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My trip to Bulgaria, 1986

Some photos of Bulgaria



How to get there

Return to Thrace


The best museums in Bulgaria are the National History Museum and National Archeological Museum in Sofia, and the Plovdiv Archeological Museum. Also worth a visit are the museums in Stara Zagora and Vratsa. Varna is said to have a good museum, but I didn't see it. Roman remains are far more common than Thracian, and you may have trouble finding the Thracian section.

The National History Museum contains all the most fabulous treasures. These not only contain vast of pure gold and silver, but are unique works of art. There is an extensive collection of prehistoric and Roman artefacts, and the rest of the museum takes you on an interesting journey through Bulgarian history. Unfortunately, practically all signs and individual descriptions are written in Bulgarian. This is true of all museums there.

The National Archeological Museum is like a big barn filled with Roman statues. It also has one Rhomphia blade, a perfectly preserved Thracian helmet, and a Celtic sword.

Sofia is (was?) a horrible place once you have visited the museums­ get out as quickly as possible and go to Plovdiv. This was Philipopolis, and the whole town is interesting. There is a terrific Greek theatre, and some of the town walls are still intact. The city has three steep hills, which dominate the surrounding plain. The river Maritza (Hebros) runs close by, and it's easy to see why Philip chose the site for his city. On one of the hills is the Thracian fortress of Eumolpia, still under excavation. The museum there has some good Thracian and Roman stuff, and a vase depicting Thracians. That may not seem much, but I only saw one in the Athens museum, too, and none anywhere else!

British people will find a package tour of Bulgaria extremely cheap, including air fare. Major archaeological finds are still being made; when I was there, another tumulus (the whole country is littered with tumuli) containing a gold and silver chariot was found and robbed. Actually, I need some more space in my living room; would anybody be interested in a used chariot?