES (4) Into the Card-File shall be provided the complete address data and data that characterise the masterpiece of Culture concerned, and are the grounds for its declaration, concurrently with all components of the Masterpiece and its environment. Art. 11 (1) All the declared Masterpieces of Culture are legally protected, and are under temporary prohibition. Within the said masterpieces no amendments or reconstruction that would change their exterior facade and interior distribution could be performed. In the event of violations the Owners and the Right-holders shall be fined for damages and/or destruction of the Masterpiece of Culture. The justification for doing so is on the authority of the Penalty Code (PC), the Administrative Offences & Penalties Act (AOPA), and the Masterpieces of Culture & Museums Act (MCMA), and also in compliance with the Territorial & Town-Planning Act (TTPA). (2) The explored and declared Masterpieces of Culture are subject to study and scientific processing with the objective of discovering the scientific, historical and arts' significance of the above-said, and to be included into the National Fund of the cultural inheritance. (3) In the event when from the scientific study is established that the site does not posses the required qualities of being classified as Masterpieces of Culture, the National Institute on Masterpieces of Culture shall notify the District Council of Culture. The latter on its turn shall notify in writing the Public Municipality and the Owner concerned. From this moment onward the temporary prohibition and protection of the site as a Masterpiece of Culture is discontinued. Art. 12 (1) The documentation about the declared Masterpieces of Culture following their initial study shall be submitted with the Council for Preservation of Masterpieces of Culture (CPMC) for approval. (2) The approved by the CPMC Masterpieces of Culture shall be authenticated by the Chairman of the Committee of Culture, following which they are filed into the State List of the Masterpieces of Culture (State Registrar of MC) whereat they shall acquire a reference number. (3) At the District Council of Culture a Local List (Registrar) of the masterpieces of Culture shall be kept. (4) The registered Masterpieces of Culture are announced into State Gazette. The National Institute on masterpieces of Culture shall issue from time to time Catalogues of the announced Masterpieces of Culture. Art. 13 (1) The Proposals with the Ministry Council for pronouncing reserves on the authority of Art. 4 of the Cultural Masterpieces & Museums Act shall be done by the Committee of Culture and by the Committee on Architecture and Town-Planning (CATP) of the Ministry Council. (2) For the pronouncement of the reserves are required the following surveys and documents: 1. Motivated report by the District Public Municipality about the necessity of pronouncing the reserve with economic and ideological justification; 2. Scientifically justified reference about the historical, architectural and arts' value of the reserve area, developed by the National Institute of masterpieces of Culture and the District Council of Culture; 3. Cadastre Plan of the Reserve Area with stipulated boundaries thereof (all distinct Masterpieces and the security guard zone). Section Four National Documentary Registrar of the Movable Masterpieces of Culture Art. 14 (1) The Registrars, the own dossiers and the other documents, related with the immovable Masterpieces of Culture, situated with the National Institute of masterpieces of Culture, shall form the National Documentary Registrar of the Masterpieces of Culture. (2) Any Filed and documentary materials on Masterpieces of Culture that are worked out and kept with other institutes, organisations, and administrations of the state, shall be considered as part of the National Documentary Repository of the Masterpieces of Culture. Further, the above-said shall be provided for public use, free of charge (either the original file or its copy). The non-delivery of such materials shall be considered an offence on the authority of the Administrative Violations & Penalties Act. (3) The Scientific & Technical Documentation (S & TD) is considered as part of the Dossier of the Masterpiece concerned and immediately upon its processing and approval shall be submitted with the Registrar. The remuneration for the work out of Scientific & Technical Documentation is prohibited, insofar evidences are provided for submitted with the registrar copy of the above-said Documentation. (4) Therewith the District Committee of Culture shall be established local Registrar of the Movable Masterpieces of Culture. Art. 15 (1) The National Documentary Registrar shall publish the required Catalogues and Reference Guides for its implementation.


BULGARIA AND ITS MUSEUMS IN ‘NEW’ EUROPE (2) With National Documentary Repository shall be established photo-library and film-library of Masterpieces of Culture. (3) For the establishment, storage and use of the National Documentary Repository, the National Institute of Masterpieces of Culture shall issue special instructions. Art. 16 (1) The use of the National Documentary Repository and the work out of transcripts of documents from it shall be done exclusively with the personal authorisation of the Director of the National Institute on Masterpieces of Culture. (2) The take over and use of documents outside the premises of the National Documentary Repository is prohibited. Art. 17 (1) For the exploration, study, declaration, registration and pronouncing of the masterpieces of Culture the following documents shall be worked out: 1. List with the officially declared Masterpieces of Culture; 2. Card-File for declaration; 3. Own Dossier of the Masterpiece of Culture; 4. State List of the Masterpieces of Culture (Registrar); 5. Passport of the masterpiece of Culture; 6. Account Card-File of the Masterpiece of Culture; 7. Certificate of possession of the masterpiece of Culture. (2) Other forms of documents shall be worked out in case when necessary by the Director of the National Institute of the Masterpieces of Culture. Section Five Filings and Amendments on the Masterpieces of Culture Art. 18 (1) Following the registration and announcement into State gazette of the Immovable masterpieces of Culture, the District Council of Culture shall issue to the Owners a certificate that the property has been announced as Masterpiece of Culture. Until the announcement of the Masterpiece of Culture, to the owners shall be issued in case when necessary Temporary certificates by the national institute of Masterpieces of Culture. (2) The District Council of Culture shall notify in writing form the local town and village public municipality about the registered and published in 'State Gazette' immovable Masterpieces of Culture, property of citizens. This is done with the objective to file officially the above-said into the batches of the Property Registrars of tax return, on the side of the Public Municipality. Upon issuing certificates about the above-said real estates, and particularly in case of sales or for any other lawful transactions, exclusively shall be stipulated the circumstance that the real estate is Masterpiece of Culture. (3) In the event of changing the property, on the authority of Art.28 of the Cultural Masterpieces & Museums Act, and also in the event of filing lawful mortgage on the real estate, classified as Masterpiece of Culture, the Public Municipality that has done the amendment, shall within one month term notify the District Council of Culture. The above-said is done with the objective to make the said amendment in the Personal File of the Masterpiece. In case of revocation of the estate from the File of the Masterpieces of Culture, the Owner is obliged to return the issued to it Certificate to the District Council of Culture. (4) The owners of immovable masterpieces of Culture - state-owned, public or owned by co-operative organisations are obliged within one-month term to notify the District Council of Culture about the performed transfer or exchange of the Masterpieces of Culture, in compliance with Art.26, Para.3 of the Masterpieces of Culture & Museums Act. (5) Upon non-performance of the obligations on this Art., penalties on the authority of the MCMA and the AOPA shall be imposed. Art. 19 The registered and announced immovable Masterpieces of Culture shall be stipulated into the Territorial & Town-Planning, the General and the Detailed Town-Planning Outlines of the settlements, in compliance with special Regulation for doing so, approved by the Committee of Culture and the Committee of Architecture & Town-Planning. The above-said is controlled by the authorities of the District Council of Culture and the specialists of the engineering services with the Public Municipalities. Art. 20 (1) Repeal or amendment in the category of the immovable masterpieces of Culture shall be done by an Order of the Committee of Culture Chairman, upon a proposal by the National Institute on Masterpieces of Culture and a Resolution by the Council for Preservation of Masterpieces of Culture. The abovesaid shall be furnished by evidence in writing about the state of the masterpiece. The above-said shall be stipulated into the registrar. Requests for amendments shall be done through the District Council of Culture. (2) The Masterpieces of the category 'for reference' shall be repealed or re-categorised by the National Institute on Masterpieces of Culture. 138

APPENDICES (3) Upon repel shall be performed complete photography and documentation of the Masterpiece of Culture by the Requester, unless the above said have been performed in advance. The description shall be published in State Gazette. (4) The repeal and amendment shall be announced in writing to the District Council of Culture concerned that shall notify the owner and shall stipulate the amendments in compliance with the paragraphs, as herein - above. Transitory, Supplementary and Conclusive Provisions §. 1 The regulations about the organisation, payment and accounting of the activities on the exploration, study, registration and announcing the immovable Masterpieces of Culture shall be stipulated by the National Institute on Masterpieces of Culture. This is done in compliance with Art. 38 of the Regulation for the Organisation and the Tasks (ROT), issued by the National Institute on Masterpieces of Culture ('State Gazette', No. 102 of 1976). §. 2 This Regulation is issued on the authority of Art. 12 of the Masterpieces of Culture & Museums Act. §. 3 All the Instructions and directions about the implementation of the Regulation shall be provided by the Committee of Culture. §. 4 This Regulation is co-ordinated with the Committee of Architecture & Town - Planning. For Chairman: A. Fol 2948


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REFERENCES BIA, f. 35, a.e. 1187, l. 11 (1880 August 19) Letter from the Minister of Education I. Guzelev to the Director of the NLM asking him to publish in the newspaper news about the artefacts (4 coins, 1 key, 3 glass pots and a ceramic pot) found during building works near Varna so that other people who find artefacts could send them to the Museum [April 2003]

References II Archival documents Note: The cataloguing system in Bulgarian Archives is different from those used in Western European libraries and archives. The recommendations of The Oxford Guide to Style (Ritter, R.M. (ed.) 2002), have been followed. The documents are described as they are in their original location and as much of the original information as possible is given to unable further consultation and research.

BIA, f. 35, a.e. 1187, l. 13 (1880 June 26) Report to the Minister of Education I. Guzelev informing him about artefacts (4 coins, 1 key, 3 glass pots and a ceramic pot) found during building works near Varna [April 2003] BIA, f. 35, a.e. 1187, l. 17 (1880 September 5) Letter from the Regional Inspector in Goliama Kutlovitsa to the Director of the NLM with which the former sent a stone with inscriptions found in the village of Goliama Kutlovitsa [April 2003]

BAN, f. 14k, a.e. 4, l. 1-2 (1855 January 8) Will of Stefan Verkovich in which he leaves his archeological and numismatic collection (1483 objects) to Dr. Ianko Shafaric, Director of the Belgrade Museum [April 2004]

BIA, f. 35, a.e. 1187, l. 186 (1883 October 10) S. Ianchev sells 215 old coins to the National Library and Museum for 415 leva, [September 2003]

BAN, f. 14k, op. 1, a.e. 369, l. 2 (1864 December 19) Letter from S. Ianchev to Stefan Verkovich in which he informs Verkovich that he is in possession of antiquities and asks him if he is interested in purchasing them [April 2004]

BIA, f. 35, a.e. 1187, l. 188 [no date] The Ministry of Education offer the National Library and Museum to invite Mr. S. Ianchev to make a list of the coins offered, [September 2003]

BAN, f. 14k, op. 1, a.e. 515, l. 1 (1862 July 3) Letter from Henri Hoffman, an antiquarian in Paris, to Stefan Verkovich informing him that he has agents throughout Europe who collect antiquities for him every day as they know he pays well as ‘il faut payer cher pour avoir du beau’ [April 2004]

BIA, f. 35, a.e. 1187, l. 190 (no date) List of coins offered by S. Ianchev to the National Library and Museum, [September 2003] BIA, f. 35, a.e. 1187, l. 196 (1883 December 14) Receipt No 470 from S. Ianchev. He received 89 leva for 24 old coins sold to the museum [September 2003]

BIA f. 35, a.e. 1187, l. 156 (1883 May 20) Report from the chief assistant of the National Library and Museum V. Manchov to the Minister of Education about the need for urgent measures to be taken to preserve Bulgarian heritage as it is exposed to deterioration. [February 2003]

BIA, f. 35, a.e. 1187, l. 208 (1884 February 4) Letter from the Director of Plovdiv Regional Library and Museum to the Director of Sofia National Library and Museum informing the latter that Plovdiv Museum already contains a collection of 1000 coins and that he wished to exchange information about the two collections and coins [October 2002]

BIA (1873-1876) Turkey and the East 1873-1876, vol. 1, compilation BIA f. 35, a.e. 306, l. 25-26 (1890 June 21) Letter from V.D. Stoyanov, Director of the National Library and Museum to the Minister of Education about a coin offered for sale to the Plovdiv Museum and a request for permission for the coin to be purchased by the Sofia Museum as it is very rare and that even the British Museum does not have such a coin in its collection [March 2003]

BIA, f. 35, a.e. 1187, l. 210, (1884 February 10) Letter from the Director of Sofia National Library and Museum K. Irechek to the Director of Plovdiv Regional Library and Museum informing him that the numismatic collection of Sofia Museum is not catalogued yet and at this stage no information can be exchanged [October 2002]

BIA, f. 129, a.e.1, l. 1-87 (no date – after 1875) Memoirs of Hristo Daskalov containing information about famous people from Vratza [January 2002]

BIA, f. 35, a.e. 1187, l. 224 (1884 May 25) Letter from the Minister of Education sending artefacts to the National Library and Museum which were given by the priest of the village of Mitrovci, [October 2003]

BIA, f. 35, a.e 1188, l. 1335 (1911 January 12) Letter from the National Museum to the National Library about incunabula sent to the museum by Ivan Topalov from Burgas [October 2003]

BIA, f. 35, a.e. 1187, l. 254 (1884 October 1) Letter from V. D. Stoyanov, Director of the National Library and Museum to the Minister of Education about archeological finds made during road works near the building of 151

BULGARIA AND ITS MUSEUMS IN ‘NEW’ EUROPE Parliament and requesting specialists to be sent there urgently to monitor the excavations [March 2002]

Museum to the Minister of Education describing the artefacts in the collection of Mr. U. Ofner [March 2002]

BIA, f. 35, a.e. 1187, l. 256 (1884 November 23) Letter from the Minister of Education to V. Stoyanov, Director of the National Library and Museum about the archeological finds made during road works near the building of Parliament and informing him that an architect will monitor the excavations [March 2002]

BIA, f. 35, a.e. 1187, l. 290, 291, 295 (1885 June) Correspondence between the Biala regional Directorate and the Ministry of Internal Affairs concerning eight revolutionaries hidden from the Turks by a local to whom they left their flag [February 2003] BIA, f. 35, a.e. 1187, l. 298 (1885 July 27) Letter from V.D. Stoyanov, Director of the National Library and Museum to the Minister of Education about the urgent need for a decision about what to do with the collection of Mr. U. Ofner [March 2002]

BIA, f. 35, a.e. 1187, l. 260-261 (1884 November 5) Letter from V. D. Stoyanov, Director of the National Library and Museum to the Minister of Education informing him about the measures taken relating to archeological finds made during road works near the building of Parliament [March 2002]

BIA, f. 35, a.e. 1187, l. 316 (1883 December 14) Receipt No 704 from S. Ianchev. He received 20 leva for 3 old silver coins sold to the museum [September 2003]

BIA, f. 35, a.e. 1187, l. 262 (1884 October 22) Letter from V. D. Stoyanov, Director of the National Library and Museum to the Minister of Education about archeological finds made during road works near the building of Parliament and informing him that at this time it is not known who will be sent to monitor the excavations [March 2002]

BIA, f. 35, a.e. 1187, l. 319 (1885 August 31) Letter from the Minister of Education to V. Stoyanov, Director of the National Library and Museum about the impossibility of a natural history department being opened in the museum due to insufficient funding [March 2002]

BIA, f. 35, a.e. 1187, l. 264 (1884 December 5) Receipt No 540 from S. Ianchev. He received 37.50 leva for 33 old Greek coins sold to the museum [September 2003]

BIA, f. 35, a.e. 1187, l. 321 (1885 September 2) Letter from V.D. Stoyanov, Director of the National Library and Museum to Mr. U. Ofner informing him that it was impossible for a natural history department to be opened in the museum due to insufficient funding [March 2002]

BIA, f. 35, a.e. 1187, l. 276 (1885 April 24) Letter from V. D. Stoyanov, Director of the National Library and Museum to the Minister of Education about the possibility of a natural history department to be opened in the museum with the help of Mr. U. Ofner [March 2002]

BIA, f. 35, a.e. 1187, l. 327 (1885 December 8) Letter from the Director of the Sofia municipality to V.D. Stoyanov, Director of the National Library and Museum about a natural history collection found in the house of a doctor from Pirot with list of the artefacts it contained [March 2002]

BIA, f. 35, a.e. 1187, l. 277 (1885 April 30) Letter-reply from the Minister of Education to V.D. Stoyanov, Director of the National Library and Museum to ask about the conditions in which Mr. U. Ofner will agree to create a natural history department [March 2002] BIA, f. 35, a.e. 1187, l. 282-283 (1885 May 7) Letter from U. Ofner to V. D. Stoyanov, Director of the National Library and Museum describing what is needed for the eventual opening of a natural history department in the museum [March 2002]

BIA, f. 35, a.e. 1187, l. 331 (1886 May 7) Letter from S. Ianchev in which he offers the museum 3 golden coins for 150 leva [September 2003] BIA, f. 35, a.e. 1187, l. 331 (1886 May 7) Letter from S. Ianchev to V. D. Stoyanov, Director of the National Library and Museum, offering him 3 gold coins, bought in Sofia, at a reduced price from that which they could be sold for in West Europe [September 2003]

BIA, f. 35, a.e. 1187, l. 284-285 (1885 May 8) Letter from V. D. Stoyanov, Director of the National Library and Museum to the Minister of Education describing the requirements of Mr. U. Ofner and underlining the necessity for a natural history department to be opened in the museum [March 2002]

BIA, f. 35, a.e. 1187, l. 341 (1884 May 26) Letter from the Ministry of Internal Affairs to the National Library and Museum forwarding the flag of the eight revolutionaries from Biala [February 2003]

BIA, f. 35, a.e. 1187, l. 288 (1885 May 24) Letter from V.D. Stoyanov, Director of the National Library and Museum to the Minister of Education concerning the natural history collection of Mr. U. Ofner which he offered to the museum for 175 leva [March 2002]

BIA, f. 35, a.e. 1187, l. 349 (1886 June 14) Letter from V. D. Stoyanov, Director of the National Library and Museum to the Minister of Education requesting a decision be taken in relation to the 3 old golden coins offered by S. Ianchev to the museum for 150 leva [September 2003]

BIA, f. 35, a.e. 1187, l. 289 (1885 May 8) Letter from V. D. Stoyanov, Director of the National Library and

BIA, f. 35, a.e. 1187, l. 353 (1886 July 9) Letter from V. D. Stoyanov, Director of the National Library and 152

REFERENCES about 2401 coins found by H. Ahmedov during building works [February 2003]

Museum to the Minister of Education about the regions of Kaleto and Gradichteto, rich in archaeological artefacts and the possibility that all local population activities in these areas be stopped by an order from the Minister of Education as they destroy valuable artefacts [March 2002]

BIA, f. 35, a.e. 1187, l. 788-789 (1893 July 5) Letter from The Minister of Education to D. Takela, numismatic in the National Library and Museum about the wish of Todoraki Hadjiiski to donate his collection to the National Library and Museum [February 2002]

BIA, f. 35, a.e. 1187, l. 365 (1886 July 14) Letter from the Director of Sofia National Library and Museum, V. D. Stoyanov, to the Director of the Plovdiv Regional Library and Museum informing him that the numismatic collection of Sofia Museum is not catalogued yet and at this stage no information could be exchanged [October 2002]

BIA, f. 35, a.e. 1187, l.257 (1915 February 30) List with artefacts taken from the Dechenski Monastery [October 2003] BIA, f. 35, a.e. 1187, l.346 (1886 June 5) Letter – reply from the Minister of Education to V. Stoyanov, Director of the National Library and Museum about the possibility of sending somebody to collect materials for the museum [March 2003]

BIA, f. 35, a.e. 1187, l. 405 (1887 July 8) Letter from the Director of Tarnovo Regional Directorate about the wish of the MP Dimitar Canovskii to donate different artefacts to the National Library and Museum [February 2003]

BIA, f. 35, a.e. 1188, l. 105-106 (1884 August 17) Letter from the Minister of Education to the Director of the National Library and Museum ordering that the Director writes immediately to the Russian professor paleographer Aleksei Leonidovich Petrov, who took 2 manuscripts, requesting that he return them [October 2003]

BIA, f. 35, a.e. 1187, l. 440 (1889 January 5) Letter from U. Benarov to the Director of the National Library and Museum offering to help with the collection of artefacts, [October 2003] BIA, f. 35, a.e. 1187, l. 483 (1889 September 21) Letter from The Ministry of Education to the Director of the National Library and Museums, V.D. Stoyanov permitting the acquisition of the numismatic collection of 224 Byzantium coins which belonged to Mr. Theodoridi from Tzarigrad for 4455 golden leva. [October 2003]

BIA, f. 35, a.e. 1188, l. 105-106 (1884 August 17) Report from the Director of the National Library and Museum to the Minister of Education about the Russian professor paleographer Aleksei Leonidovich Petrov, who took 2 manuscripts from the library and never returned them [October 2003]

BIA, f. 35, a.e. 1187, l. 56 (1881 May 30) Letter from Mitropolit Miletia to the Director of the National Library and Museum concerning a Roman monument with inscriptions in the church of St. Spas [October 2003]

BIA, f. 35, a.e. 1188, l. 1140 (1911 August 28) Letter from P. Pantev from Teteven to the Director of the National Library asking for evaluation of an old evangel in his possession [October 2003]

BIA, f. 35, a.e. 1187, l. 600 (1891 January 11) Letter from V.D. Stoyanov, Director of the National Library and Museum to the Minister of Education about the evaluation made by D. Takela of coins offered to the museum by Simeon Ianchev for 500 leva. The evaluation was for 300 leva and S. Ianchev refused to sell them to the museum [September 2003]

BIA, f. 35, a.e. 1188, l. 1335 (1911 January 12) Letter from the Director of the National Museum to the Director of the National Library with which he sent to the national library an incunabula, sent to the museum by Ivan Topalov from Burgas [October 2003] BIA, f. 35, a.e. 1188, l. 1354 (1911 March 24) Letter from the Director of the National Library to the regional inspector about incunabula, manuscripts and icons in a church in the village of Bojenica and Chekotinski monastery [October 2003]

BIA, f. 35, a.e. 1187, l. 603 (1891 February 6) Permission given to V. D. Stoynov by the Minister of Education to buy the coins offered by S. Ianchev only for the price mentioned by D. Takela [September 2003] BIA, f. 35, a.e. 1187, l. 619 (1891 April 15/27) Letter from D. Takela, keeper in the museum to the Director about the wish of the former to leave the post of keeper, [February 2003]

BIA, f. 35, a.e. 1188, l. 1365-1366 (1911 August 28) Letter from the Director of the National Library to the church trustees in the village of Seslavci asking them to send to the NLM a valuable manuscript which has been preserved in the village church [October 2003]

BIA, f. 35, a.e. 1187, l. 652 (1891 June 21) Letter from the Minister of Education to the Director of the National Library about a small coin collection caught on the border in an attempt for illegal export [February 2003]

BIA, f. 35, a.e. 1188, l. 1479 (1915 September 18) Letter from the Minister of Education to the Director of the National Library about an incunabula preserved in the village of Berkovica [October 2003]

BIA, f. 35, a.e. 1187, l. 711 (1891 December 31) Report from the inspector of Varna region concerning details 153

BULGARIA AND ITS MUSEUMS IN ‘NEW’ EUROPE BIA, f. 35, a.e. 1188, l. 1591 (1920 November 2) Information about an old Bulgarian incunabula in the village of Berovo preserved from Greek priests who collected old Bulgarian books to burn them [October 2003]

BIA, f. 35, a.e.1187, l. 794-795 (1893 June 22) Letter from Todoraki Hadjiiski to the Director of the National Library and Museum. The former is sending 4 boxes of artefacts to donate them to the National Library and Museum [February 2002]

BIA, f. 35, a.e. 1188, l. 1598 (1921 May 17) The Czech Professor Patta wanted to take some Bulgarian incunabula away from the library. The Director refused to allow the book to be taken out the library [October 2003]

BIA, f. 35, a.e. 1187, l. 796-797 (1893 June) Letter from the Director of the National Library and Museum to Todoraki Hadjiiski acknowledging receipt of 4 boxes with artefacts [February 2002] BIA, f. 384, a.e. 36, l.1-4 (1873 February 18) Letter from S. Ianchev to a friend in Munich about the wish of S. Ianchev to meet him in Vienna and to buy an old coins catalogue and other numismatic publications [September 2003]

BIA, f. 35, a.e. 1188, l. 1670-1681 (no date) List of old manuscripts and incunabula donated by Mitropolit Miletia to the National Library [October 2003] BIA, f. 35, a.e. 1188, l. 77 (1883 April 7) Letter from the Minister of Education to the Director of the National Library and Museum ordering that the Director writes a letter to the Russian Polihronii Sirku, who took several manuscripts from Bulgarian libraries and private collectors, asking him to return the manuscripts taken [October 2003]

BIA, f. 40, a.e. 7, l. 30-35 (no date – between 1820-1849) Collection of legends, priers and descriptions of monastery icons from the archive of the Hadjitochevi family [February 2002] BIA, f.35, a.e 1187, l.148 (1883 May 12) Letter from unknown author to the Minister of Education about the need to appoint a person to supervise building works in the capital [March 2003]

BIA, f. 35, a.e. 1204, l. 36 (1913 August 22) Report from the Director of the National Library to the Minister of Education concerning the trip of the latter to Russia to participate in the celebration of fifty years from the creation of the Rumiancev and Moscow Museums [Mach 2003]

BIA, f.35, a.e 1187, l.149 (1883 May 13) Letter from unknown author to the Minister of Education about the intention of the management of the National Library to start archaeological excavations in the capital [March 2003]

BIA, f. 35, a.e. 299, l.1-25 (no date) Work story of V. D. Stoyanov, Director of the National Library and Museum 1884-1892 [March 2003]

BIA, f.35, a.e. 1187, l. 390 (1887 February 27), Letter from the Director of the National Library and Museum to the Minister of Education about two Roman military artefacts belonging to N. Jekov, requesting permission that these be bought for the museum collection [October 2003]

BIA, f. 35, a.e. 306, l. 25-26 (1890 October 17) Letter from V. D. Stoyanov, Director of the National Library and Museum to the Minister of Education about the urgent need for a specialist to be appointed to take care of the museum collections [March 2002]

BIA, f.35, a.e. 1187, l. 394 (1887 March 3) Letter from the Minister of Education to the Director of the National Library and Museum about two Roman military artefacts belonging to N. Jekov and the impossibility of these items being bought due to insufficient funding [October 2003]

BIA, f. 35, a.e. 359, l. 37 (1903 February 8) Letter from the Minister of Education to the Director of the National Library giving information concerning a valuable manuscript hidden in the roof of the church in the village of Prisovoe [October 2003]

BIA, f.35, a.e. 1187, l. 42 (1880 November 14) Letter from the sub-librarian of the National Library and Museum to Todoraki Hadjiiski about the possibility of the latter to donate or sell his collection to the National Library and Museum [February 2002]

BIA, f. 35, a.e. 359, l.14 (1891 July 13) Order from the Minister of Education to send V. D. Stoyanov, Director of the National Library and Museum to Prague National Library to study its organization [October 2003] BIA, f. 35, a.e. 593, l. 284 (1917 January 24) Letter from the regional inspector in the area of Kavadarci to the Director sending 4 manuscripts to the National Library in Sofia [October 2003]

BIA, f.35, a.e. 1187, l. 44 (1880 December 2) Letter from Todoraki Hadjiiski to the Director of the National Library and Museum about his wish to donate his collection to the National Library and Museum [February 2002]

BIA, f. 35, a.e. 1187, l. 792 (1983 July 7) Letter from the Director of the National Library and Museum to Vratza municipality informing Todoraki Hadjiiski that the Director will visit him in 5-6 days to have a look at his collection [February 2002]

BIA, f.35, a.e. 1187, l. 705 (1891 December 16) Letter from V. Stoyanov, Director of the National Library and Museum, concerning the wish of N. Jekov to sell two Roman military artefacts to the museum [March 2003] 154

REFERENCES BIA, f.35, a.e. 1190, l.72-73 (1904 January 22) Letter from the Director of the National Library, S. Zaimov, to Nikola Dimitrov from Vratza, about the need for the latter to send the Hadjitochevy archive to the Library in order to be valuated [February 2002]

BIA, f.35, a.e. 1187, l. 705 (1891 December 16), Second letter from the Director of the National Library and Museum to the Minister of Education about two Roman military artefacts belonging to N. Jekov, requesting permission that these items be bought for the museum collection [October 2003]

BIA, f.35, a.e. 359, l. 14 (1891) Order for business trip – financial document - V. D. Stoyanov to Prague to study the organization of the Prague National Library, [March 2002]

BIA, f.35, a.e. 1187, l.31 (1893 October 27) Request for permission from V.Stoyanov, Director of the National Library and Museum, to the Minister of Education, detailing that the duration of the trip to Vratza be amended to include 2 additional days as the original period was insufficient to accomplish his task [February 2002]

BIA, f.35, a.e. 359, l. 31-33 (1893 July 5) Order for business trip – financial document - V.D. Stoyanov and D. Takela to collect artefacts from Hadjitochevi private collection [March 2002]

BIA, f.35, a.e. 1187, l.33 (1893 November 12) Permission from the Minister of Education to V.D. Stoyanov, Director of the National Library and Museum, detailing that the duration of the trip to Vratza be amended to include 2 additional days [February 2002]

BIA, f.35, a.e. 359, l. 41 (1903) Order for business trip – financial document – P.P. Slaveikov, Director of the National Library to V. Tarnovo to collect old books [March 2002] BIA, f.35, a.e. 359, l. 46-47 (1904) Order from the Ministry of Education – St. Zaimov, Director of the National Library, to take part in the Commission for the Preparation of Houses- Museums in Pleven, Gorna Studena and Biala [March 2002]

BIA, f.35, a.e. 1188, l. 1456 (1915 January 22) Letter from the Director of the National Library to the Minister of Education about a Greek librarian who took 10 000 Bulgarian ecclesiastical books and manuscripts from Bulgaria to enrich the collection of the Athens National Library [April 2003]

BIA, f.35, a.e. 359, l. 64 (1906) Order for business trip – financial document – P. Iavorov, librarian, to Paris, France, for experience exchange, [March 2002]

BIA, f.35, a.e. 1188, l. 158-159 (no date) Letter from V. Stoyanov, Director of the National Library and Museum to the Minister of Education about a book offered to the National Library by H.P.Krastev for 2000 leva, while the library evaluation of the book is for 200-300 leva [September 2003]

BIA, f.35, a.e. 359, l. 67 (1907) Order for business trip – financial document – P. Iavorov, librarian, to Nancy, France, for experience exchange [March 2002]

BIA, f.35, a.e. 1188, l. 1596 (no date) Telegram from the Minister of Education to all institutions managed by the Ministry of Education informing them that the Czech Professor I.Pata will travel in Bulgaria to collect information about the culture, history and rites of the Bulgarian population [April 2003]

BIA, f.35, a.e.1187, l. 366-367 (1886 June 28) Letter from V.D. Stoyanov, Director of the National Library and Museum concerning the excavations in the ancient town of Raciaria, north Bulgaria, made by Bulgarians and Rumanians and the urgent need for measures to protect Bulgarian heritage [March 2003]

BIA, f.35, a.e. 1188, l. 344-345 (1886 May 31) Letter from V. D. Stoyanov, Director of the National Library and Museum to the Minister of Education about the urgent measures needed to preserve Bulgarian cultural heritage and the need for specialists to be sent on trips in Bulgaria to collect material for the museum collection [March 2003]

BIA, f.35, a.e. 1187, l. 654 (1891 June 25) Letter from the Minister of Education to the Director of National Library and Museum concerning artefacts sent to the museums which were found in the area of the Rakita village [March 2003] BIA, f.35, a.e. 1187, l. 724 (1892 February 22) Letter from the Minister of Education to the Director of the National Library and Museum concerning the finding of 3 pikes by locals in the area of the village of Belotinci [March 2003]

BIA, f.35, a.e. 1188, l.156 (1890 March 24) Letter from V. D. Stoyanov, Director of the National Library and Museum to the Minister of Education about the huge amounts wanted by some Bulgarians in exchange for artefacts in their possession [April 2003 and September 2003]

BIA, f.35, a.e. 1187, l. 729 (1892 February 26) Letter from the Minister of Education to the Director of National Library and Museum with additional information about artefacts found in the area of Rakita village [March 2003]

BIA, f.35, a.e. 1190, l.72-73 (1904 January 20) Letter from Nikola Dimitrov from Vratza to the Director of the National Library, S. Zaimov, to sell the archive of the Hadjitochevi family to the Library [February 2002]

BIA, f.35, a.e. 1187, l. 730 (1892 February 28) Letter from the Minister of Education to the Director of 155

BULGARIA AND ITS MUSEUMS IN ‘NEW’ EUROPE National Library and Museum concerning artefacts sent to the museums and found in the area of the Dolno Orizovo village [March 2003]

CDA, f. 3k, op. 10, a.e. 214, l. 9-12 (1907 May 5) Regulations for the Bulgarian Industrial Museum [March 2003]

BIA, f.35, a.e. 1187, l. 742 (1892 May 16) Letter from the Minister of Education to the Director of National Library and Museum concerning artefacts sent to the museum and found in the area of the Archar village [March 2003]

CDA, f. 3k, op. 10, a.e. 216, l. 7-30 (1943 June 6) Regulations for the popular culture [March 2003] CDA, f. 3k, op. 10, a.e. 216, l. 9 (1943 February 22) Motifs to the bill concerning popular culture [March 2003]

BIA, f.35, a.e. 1187, l. 748 (1892 June 10) Letter from the Minister of Education to the Director of National Library and Museum concerning artefacts sent to the museum and found in the area of the Ureni village [March 2003]

DAVT, f. 83k, a.e. 125, l. 1-2 (1886 June 13) Letter from S. Ianchev to N. Jekov, about two Roman military artefacts which S. Ianchev can not evaluate but will send a letter to museums in London and Paris for an evaluation [October 2003]

BIA, f.35, a.e. 1187, l. 752 (1892 June 24) Letter from the Minister of Education to the Director of National Library and Museum concerning artefacts sent to the museum and found in the area of the Kuiudjuk village [March 2003]

DAVT, f. 83k, a.e. 125, l. 3-4 (1886 May 22) Letter from S. Ianchev to N. Jekov about two Roman military artefacts which S. Ianchev offered to the National Library and Museum in Sofia [October 2003] DAVT, f. 83k, a.e. 125, l. 5 (1887 January 1) Letter from S. Ianchev to N. Jekov, requesting back the letter-reply of Bollin Fenarden relating to the evaluation of the two Roman military artefacts which S. Ianchev sent previously to N. Jekov [October 2003 ]

BIA, f.35, a.e. 1188, l.207 (1892 June 27) The Ministry of Education sent nine Slavonic manuscripts from the church of the village of Bojica to the Director of the National Library and Museum [October 2003] BIA, f.35, a.e. 1188, l.271 (1892 November 5) The Ministry of Education sent 26 manuscripts found in Bachkovo monastery to the Director of the National Library and Museum [October 2003]

DAVT, f. 83k, a.e. 125, l. 6 (1887 March 8) Letter from S. Ianchev to N. Jekov, about the unfavourable reply of the Ministry of Education concerning two Roman military artefacts [October 2003]

CDA, f. 177, op. 1, a.e. 475, l.6-7 (1917 September 15) Letter from the Minister of Education, P. Pechev, to the Minister of War asking him to inform all leaders of the Bulgarian army that the Ministry of Education must be informed of all artefacts found in Bulgaria or in neighboring countries during wars [April 2002]

DAVT, f. 83k, a.e. 157 (no date) Memoirs material – N. Jekov, containing notes about archaeological artefacts, translations of old books, copy of an old evangel [October 2003]

CDA, f. 177, op. 1, a.e. 475, l. 124-125 (1917 May 5) Letter from V. Jordanov to P. Pechev, Minister of Education, concerning the organization of a Macedonian ethnographic exhibition [April 2002]

TDA, f. 83k, a.e. 188 (no date) Popular traditional songs, collected by N. Jekov [October 2003] DAVT, f. 83k, a.e. 40, l.1 (1871 December 13) Letter from Archimandrite Teofil Dobrinovich to N. Jekov, about a cross which is possessed by N. Jekov [October 2003]

CDA, f. 177, op. 1, a.e. 475, l. 230 Letter from the Director of the NLM, Dr. B. Filov, to the chief of staff of the army in Kustendil asking him for permission to study the archeological artefacts in Macedonian lands [April 2002]

DAVT, f. 83k, a.e. 74 (1902 September 1) Letter from Hr. Marinov to N.Jekov, requesting information about the Samokov area [October 2003]

CDA, f. 177, op. 1, a.e. 475, l. 8-11 (no date, about 1915) Regulations for archeologists, ethnographers and painters, on service in Bulgarian army [April 2002]

NBIV, f. 1, a.e. 252, l. 1-4 (1871 May 11) Bulgarian Memorial Magazine Project - N. Pavlovich

CDA, f. 3k, op. 1, a.e. 52 (1911 November 15) Letter from Stoyan Zaimov to Ivan Gechev concerning the holy Bulgarian places, insisting that the State gives more attention to protect Bulgarian monuments and antiques because these are very important to the Bulgarian nation [April 2002] CDA, f. 3k, op. 10, a.e. 214, l. 1-8 (1943 June 6) Zakon za izdirvane starini I za spomagane na nauchni I knijovni predpriatia [March 2003] 156

Medici Cosimo Medici Piero Mehmed Ali Pasha Mihail Tzar Miletia Bishop Mohamed II Mollerov Dimiter Mollerov Simeon Mustafa III Nachovich Dimitar Offner Julian Osman I Pavlovich Hristaki Pavlovich Nikolai Pishurka Krastio Preslavski Konstantin Protich Andrei Radev Valo Rakovski Georgi Sava Raphael Monk Rilski Ivan Rilski Neofit Saxe-Coburg-Gotha Simeon Shafarik Ianko Shishman Tzar Shishmanov Ivan Simeon Tzar Sirku Polihronii Slaveikov Petko Smirnenski Hristo Stalin Jossif Vissarionovich Stoyanov Vassil Svetoslav Tzar Szechenyi Ferenc Takela Damaso Tito Jossif Bross Todorov Panajot Tzenov Tosho Hadji Tzinich Iacharpachin Uspenski Fiodor Vaptzarov Nikola Vaskidovich Emanuil Venelin Urii Verkovich Stefan Vladikin Georgi Voynikov Dobri Vrachanski Sofronii Zahariev Stefan Zhivkov Todor Zlatarski Vassil Zograph Dimitar Zograph Zahari

Index of People Abrashev Bojidar Ahtar Stefan Penev Alabin Piotr Vassilievich General Albrecht V Aleon Amede Count Aletic Altun Aletic Ive Alexander I Prince Aprilov Vassil Bashmakov Alexander Beron Petar Bismarck Otto von Blagoev Dimitar Boris I Tzar Chervenkov Valko Chilova Nina Clouet Jean Dimitrov Georgi Disraeli Benjamin Dobroplodni Sava Dobruski Vaclav Dondukov-Korsakov Alexander Kniaz Donkov Lazar Drinov Marin Ferdinand I Tzar Filov Bogdan Fotinov Konstantin François I Franz I Gruev Ioakim Gruev Stefan Hadjitochev Todoraki Hadjitochev Dimitraki Hadjitochev Ivancho Hadjitochev Kostaki Hamdi Osman Hazelius Arthur Hilendarski Paisii Holub Emil Hrabr Chernorizets Hrelyo Dragovol Ianchev Simeon Iavashev Anani Irechek Konstantin Ivan Alexander Tzar Ivan Assen II Tzar Jekov Nedio Jivkov Georgi Kalistrat Monk Karolev Raicho Kipilovski Atanas Kolarov Vassil Kostov Ivan Leonidovich Aleksei Magnificent Lorenzo the Mahmud II Manchov Vassil

74 21, 31-2 45, 52 26 55 28 28 45 21, 25, 31-2 53 25, 42 45 64 13, 23 60, 65 74 26 62, 64-5, 71 45 38, 41 49 45, 52 66 25-6, 39, 45 45, 55-6, 75 45, 50 21, 31 26 26 53 38 30-1 20, 29 29 29 27 42 10, 25, 37 55 13 16 31, 34-5 41 10, 46 13, 51 31-2 34-5, 47 49 18 46 21, 25-6, 31 64 71 53 26 30 40


26 26 27 34 22 14, 19 18 18 15 38, 40 55 11 41 40-3, 49 38 13 50 72 21 18 16, 18-9 25 74, 83 32-3 34 50 13, 23, 32 22, 32, 52-3 31 64 60, 65, 68 34-6, 46-8 31 26 30, 48 68 57 20, 28-9, 36 27 51-2 64, 71-2 38, 40 21, 25 32-4, 52 38 38 28 21-2, 31-2 58-9, 83 50 18 18