Saturday, April 10, 2010

National Museum of Natural History

Last week we had a chance to visit the National Museum of Natural History for the first time, and we were quite impressed. This museum, founded in 1889 and located in the center of Sofia, is the oldest museum in Bulgaria and the only institution in the country devoted to the preservation of scientific collections of animate and inanimate nature.


Last year the museum celebrated its 120th anniversary. It was first opened to the public in 1907. During World War Two the building was destroyed by aerial bombardment but the museum collections survived, having been evacuated in time.

The museum has exhibitions arranged in halls on four floors, and we noted that the steep staircase allows access to the handicapped. Most of the labels on the exhibits were also listed in English. Some of the biggest stuffed mammals on display included the largest brown bear in Europe and the last pure-blooded European bison.

The museum is also connected to the ongoing scientific work of the Bulgarian Academy of Science. The museum's website posts news of the latest discoveries, such as last year's discovery of the skeleton of an ancient deer from 5.5 million years ago.

We enjoyed visiting this museum and seeing its collections of birds, fish, reptiles, butterflies, mammals and more, from Bulgaria and from around the world.

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