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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
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?